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Program Requirements

Profile of the Educator Preparation Program

To be licensed to teach in the State of Tennessee, prospective teachers must earn a bachelor’s degree with a major in an academic field and meet specific competencies needed in the teaching profession.

Areas of initial licensure. Union offers initial licensure programs in the following areas:

  • Instructional Leadership (requires M.Ed. or Ed.S.)
  • Biology, 7-12
  • Business, 7-12
  • Chemistry, 7-12
  • Early Childhood Educ. PreK-3
  • Economics, 7-12
  • Elementary, K-6
  • English, 7-12
  • Eng. as a Second Lang., PreK-12
  • French, PreK-12
  • Government, 7-12
  • History, 7-12
  • Marketing, 7-12
  • Mathematics, 7-12
  • Middle Grades, 4-8
  • Library Info Spec., PreK-12 (requires M.A.Ed.)
  • Music Education: Vocal/Gen., K-12 & Instrumental, K-12
  • Physical Education, K-12 and Health Education, K-12
  • Physics, 7-12
  • Spanish, PreK-12
  • Speech Comm., 7-12
  • Special Educ. Modified, K-12
    Special Educ. Comprehensive, K-12
  • Theatre, K-12
  • Visual Art, K-12

Areas of additional endorsement. Additional endorsements are available in the following areas:

  • Biology, 7-12
  • Business, 7-12
  • Chemistry, 7-12
  • Early Childhood Educ., PreK-3
  • Economics, 7-12
  • Elementary, K-6
  • English, 7-12
  • Eng. as a Second Lang., PreK-12
  • French, PreK-12
  • Government, 7-12
  • Health, K-12 (added to PE K-12)
  • History, 7-12
  • Library Info Spec., PreK-12 (requires M.A.Ed.)
  • Marketing, 7-12
  • Mathematics, 7-12
  • Middle Grades, 4-8
  • Physical Education, K-12
  • Physics, 7-12
  • Spanish, PreK-12
  • Speech Comm., 7-12
  • Special Educ. Modified, K-12
    Special Educ. Comprehensive, K-12
  • Theatre, K-12
  • Visual Art, K-12

Course Information

Courses of Study

Programs of study in all licensure areas (as listed previously under Profile of the Educator Preparation Program) are available in the office of the Assistant Dean for Teacher Education or through the faculty advisor. Each program of study consists of the general core requirements (general and specific cores), the major, and the professional education core specific to the level of licensure.

Courses Offered

The courses offered depend on the area of licensure being sought as outlined on each program of study. See the undergraduate and graduate catalogues for courses descriptions.

Undergraduate Requirements for Admission to & Continuation in the Educator Preparation Program and Admission to Student Teaching

Admission to the EPP.

Undergraduate candidates must meet the following requirements for admission to the Educator Preparation Program:

  1. Minimum of 24 semester hours in general education. Transfer hours can count toward this requirement.
  2. Minimum GPA of 2.5 in all course work at Union University
  3. Interview with the Teacher Education Screening Committee
  4. Submission of 2 dispositional evaluations; 1 self-evaluation & 1 faculty-evaluation
  5. Field experience in education at the appropriate grade level; field experience acquired through transfer credit must be verified with a course description or syllabus indicating the total hours completed and the placement.
  6. Satisfactory scores on the CORE (Reading=156, Math=150, Writing=162), or ACT (Composite of 22e), or SAT (Total of 1020)
  7. Background check received from TBI
  8. Approval of the School of Education.
  9. Approval of the Teacher Education Committee.

Application to the EPP.

EDU 150, Foundations of American Education should be taken during the freshman year or during the first semester at Union for transfer students. The application to the EPP is submitted during this course, and a 20-hour field experience in an approved setting is also completed. By completing the admission process early in the college career, a candidate is able to take courses that require admission to the EPP when they are offered. A candidate who has completed the equivalent of EDU 150 and the transfer of the courses has been verified by the Registrar should make application to the EPP immediately upon entrance to Union.

Continuation in the EPP.

In order to remain in the EPP following admission, the candidate must maintain a GPA of 2.5 in all course work, in the major, and in the professional education core.

Admission to student teaching.

