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College of Education

Academic Units Within the College

Department of Early, Elementary and Reading Education

Dr. Nancy Barbour, Academic Unit Head

Department of Educational Foundations and Exceptionalities

Dr. Laura Desportes, Academic Unit Head

Department of Learning, Technology and Leadership Education

Dr. Jane Thall, Academic Unit Head

Department of Middle, Secondary and Mathematics Education

Dr. Steven Purcell, Academic Unit Head

Department of Military Sciences

Lt. Col. Richard Showalter, Academic Unit Head

Programs and Licensure

To become a licensed teacher, students complete a major in one of several approved fields of study, depending upon the type of teaching license pursued, in addition to a pre-professional licensing program.

With the exception of the four-year, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESL) program, the teacher licensure programs offered in the College of Education are completed during the fifth year Master of Arts in Teaching program.

Students wishing to become licensed teachers in inclusive early childhood, elementary or middle education should major in Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies (IdLS) and complete a pre-professional licensure program specific to the teaching license pursued at the undergraduate level. Students wishing to become licensed teachers in K-12 Special Education major in IdLS, psychology or another major approved by the program coordinator and complete a pre-professional program at the undergraduate level. Individuals wishing to become licensed teachers in ESL and attain a graduate degree while seeking licensure, major in modern foreign languages, English or another major approved by the program coordinator and complete a pre-professional program at the undergraduate level.

Students seeking licensure in secondary education major in the subject area in which they wish to become licensed (i.e. biology, history, chemistry, etc.) and complete a pre-professional licensure program in secondary education at the undergraduate level. See the specific major requirements in the individual colleges holding the major. Students enrolled in undergraduate pre-professional programs are assigned two advisers. One adviser is the adviser for the education pre-professional licensure program who will guide the student through the licensure program requirements. The other adviser is the major adviser who will guide the student through the major requirements. Students should plan on consulting both advisers regularly. The education adviser is usually assigned when the student has met all the requirements for the admission into teacher education, typically during a student's sophomore year. The major adviser is assigned when the first year student advising folders are transferred to the major departments (second semester, first year). Students are required to check with advisers regularly to ensure timely graduation.

Undergraduate students pursuing licensure to teach through one of the five-year M.A.T. programs described in this catalog should:

  • Meet requirements indicated by the respective program prior to submitting an application to The Graduate School.
  • Apply for admission to The Graduate School according to departmental deadlines.
  • Complete all pre-professional studies requirements before enrolling in graduate courses in education.

These initial licensure programs are offered at the graduate level for those having baccalaureate degrees:

  • Early Childhood Education
  • Elementary Education
  • Inclusive Early Childhood Special Education (program completers meet Virginia licensure requirements for Early Childhood Education and Special Education: Birth-Age 5).
  • Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL)
  • Middle School Education
  • Physical and Health Education
  • Secondary Education
  • Special Education K-12

Advanced programs are offered at the graduate level for licensed teachers or other school personnel:

  • Educational Leadership
  • Educational Technology
  • Master of Education: Special Education
  • Mathematics Specialist K-8
  • Reading Education

Mission Statement

The mission of the James Madison University College of Education is to prepare educated and enlightened individuals who can skillfully contribute to the common good of society and who can enter competently into positions of teaching and educational leadership, civic responsibility, and national service. The personal and professional development of students is accomplished by emphasizing excellence and continuous innovation in quality undergraduate, graduate and professional programs.

The College of Education is distinguished through faculty and student achievements, academic rigor, excellence in teaching, student and faculty interactions and relationships, technological innovations, and national recognitions. The college maintains relevance through active and growing interactions with other colleges within the university and with local, state, regional, national and international communities.

The college is committed to providing:

  • Undergraduate programs that are composed of or complemented by strong liberal arts preparation, in-depth specialty studies and opportunities for students to develop professional knowledge and skills.
  • Graduate programs that support initial teacher licensure emphasizing advanced knowledge in a specialty area and the development of effective leadership and professional skills for addressing the needs of a changing society.
  • Continuing professional development and in-service programs in cooperation with public and private schools and agencies, other colleges, institutions, and businesses.

The undergraduate and graduate education programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and approved by the Virginia State Board of Education.

The basic philosophy of the college is reflected in these goals:

  • To educate men and women for the multiple professions included in the college at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, not merely by transmitting skills and knowledge but by stimulating creativity, developing cognitive abilities and encouraging the testing of hypotheses and reinterpretation of the human experience.
  • To encourage a balanced faculty orientation toward teaching, research, scholarship, community service and professionalism that recognizes individual strengths and preferences of the college's faculty.
  • To create an environment that fosters an atmosphere of open communication among students, faculty members and community.
  • To anticipate societal needs and provide necessary resources for implementing effective off-campus programs now and in the future.

