Education Department Policies
Academic Advising is a very important part of your life as an education major at North Central University. At the time a student declares an education major in the Registrar's Office, an advisor is assigned from the education faculty. If a student is undecided about his/her major but is contemplating education as a possible choice, we strongly suggest meeting with one of the education faculty. The choices for general electives or education majors ARE NOT THE SAME as other majors within the university, and randomly taking these electives may result in having to take extra classes. Your academic advisor will not only help you in class selection but can serve as an invaluable source of information about the field of education. He or she will help you decide if you have the dispositions and the academic ability necessary to be a successful teaching candidate. Your academic advisor will also help you determine when you are ready to make formal application to the program.
Although you are encouraged to meet with your academic advisor anytime you desire to, formal academic advising happens during a three-week period during the middle of each semester when you register for classes for the following semester. The role of academic advisors is explained in the university catalog. We suggest that students sign up as early in the registration schedule as possible in order to register for the classes needed for program completion. Attendance at the department advising chapel will allow students to sign up early for advising times and get information regarding the advising process. Students can find faculty office hours and advising schedules listed outside their office doors. Students should be certain to contact their advisors with any questions regarding their course schedule.
Decisions made by the education faculty can be appealed to the Education Appeals Committee. The composition of the Education Appeals Committee is fluid, depending on the subject of the appeal. In general, however, the committee is comprised of five members: one member of the School of Education to assure compliance with state licensure rules, two members of the university faculty to assure adherence to the NCU mission, and two members of the education advisory committee to give an objective assessment of the situation. The appeals process most often applies to the denial or removal of acceptance into the Education Program. The process, however, is the same when used for other department decisions.
The appeals process is as follows:
- Student may appeal a decision by writing a letter of appeal to the Education Appeals Committee. It should be submitted to the Director of the School within one week of receipt of the decision. The letter of appeal should include reasons why the decision should be reevaluated.
- The Education Appeals Committee will reconvene within one month of the receipt of the appeal to reevaluate the decision.
- The student will be notified in writing within one week of the committee's meeting regarding the final decision.
In addition, in accordance with MN Statute 122A.09, Subdivision 4c, the Minnesota Board of Teaching may assist in resolving disputes between a student preparing for teacher licensure or a licensed graduate of a teacher program and the institution when the dispute involves an institution's recommendation for licensure affecting the person or the person's credentials.
The attendance policy for North Central University is in two parts. For the 100 and 200 level courses, attendance requirements stipulate that students be present for about 75% of the total class time. (For details, see the Academic Information section of the university catalog.)
The second part of the policy is that "class attendance in all 300 and 400 level courses is left to the discretion of the individual professor and will be stated in the syllabus." Although the university catalog states that 300/400 level class attendance policies should not be more restrictive than 100 and 200 level courses, this policy was suspended by the Academic Affairs Committee for the education department. Due to the integration and assessment of the students' attainment of SEP's in each course, and the fact that successful attainment of these SEP's is required for licensure, attendance policies in education classes are actually much more restrictive than is typical in other university courses. The education department attendance requirement for upper level courses is as follows:
|1 credit course meeting once a week||1 absence allowed|
|1 credit course meeting less than once a week||1 absence allowed|
|2 credit course meeting once a week||2 absences allowed|
|2 credit course meeting twice a week||2 absences allowed|
|2 credit course meeting less than once a week||1 absence allowed|
|3 credit course meeting once a week||1 absence allowed|
|3 credit course meeting twice a week||2 absences allowed|
|3 credit course meeting less than once a week||1 absence allowed|
In cases of illness or family emergency, it it important to make arrangements with the class professor for information missed.
In order to maintain an atmosphere that is conducive to education and learning for all students, proper classroom etiquette must be observed. The guidelines for classroom etiquette for the School of Education are the same as the university as a whole.
- Infants and children are not permitted in the classrooms.
- Cellular phones and audible pagers are disruptions and are also considered inappropriate for the classroom, the Information Resource Center, the Student Computer Lab, Chapel, etc.
- Students shall not vacate the classroom in the absence of a teacher until 10 minutes after the starting time has elapsed or 15 minutes in the case of a professor holding a doctorate.
In addition to these university-wide policies, we in the School of Education take pride in our "wing" of classrooms. Make sure to dispose of trash, remove classroom instructional materials when used, and abide by the curriculum lab policies.
Course Grade Requirements and GPA
All students who have been admitted into the Education program must earn a "C" (2.0) or above in all education methods courses to continue in the program. Any student with a provisional acceptance may have additional requirements, which will vary from student to student. All conditions for provisional acceptance are stated in a letter sent to the individual student, and a copy of the letter is kept in the student's file. Students must also earn a "C" or above in all courses required for their concentration (social studies, communication arts, etc.) in order to be recommended for a Minnesota State Teaching License.
Education majors need an overall grade point average of 2.5 before they can apply for application in the program and must continue to fulfill this during the program as well. (See program application for specifics about 2.75 overall requirements on core class list.) Additionally, students must earn an overall GPA of 2.5 or higher to be recommended for teacher licensure.