Candidates must file an application in order to be admitted to student teaching before the posted deadline during the semester prior to student teaching. Applications are available on the EPP applications page. Other requirements for student teaching are as follows:

  1. Minimum scores on all applicable portions of the Praxis II series
  2. Minimum GPA of 2.5 in all course work
  3. Minimum GPA of 2.75 in the major
  4. Minimum GPA of 2.75 in the professional education core
  5. Completion of the professional education core
  6. Lack no more than one course for completion of the endorsement requirements
  7. Recommendation from the major department; each department determines its criteria for granting a recommendation; a higher GPA in the major may be required
  8. When the student is required to complete student teaching as a part of graduation requirements, the student must have a degree audit no later than the semester prior to student teaching
  9. Approval of the Dean of Students
  10. Approval of the Teacher Education Committee.

While no courses may be taken during the semester of student teaching, student teaching seminars are held on designated days, and attendance is mandatory.

Admission to internship

Candidates must submit an internship application by October 1 in the year prior to Internship I. A junior audit must e on file to submit the application. The application is availalbe on teh EPP applications page. Other requirements for admission to the internship are as follows:

  1. Minimum score on the Content Knowledge portion of the Praxis II for the intended endorsement.
  2. Minimum GPA of 2.5 in all course work.
  3. Minimum GPA of 2.75 in the academic major and in professional education core.
  4. Lack no more than 1 class in the content major.
  5. Recommendation from the major department.
  6. Approval of the Dean of Students
  7. Approval of the Teacher Education Committee

Specified course must be taken during Internship I. No courses may be taken in January after Internship I.

Application for teacher licensure.

Applications for Tennessee teacher licensure are completed during a student teaching seminar and are filed with the Tennessee State Department of Education when all course work is completed.

Teaching in other states.

If the teacher candidate plans to seek a teaching position in another state, he/she must contact that state’s Department of Education to request an out-of-state application packet. Contact information can be secured through a Google search.

Background checks and fingerprinting.

All students desiring to enter Union University’s Educator Preparation Program, pursuant to the provisions of Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-5-5632, must complete the following:

  1. Supply a fingerprint sample and submit to a criminal history records check by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
  2. Submit the signed Consent to Fingerprinting, Background Check, and Release of Information form to the Program Director
  3. Sign an authorization and release form provided by the state Department of Education or the state Board of Education authorizing a qualified Tennessee licensed private investigator to complete a criminal history records check
Dr Ann Singleton talks with alumni at the homecoming reception

Post-Baccalaureate Requirements

(For post-baccalaureate initial licensure)

Official transcripts.

Candidates who seek post-baccalaureate teacher licensure must first complete an application for admission to Graduate Studies in Education and submit a $25.00 (non-refundable) application fee. The candidate must order official transcripts from all colleges and universities that have been attended, even if only one class was taken at the institution; these transcripts must be sent directly to Union University and may not be stamped "Issued to Student" unless they are presented in a sealed envelope.

Praxis II.

All candidates must pass the Praxis II content knowledge test prior to beginning licensure coursework. Candidates must submit minimum score(s) on the designated Praxis II Specialty Area Test(s) prior to completion of nine (9) graduate hours.

Transcript audits.

After the candidate has completed the application for admission to Graduate Studies in Education and submitted a $25.00 application fee and official transcripts have been received, the candidate must schedule an appointment for a transcript evaluation with the Asst. Dean for Teacher Education. Post-baccalaureate candidates must have a transcript audit completed prior to starting classes. At this meeting the candidate will be apprised of course work that remains, EPP status, Praxis II requirements, and any proposed changes in licensure requirements. The candidate must meet with the Director of the M.A.Ed. program on the designated campus to compile the program of study, which will include additional coursework if the M.A.Ed. degree is included.

Admission to the EPP.

Post-baccalaureate candidates must meet the following requirements for admission to the Educator Preparation Program:

  1. Satisfactory score(s) on the Praxis II Specialty Area Test(s) for endorsement being sought as indicated on the transcript audit
  2. Cumulative GPA of 3.0 OR conditional admission (admission to graduate course work based on assessment of writing sample and completion of 9 graduate hours at Union with a GPA of 3.0)
  3. Two positive reference forms
  4. Three dispositional evaluations; one self-evaluation and two evaluations completed by professors of the first two classes taken
  5. Completion of first submission of portfolio while enrolled in EDU 535 Portfolio Submission in first semester
  6. Completion of background check and fingerprinting by TBI if not hired by school system
  7. Approval by the faculty of the School of Education
  8. Approval by the Teacher Education Committee

Application to the EPP.

