2020-2021 Samford University Undergraduate Catalog 
    Jul 19, 2024  
2020-2021 Samford University Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Teacher Education

Go to Programs and Course Listings


Karen J. Birkenfeld, Chair, Associate Professor
Jean Ann Box, Professor
David M. Finn, Professor
Amanda S. Hilsmier, Professor
Amy E. Hoaglund, Professor
Tarsha B. Bluiett, Associate Professor
David C. Little, Associate Professor
Erin N. Gilchrist, Assistant Professor

Undergraduate Programs and Requirements

Early Childhood/Special Education/Elementary/Collaborative (ESEC) Major (B.S.E.) 
Elementary Education Major w/a Conc in Christian Education & Missions (B.S.E.)  (ELMN-CEM)
Secondary Education Major (B.S.E.)  (SEED)

The Department of Teacher Education offers three distinct undergraduate majors-ESEC (early childhood/early childhood special education/elementary/elementary collaborative); elementary education with a concentration in Christian education and missions; and secondary education-all leading to a bachelor of science in education.

Teacher certification is available in the collaborative degree program (ESEC) program for grades P-3 (early childhood education and early childhood special education) and grades K-6 (elementary education and elementary collaborative education), in the elementary education program for grades K-6, and in secondary education for grades 6-12 (English, French, German, history, mathematics, Spanish). In addition, the department offers P-12 teacher certification in world languages and music for students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in those respective departments.

Each program offered by the teacher education department complies with teacher certification requirements prescribed by the Alabama State Department of Education. Certification requirements outlined by the Alabama State Department of Education differ slightly from traditional Arts and Sciences majors and must be followed exactly. 

Information about other programs may be obtained from the department chair or advisor. While all teacher education students are advised in the department, it is also imperative that any student planning to earn certification in education come to the Orlean Beeson School of Education at the beginning of the freshman year for advisement.

Special Requirements

A summary of special requirements for teacher education undergraduate students in general may be noted:

  1. ESEC majors are not required to earn additional majors or minors; however, a concentration in Christian education and missions may be earned by selecting three additional courses.
  2. Students earning P-12 certification in world languages are not required to earn additional majors or minors.
  3. Students wishing to take courses from other colleges must obtain permission beforehand to ensure program compatibility.
  4. Students choosing to take a course offered in summer terms or during the Jan Term, will incur additional tuition expenses.
  5. Students must complete their program within four years of being admitted to teacher education or reapply for admission. 

Admission to teacher education undergraduate programs and permission to enroll in selected Teaching Field and Professional Studies level courses requires:

  1. A minimum grade of C- in all required courses.

  2. Successful completion of EDUC 200 , EDUC 202 , EDUC 300 , EDUC 323  (ESEC/ELMN)
    Successful completion of EDUC 200 , EDUC 202 , EDUC 213  (Secondary, SEED)

  3. Completion of 60 credits of coursework with a GPA of at least 2.75.

  4. Completion of a projected schedule with the teacher education advisor.

  5. Satisfactory completion of the Professional Expectations and Responsibilities Module.

  6. Completion of an interview with a faculty member in the School of Education

  7. Documentation verifying ABI and FBI criminal background checks (at the student’s expense).

Note that any student taking a teacher education course (EDUC) with an embedded field experience must provide documentation verifying ABI and FBI criminal background checks at the expense of the student. The teacher education advisor will assist with background check information.

  1. Passing scores on all three (3) sections of the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators examination.
  2. Two (2) satisfactory Dispositions Assessments.

  3. Demonstration of satisfactory potential for teaching, including evidence of emotional stability and a satisfactory record as to conduct, character, and mental health, to the effect that the applicant does not have any personal qualities prejudicial to satisfactory performance as a teacher.

  4. Completion of application for admission.

Acceptance is contingent upon the recommendation of the faculty admissions committee.

Applicants will be notified in writing of their acceptance or rejection. Transfer students follow the same admission policies. Education courses (EDUC) may not be transferred into the teacher education program without permission from the department chair.


Once admitted to an undergraduate teacher education program, candidates must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.75* (cumulative, major courses, and professional courses) and must maintain professional dispositions desirable for teachers.**

* Failure to maintain the required minimum cumulative GPA, major teaching field GPA, and professional field GPA will prevent a student from enrolling in specific education courses until that GPA requirement is met. Grades below C- in any course are not permitted; in cases where a lower grade is earned, the course must be repeated.
**Any teacher education candidate who, in the opinion of the School of Education faculty, develops dispositions or characteristics deemed undesirable for the profession may, after review, be removed from, counseled out of, or presented with the option to graduate without certification from the program, regardless of GPA.

Field Experiences

Field experiences in K-12 schools and other learning settings are an essential component in the learning process of becoming a professional educator. It is the philosophy of the teacher education faculty that candidates be placed in these settings early and often in their programs of study. All teacher education majors are required to complete a variety of field experiences in a range of settings with diverse populations of students. Field placements will be within driving distance from the university campus. Some EDUC courses hold classes off campus at a partner school campus.

Clinical Internship

Clinical internship experiences immerse candidates in a school or learning-setting culture and affords them the opportunity to teach while receiving support from an in-service professional and a university mentor. The capstone clinical internship experience includes approximately 15 weeks of student teaching.

Teacher Certification Subject Areas Offered (P-12 and Secondary Education)
Composite Subject Areas
(Grades 6-12)
Major Subject Areas
(Grades 6-12)
Major Subject Areas
(Grades P-12)
English/Language Arts
History/Social Science/Studies
World Languages:
(French, German, Spanish)
World Languages:
(French, German, Spanish)
Instrumental Music
Vocal/Choral Music
Teacher Certification

In order to be recommended for licensure, candidates must pass all exit exams and licensure requirements as mandated by the Alabama State Department of Education.

If a student successfully completes all program requirements, he/she may graduate, but cannot be recommended for certification until all exams are passed and all requirements are met.

Secondary Education and P-12 Majors

Curriculum requirements for secondary education and P-12 education requirements may be obtained from the certification officer/advisor, or the director of secondary education. All secondary education (SEED) majors are required to meet with the certification officer/advisor upon admission to the University to ensure timely program completion.

General Education: University Core Curriculum and Distribution Requirements

General Education Distribution Requirements are noted in the individual degree tables. In those cases where a requirement is not specified, see General Education Overview  in the Howard College of Arts and Sciences introductory pages for a list of required and applicable courses.

Additional information about admissions, retention, certification, and specific programs can be found in the Undergraduate Teacher Education Handbook.