The Tusculum University teacher education unit provides rigorous, relevant and engaging learning opportunities for teacher candidates so that they may become ethical educators, civic-minded citizens, school and community leaders and life-long learners.
The Master of Arts in Teaching offers individuals holding a bachelor’s degree in specified areas the opportunity to pursue teacher certification. The K-5, 6-12, and K-12 (content specific) licensure programs are designed for working adults who currently hold a bachelor’s degree and wish to pursue the licensure sequence and obtain a master’s degree at the same time. Courses are delivered at times convenient for working adults. Applicants must be admitted into the Teacher Education program prior to beginning any coursework in the curriculum.
Education programs at Tusculum University adhere to requirements and guidelines established by the Tennessee State Board of Education (TSBE) and the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE). Modifications in initial and advanced education programs and curriculum may occur as a result of TSBE and TDOE actions and regulations. Tusculum University reserves the right to revise academic programs as deemed necessary to meet accrediting and approval criteria.
Master of Arts in Teaching licensure areas are as follows:
Tusculum University seeks mature and highly-motivated candidates for the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program. To be considered for admission to the MAT program, the following requirements must be met.
- Hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
- Grade Point Average: Possess a minimum 2.75 grade point average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale from a completed undergraduate or graduate degree program or a 3.0 in the last 60 credit hours of a completed undergraduate or graduate degree program
- Background Check: Complete and pass the TBI background check
- Submit a Teacher Education application to the Teacher Education Department
- Have two professionals complete and submit the Professional Recommendation Form for Teacher Education Admission (MAT)
- Interview: Pass an interview with the Teacher Education Review Board
A senior at Tusculum University or other four-year institution who meets who meets all other admission criteria may be provisionally accepted with an incomplete transcript. Upon conferral of the undergraduate degree, the student must submit a complete transcript.
Applicants for the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) who do not meet the minimum GPA requirements may request conditional acceptance according to the following guidelines:
Option 1: An applicant who meets the remaining MAT graduate admission requirements, but who presents a GPA between 2.75 and 2.99 on a 4.00 scale for the last 60 credit hours of the candidate’s Bachelor’s degree for admission may qualify for conditional admission. A student who is granted conditional admission will not be permitted to continue in the program if a grade below “B-” is earned in any course in the first semester. A student who remains in good standing throughout the first semester will be permitted to continue in the program under the same conditions as students who are accepted under full admission standards.
Option 2: An applicant who meets the remaining MAT graduate admission requirements, but who presents a GPA between 2.50 and 2.74 on a 4.00 scale for the last 60 credit hours of the candidate’s Bachelor’s degree for admission may qualify for conditional acceptance. A student in this GPA range will provide a cold writing sample in a proctored environment that is evaluated with other application documents by the program faculty for recommendation to the College of Education Dean for conditional acceptance. The COE Dean may grant or deny conditional acceptance; the decision is final. The writing sample shall be provided in sufficient advance time for the program faculty and the COE Dean to make a decision on acceptance. A student whose cold writing sample does not meet established criteria must successfully complete a writing course at a regionally accredited institution with a grade of “B” or higher before being granted a second and final attempt. A student who is granted conditional admission will not be permitted to continue in the program if a grade below “B-” is earned in any course in the first semester. A student who remains in good standing throughout the first semester will be permitted to continue in the program under the same conditions as students who are accepted under full admission standards.
Candidates seeking transfer of coursework from postsecondary institutions with national or specialized accreditation may request that the Registrar’s Office review such credit with the pertinent academic departments, provided the transcript and course syllabi are official and remitted directly from the applicant’s previous institution.
Phase 1: General Requirements
- Complete the stated Application Procedures
- Complete Tusculum University application
- Request an official transcript from each institution attended be sent to Tusculum University
- Submit scores for TOEFL, if English is a second language
Phase 2: Admission to the Teacher Licensure Program
- Complete Phase 1
- Complete and pass the TBI background check
- Submit a Teacher Education application to the Teacher Education Department
- Submit two (2) professional recommendation forms
- Have apparent good mental and physical health with evidence that any handicapping conditions will not impair the candidate’s effectiveness as a teacher
Phase 3: Teacher Screening Interview
- Successfully complete an interview and receive approval from the Teacher Education Review Board.