The application to the EPP is submitted with the application for admission to Graduate Studies in Education. Due to the nature of class schedules on the graduate level, candidates may take courses that are required for licensure when they are available even if they require admission to the EPP on the undergraduate level.

Continuation in the EPP.

In order to remain in the EPP following admission, the post-baccalaureate candidate must maintain a GPA of 2.75 in all course work taken at Union since completion of the baccalaureate degree (3.0 if seeking the M.A.Ed. degree) and a GPA of 2.75 in the professional education core. The candidate must submit various components of the portfolio in designated courses in preparation for submitting key assessments during student teaching or while enrolled in EDU 623 Mentoring Seminar II if the teacher candidate is hired on a Transitional license.

Admission to student teaching.

Candidates must file an application to student teach before the posted deadline during the semester prior to student teaching. Applications are available on the EPP applications page. Other requirements for student teaching are as follows:

  1. Minimum scores on all applicable portions of the Praxis II series
  2. A recommendation from the School of Education
  3. Satisfactory completion of a field experience at an appropriate level.
  4. Completion of the professional education core
  5. Lack no more than one course for completion of the endorsement requirements
  6. Approval of the Dean of Students
  7. Approval of the Teacher Education Committee

No courses may be taken during the semester of student teaching. During the semester of student teaching, seminars are held on designated days and attendance is mandatory.

Candidates hired on the Transitional license must enroll in EDU 622 Mentoring Seminar I in the first year of the Transitional license and EDU 6231 Mentoring Seminar II in the second year. If the candidate is hired after the last day to add a class in the fall, he/she must at least register for EDU 622 in the spring semester to renew the license for the second year. Transitional teachers will be notified of documents that are to be submitted to advance to the full Practitioners license while enrolled in EDU 6231 Mentoring Seminar II.

Application for teacher licensure.

Applications for Tennessee teacher licensure are completed during a student teaching seminar and are filed with the Tennessee State Department of Education by Union’s licensing officer when all requirements are completed. If a candidate is hired on the Transitional license, he/she is responsible for submitting required documents as indicated in EDU 6231 Mentoring Seminar II.

Teaching in other states.

If the teacher candidate plans to seek a teaching position in another state, he/she must contact that state’s Department of Education to request an out-of-state application packet. Contact information can be secured through a Google search. All states do not accept teaching licenses secured through the alternative route; therefore, the teacher candidate should check this before beginning an alternative licensure program.

Background checks and fingerprinting.

All students desiring to enter Union University’s Educator Preparation Program, pursuant to the provisions of Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-5-5632, must complete the following:

  1. Supply a fingerprint sample and submit to a criminal history records check by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
  2. Submit the signed Consent to Fingerprinting, Background Check according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et. al, and Release of Information form to the Program Director
  3. Sign an authorization and release form provided by the state Department of Education or the state Board of Education authorizing a qualified Tennessee licensed private investigator to complete a criminal history records check.

If the teacher candidate is teaching on the Transitional license, the background check and fingerprinting were completed as part of the hiring process.

Transitional Licensure Program.

Post-baccalaureate candidates seeking secondary (7-12 or K-12) endorsements can be hired on a Transitional license if they have a major or 24 semester hours in the endorsement area or have passed the Praxis II content knowledge test for the content area; the license is renewable for the second year if the candidate is fully admitted to the Educator Preparation Program and has complted designated courses to meet Orientation Standards. Candidates seeking Elementary K-6, Early Childhood PreK-3, Middle Grades 4-8, and Special Education K-12 endorsement must be fully admitted to the Educator Preparation Program to qualify to be hired on the Transitional license. Union’s Transitional licensure program spans two years and includes mentoring. Other details of the program will be discussed with the candidate individually in the admission process.

Graduates of the education program stand to celebrate completion of their degrees

Academic Policies

Minimum GPA requirements.

Minimum GPA's are listed above. Following admission to the EPP, if the GPA drops below the minimum, the candidate is removed from the EPP and may not take any courses that require admission to the EPP. In this case it is strongly recommended that the candidate repeat courses that caused the GPA to fall below the minimum required. When the GPA is at or above the minimum, the candidate will be submitted for readmission to the EPP.

