Tusculum's education programs lead students to the important role of education in preparing a new generation of citizens with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes they will need to participate effectively in our democracy.
The mission of professional education programs at Tusculum College is to prepare teachers who are committed to excellence in education and who are confident in their abilities to assume leadership as educators and citizens in the communities where they live and work. To this end, the program continues the College’s focus on civic and intellectual development of the students, while fostering the skills, knowledge, and habits of character vital to those involved in the education of the nation’s next generation of citizens.
1. Civic Development
Tusculum’s education programs lead students to the important role of education in preparing a new generation of citizens with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes they will need to participate effectively in our democracy. These programs accomplish their goals through one-on-one mentoring relationships, collaborative group learning, and course work integrating academic studies, field experiences, and reflection on the web of connections to societal values and public life. The role of the instructor is best described as a facilitator, with the learning focus on process as well as actual course content.
2. Intellectual Development
As prospective educators hone their communications, critical thinking, and other abilities in the Commons courses, the education programs challenge students to apply these abilities in courses with a focus on issues and knowledge needed in the field of education. For example, while written and spoken English are developed across the curriculum, these skills are specifically extended in the education program to lead students to communicate appropriately with their future professional colleagues, with parents, and with the students with whom they will be interacting daily.
By deliberately maintaining close mentoring relationships, instructors in the education program not only model appropriate behavior for a civic-minded classroom, but are able to challenge each student to strive for high standards of academic achievement and to examine critically his or her personal philosophy of education.
3. Professional Development
Professional development includes the study of current theory and practices in the student’s chosen area(s) of specialization. Field assignments in the community’s schools begin early in the student’s training, and continue throughout all four years of the program, providing a rich experience base valuable in itself while enhancing learning in the student’s academic coursework. Collaborative learning and student/faculty interaction in a climate of concern for the educational and cultural needs of the community broaden students’ perspectives and develop confidence in their ability to join the ranks of professional educators.
In addition to the college learning outcomes required of all students for graduation, the education program seeks to develop additional, more specialized competencies as listed below.
- Ability to focus the FOUNDATION outcomes required by the College in specific types of interaction crucial to teaching success, such as teacher-student, teacher-teacher, teacher-administrator, teacher-parent, and teacher-general public.
Specific Knowledge and Skills and Practice of Virtue
- Ability to allow the skills, attitudes, and habits of character developed though the College’s curriculum and community life to form one’s teaching practices while maintaining the open-mindedness and critical inquiry needed as a model for the nation’s young people in developing civic virtue.
- Ability to apply knowledge gained in an area of specialization,
such as Science, Fine Arts, Early Childhood, etc., by leading
students to productive engagement with the subject matter
and demonstrating the practical connections to life experience.
- Ability to develop a creative interrelationship with grade levels of education and with fields of study other than the student’s own chosen area(s).
- Ability to function in accord with the legal and ethical responsibilities of the education profession.
- Awareness of the role of formal education in
a. preparing students for effective participation in the world of work and family formation,
b. developing in students the abilities needed for active participation as citizens in a democracy, thus
c. laying the groundwork for the preservation and improvement of society.
Admission to Teacher Education
Admission to Tusculum College does not automatically admit a student to Teacher Education. Information pertaining to admission to the teacher education program follows. While advisors and advisees should work closely to follow the professional course sequence, it is the student’s responsibility to make the necessary applications and to meet requirements and other specified deadlines.
All students who will be participating in practicum experiences are required to have fingerprint and background checks. Tennessee state law dictates that all persons who have contact with children in grades PreK-12 through the public school system must have an appropriate background check conducted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. All students must submit this information before they can be screened for admission into the Licensure Program. See the Education Department personnel for information about this process.
Note: Tusculum College reserves the right to refuse background checks from other agencies. The Education Department may accept background checks from school systems served by each campus. All background checks must be current, completed within the last calendar year and be free of offenses that would preclude placement in a school system.