All students who will participate in clinical experiences are required to complete and pass the TBI background check. Tennessee state law dictates that all persons who have contact with children in grades PreK-12 through the public school system must have an appropriate background check conducted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. All students must submit this information before they can be fully admitted to any teacher education program. See the Certification Officer for information about this process.
Teacher Education Review Board
The Teacher Education Review Board reviews all student applications for admission into Teacher Licensure programs. The Review Board is comprised of at least two members from teacher education (includes faculty, staff and advisors). When the candidate has satisfactorily completed and documented requirements listed above, the Review Board will invite the candidate to schedule an interview. Both the content and quality of responses have a significant influence in the candidate’s admission to the program. The Review Board interviews each candidate for oral proficiency in explaining autobiographical information and their self-assessment of strengths and weaknesses to be addressed while preparing to become a professional educator. Following the interview, the Review Board makes a final decision, and written notification of the Review Board’s decision will be sent to the candidate’s email within five working days. If the Review Board denies the application, the email will include reasons for the denial. Candidates may appeal, in writing, to the College of Education Dean stating the grounds that they believe warrants reconsideration. The COE Dean will determine whether reconsideration is warranted. Appeal approval would allow the student to begin the program at the next scheduled start date.
Retention in the MAT Program
After an applicant has been accepted into teacher education, the candidate’s progress will be reviewed periodically by members of the Teacher Education Department. The candidate will continue through the professional licensure sequence as long as he or she continues to make satisfactory progress and meets all requirements set forth by the Teacher Education Department. Retention in the teacher education program is contingent on the successful completion of courses and program requirements and maintenance of the academic standard required for initial admission to the program. For information about academic probation and suspension, refer to the university’s academic policies for graduate students.
Students who fail to maintain consistent pre-professional performance, both in academic performance and dispositional character as representatives of the University and of the Teacher Education Program, are subject to action from the Review Board, which may place conditions on the candidate’s continuation in the program or may remove the candidate from the teacher licensure program altogether.
Candidates must complete the courses in the curriculum as specified in the desired licensure program (K-5, K-12, or 6-12).
Practitioner (Job-Embedded) Licensure
The purpose of the Job-Embedded Practitioner licensure program is to recruit and select highly qualified individuals who can bring maturity and a variety of work experiences to the teaching profession and prepare them for successful teaching in Tennessee schools. Practitioner licensure programs are based on teacher preparation standards adopted by the Tennessee State Board of Education. This licensure preparation program seeks individuals who have demonstrated content area expertise and provides an innovative, streamlined opportunity for them to develop pedagogical competence in the field of education.
The Practitioner License is valid for three years and is issued to candidates with a bachelor’s degree in the teaching content area from a regionally accredited university, or who have passed the Praxis content knowledge test(s) of the teaching content area. Candidates must have been offered full-time employment as a teacher of record and must be formally admitted in a licensure preparation program prior to receiving the Practitioner (job-embedded) license. Candidates have three years to complete coursework and assessment requirements before advancing to the Professional license. Candidates cannot earn the MAT degree until coursework and 100 days of classroom teaching experience are completed.
For admission to the practitioner licensure program, candidates must meet all of the criteria for admission into the MAT program and provide documentation that employment has been offered by a Tennessee public school or approved non-public school/school system. The curriculum for job-embedded students includes two Content Mentoring courses instead of Clinical Experience and a course in Reflection on Planning, Teaching and Assessment instead of student teaching.
Student Teaching Audit
Enhanced student teaching is the experience that concludes the pre-service education of prospective teachers. In advance of student teaching, students must meet the following Tusculum University Teacher Education Department requirements:
- Complete required coursework
- Possess a cumulative 3.0 G.P.A. on a 4.0 scale
- Passing score on Praxis Content Knowledge test
- Candidate Progress Review by Director of Clinical Experience and department faculty.
