The mission of the Cato College of Education at UNC Charlotte is to prepare highly effective and ethical professionals who have a positive impact on children, youth, families, community, and schools and who are successful in urban and other diverse settings. This mission is accomplished through teaching, research, and community engagement that lead to improved practice and by working in partnership with schools, communities, and university colleagues.
The College of Education consists of these departments:
*The Minor in Foreign Language Education, offered in collaboration with the Department of Languages and Culture Studies in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, leads to teacher licensure in one of the following areas (grades K-12):
**The Reading Education and Teaching English as a Second Language license can only be added to another licensure area.
**The Minor in Secondary Education, offered in collaboration with appropriate departments in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, leads to licensure to teach in the following areas of Secondary Education (grades 9-12):
- Comprehensive Science
- Comprehensive Social Studies
- Earth Science
In collaboration with the College of Arts + Architecture, the College of Education offers professional education coursework that leads to licensure to teach in the following areas (grades K-12):
Graduate Early Entry Programs
All professional education programs in the Cato College of Education are approved by the North Carolina State Board of Education, and they have continuing accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
The Cato College of Education has these undergraduate program responsibilities:
- To develop, deliver, and evaluate high quality undergraduate programs that prepare teachers and other professional personnel for schools and related agencies.
- To operate programs that meet the standards of external governing, licensing, and accrediting agencies.
- To address the culturally diverse educational needs of its particular region.
- To initiate and support activities in global perspectives of its faculty and students.
- To respond effectively to the problems and needs of children, their families, and professionals in schools and related agencies.
The Cato College of Education holds these program values:
- We are a community of scholars who are committed individually and collectively to creating learning opportunities and environments where we enhance the capacity of our students to have a positive impact on children, youth, communities, families and schools. We are committed to meeting the developmental and educational needs of our students and to maximize the growth, development, and learning of each individual.
- In our programs of study, we are committed to high quality programs that are standards-based, to the ongoing assessment of candidates and programs for the purpose of continuous improvement, to collaboration and outreach, and to the highest standards of professional practice and scholarship. We are committed to international understanding and involvement.
- In fulfilling our professional roles, we are committed to the generation, dissemination, and application of knowledge. We, therefore, expect that faculty will be teacher-scholars and that they will maintain a balanced commitment to teaching, research, and service. We have a strong commitment to academic excellence and exceptional quality in all that we do.
- In our dealings with each other, our students, and our professional colleagues in schools and communities, we are committed to valuing diversity and to speaking out against oppression. We are committed to thoughtfulness, reflection, flexibility, and the exploration of new ideas. We are committed to openness, honesty, forthrightness, and the highest standards of integrity and ethical behavior. We strive to be collegial, collaborative, human, and respectful of others, even when we are not in total agreement with their views or with their work, and we are committed to being sensitive to and supportive of others, including students, staff, faculty, and our professional colleagues in the community.
Conceptual Framework: Professional Educators Transforming Lives
The Conceptual Framework of Professional Education Programs at UNC Charlotte provides the vision, rationale, and knowledge base for identifying the proficiencies that our graduates will demonstrate. In establishing the goal that graduates of our program will be prepared to transform the lives of children, youth, and families, our professional education programs are structured to provide both initial and advanced candidates with multiple opportunities during coursework, early field experience, and clinical practice to develop the knowledge, effectiveness, and commitment necessary to achieve this goal.
For candidates to play a transformational role in the lives of all learners, they must acquire the knowledge necessary to provide effective instruction and other educational services, to respond to diverse individual learner needs, to lead and collaborate with others, and to engagement in continuous professional growth. Candidates demonstrate their knowledge in several broad areas, such as:
- Knowledge relevant to life in the 21st century
- Specialty area knowledge
- Pedagogical knowledge
- Knowledge of learners and their contexts
- Knowledge of policies, laws, standards, and issues
The ability to contribute to the transformation on the lives of all learners requires that candidates use the knowledge they develop to demonstrate effectiveness in their work with learners. All professional educators develop a skill set that can be used to have a positive impact on learners. Candidates demonstrate effective skills and practices in several broad areas, such as:
- Use of 21st century skills
- Planning, implementation, and evaluation
- Culturally competent practice
- Responsive to diverse learners
- Research-based practice
- Research skills
- Reflective practice
Professional educators who transform the lives of all learners must enhance their knowledge and effectiveness with a clear commitment to children, families, colleagues, schools, and the profession. Candidates demonstrate commitment through their actions in several broad areas, such as:
- Positive impact on learners
- Professional identity and continuous growth
Teacher Education Policies and Procedures
Admission to Teacher Education Programs
Students must apply for admission to a specific teacher education program and complete the admissions process in order to enroll in any professional education courses at the 3000 level or above.
