The Department of Education has three program areas: Curriculum & Instruction, Educational Leadership, and Adult & Higher Education. As the undergraduate teacher education unit, Curriculum & Instruction provides programs in elementary education and secondary education.
Curriculum & Instruction also offers a masters degree program for advanced professional development for practicing teachers and other education professionals, and a doctoral program (Ed.D.) for those preparing to teach in education departments at the university level.
The Educational Leadership program offers a masters level certification and degree program for the principalship, and a doctoral level certification program (Ed.D.) to prepare individuals for the superintendency.
The program in Adult and Higher Education offers Masters and Doctoral level programs for those seeking careers in Higher Education or other post-secondary educational venues.
The mission of the Department of Education is to prepare highly qualified professional educators and administrators through exemplary campus and distance based programs and field placements in quality public and private schools. In addition, the department contributes to the State of Montana and the nation through the faculty's active research and outreach efforts.
Undergraduate Teacher Education Program—Conceptual Framework
The Teacher Education Program at MSU believes that learning to teach in educational settings is a complex task requiring a thoughtful blending of content mastery with carefully guided field experiences. In order to meet the multiple demands of an ever-changing profession, we ensure that students demonstrate their competencies in guided field experiences through every phase of our program. Thus, students who graduate from the Teacher Education Program at MSU are engaged in and committed to:
1. Content Mastery
The Teacher Education Program at MSU has been designed to provide our students with a rich and well-balanced education grounded in the liberal arts & sciences and current educational theory, research, and practice. Students participate in learning communities within our program in which they develop in-depth content knowledge for their work as classroom teachers and school leaders. Our graduates understand the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the disciplines and can create standards-based learning experiences that are meaningful for students.
2. Understanding Development and Diversity of Learners
Graduates of the Teacher Education Program understand how K-12 students learn and develop and can provide learning opportunities which are adapted to diverse learners and support their intellectual, social, and personal development. Our graduates are committed to building a caring, respectful, and supportive learning environment and are prepared to provide access to the necessary tools to help every student learn. They are also cognizant of and committed to Montana's American Indian cultures and the values embodied by the Indian Education for All Act.
3. Pedagogical and Technological Proficiency
We believe that professional educators must have sound pedagogical content knowledge and be skilled in the use of research-based instructional practices. Our graduates understand and use a variety of instructional strategies to foster students' motivation for learning and encourage their conceptual understandings through the development of critical thinking, problem solving, and performance/work force skills. Our graduates understand the principles of Differentiated Instruction and can integrate these concepts and practices into their teaching. The graduates of our Teacher Education Program also demonstrate knowledge of effective verbal and nonverbal communication techniques and effectively use educational technology to foster active inquiry, collaboration, and supportive interaction in the classroom.
4. Excellence in Instructional Design and Assessment
It is essential for teachers to understand and practice alignment in curriculum, standards, and assessments. Our program is committed to current models of instructional design in which our candidates focus on defining learning outcomes and determining evidence that all learners have met pedagogical goals. Our graduates plan instruction based upon knowledge of subject matter, students, the community, and curriculum goals. They also understand how to use pre-, formative, and summative analysis of student learning, for individuals, small groups, or whole class settings to ensure the intellectual, social, and personal development of every learner.
5. Professionalism in Practice and Reflection
Continuous improvement of the education profession depends upon the systematic practice of professional reflection, inquiry, and collaboration to discover new and more effective educational approaches. Our graduates demonstrate the ability to reflect on classroom decision-making with regard to content, diversity, pedagogy and assessment in order to improve teaching and learning. They are reflective practitioners that examine their own biases and endeavor to provide equitable educational opportunities for students. They also demonstrate an understanding that education happens in a context and develop effective relationships with family and community members. As candidates move from campus to the K-12 classroom, they are expected to adhere to and model our program’s Professional Expectations and Montana’s Code of Ethics for teachers.