College of Education - Educational Theory and Practice

About the College

Mission Statement

The College of Education is dedicated to:

  • Preparing competent, caring and committed professionals for Montana’s schools;
  • Conducting socially significant research to improve the human condition;
  • Providing community service aimed at improving the quality of life experienced by Montanans; and
  • Providing graduate education designed for the continuing development of professionals.

Operating Principles

To successfully implement the University’s mission, the faculty and staff adhere to the following operating principles

  • All people are entitled to educational programs committed to assisting each individual develop self-knowledge and to promote physical, social, mental, intellectual and spiritual health in a manner enhancing dignity and respect.
  • Educational programs enable students to think critically and analytically, make independent decisions, develop social consciousness and recognize the importance of making productive contributions to a multicultural society.
  • Education programs are committed to the concept of equal opportunity.
  • Educators are committed to the ethical principles of the profession.
  • Teachers are facilitators of learning, able to assist and direct the natural learning processes of their students.
  • Professionals in education have the skills and understanding necessary to assist people from different cultures and those with disabling conditions.
  • Professional preparation programs are interdisciplinary in nature.
  • Professionals in education have a comprehensive foundation in the liberal arts.
  • Professional preparation programs have sequential and increasingly intense supervised field experience to allow for the guided demonstration of clinical skills.
  • Research conducted by the academic community searches for solutions to specific human problems.
  • Faculty are actively engaged in community education programs to assist with the implementation of current, empirically validated practices.
  • In support of lifelong learning by professionals in education, the faculty are committed to providing regular in-service education.

Accreditations and Affiliations

The College of Education is proud of its accreditations and formal affiliations. The Teacher Education Program at Montana State University-Billings is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) for the preparation of elementary and secondary teachers through the Bachelor’s degree, and school counselors, the Master of Education degree and the Master of Science in Special Education degree. The Montana State Board of Public Education accredits the Teacher Education Program.

See also: Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges

Instructional Facilities and Special Partnerships

The Montana Center for Inclusive Education
The Montana Center for Inclusive Education is a statewide disability outreach program of the College of Education.  The Center is dedicated to developing resources that promote the inclusion of people with disabilities of all ages and cultural backgrounds into their communities.  To meet this mission, the Center works with numerous university and community partners.

The Montana Center serves as a training and technical assistance resource to people with disabilities, families and numerous agencies throughout the state.  The activities of the Center are funded by a variety of state and federal resources.

The staff of the Montana Center have professional skills related to disability in the areas of employment, rehabilitation counseling, transition, hearing conservation, community integration, prevention, collaboration, and learning strategies.

Montana State University Cooperative Programs
The Montana State University campuses at Billings and Bozeman have developed cooperative programs to better serve students who want to earn endorsements and degrees not offered through the authorized curricula on one or the other campus.  For Bozeman, MSU Billings offers the special education endorsement program, the Master of Science in Special Education program, and a special education minor in the doctoral programs in curriculum and instruction, and educational leadership offered by MSU-Bozeman.  For Billings, MSU-Bozeman offers the school administration endorsement for elementary education and secondary education, and the Master of Education in Educational Administration.  Contact the Office of the Dean of Education at either campus for additional information.

The Teacher Education Program

The faculty of Montana State University Billings recognizes that the preparation of teachers is an all- University responsibility.  Therefore, the various programs for the preparation of teachers represent a cooperative effort by the colleges and departments involved in teacher education.

All candidates from the University who wish to be recommended for the State of Montana Licensure must be formally admitted to the Teacher Education Program and meet all of the Teacher Education requirements.

The overall purpose of the Teacher Education Program is to develop competent teachers to meet the challenges of contemporary education.  The faculty in the Teacher Education Program accepts the fact that teaching competence at every level requires steadily changing patterns and greater depths of preparation in order to meet the rising standards of study.  Therefore, the faculty assumes responsibility for the selection and admission of those who wish to prepare to teach, for the advisement and retention of those admitted, and for the development of curricula designed for the preparation of educators.

Certain requirements are of major importance:  (1) a broad background in General Education in the traditional liberal arts; (2) in-depth content preparation in specific teaching fields; (3) mastery of professional education knowledge, skills, and dispositions, and (4) demonstration of the competencies of the Initial Conceptual Framework.

In order to accomplish these objectives, the prospective teacher must acquire a scholarly mastery of the field to be taught and the ability to use methods of critical inquiry.  This implies that prospective teachers acquire a superior fund of knowledge and enhanced scholarly ability in their respective academic disciplines.  Moreover, prospective teachers must secure knowledge and understanding of the process of human development and behavior; competence in the techniques of instruction; knowledge of school organization and administration; an understanding of education as a social institution in historical and philosophical perspective; knowledge, understanding and experience in culturally diverse settings; and an ability to work with a diverse group of learners.

The Teacher Education Program includes not only a base of General Education and mastery of specific teaching fields, but also an in-depth education in the philosophical processes and organization of public education through a program of combined theory and direct experience.

Field-Based Experiences

The College of Education provides a number of supervised clinical and field-based experiences designed to prepare students to work effectively in the education professions.  All field-based experiences are systematically designed and selected to provide students with opportunities to observe, plan and practice in a variety of community settings including schools and social service agencies.  The major aim of these experiences is to apply execution of principles and theories from the professional knowledge base in supervised environments.  Through a sequence of field-based experiences students develop skills that allow them to assume full responsibility as a beginning professional.  Site and University personnel supervise clinical and field-based experiences.

All clinical and field-based experiences require a minimum of 45 contact hours per semester credit.  In some degree programs, the contact hours may be greater than 45 hours per semester credit and students should clarify expectations with their faculty advisor prior to registration.  Students may be required to purchase an insurance policy during the field experience.  In some cases the school or agency provides insurance.

Student Teaching

The student teaching requirement is the culminating experience in the teacher education program at Montana State University Billings.  Student teaching provides a guided teaching experience in a school setting on a fulltime basis.  During the student teaching term, students concurrently participate in the Capstone seminars.  For further information and basic policies regarding the student teaching experience students should meet with their faculty advisors and refer to the Guide for Student Teachers, Mentoring Teachers, and University Supervisors.

Internship

Field-based internships offer students the opportunity for enhanced experiences in school and community settings.  Proposals for internships must be planned by students and their faculty advisor.

Special Projects


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