1. Initial Admission to the Teacher Education Program
A formal application for initial admission to the teacher education program should be filed as soon as the student has completed EDUC 200: History, Philosophy, and Principles of Education.
This may occur as early as the second semester of the freshman year, and should be no later than the second semester of the sophomore year. Students wishing to transfer from another institution to the Teacher Education Program at Tusculum College should immediately make their intentions known to the Director of Compliance. The Compliance Director will suggest the appropriate time to make formal application for admission to Teacher Education. Application forms may be obtained from the education program office in the Charles Oliver Gray Building.
When a student applies to Teacher Education, a file is set up,
containing information relevant to the student’s candidacy. In
order to be fully admitted to the education program, a candidate
A. Be a registered student at Tusculum College.
B. Meet one of the following:
1. Have a composite ACT score of 22 or higher or a combined recentered SAT score of 1020 or higher.
2. Pass Reading, Writing, and Math sections of the PPST.
C. Complete the background check satisfactorily.
D. Complete SPED 101 and EDUC 200.
E. Have a G.P.A. of 2.5 or above on a four (4) point scale.
F. Demonstrate proficiency in oral and written communication. The written proficiency is accomplished by completing an essay on the role of education in a democratic society or a significant question regarding the candidate’s chosen major produced in a proctored setting and meeting the Level 2 “Cold Writing Sample” criteria.
G. Have written recommendations from two full-time faculty members: at least one from the major and/or one from general education.
H. Have apparent good mental and physical health, with evidence that any handicaps present will not impair the candidate’s effectiveness as a teacher.
I. Receive approval from the Teacher Education Screening Committee. Items A-H must be completed prior to applying for screening.
Teacher Education Screening Committee
The Screening Committee is composed of at least one member of the student’s major field, two members of the professional education faculty, and at least one or more members of the regular faculty. The meetings of the committee are open to all faculty members. The committee may invite specific individuals from the College community to assist in reaching decisions regarding candidates.
The committee meets as needed throughout the academic year and has jurisdiction regarding who is allowed admission to the education program, regarding who is allowed to student teach, for hearing administrative appeals within the education program (academic appeals are heard by the Admissions and Standards Committee). It exercises an advisory role with respect to education program curriculum and operation.
When the candidate has satisfactorily completed items A-H, listed above, written application is made to the committee. The application materials include documentation of completion of items A-H.
The committee will review the materials and reach a decision regarding the candidate’s admission to the program. Both the content and quality of responses have a significant influence in the candidate’s admission to the program. The committee interviews each candidate for oral proficiency in explaining auto biographical information and their self-assessment of strengths and weaknesses to be addressed while preparing to become a professional educator. Following the interview, the committee makes a final decision, and written notification of the committee’s decision will be sent to the candidate’s address within five working days. If the screening committee denies the application, the letter will include reasons for the denial. The candidate may appeal, in writing, to the education program coordinator stating the grounds that he/she believes warrant reconsideration. The program coordinator will determine whether reconsideration is warranted. Approval from the committee and admission to the teacher education programs are prerequisite for enrolling in the Enhanced Student Teaching courses.
The Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPST)
The PPST must be successfully completed by all candidates for teacher education, unless the candidate is exempted as a result of adequate ACT or SAT test scores. The test may be taken at any scheduled test date during the year at any official test site or by computer at an approved site when the site is administering the test. There is no prerequisite for taking the test. Contact the education program office for information about test dates, sites, and registration deadlines.
There is a substantial fee for taking the test, which must be paid by the candidate. Students meeting criteria may apply for assistance with the test fees. Application for financial assistance should be made well in advance of the scheduled test date. Contact the financial aid office for details.
Students should take the PPST no later than the conclusion of the freshman year. The PPST must be successfully completed prior to screening for admission to the education program.
Transfer students should take the test by the time of their admission to the College.