Students who have not passed the Praxis Content Knowledge test must submit an appeal via the Student Teaching Praxis II Appeal Form by August 1 for fall student teaching and by December 1 for spring student teaching. Appeals will only be considered for students who have attempted the Praxis Content Knowledge test at least once.
Description of Enhanced Student Teaching
The enhanced student teaching experience is a planned professional semester that includes full days of teaching and observation under the supervision and guidance of Tusculum University faculty and local school district personnel. The student teacher will spend one complete semester (a minimum 16 consecutive weeks) in student teaching activities. This enhanced student teaching will focus on experience in at least two different classrooms, which may be at different schools. Students will have two placements within their certification levels. Elementary student teachers will have a lower and upper elementary placement (K-2, 3-5). Students seeking secondary licensure will gain practice at both middle school and high school levels. Students seeking K-12 licensure will have an elementary and high school placement. The performance of student teachers will be evaluated by supervising practitioners (cooperating teachers) in the local school system and supervisors from Tusculum University. According to state requirements, students must successfully complete both placements in the student teaching semester in order to be recommended for licensure. A passing grade must be obtained in Student Teaching before a teaching license may be requested.
- Students are advised to discontinue employment during the student teaching semester unless the employment is continued on a very limited basis.
- No other courses may be taken while student teaching. Enrollment in any course at an outside institution during the student teaching semester will not be transferred into Tusculum University for credit toward the degree program as this would violate University policy.
- ALL teacher education students must pass the Praxis Content Knowledge test prior to the student teaching semester. Students who attempt but do not pass the Praxis Content Knowledge test must successfully appeal prior to being approved to student teach. Student Teaching Praxis II Appeal forms are due August 1 for fall student teaching and December 1 for spring student teaching.
- ALL teacher education students seeking licensure must successfully complete all required Praxis specialty tests for each area of desired certification and pass the edTPA, a nationally scored performance assessment, to meet Practitioner Licensure requirements.
- Students will be assessed a Student Teaching fee as part of their University tuition and fees to cover the cost of the initial submission of edTPA and to support the technology used during student teaching.
Assessment in Teacher Education Coursework
- edTPA: edTPA is a subject-specific nationally-scored performance assessment for prospective teachers required for licensure in the state of Tennessee. All students will prepare and submit their edTPA portfolio during their first placement of student teaching. Students who do not receive a passing score with their first submission must resubmit the assessment a second time to meet graduation requirements.
- LiveText, Critical Tasks, and Key Assignments:
- All students in this program are required to have an account for LiveText, a web-based electronic portfolio service. The subscription access code card for LiveText will be emailed to your Tusculum account the third week of your first semester in the teacher education program. Your LiveText account is valid for 7 years and will be used throughout your program for submission of course-based Critical Tasks and Key Assignments in your education courses.
- Critical Tasks and Key Assignments are used to evaluate your progress toward meeting program and applicable state and/or national standards and to inform program improvement. Once your task/assignment is uploaded to your portfolio, it will be assessed by your instructor using a 4-point rubric (4=Exemplary, 3=Proficient, 2=Developing Proficiency, 1=Not Proficient). You must earn an average score of 3 or better on each Critical Task to receive a passing grade in the course. If you score less than 3, you will be given feedback to guide your remediation of the work for resubmission. Key Assignments do not require a minimum score but must be uploaded to LiveText to receive a passing grade in the course.
Requirements for the Degree
To earn the Master of Arts degree, the student must:
- Complete all required coursework with a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 (only one grade below “B-” permitted).
- Submit and pass edTPA. If the first submission falls below the passing score, the student must revise and resubmit edTPA to qualify for graduation. All edTPA submissions will occur during the student teaching semester.
- Participate in all outcomes assessment as required by the University and College of Education.
- Make payment of all tuition and fees.
- Students who withdraw from the program and desire to return after more than 3 years must reapply and complete all program requirements in place at the time of readmission.