As the oldest public, coeducational, teacher education institution in the nation, Westfield State University, founded in 1839, has an historical and abiding commitment to serving the educational needs of all students in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Our shared vision exists among education faculty, liberal arts and sciences faculty, students, PreK-12 teachers, and administrators. We are dedicated to the development of learning communities that encourage individual growth through a commitment to social justice and the quest for an improved future for all learners. Our teacher education programs embrace this vision of Educators as Leaders Building Learning Communities. Westfield State University is nationally accredited by National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) at the initial and advanced level. All programs are also approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).
Through this shared vision, Westfield State University’s teacher education programs provide innovative ways to create ties with a variety of partners, both on campus and within PreK-12 communities. Each year our Teacher in Residence program recruits a public school educator to join the education faculty. The Westfield State University Professional Development Schools (WSUPDS) initiative maintains partnerships with area school districts. WSUPDS is an essential agency for professional development and program improvement between the University and the local school districts.
Teacher education programs at the elementary/primary level include early childhood education, special education, and elementary education. At the middle/secondary level, approved programs include English, history, mathematics, general science, chemistry, biology, business, and vocational technical education. Our special education programs prepare teachers to work with children and/or adolescents with mild to moderate disabilities at the elementary or secondary level.
The Regulations for Educator Licensure in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts require that all prospective teachers complete a liberal arts, sciences, or interdisciplinary major.
Westfield offers the following Massachusetts Department of Education approved majors in the liberal arts and sciences:
Ethnic and Gender Studies
The Education Department has a list of recommended academic areas that addresses the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and Common Core State Standards and strongly encourages Liberal Studies as a second major for candidates seeking Early Childhood, Elementary, or Special Education licensure. Students should refer to the Liberal Studies major for additional requirements and arrange to meet with a Liberal Studies advisor. The Education department sponsors informational meetings about programs in education each semester. Students are required to attend these meetings and should contact the department for a schedule of dates and times. Students also must meet with both their Education department advisor and second major advisor each semester.
Prospective students are advised that departmental program requirements also are subject to change to maintain compliance with both state licensure regulations and professional standards. The Education Department at Westfield State university makes every effort to notify students of changes in program requirements and licensure regulations as soon as they are published by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. When it is appropriate to do so, the department advises students of potential changes in advance of formal announcement and implementation. Each student is required to meet with his or her advisor at least once per semester. Candidates for teacher licensure also must pass appropriate state mandated licensure examinations. Students are encouraged to review test requirements with their Education Department advisor and attend MTEL preparation workshops.
The Education Department and the office of the Dean of Education maintain admission and retention criteria for teacher licensure programs. A 2.8 GPA is required for acceptance into a major. First-year students not accepted into the major can transfer into Education after they have achieved the required overall GPA of 2.8. Students meeting the 2.8 GPA at the end of the first year must meet with the Chair of the Education Department. All students must meet the requirements for Advanced Standing to achieve teacher candidacy. To achieve Advanced Standing, a student must have completed 57 credits, have an overall GPA of 2.8, maintain an average GPA of 2.7 (B-) or better in ENGL 0101 and ENGL 0102 , and pass the communication and literacy exam (i.e., Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure, Communication and Literacy). A minimum overall GPA of 2.8 (including transfer work), a 3.0 GPA in education pedagogy coursework, a passing grade on the MTEL subject matter test(s), and all mandatory coursework are required for practicum placement. Students must see their advisor to learn about practicum requirements for each license. Practicum placements are limited to a 30-mile radius of the University. Practicum students are not permitted to be employed during school hours or take the University spring break vacation during practicum.
Generally, students spend the first two years completing core requirements and acquiring a broad base in the liberal arts. During the sophomore year, students take introductory level education courses, MTEL tests in Communication and Literacy and participate in a public school classroom field experience. Retention in the program is dependent on students achieving Advanced Standing as described above. During the last two years at the University, students complete their education course work, their arts or science major, additional field work, and pass the appropriate MTEL subject matter test(s). During the senior year, students complete a practicum experience. Every effort is made to place eligible students in a full-year placement (Fall semester: minimum of 30-hour pre-practicum - Spring semester: practicum in the same school placement). A diversity experience is required for one of the 30 hour pre-practicum placements or for the practicum. Undergraduates who have completed all of the requirements for the major or licensure program are recommended by the University for initial licensure issued by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).
A complete listing of teacher preparation programs includes:
Early Childhood Education (PreK-2)
Elementary Education (1-6)
General Science (5-8)
Movement Science (physical education PreK-8, 5-12)
Music (All levels)
Special Education: Moderate Disabilities (PreK-8) and (5-12)