Course Transfers and Credit for Prior Experience
A student with prior academic preparation and/or teaching experience who applies to the education program will follow the same procedure of admittance to NCU as other incoming students. The decision of whether the student's prior preparation meets the standards set for admittance is determined by the Office of the Registrar and the School of Education department of the University. The Registrar will follow the established policy for admittance and transferability of courses from one college to another for those courses in the general education core. However, since all of our methods courses are closely aligned to the Standards of Effective Practice, and successful completion of these are required for licensure, it is strongly recommended that all education methods courses be taken at North Central University. Occasionally a student comes to NCU with prior teaching experience or methods course completion. When this is the case, the student may request that credit be given by following this process:
- Upon notification of acceptance to the University and receipt of an official degree analysis sheet from the Registrar's Office, the student may petition the education department for evaluation of education and core courses (those meeting SEP and rules for content licensure standards).
- The student must submit a letter to the Director of the School of Education stating which courses he/she is requesting to transfer. A college transcript, catalog course descriptions, and course syllabi should accompany the letter. (The student may, if so desired, submit course work that would verify attainment of SEP and/or licensure standards.) This must be completed before formal application to the program is made.
- The request will be evaluated by the School of Education and, when appropriate, a faculty member from the content standard area.
- The student will be notified in writing of the committee's decision within one month of the request.
- If the student wishes to appeal the decision of the committee, a letter of appeal should be submitted to the Director of the School of Education within one week of the receipt of the committee's decision. This letter should include reasons why the decision should be reevaluated and provide additional documentation of the required licensure standards.
- The Appeals Committee will reconvene within one month of the receipt of the appeal and reevaluate the decision.
- The student will be notified in writing within one week of the committee's meeting regarding the final decision.
Students who wish to complete the requirements for a secondary licensure track or a middle school endorsement, and who have completed all of their content coursework at another institution, must pass the appropriate MTLE content area test for their subject and licensure level before they will be allowed to participate in field experiences through NCU. For example, a student who would like to add a middle level license in social studies to an existing license, and who has completed all of the required middle school content courses at a different university, would need to pass the MTLE Middle Level Social Studies (Grades 5-8) exam before student teaching.
When requesting credit for prior teaching experience, rather than submitting course work, the student may be asked to supply documentation of this experience for review by the School of Education. This documentation should include:
- supervising and cooperating teacher evaluations (or evaluations from the principal or supervisor of the experience)
- letters of recommendation from appropriate supervisors
- letters of recommendation from the employer (if employment included teaching) with an address to which an evaluation form from NCU can be sent
- if possible, a portfolio documenting licensure standards attained
The decision and appeals process are the same as those for petitioning for course credit.
The Curriculum Lab plays a vital role in the lives of education majors. This is a library/workroom located between the two classrooms in the Education Wing at NCU. The Lab houses research material related to the documented research base for the education department, literature, music, art, office supplies, and instructional materials to be used by education majors in their education classes and pre-service teaching experiences. It is a place where students gather to complete group assignments, use the computer, or do research for an assignment. The rules are few and are posted in the lab for students' reference:
- Only paper may leave the production area. Tools (i.e. scissors, rulers, staplers, etc.) and supplies (glue, markers, crayons, tape etc.) must stay in the lab.
- Please clean up after yourself.
- Materials may be checked out for one week.
- The printer and copier are to be used only for projects related to education courses.
The Lab is a great place to work and meet friends. You will want to work together with the rest of the department to keep it clean and in good shape, because it will be your "home away from home."
The grading scale for education courses differs from the rest of the university and has been approved by the Academic Affairs Department. Again, due to the importance of attaining the requisite content and pedagogical knowledge to be successful in the classroom, and to fulfill the SEP licensure requirements embedded in each course, the grading scale is more demanding and is as follows:
A 92% - 100%
B 84% - 91%
C 75% - 83%
D 68% - 74%
F below 68%
Retention in Program
Students accepted into the Education Program continue completing courses in the order required by the cohort program. Students' retention in the program is based on:
- Successfully addressing any provisions related to admittance in program.
- Successful completion of courses. A grade of a "C" or higher must be earned in all methods courses and courses required for concentration.
- Adequate progress must be made on the Standards of Effective Practice as measured by both coursework and field experiences.
- Maintaining an overall GPA of 2.5 or higher.
Student representatives from each class (Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior) are selected at the beginning of the Fall semester. These students attend one faculty meeting each month. The responsibilities of the representatives are to:
- Take information from the education faculty to the students
- Plan events to build community in the class
- Bring concerns from the class to the education faculty
The Junior and Senior class elect their representatives in an education class, since they are in the Education Program and are taking classes together as a cohort.
The selection of Freshman and Sophomore representatives is usually done by volunteering during a department chapel or through email.
A list of all the representatives with phone numbers and email addresses is posted in the curriculum lab for all education majors so that students may contact them with questions or concerns.