Minimum requirements for admission to all teacher education programs at UNC Charlotte include:
- An overall GPA of at least 2.7 in a minimum of 45 credit hours in approved college-level courses (or approved program-specific requirements, such as 30 credit hours in approved college-level courses for the Elementary Education, Special Education, and Special Education/Elementary Education dual majors)
- A grade of C or above in either EDUC 1100 or EDUC 2100 , plus SPED 2100 (or approved program-specific requirements such as MDSK 2100 for the Minor in Secondary Education)
- Passing scores on the Praxis Core: Academic Skills Assessments in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics; or an acceptable substitute score on the SAT or ACT
- For Elementary, Special Education General Curriculum, and Special Education/Elementary Education dual majors, candidates must take the practice NC General Curriculum test in Canvas
- Completion and clearance on the Criminal Background Check
- Signed Statement of Commitment to Professional Dispositions
- Approval of the Chair (or his or her designee) of the department that offers the program
Some teacher education programs have additional requirements for admission (e.g., references, an interview, additional tests, discipline-specific coursework, audition). Information about additional requirements and procedures may be obtained in the Office of Teacher Education Advising and Licensure (TEAL) in the Cato College of Education. Students in Art, Dance, Music, or Theatre should contact the Arts Education Specialist for specific admission requirements in their major department.
Professional dispositions are consistent patterns of behavior or habits that may impact teaching effectiveness. At the time of entry to the program, all students are asked to sign a dispositions statement that fully identifies and describes behavior patterns that are appropriate and inappropriate in professional conduct. Education students are expected to demonstrate professional dispositions in all of their university activities (courses, clinicals, etc.).
Retention in Teacher Education Programs
There are three minimum requirements for retention in a teacher education program:
- A grade of C or above (a) in all professional education courses and (b) in all courses in the student’s area of teaching specialization
- GPA of 2.5 or above (a) overall, (b) in all professional education courses, and (c) in the student’s area of teaching specialization
- Disclosure of any criminal charges since admission to the program
Some teacher education programs have additional or higher requirements for retention. Information about these additional requirements can be obtained in the program’s home department. Note: Requirements for admission to student teaching are higher than requirements for retention in the program.
Admission to Yearlong Internships and Student Teaching
Most undergraduate teacher education programs incorporate student teaching in a yearlong internship that spans a student’s Senior year. The yearlong internship consists of one semester of intensive part-time clinical work in the classroom while completing coursework on campus. This clinical semester is followed by a semester of full-time student teaching, usually completed in the same classroom.
Students must apply and be formally admitted to a yearlong internship two semesters prior to the start of student teaching, which is typically in the second semester of the Junior year. In addition, during the first semester of their yearlong internship, students are screened for eligibility for student teaching. The minimum requirements for admission to student teaching are as follows:
- Senior status
- Prior admission to a teacher education program
- Completion of all other course work in a student’s program of study
- An overall GPA of 2.50 or above in the student’s total program of study
- Grades of C or above in all professional education courses and a GPA of 2.75 or above in those courses
- Grades of C or above in all courses in the student’s area of teaching specialization and a GPA of 2.75 or above in those courses
- Recommendation from the student’s faculty advisor(s) certifying readiness to student teach
Some teacher education programs have additional requirements for admission to the yearlong internship and student teaching. Information about those requirements can be obtained from the program’s home department. Information about procedures and deadlines for applying for yearlong internships and student teaching in all programs can be obtained in the Office of Field Experiences or online at education.uncc.edu/ofe.
Graduation and Licensure Requirements
For a degree to be conferred, a student must successfully complete all program requirements, which at a minimum includes:
- Grades of C or above in all professional education classes
For a recommendation of licensure:
- A grade of A or B in student teaching with recommendation from cooperating teacher, school administrator, and university supervisor
- A score of “Proficient” or “Accomplished” on all criteria for state required electronic evidences, including licensure test requirements
All teacher education programs require students to complete an electronic portfolio (required by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction). In order to be recommended for licensure, students must successfully complete the electronic evidences required in their respective program(s). Information about the specific portfolio and electronic evidence requirements can be obtained in the program’s home department.
The Office of Teacher Education Advising and Licensure (TEAL) serves and advises all students involved in teacher education programs prior to their admission to the major (pre-education students). TEAL is responsible for:
- Promotion of teacher education programs and recruitment of students prior to their admission to UNC Charlotte
- Collaboration with pre-education students and advisors at community colleges in North Carolina
- Orientation and academic advisement of pre-education students prior to their admission to a specific teacher education program (which typically occurs during their Sophomore year)
- Collaboration with departments within the College of Arts + Architecture and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences concerning admission to teacher education programs when those departments have teacher education tracks or degrees
- Academic support services for both students and their faculty advisors as students admitted to a teacher education program progress through their programs, complete student teaching, and apply for licensure
- Management of all applications for teacher licensure
- Follow-up contacts with graduates for purposes of both program and product evaluation
In collaboration with academic departments involved in teacher education, the TEAL Office is the Cato College of Education’s central source of information about academic program requirements; criteria and procedures for admission to a specific teacher education program; student advising before admission to teacher education; schedules and applications for taking NC Foundations of Reading and General Curriculum, Praxis Core, and Praxis II examinations; requirements and procedures for obtaining licensure in North Carolina (or in other states that have reciprocity agreements with North Carolina); and final audits to ensure completion of all program and licensure requirements. For more details, visit teal.uncc.edu.
