The Faculty Senate approved a new 54 credit minor in elementary education last month despite some dissention amongst faculty members. Although the program is officially up and running, 45 members of the Faculty Senate voted in favor of the new minor, 18 members voted against it, and six abstained.
The Faculty Senate approved a new 54 credit minor in elementary education last month despite some dissention amongst faculty members.
Although the program is officially up and running, 45 members of the Faculty Senate voted in favor of the new minor, 18 members voted against it, and six abstained. Seven other programs or courses were approved by a unanimous vote at the Jan. 5 Faculty Senate meeting, while multiple faculty members brought up issue with the 54 credit elementary education minor.
At 54 credits, the requirements needed to fulfill for the minor are close to twice as many credits as most other program’s minors, and nearly as many credits as most majors. Minors in anthropology, writing and community health education are all 28 credits, while majors in those same subjects require between 60 to 76 credits.
Carol Morgaine, associate professor and coordinator of the child and family studies major, said that the program is nearly a duplicate of the child and family studies major, which many faculty members said they believe already prepares students for careers in elementary education.
“We already have a program that equips students with the tools necessary for graduate school in elementary education,” Morgaine said. “Not only that, but the new minor is more or less a duplicate of our major-plus or minus about two classes.”
Like other supporters of the program, Greg Jacob, a member of the Teacher Education Committee and an assistant professor of English, said the program would provide a more thorough exploration of elementary education.
“Students need a formal opportunity to explore the field of elementary education without having to commit a full major to it,” Jacob said. “The program was a year and a half in the making and grown out of the Teacher Education Committee.”
Jacob said that multiple department chairs, members of the Graduate School of Education, and Graduate Teacher Education Program (GTEP) advisers reviewed the final proposal. The minor underwent a thorough screening, and Jacob said the final product provides students who have a broad interest in the subject the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the field of elementary education.
But many faculty members were concerned with what they say is a repetitive layout of the elementary education minor and the child and family studies major. Born out of the School of Social Work, the child and family studies major is a 78 credit program that allows students to specialize in certain fields, elementary education being one of them.
While the child and family studies program is under the umbrella of the School of Social Work and is ideal for students who know they want a career in elementary education, the new minor in elementary education is part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
If the new elementary education minor were incorporated within the School of Social Work department, then the department would need more funding to host the influx of students. Administrators say that at this point, that is not feasible.
The proposal for the minor was developed over a year ago by Robert Mercer, now assistant dean to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and brought to Jacob, then the chair of the Teacher Education Committee. The committee approved the proposal and recommended it to the GTEP program, where it was also approved. The proposal finally went on to the Faculty Senate for the official stamp of approval.