2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog 
    Sep 28, 2023  
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


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As the oldest public, coeducational, teacher education institution in the nation, Westfield State University, founded in 1839, has a 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’s teacher education programs are approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Westfield State University’s educator preparation program is fully accredited by the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP). Westfield State University was awarded full accreditation for seven years in June 2020. AAQEP also awarded our educator preparation program with a commendation for our work in anti-racist education.

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, 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.

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 Teacher Education Council maintains 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 semester must meet with the Chair of the Education Department to complete the appropriate paperwork. 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 0202  or department equivalent course, 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.

Starting in the first year, students take introductory level education courses, MTEL tests in Communication and Literacy, participate in a public school classroom field experience, and complete state subject matter knowledge course requirements. Retention in the program is dependent on students achieving Advanced Standing as described above. During the next years at the University, students complete with education course work, 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 the eligible students in a full-year placement (Fall semester: Field Experience; Spring semester: practicum in the same school placement). The series of field experiences is designed to intentionally grow students’ competencies over time with specific attention to the essential elements of teaching and learning as identified by the state licensure requirements and the underlying belief structure of the Education Department articulated through five pillars: Critical Engagement with Diversity, Social Justice, Building Community, Scholarship, Inquiry, an Excitement for Learning, and Critical Reflective Practice. 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:

Biology (8-12)
Chemistry (8-12)
Early Childhood Education (PreK-2)
Elementary Education (1-6)
English (5-12)
General Science (5-8)
History (5-12)
Mathematics (5-8)
Mathematics (8-12)
Movement Science (physical education PreK-8, 5-12)
Music (All levels)
Special Education: Moderate Disabilities (PreK-8) and (5-12)
Visual Arts (All levels)




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