The college has undergraduate and graduate programs that are designed to lead to majors and minors in pre-professional education, initial teacher licensure, advanced programs for teachers, educational leadership, adult education, human resource development and military science.

Professional Education Coordinating Council

The Professional Education Coordinating Council (PECC) is the official governing body within the university responsible for the preparation of teachers and other school personnel. The membership of the PECC includes the coordinators or representatives of all initial licensure and advanced study programs in education, a representative from the IdLS major, the director of assessment and the directors of the Education Support Center and the Educational Technology and Media Center. The Dean of the College of Education serves ex officio as head of the Professional Education Unit. The Associate Dean for Academic Programs serves as the chair of PECC.

Teacher Education Conceptual Framework

The JMU conceptual framework is a guiding set of principles, beliefs, and concepts that provide a basis for designing, implementing, monitoring, assessing, and changing programs that prepare teachers and other educators who work closely with children and others in school settings. The overarching purpose, therefore, is to produce resilient, effective educational professionals for a dynamic and changing society.

The JMU Conceptual Framework is grounded in the best of what we know about learning, teaching, and development, and is further based on a moral mission; that is, the work of teachers affects the lives of human beings. In a human sense, it makes a difference in people's lives; in a larger sense, education contributes to societal development and democracy.

The conceptual framework reflects our recognition that teaching is a complex and difficult task, requiring a significant degree of education, training, and experiences in order to meet the learning needs of all children, regardless of age, culture, condition or ability.

The programs at JMU rely on collaborative partnerships with schools and other community agencies, strong field-based teacher development, a continuum of skills development and reflective professional practice.

Program completers, therefore, should be skilled and adept in a set of competencies that are based on the propositions found in the Conceptual Framework. Those competencies include demonstrating:

  • Certain personal qualities and dispositions reflective of a professional educator.
  • Deep understanding of the content to be taught and ways to effectively teach the content.
  • An understanding of the impact of research on learning and development and how culture influences development.
  • An understanding of how students differ in approaches to learning and creating instructional opportunities for diverse learners.
  • Skill in effective planning for learning.
  • Skill in a wide variety of instructional strategies and technologies.
  • Skill at creating positive, effective learning environments.
  • The use of effective verbal, non-verbal, and media techniques that foster inquiry, collaboration, and positive interactions.
  • Skill in a variety of effective assessment techniques.
  • The ability to reflect on practice, adjust teaching methods and techniques, and seek professional growth.
  • Skill in developing positive relationships with parents, colleagues and families.

Education Support Center

Interim Director: Mr. Nick Swayne

The Education Support Center (ESC) has four major responsibilities:

  • monitors admission to, and retention in, the professional education program
  • coordinates field experiences for all programs
  • approves applications for Virginia Licensure
  • serves as the center for information about professional education programs

Information and application materials for admission to teacher education, appeals, registration for PRAXIS exams, student teaching and licensure are available on the Education Support Center website. Also on the website is information regarding costs associated with required tests and subscriptions to Tk20.

Admission to Teacher Education

Candidates who want to pursue a course of study leading to the initial Virginia teaching license must be admitted to the teacher education program. Admission is a prerequisite to most education courses; candidates not admitted to teacher education will be blocked from registering for those courses.

Application Process

Students enrolled in a five-year M.A.T. program must be fully admitted to teacher education during their undergraduate, pre-professional program (see the undergraduate catalog). Students enrolled in other initial teacher licensure programs must meet the following requirements to be fully admitted into Teacher Education.

Students must complete all teacher education requirements for admission as outlined below and submit:

  • Program of study letter obtained from the student's education adviser that specifies required courses for the licensure programs
  • Copy of transcripts from other institutions

Application Process

Students must complete the following steps to apply to the teacher education pre-professional licensure program. Additional information is available at the ESC website:

  1. Declare a major and a pre-professional licensure program. The form should be signed by the student's education adviser and submitted to the Registrar's Office.
  2. Apply to Teacher Education.
  3. Submit two reference forms.
  4. Take the Praxis I: Academic Skills Assessment. Praxis scores may be waived if a student's SAT scores or ACT scores qualify. See the Education Support Center website for more information.
  5. Complete online training in Universal Precautions.
  6. Complete the Child Abuse Prevention Training online.
  7. Complete the following course requirements with a minimum grade of "C:" GWRTC 103 (formerly GWRIT 103) or equivalent, MATH or Cluster Three equivalent, and GPSYC 160 or equivalent. Student must provide ESC with a transcript of any courses from other institutions that do not appear on the JMU transcript.
  8. Complete the Multicultural Dispositions Index (MDI: Thompson, 2011).
  9. Have and maintain a GPA of 2.5 or better.
  10. Have no record of any felony conviction or misdemeanors involving children or drugs, or founded complaint of child abuse or neglect.

