Fairfield University Launches 5-Year Integrated B.A./M.A. Teacher Certification Program & New Education Minor

Submitted by Pat Calderwood on December 8, 2010

Considering a career in education? Fairfield undergraduate students now have the option of a new 5-year Integrated B.A./M.A. Degree Teacher Certification Program in Secondary, Elementary, and TESOL Education. Secondary education tracks include English, science, math, social studies and world language education. The University has launched the new program along with a revamped minor in education studies that is open to all students.

The 5-Year Integrated Bachelors-Masters Degree and certification tracks are replacing Fairfield’s traditional undergraduate teacher education preparation and will operate in tandem with the University’s highly-regarded, nationally-accredited MA certification programs in secondary, elementary, and TESOL education.

Why These Improvements? Why Now?

Fairfield University is committed to excellent teacher preparation. National trends in teacher education research support the need for improving the preparation of teachers – including breadth, depth, and integration of subject matter knowledge and pedagogical knowledge. National trends in higher education research also strongly support the need for more student engagement in learning and meaningful integration and application of academic learning. The research shows that many of the best and most effective teacher education programs in the country are 5-year programs. In the new program, Fairfield University undergraduates will begin their educator preparation program requirements as undergraduates and complete them as graduate students in our graduate degree programs in secondary, elementary, or TESOL education.

Fairfield believes that the combination of a well-rounded undergraduate education and a rigorous graduate professional education develops passionate and effective teachers. This change will allow many more students from all majors, including interdisciplinary majors, to pursue their professional education at Fairfield University without sacrificing participation in the enriching experiences of athletics, the arts, study abroad, student governance, service learning, campus ministries, and residential living/learning communities.  An additional benefit for students and their families is that the expense of earning a graduate degree, required to maintain one’s teaching certification, has been significantly reduced in this innovative configuration.

Fairfield is meeting compelling social justice needs arising outside the University. There is a pressing need in Connecticut and the surrounding states for highly qualified teachers in specific subject areas, including math, science, and world languages. There is also a pressing national need to prepare teachers to work successfully in urban, high needs, and under-resourced schools. The redesign of the undergraduate teacher education program allows the University to include much more substantial engagement with local students in high needs schools, which is one of the most effective means to prepare teachers to work in urban, high needs, and under-resourced schools. Finally, because education is our collective societal responsibility, we are eager to support all our students to learn as much as they can about the nature, purposes, and effects of socially just education. The minor in educational studies will provide this opportunity to integrate educational studies into their majors and their future careers.

Teacher Education

Highlights of the 5-Year Integrated Bachelors-Masters Degree and Teacher Preparation Program include:

  • Students earn a BA or BS in their major.  They minor in Educational Studies (15 credits) and take 2-4 additional teacher preparation courses as undergraduates, depending on certification area
  • Students continue teacher preparation as graduate students, completing a 30 credit MA in Secondary, Elementary or TESOL education and eligibility for CT teaching certifications.
  • Paid teaching internships are available during the graduate year ($13,500 tuition remission)

The Minor in Educational Studies

The minor in educational studies at Fairfield is designed to meet the needs of all interested students who wish to deepen their understanding of education, teaching, and learning in preparation of a variety of careers, including, but not limited to, careers as classroom teachers. It is not necessary to enroll in Teacher Education to declare this minor.

The B.A./M.A. Teacher Certification Program has begun accepting secondary education candidates as of September 2010, and will accept candidates in elementary and TESOL education in spring 2011, pending final state approval.

More information about the 5-Year Integrated B.A./M.A. degree and teacher education program can be found here.

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