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Mason's College of Education and Human Development Offers New Minor in Education Studies

Jul. 7, 2008

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Minor provides strong background and introduces students to the field of education

FAIRFAX, Va. – George Mason University's College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) is offering a new 18-hour undergraduate minor in education studies for students who are interested in the field of education, but not sure if they want to pursue a licensure in teaching. Students began taking classes in the spring.

"The minor in education studies is not just intended for students who want to become educators," says Jeannine Tate, director of field relations and undergraduate studies in Education. "The minor will allow students who aren't sure if they want to teach the opportunity to major in other areas while still developing a strong background in the field of education."

The minor was developed after more than 200 potential and enrolled students in CEHD expressed an interest in it. Although the minor will not lead directly to teacher licensure, it will serve to complement students' degree programs in almost any major.

While every state has its own set of requirements for becoming licensed to teach, those who want to teach in Virginia are required to have a bachelor's degree in a content area.  In addition, they must complete a state approved licensure program at the graduate or undergraduate level that includes curriculum, methodology, and specialized skills.

The minor is designed to serve two groups of students. The first group consists of those who are considering teaching as a profession. Currently, CEHD offers a variety of licensure programs, mostly at a graduate level, for those with a desire to teach in K-12 classrooms. For undergraduate students considering education, the education studies minor will allow them to explore the field of education and to develop a better understanding of schools and schooling.

The second group of students includes those who might be interested in teaching or working in schools, but who are interested in disciplines which interact with and inform education in areas such as the law, public policy and social work. For these students, the minor will provide a better understanding of the ways in which their particular interest functions within an institutional setting like education.

Various topics important for a basic understanding of the foundation of the field of education will be integrated into the undergraduate minor. Subject matter will include an overview of the field and issues that affect it as well as school law, the organization and management of schools, technology and society, politics of American education and the sociology of education.

Jessica Arias, a senior majoring in math, chose to minor in education studies because of the background in education laws and policies it will provide which she might not receive in other programs. Arias will receive a degree in math and continue on to graduate school to become licensed as a teacher at the high school level.

"I chose to minor in education studies because I don't want to go right into graduate school as a math major without having gotten my feet wet in the field of education," says Arias. "The minor in education studies will give me the background I need before starting the licensure program at the graduate level."

Students will have an opportunity in some classes to gain experience in the field by observing students at a school site and completing assignments about how instructional and behavior management strategies used in the classroom related to their studies.

CEHD also offers minors in early childhood special education, mild disabilities and severe disabilities. These minors are designed to provide students with background knowledge in special education and can lead to licensure if students complete graduate level special education teacher licensure programs.

About The College of Education and Human Development

The College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) is a dynamic academic unit that provides leadership in the transformation of schools, organizations and communities. In response to the complexity of a pluralistic society, CEHD infuses diversity into its academic programs and research. The college provides an ideal site for educational researchers and scholars who have an applied, collaborative, orientation and an interest in preparing education professionals for the challenges of the 21st century. CEHD is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and all licensure programs have been approved by the Virginia Department of Education.

About George Mason University

George Mason University, located in the heart of Northern Virginia's technology corridor near Washington, D.C., is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with national distinction in a range of academic fields. With strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering, information technology, biotechnology and health care, Mason prepares its students to succeed in the work force and meet the needs of the region and the world. Mason professors conduct groundbreaking research in areas such as cancer, climate change, information technology and the biosciences, and Mason's Center for the Arts brings world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its state. Its School of Law is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 40 law schools in the United States.