The College of Education
Dr. Roberto Nava, Dean
COE 291, (406) 657-2315
The College of Education is comprised of the following academic department and a public service agency:
- Department of Educational Theory and Practice
- Montana Center for Inclusive Education
Accreditations and Affiliations
The educator preparation programs at Montana State University Billings are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and the Montana Board of Public Education.
The College of Education is dedicated to:
- Preparing incomparable, caring, and committed professionals for schools in Montana and beyond;
- Conducting socially significant applied research to improve the human condition;
- Providing community service to improve the quality of life experienced by Montanans; and
- Providing graduate and continuing education for career-long professional development.
- I dedicate myself to the life of an educator, nurturing others to fulfill their potential, live meaningful lives, and fully participate in our society.
- I dedicate myself to assuring excellent educational opportunities for all individuals.
- I pledge to make the well-being of my students the fundamental value in my professional decisions and actions.
- I recognize parents and community as integral to education and pledge to encourage their involvement.
- I dedicate myself to teaching the virtues of honesty, respect, trust, and courage.
- I commit myself to continuing my own personal growth and professional development, for I must bear witness in my life to the ideals being encouraged in others.
- In cooperation with my colleagues, I pledge to advance education professions.
- I pledge myself to serving both educational and larger community needs.
- I pledge to fulfill these professional responsibilities with diligence, integrity, and dedication.
Instructional Facilities and Special Partnerships
The Montana Center for Inclusive Education
The Montana Center for Inclusive Education is a public service unit of Montana State University Billings whose vision is to create a fully inclusive society that values diversity. The Montana Center serves the diverse population of Montana and provides continuing professional development opportunities for educators and direct service providers. The Montana Center develops and administers programs for its awarded grants and contracts. These programs are funded by a variety of sources including Montana’s Office of Public Instruction and Department of Public Health and Human Services, the National Science Foundation, and the Social Security Administration.
Staff members of the Montana Center have professional skills related to disability and diversity. Through its unique array of services and programs, the Center allows graduate students opportunities to apply skills in a supervised setting. In addition, the various programs of the Center offer unique opportunities for students to engage in study and applied research.
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 and the Master of Science in Special Education program. For Billings, MSU-Bozeman offers the school administration endorsement for elementary education and secondary education, and the Master of Education in Educational Administration.
MSU Billings is part of a cooperative agreement with the Montana Office of Public Instruction, MSU-Bozeman, the University of Montana, and Rocky Mountain College to offer the Special Education or Reading Supervisory endorsements. Students enroll at one of the institutions offering administrative licenses for general school administration courses and then complete the specialty course and internship through MSU Billings. Contact the Office of the Dean of Education at either campus for additional information.
The Educator Preparation Program
The faculty of Montana State University Billings recognizes that the preparation of educators 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 educator preparation.
All candidates from the University who wish to be recommended for State of Montana Licensure must be formally admitted to the Educator Preparation Program and meet all of the Educator Preparation requirements.
The overall purpose of the Educator Preparation Program is to develop competent educators to meet the challenges of contemporary education. The faculty in the Educator Preparation Program recognizes 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:
- a broad background in general education in the traditional liberal arts;
- in-depth content preparation in specific teaching fields;
- mastery of professional education knowledge, skills, and dispositions; and
- demonstration of the competencies of the COE expected performance outcomes.
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 educators acquire a superior fund of knowledge and enhanced scholarly ability in their respective academic disciplines. Moreover, prospective educators 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 Educator Preparation 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.
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 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.
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 a liability insurance policy during the field experience. In some cases the school or agency provides insurance.
All practica, internships, and supervised field-based experiences require a valid criminal background report and notarized self-disclosure prior to beginning course work. Students cannot be placed in any field experience until the criminal background report is on file with MSU Billings. The background report on file must meet current policy requirements to participate in any field-based experience.
The criminal background report obtained from the Criminal Justice Information Services Bureau is a fingerprint based report that provides both a state and federal report. Information on the criminal background process can be found on the Educational Theory and Practice webpage: www.msubillings.edu/coe/FingerprintInfo.htm
All questions concerning the process can be directed to the Licensure Officer at 406-657-2293.
The student teaching requirement is the culminating experience in the Educator Preparation program at Montana State University Billings for students seeking initial licensure or adding an endorsement. Student teaching provides a guided teaching experience in a school setting on a fulltime basis. Student teaching is required for all content teaching majors and teaching minors. During the student teaching term, students concurrently participate in the student teaching seminars. For further information and basic policies regarding the student teaching experience, students should meet with their faculty advisors and refer to the Student Teaching Handbook found at: www.msubillings.edu/coe
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.
