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College of Education

Academic Units within the College

Department of Early, Elementary and Reading Education

Dr. Teresa Harris, Interim Academic Unit Head

Department of Educational Foundations and Exceptionalities

Dr. David Slykhuis, Interim Academic Unit Head

Department of Learning, Technology and Leadership Education

Dr. Jane Thall, Academic Unit Head

Department of Middle, Secondary and Mathematics Education

Dr. Kyle Schultz, Interim Academic Unit Head

Department of Military Sciences

LTC Richard Showalter, Academic Unit Head

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.

James Madison University's 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 and emphasize 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 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 (CAEP) 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, educational technology, adult education, human resource development and military science.

The college is organized into five departments:


The college offers a variety of graduate programs, including some in the areas of teacher licensure, advanced degrees for teaching professionals, educational technology and adult human resource development.

For students enrolled in undergraduate, pre-professional teaching licensure program at James Madison University, the College of Education offers the following programs leading to a Masters of Arts (M.A.) in Teaching:

  • Inclusive Early Childhood Education
  • Elementary Education
  • English as a Second Language
  • Middle Education
  • Secondary Education
  • Special Education

For individuals holding baccalaureate degrees who wish to pursue initial teacher licensure, the college offers the following graduate programs leading to Masters of Arts (M.A.T.) in Teaching:

  • Early Childhood Education
  • Early Childhood Special Education
  • English as a Second Language
  • Middle School Education
  • Secondary Education

The college offers the following Masters of Education (M.Ed.) programs for licensed teachers and other interested individuals:

  • Educational Leadership
  • Educational Technology
  • Reading Education
  • K-8 Math Specialist
  • Special Education
  • Special Education with a concentration in Behavior Specialist
  • Equity and Cultural Diversity
  • Spanish Language and Culture for Educators

For individuals interested in Adult Human Resource Development, the college offers a Master of Science in Education (M.S.Ed.) Degree.

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.

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.

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 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 (ESC) 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, 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 unit.
  • 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. 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. Other states may have additional testing and GPA requirements that the applicant must meet.

Education Support Center


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.

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.