Early field experiences.

As is required by national standards and by the Tennessee State Department of Education guidelines, early field experiences are a vital part of the EPP at Union. The purpose of these early field experiences is to introduce the prospective teacher to a variety of school settings, learners, and routine activities. The knowledge and skills introduced in course work will be refined in the early field experiences. Proof of professional liability insurance is required of all students enrolled in courses with field experiences. Options for this coverage include, but are not limited to, membership in Student Tennessee Education Association, Christian Educators' Association International, or Professional Educators of Tennessee. Liability insurance is also available at a cost of $25.00 per year through Union University. Information about each of these options is available through the Director of Clinical Experiences. By state law, all candidates placed in field experiences are required to submit to a background check and fingerprinting by TBI with results being sent directly to Union.

Attendance.

As stated in the undergraduate catalogue, regular and successive attendance is expected of all students enrolled in all lecture, laboratory, and seminar courses.

Appeals.

The School of Education is charged with the responsibility to follow the established policies for admission to and completion of the EPP. The Teacher Education Committee, which includes representatives of the faculty and students from across the university, is the EPP coordinating and policy-making body for the unit and is responsible for assuring that the established policies are followed. If the candidate feels that established policy or practice is not being followed, the Teacher Education Committee should be contacted. The Teacher Education Committee is also the appeals committee for the EPP. All appeals for variance from established policy and practice should be presented in writing to the Dean of the College of Education and Human Studies. The Dean will consider whether the appeal may, within established policy, be granted. If the appeal has been denied by the Dean, the candidate may choose to direct the appeal to the Teacher Education Committee. The candidate should contact the chairman of the TEC and present the appeal in writing. After the TEC has considered the appeal, the student will be notified in writing of the committee's determination.

Assessment of student outcomes.

Candidates for licensure are required to submit key assessments while enrolled in student teaching or EDU 6231 Mentoring Seminar II. The key assessments address the candidate’s performance of professional education standards required by the Tennessee State Department of Education. Those standards are aligned with NCATE, INTASC, Union Outcomes, and the conceptual framework of the Educator Preparation Program.

To be admitted to student teaching and to complete licensure requirements, candidates must acquire passing scores on all applicable portions of the Praxis II as determined by the Tennessee State Department of Education. The Praxis II should be taken at least one semester prior to the beginning of student teaching to assure receipt of passing scores by Union. It is the candidate’s responsibility to check Praxis II tests currently required by the TN Department of Education.

Student teachers are observed by university supervisors and cooperating teachers and assessed using the TEAM Planning, Instruction, and Environment rubric. Student teachers are also assessed using the "Final Evaluation of Student Teaching."

Passage of standardized tests and employment.

The licensure programs at Union University are developed in compliance with the standards of the Tennessee Department of Education. While the Praxis II tests required for licensure in Tennessee cover a large portion of the same knowledge and skills covered in the state standards, Union University does not guarantee passage of the national tests by candidates who complete course work in the program. It is the heart-felt desire that every one of our candidates for teacher licensure is employed in the teaching profession; however, Union University cannot and does not guarantee employment or licensure based on successful completion of certification exams administered on a state-wide or national level.

Additional endorsements.

Successful completion of courses of study for additional endorsements meets the minimum requirements specified by the TN State Department of Education. Additional endorsements for Elementary K-6, Early Childhood PreK-3, Middle Grades 4-8, or Special Education require additional coursework in most cases and additional Praxis II tests. Any candidate who already holds an Apprentice or Professional license with an endorsement that includes grades 7 or 8 can add a secondary endorsement (7-12, K-12, or PreK-12, excluding Library Information Specialist, Reading Specialist, or Instructional Leadership) by submitting the additional endorsement application and passing scores on all Praxis II Specialty Area tests for the intended additional endorsement directly to the TN Department of Education. Successful completion of Praxis II Specialty Area Tests for additional endorsements may be dependent upon the relationship between the candidate’s undergraduate program of study and the additional program of study. It is possible that a candidate with an undergraduate program of study not directly related to the additional endorsement will find it necessary to take additional content courses in preparation for the Praxis II Specialty Area Tests. Admission to the post-baccalaureate Educator Preparation Program is not required for candidates holding initial licensure and seeking additional endorsements.

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