The English Department in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) offers a four-year undergraduate program leading to the Bachelor of Science in Education degree in English education. Graduates are prepared to teach secondary English in middle, junior high, and senior high schools. In the Spring of 2003, the National Council of Teachers of English once again granted accreditation to this combined program in the English Language Arts grades 6–12 by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
The English education major at Indiana University of Pennsylvania offers specialized training for students who wish to teach English at the secondary level. It is a challenging major for students who desire a career teaching English to young people. The career focus of this major creates a strong bond among undergraduate majors and faculty. IUP’s reputation in English education is recognized in Pennsylvania and beyond for excellence in preparing teachers for today’s classrooms, for future graduate studies, and for a lifelong professional career.
The English education major at IUP certifies graduates to teach secondary English in Pennsylvania and at least thirty-three other states. Graduates planning to seek employment in a state other than Pennsylvania are advised to check the specific requirements for that state.
English education majors fulfill all the requirements for state certification, including practical experience in methods courses and student teaching; content preparation in a variety of literature, language, and composition courses; and philosophical background in current theories of teaching. Although most students choosing an English education major will be best prepared for the secondary school classroom, those who opt not to teach will find that their speaking, writing, and management skills may also be useful to the media, governmental services, and business.
A sincere commitment to teaching is necessary in the English education program. In addition, the English education major has a minimum grade-point average (GPA) requirement, unlike the B.A. degree. Unlike most other majors on campus (including the B.A. in English), in order to become an English education major, candidates will need to apply and be accepted. There are actually two applications that they need to make—the first one to the English Education Program in the English Department is generally completed the second or third semester, and the second one, generally when the student reaches 48 credits, to the Teacher Education Program in the College of Education and Communications. Once students have been accepted into the English Education Program and the College of Education, they must follow the Three-Step Process for Teacher Certification and the electronic portfolio review process required for the College of Education.
Program requirements are available at the English Department office and in the English Education Handbook, an in-house publication that is updated each year by the English education coordinator and the director of the Writing Center at IUP. Majors must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. They must be formally admitted to English education, a process that includes application and screening within the English Department as well as an application to the Teacher Certification Program in the College of Education. This screening involves review of the student’s portfolio of written work and faculty evaluations as well as an interview with English faculty who serve on the English Education Resource Pool. This process is clearly outlined in the “Admission to Teacher Education and Certification” in the College of Education and Communications section of the IUP undergraduate catalog and the English Education Handbook.
The English Education Resource Pool is comprised of twelve English and English education faculty members who routinely evaluate all course offerings on a regular basis. Student comments and student evaluations for each course are reviewed and considered every semester. Input is also requested from cooperating teachers, student teachers, and supervisors at the field-based sites and incorporated into our review process. We are also reviewed every five years in accordance with the National Council of Teachers of English standards through our NCATE reaccreditation reviews and by the state of Pennsylvania Chapter 354 review.
Our goals are consistent with the NCTE, InTASC, NCATE, and Chapter 354 Pennsylvania state standards. Current theory and practice suggest that effective English teachers:
(See Standards for the English Language Arts, NCTE and IRA, 1996 and Standards in Practice, Grades 9–12, Peter Smagorinsky, NCTE, 1996.)
The InTASC standards, a core set of expectations for all teachers, are also an integral part of IUP’s English education program and are reflected in our graduates’ professional portfolios. The InTASC Standards are grouped into four general categories and include:
Students who graduate from our program must also demonstrate achievement in the following English Education Minimal Teaching Field Outcomes:
Our English and education syllabi work together creating a spiraling curriculum that connects the above standards and outcomes by introducing them individually in required courses, by building the standards and outcomes into the curriculum as students move through our eight-semester sequence, and by revisiting these standards and outcomes as candidates progress in the program, providing a variety of course projects and school-site based internships that allow our candidates to become knowledgeable and reflective practitioners who are well prepared for today’s classroom challenges.