A student who fails a portion of the PPST after having taken it twice may appeal in writing to the Teacher Education Screening Committee, stating the grounds that he/she believes warrant exemption from the requirement.
Retention in Teacher Education
After an applicant has been accepted into teacher education, that student’s progress will be reviewed each semester by members of the education department. Frequently, time is spent in the monthly staff meetings discussing the progress of students. The applicant will continue to coordinate course scheduling with the academic advisor and/or the Director of Compliance.
Retention in the teacher education program is contingent on the successful completion of courses and program requirements and maintenance of the academic standard required for initial admission to the program.
Specifically, all students having been admitted to the teacher education program must maintain a G.P.A. of 2.5. Students whose cumulative G.P.A. falls below 2.5 on an enrollment of at least 12 semester hours during any semester will be placed on departmental probation for the next semester. During the probationary semester, the student must achieve at least a 2.5 cumulative G.P.A. on an enrollment of at least 12 semester hours. Failure to achieve the required G.P.A. during the probationary semester will result in automatic dismissal from the teacher education program. Teacher licensure candidates are reminded that a G.P.A. of 2.75 in the major and in the professional education core is required for admission to Student Teaching. A Teacher Education candidate is expected to maintain consistent personal representation of the Mission of Tusculum College and the Mission for the Professional Education Programs.
Students who otherwise fail to maintain consistent pre-professional performance as indicated above are subject to action from the Screening Committee, which may place conditions on the candidate’s continuation in the program or may remove the candidate from the teacher licensure program altogether.
1. Description of Enhanced Student Teaching
The enhanced student teaching experience is a planned professional semester that includes full days of teaching and observation under the supervision and guidance of Tusculum College faculty and local school district personnel. The student teacher will spend one complete semester (a minimum 15 consecutive weeks) in student teaching activities.
This enhanced student teaching will focus on experience in at least two different classrooms, which may be at different schools. Students will have two placements within their certification levels. Elementary student teachers will have a lower and upper elementary placement (K-3, 4-6). Persons seeking secondary licensure will gain practice at both middle school and high school levels. Persons being certified K-12 will have an elementary and high school placement.
Sites for placement of student teachers are selected by the
Director of Student Teaching in conjunction with the personnel
from the local school systems. Students are allowed to request
placements which are considered when requesting placements
from local school systems. Teachers selected as supervising
teachers must meet the following criteria:
a. Hold current state teaching certification for the grade level and/or subject to which the teacher is assigned.
b. Have a minimum of three years’ teaching experience.
c. Be identified by administrators as competent or master teacher.
d. Be willing to assume mentor roles.
e. Demonstrate ability to perform as a team member.
The supervising teacher, in conjunction with the College Coordinator, assumes supervisory responsibilities by providing the student with teaching experiences, continuous informal feedback, and systematic formative and summative evaluations. Each student teacher has on-site visits from the college supervisor weekly.
The student teacher makes available to the supervising teacher a copy of the Student Teacher Handbook. This document details the enhanced student teaching program including responsibilities of the supervising teacher, the student, and the college coordinator.
Higher education faculty who serve as College Coordinators
for student teachers are selected according to the following requirements:
a. Considered by the institution to be highly competent role models.
b. Have experience at the grade level(s) which they supervise.
c. Demonstrate effective teaching strategies and methods.
d. Express and demonstrate willingness to assume the roles of mentors.
e. Stay current with the latest research on teaching and learning.
f. Be effective team members and effectively facilitate professional learning experiences which include pedagogical instruction.
During the first week of the student teaching semester, students are inducted into enhanced student teaching by attending a series of seminars on topics such as writing lesson plans, discipline techniques, and course requirements. Further bi-weekly seminars address topics relevant to the personal and professional growth of student teachers.
The College calendar will normally define the beginning and ending of the enhanced student teaching, but the student teaching program may be coordinated with the schedule of the local school system.