Support Offices and Resources
Center for Adolescent Literacies
The Center for Adolescent Literacies (CAL) at UNC Charlotte focuses on developing instruction to make literacy and learning relevant and effective for adolescents and those who work with them. The Center also conducts and supports research and service in support of its primary mission. Visit literacy.uncc.edu.
Center for Educational Measurement and Evaluation
The Center for Educational Measurement and Evaluation (CEME) is a collaborative research center within the College of Education. CEME provides program evaluation services and statistical, methodological, and measurement expertise to schools and related agencies. Through CEME, faculty and students engage with educators in mutually beneficial projects that lead to evidence-based practices and improved educational outcomes and policy. Visit ceme.uncc.edu.
Center for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education
The Center for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education (CSTEM) sponsors a wide variety of programs and projects that involve pre-service and in-service teachers and are designed to enhance the quality of instruction in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, for both pre-college and university students. Visit education.uncc.edu/cstem.
Office of Educational Outreach
The Office of Educational Outreach (OEO) serves to foster collaborative relationships between the university, surrounding schools, public agencies, and the community. Based within the College of Education, OEO functions to develop, support, formalize, monitor, and publicize the service activities and projects of UNC Charlotte faculty in the greater Charlotte-Mecklenburg region. OEO, in partnership with other departments and colleges, facilitates numerous conferences, institutes, professional development activities, and symposia to promote community involvement and education. Visit education.uncc.edu/oeo.
Office of Field Experiences
The Office of Field Experiences (OFE) provides support services for school-based clinical experiences that students complete for courses and during yearlong internships and student teaching. Field experiences – observing, interacting with, and teaching children and youth – are a critical part of all undergraduate teacher education programs at UNC Charlotte. Early clinical experiences are required in specific courses and described in course syllabi. These field experiences continue throughout a student’s program, progressing from observation and analysis to planning and implementing instruction to assessing learning outcomes with PK-12 students. Clinical field experiences culminate in a 15-week, full-time student teaching experience after completion of all other course work. Visit education.uncc.edu/ofe for more information.
Special Facilities and Resources
Examples that support the work of both faculty and students in undergraduate teacher education programs include:
- The Cato College of Education Building includes classrooms for reading/language arts, science/mathematics, social studies, two computer classrooms, two open computer labs, a student lounge, and student study rooms.
- The freshman Education Learning Community is a one-year program for students who wish to become teachers. Community members take some General Education courses as a cohort group and participate in social activities, community service, and professional development activities.
- The Cato College of Education has partnerships with Professional Development Schools in the region, which are public schools that work closely with the College to provide excellent clinical experience opportunities.
- The Atkins Library supports teacher education programs with a large children’s literature collection and curriculum and instructional materials. Visit library.uncc.edu for details on additional available resources.
A number of scholarships and awards are available to undergraduate students in teacher education. Information about these awards is available online at education.uncc.edu/coed-financial-aid, as well as in the Office of Teacher Education Advising and Licensure (TEAL). Examples of awards and programs that recognize the achievements of undergraduate students in teacher education programs include:
Alma and Sharon Goudes Educational Scholarship
The Alma and Sharon Goudes Educational Scholarship, presented annually to highly capable men and women who have demonstrated their intention to teach English and/or mathematics in middle or secondary schools.
Bertha and Irvin Fishman Award
The Bertha and Irvin Fishman Award, presented annually to an individual with a strong academic record who plans to teach at the middle school level.
Military Order of the Purple Heart Award
The Military Order of the Purple Heart Award, presented annually by the American Association of Colleges for Education to a Junior majoring in programs in the College of Education who has shown scholarly achievement, teaching ability, and concern for the educational rights of children with disabilities.
North Carolina Alpha Chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa Memorial Scholarship
The North Carolina Alpha Chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa Memorial Scholarship, awarded annually to a student who has been admitted to a teacher education program and demonstrated both outstanding academic performance and a commitment to teaching.
Phi Kappa Phi Scholar Award
The Phi Kappa Phi Scholar Award, presented annually to a Junior majoring in a program in the College of Education who demonstrates outstanding leadership in an academic discipline and in research or independent study.
Ronald J. Anderson Memorial Scholarship
The Ronald J. Anderson Memorial Scholarship, presented annually to an individual with strong academic achievement who has overcome significant physical disability.
Examples of organizations that are especially relevant to undergraduate students in teacher education programs include:
Student National Education Association
The Student National Education Association (SNEA), affiliated with the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) and the National Education Association (NEA)
Student Council for Exceptional Children
The Student Council for Exceptional Children (SCEC), affiliated with the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)
College Middle Level Association
The College Middle Level Association promotes excellent teaching in the middle grades and support for middle grades teacher candidates
Omicron Pi Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi
The Omicron Pi Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi is an international honor society in education for undergraduate and graduate students. To qualify for membership, undergraduate students must have a 3.5 cumulative GPA, 30 credit hours, and admission to teacher education. Graduate students must have a 3.75 cumulative GPA, 18 credit hours, and majoring in a field of education.