Students can check the status of their admission to the teacher education program online at the ESC website at

After completing the above requirements, students are to subscribe to Tk20 and purchase a student account ($100 fee; see the ESC website).

Application Deadlines

In order to enroll in required education courses, undergraduate candidates must complete all teacher education admissions requirements by the first day of registration for the semester in which they want to enroll in required education course work.

Transfer, post-baccalaureate, and graduate candidates should apply during the first term of enrollment at JMU.

Field Experiences

Field experiences (including practica and internships) are required for candidates in all programs of the professional education unit. The number and nature of these experiences may differ based on program structure and candidates' individual needs and/or goals. Transportation and other arrangements for the practicum and internship courses/experiences will be the candidate's responsibility.

Student Teaching

Student teaching is required as an integral part of the sequence of professional experiences in all teacher education programs.

Its purpose is to enable pre-service teachers to apply acquired skills, understandings and attitudes in K-12 classrooms or comprehensive child development programs. Each individual licensure program determines the length of its particular student teaching experience.

The Education Support Center coordinates the student teaching program with participating school divisions, assigning all candidates to their student teaching sites and assisting in the planning and supervision of their work. Experienced teachers serve as cooperating teachers who coach and mentor the student teachers in their classrooms. University supervisors have the major responsibility for the supervision and evaluation of student teachers. Student teaching is graded on a credit/no-credit basis.

Candidates must student teach in the area for which they are seeking licensure or endorsement. A candidate seeking endorsement in more than one general area must complete a student teaching experience in each area.

Student teaching placements are made in accredited Virginia public and private schools, programs, and agencies.

Most placements are made within approximately one hour's driving distance from campus. Some programs also place students in northern Virginia, Richmond and/or Tidewater, and Roanoke. Other local and non-local placement sites may be assigned in accordance with individual program and/or student needs. All placements are based on availability and efficiency of appropriate supervision. Student teaching is a full-time experience. Permission to take additional course work will be made only in exceptional cases. Student teachers should not expect to work or participate in excessive extracurricular activities during student teaching. Students with problems and/or special needs must contact the Director of the Education Support Center for prior approval.

Opportunities exist for qualified candidates to complete a portion of their student teaching at international locations. Those interested in pursuing this option must meet additional requirements and have permission of their programs at time of application to student teach. Refer to the ESC website for additional information.

Student Teaching Criteria

To be approved for student teaching, all candidates must:

  • be fully admitted to teacher education.
  • submit a student teaching application.
  • meet the required GPA.
  • successfully complete all prerequisite courses for student teaching.
  • be recommended for student teaching by their licensure program.
  • meet any additional admission and retention standards of their academic department or school.
  • be free from exposure to communicable tuberculosis.

Application Deadlines

Student teaching applications are accepted during the fall semester for the next academic year. It is the student's responsibility to be aware of all application requirements and deadlines.

Teacher Education Licensure

In order to be eligible for licensure, teacher education candidates must meet all requirements for completing the licensure program. Those candidates interested in being licensed in Virginia must apply because this license is not issued automatically. Virginia licensure requirements include the Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment (VCLA) for all licensure areas and the Praxis II Specialty Area Tests for most licensure areas. Virginia also requires the Reading for Virginia Educators for selected programs.

Out-of-State Licensure

It is recommended that candidates applying for out-of-state licenses first obtain the Virginia license. Out-of-state licensure requirements and application forms must be obtained directly from the desired state agencies. Note: Other states may have additional testing and GPA requirements that the applicant must meet.

Educational Technology and Media Center

Director: Dr. Richard G. Clemens
Phone: (540) 568-6302

The primary goal of the Educational Technology and Media Center (ETMC) is to support students, faculty and staff in their effective use of technologies to support learning. This goal is achieved through access, instruction and promotion of educational technologies available within the center.

ETMC houses more than 5,000 items including K-12 textbooks, DVDs and videotapes, microcomputer software, and a variety of other instructional resources. The center also houses the children and youth literature collection of James Madison University totaling more than 15,000 volumes.

Computers throughout the facility allow students to work with computer assisted instruction, web page creation, word processing, digital images, analog and digital video, page layout, data analysis, and the creation of multi-media computer presentations. These presentations can be taken into educational technology classrooms around the university. The growing capabilities in instructional technology are evident in this center where interactive video conferencing, video-streaming and other newly emerging technologies expand the potential for learning in multiple environments.

For those desiring licensure in Virginia's schools, ETMC provides opportunities to learn and use many forms of instructional technology. ETMC has a range of production facilities including traditional media, audio and video editing areas, and digital technologies that enable faculty members and students to produce various types of instructional materials. College of Education students may also check out digital cameras, camcorders and audio recorders.