In order to provide the highest quality field experience placements for students majoring in elementary, secondary education, reading, special education, or school counseling deadlines have been set for accepting field placement applications. Field experience placements are the product of a number of elements including student needs, school district requests, and recommendations from faculty. To coordinate these elements in a timely fashion and meet all participants’ needs to the fullest extent possible, there must be sufficient lead-time. Application deadlines are posted throughout the College and online each semester. Students who plan to enroll for student teaching must have completed their required coursework prior to the term they plan to student teach.
Teacher Licensure Requirements
Specific teacher licensure requirements for the State of Montana have been established by the Office of Public Instruction and approved by the Montana Board of Public Education. All licenses are endorsed by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction for the appropriate level(s) and area(s) of professional competence based upon the recommendation by the Licensure Officer of the College of Education. Curriculum programs at MSU Billings prepare students for standard and professional licensure in elementary and secondary teaching and school counseling. Education students who take sufficient credits in a specific field and meet all the endorsement requirements, including student teaching and a qualifying score on the required Praxis Subject Assessment Exam, may receive an endorsement on their teaching license for the field of teaching upon recommendation of the Licensure Officer of the College of Education.
Processing Procedures for Licensure and Endorsement
- Direct all applications for licensure to the College of Education Licensure Officer.
- All applications for teaching licensure, teaching endorsements, and supervisory endorsements must be reviewed and receive final approval by the Licensure Officer prior to institutional recommendation and final consideration by the State Licensure Office in Helena, Montana.
- The same regulation applies to applicants seeking licensure outside the state of Montana.
Drug and Alcohol Course Requirement
Chapter No. 396, Section 3, Montana Session Laws 1971 “All units of the Montana University System and all private colleges and universities in Montana that offer any degree in education shall require that any person who receives any degree in education from that unit, private college, or university must have successfully completed a course in health education to include drug and alcohol education and abuse prior to being awarded his or her degree.”
Indian Education for All (IEFA)
The State of Montana requires licensed personnel to have instruction pertaining to the history, traditions, customs, values, beliefs, ethics, and contemporary affairs of American Indians, particularly Indian tribal groups in Montana. While one two-credit course is an Educator Preparation requirement, IEFA is infused throughout the program.
The College of Education graduate programs have specific outcomes expected of graduate students. These outcomes are delineated in the following Initial Outcomes for students seeking initial licensure and Advanced Outcomes for students seeking advanced graduate degrees.
All students seeking a degree or post baccalaureate program through the Department of Educational Theory & Practice must obtain criminal background reports by submitting fingerprints to the Licensure Office upon application to Graduate Studies.
College of Education
Initial Licensure Performance Outcomes
The Learner and Learning
Standard 1: Learning Development
The educator understands how learners grow and develop, recognizing that patterns of learning and development vary individually within and across the cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and physical areas, and designs and implements developmentally appropriate and challenging learning experiences.
Standard 2: Learning Differences
The educator uses understanding of individual differences and diverse cultures and communities to ensure inclusive learning environments that enable each learner to meet high standards.
Standard 3: Learning Environments
The educator works with others to create environments that support individual and collaborative learning, and that encourage positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.
Standard 4: Content knowledge
The educator understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline(s) he or she teaches and creates learning experiences that make these aspects of the discipline accessible and meaningful for learners to assure mastery of the content.
Standard 5: Application of Content
The educator understands how to connect concepts and use differing perspectives to engage learners in critical thinking, creativity, and collaborative problem solving related to authentic local and global issues.
Standard 6: Assessment
The educator understands and uses multiple methods of assessment to engage learners in their own growth, to monitor learner progress, and to guide the professional’s and learner’s decision making.
Standard 7: Planning for Instruction
The educator plans instruction that supports every student in meeting rigorous learning goals by drawing upon knowledge of content areas, curriculum, cross-disciplinary skills, and pedagogy, as well as knowledge of learners and the community context.
Standard 8: Instructional Strategies
The educator understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies to encourage learners to develop deep understanding of content areas and their connections, and to build skills to apply knowledge in meaningful ways.
Standard 9: Professional Learning and Ethical Practices
The educator engages in ongoing professional learning and uses evidence to continually evaluate his/her practice, particularly the effects of his/her choices and actions on others (learners, families, other professionals, and the community), and adapts practice to meet the needs of each learner.
Standard 10: Leadership and Collaboration
The educator seeks appropriate leadership roles and opportunities to take responsibility for student learning; to collaborate with learners, families, colleagues, other school professionals, and community members to ensure learner growth; and to advance the profession.
College of Education
Advanced Degree Performance Outcomes
Research and Professional Inquiry
Locate, read, and evaluate relevant professional and academic literature.
Human Development and Learning
Demonstrate understanding of similarities and differences in human learning and development.
Professional Knowledge Base
Demonstrate mastery in subject area content knowledge, understanding, and skill in applying that knowledge and understanding.
Demonstrate professionalism that extends beyond technically accurate knowledge and effective skills.