The performance of student teachers will be evaluated by supervising practitioners in the local school system and Coordinators from Tusculum College. College Coordinators are evaluated by the student teacher during the final phase of the student teaching experience. Student evaluations are kept on file in the office of teacher education department.
NOTE: Students are advised to discontinue employment during the student teaching semester unless the employment is continued on a very limited basis.
2. Admission to Student Teaching
Enhanced student teaching is the experience that concludes
the pre-service education of prospective teachers. Application
must be made to the Director of Student Teaching no later than
January 15th or September 15th of the semester prior to the anticipated
student teaching semester. The following criteria must
be met by all students before they will be allowed to student
a. Completion of required coursework.
b. A cumulative G.P.A. of 2.75 or higher in the major.
c. A cumulative G.P.A. of 2.75 or higher in professional education courses.
d. Approval of the faculty in the major.
e. Approval of the Screening Committee. Note that items b - d must be completed prior to approval by the committee. Written notification of the committee’s decision will be sent to the candidate’s address within five working days. If the Screening Committee denies the application, the letter will include reasons for the denial. The candidate may appeal, in writing, to the Director of Student Teaching stating the grounds that he/she believes warrant reconsideration. The Director will determine whether reconsideration is warranted. If so, the Director will return the matter to the Screening Committee, whose decision will be final.
a. Thirty-two of the last 36 hours before graduation must be taken at Tusculum College.
b. No other courses may be taken by student teachers. Enrollment in any course at an outside institution during the student teaching semester will not be transferred into Tusculum College for credit toward the degree program as this would violate College policy.
c. Students who have already completed a Bachelor’s degree, either at Tusculum College or elsewhere, who wish to add teaching licensure to that degree must meet all applicable requirements regarding admission to the education program, required coursework, and admission to student teaching.
d. A grade of “C” or better must be obtained in Student Teaching before a teaching license may be requested.
e. According to state requirements, students must successfully complete both placements in the professional semester in order to be recommended for licensure. If a student successfully completes one placement and cannot complete the other during the professional semester, the professional semester must be repeated to qualify for a license.
3. Special Policies for Student Teaching and Athletes
Students involved in intercollegiate athletics at Tusculum College are expected to plan their schedules so as not to enter student teaching during the semester in which their sport is in season. In the case of basketball and golf, which operate in both semesters, students are expected to arrange for student teaching during the fall semester, to reduce the possibility of conflict with post-season play in spring. Students cannot be excused from student teaching to participate in regular season athletic events. All such schedule conflicts must be resolved in favor of the student teaching responsibilities.
In rare cases it may be unavoidable to student teach during a
semester in which post-season play is possible. In such cases the
student-athlete must make arrangements in the semester prior
to the student teaching for possible absence during an extended
post-season tournament trip. These arrangements include:
a.. Official notification to the Director of Student Teaching of the possibility of post-season play, including the dates for such tournament play.
b. Endorsement from the Athletic Director’s office.
c. Approval from the Tusculum College Education Department.
d. Approval from the supervising teacher and school principal.
e. Agreement by the student to any makeup scheduling indicated by the Director of Student Teaching.
NOTE: The arrangements indicated above must be made in advance. Under no circumstances will a student be excused for post-season play who has not made the appropriate arrangements in advance. The Teacher Education Screening Committee will not hear appeals from students who fail to make arrangements in advance.
4. The Teacher Education Advisory Council
The Teacher Education Advisory Council provides a forum on campus to ensure that relevant parties will be available to give input on any decision involving the requirements and objectives of the professional education programs at Tusculum College.
The function of the Advisory Council is to study and to make recommendations concerning programs in the teacher training program. Recommendations for curriculum change that may arise in the Teacher Education Advisory Council follow the standard procedure: development of proposal by departmental faculty, approval by the Programs and Policies Committee, and finally, approval by the College faculty. The Advisory Council serves as a liaison between the Education Department and all departments that train students for a career in teaching.