Integrate extant theory and evidence into one’s professional activities.
Critically analyze policy and one’s own practice in light of professional standards and applicable policy.
General Structure of Graduate Degree Programs in the College of Education
The Graduate Advisor
Every graduate student will plan his or her graduate program with the help of a member of the graduate faculty who serves as an advisor. The relationship between student and advisor is distinctive in graduate education. Ideally, the advisor is both mentor and advocate for the student. Although a faculty advisor may be initially assigned for a student, it is the student’s prerogative to change advisors. When a need or desire to change an advisor arises, the Request for Advisor form is used to make the change formal. This form is available at the Educational Theory and Practice office in the College of Education. All affected parties should be contacted by the student seeking a change.
Graduate Level Coursework
For any master’s degree in education or counseling, at least 50 percent of the total credits (including electives) included in an approved plan must be coursework at the 500 level or above. In addition, at least 50 percent of the total credits (including electives) must be within the College of Education.
The remainder of the total credit requirements (including electives) must be chosen from any post-baccalaureate or upper division undergraduate courses (300-499) subject to approval by the faculty advisor and advisory committee (if required by the student’s program). Elective courses proposed in the plan must clearly contribute to overall program coherence in keeping with the degree and option designation.
The Professional Core
The Professional Core has been designed to build upon undergraduate professional education courses and provides a foundation for graduate study in specific disciplines within the fields of teacher education and counselor education.
The Professional Core consists of six semester credits required of all candidates for the Master of Education Degree, or the Master of Science in Special Education Degree. The core has been designed to provide graduate students with advanced knowledge and application of:
- Human growth, development, and diversity; and
- Research design, interpretation, and analysis.
|Select one of the following:||6|
|Research Dsgn & Interpretation|
and Adv Human Dev & Learning
|Research in Special Programs|
and Lrning & Exp Anlysis of Bhvr 1
|Total Minimum Credits||6|
Specific to the Advanced degree in Special Education Applied Behavioral Analysis Option.
The Graduate Advisory Committee
Students electing the Thesis Track or the Interdisciplinary Studies Option must have an advisory committee. Recommendations for members of the advisory committee are submitted by the student and student’s advisor to the department chairperson and Dean for approval as part of the individual’s program plan.
The advisory committee will include at least three faculty members. The chairperson of the committee must be a full member of the Graduate Faculty, and at least one other graduate faculty member from the same unit will serve on the committee. The third graduate faculty member may be drawn from outside the major field. Additional members from beyond the graduate faculty and/or the campus community may be included as the need for such diversity warrants. If the members of the advisory committee need to be changed, all affected parties should be informed.
Procedures for Completing a Master’s Degree in Education or Counseling
Plan of Study Approval Procedure
Each graduate student who intends to complete a master’s degree in the College of Education must prepare, in consultation with her or his advisor, an individualized plan of study. Regular admission students may file this plan during their initial semester and must do so by the time the second semester is underway. The plan is used by the Dean of the College of Education as a basis for Admission to Candidacy of students for their particular degrees.
Those students who include more than 12 credits of work from Montana State University Billings when they submit their plan for approval have increased risk of having course work they have taken not accepted toward their degree. Moreover, if a student’s plan has not been approved by the end of the student’s first semester of full-time attendance at MSU Billings, he or she ceases being eligible for financial aid.
Once the plan is approved by the appropriate individuals and the Dean of Education, the student is accepted into Candidacy Status. This approved plan serves as an agreement between the student and the University.
Changes in the Plan of Study
Students who wish to initiate a change in the plan of study must do so by submitting a “Change to Plan of Study” request. When approved by advisor, department chairperson, and Dean, and reviewed by the Director of Graduate Studies, the change will be effective. The student has the right to follow the program requirements outlined in the Graduate Catalog in effect when the plan was approved.
Oral Thesis Defense
Those students writing a thesis will orally defend their thesis. The date, time, and place of the defense will be arranged by the student in consultation with the advisory committee. All defenses are to occur at least two weeks before the last day of classes in the term in which the student expects to graduate. Defenses are open to anyone in the academic community who might wish to attend. The Office of Graduate Studies is responsible for informing the MSU Billings community of the date, time, and location of the defense.
College of Education Convocation
Each spring on the Friday before Commencement ceremonies, a special convocation is held during which all graduating undergraduate and graduate students in the College of Education are honored.
- Advanced Studies Option Applied Behavior Analysis Emphasis Master of Science in Special Education
- Advanced Studies Option Special Education Emphasis Master of Science in Special Education
- Applied Behavior Analysis Track
- School Counseling (K-12) Graduate Endorsement
- School Counseling Option (K-12) Master of Education
- Secondary Teacher Licensure Program
- Special Education (P-12) Teaching Endorsement
- Special Education Supervisor Endorsement