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Majors and Minors

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The mission of the Education Program is to enable students to develop expertise in conceptual and theoretical foundations, research, and practice in the field of education. The knowledge, skills, dispositions, and habits of mind required for such expertise are cultivated within the context of a rigorous liberal arts academic environment, informed by perspectives from a variety of disciplines, enhanced by multiple opportunities to engage in service learning and civic engagement, and animated by a commitment to social justice in schools and society.

Courses in the Education Program explore the impact of cultural assumptions, societal norms, and institutional policies and practices on both individuals and groups. Students and faculty work together to examine the operation of power as it relates to the construction of knowledge and the preservation of privilege. In so doing, students are encouraged to analyze critically the intended and unintended oppressions resulting from specific educational and institutional practices by (1) considering the values and politics that pervade educational institutions, as well as the more pragmatic issues of teaching and organizing schools; (2) asking critical questions about how taken-for-granted assumptions and conventions about theory and practice came to be and who in society benefits from such assumptions; (3) attending to differences in gender, race, social class, sexual orientation, and ability that result in political, social, economic, and educational marginalization and inequality, particularly for children and youth; and (4) examining the connections among different forms of privilege, particularly as these relate to and influence the development of children and youth. Students also are encouraged to move beyond critique to create and implement educational and institutional practices that promote greater social justice and equity in schools and society.

To these ends the program enables students to study the ways children and adolescents learn and develop; the dynamics of the teaching-learning process; and the psychological, philosophical, historical, social, and cultural dimensions of education. Students in the program also participate in a variety of civic engagement, internship, practicum, and social action experiences to gain practical experience in the fields of education and human development.

Three minors are offered under the auspices of the program:

The education minor encourages a wide-ranging liberal arts exploration of educational theories, issues, and practices. Students focus primarily on the psychological, philosophical, historical, social, and cultural foundations of education and gain practical experience working with children and/or adolescents in a variety of classroom contexts. It provides preparation for graduate study in early-childhood, elementary, secondary, or special education, as well as for careers in private-school teaching.

The human development minor encourages an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the development of children and youth. Students consider a variety of perspectives on the study of human development; examine the relationship between individuals and the social, cultural, and historical context in which they live; and gain practical experience working in an institution or agency devoted to fostering human development and improving human lives. It provides initial preparation for careers in education, social work, human services, and/or social policy, as well as for graduate study in a number of different fields and disciplines.

The professional certification minor is approved by the Maine State Board of Education. Students who complete the professional certification minor may select a course of study leading to teacher licensure in Maine for secondary teaching (grades 7-12) in the areas of English, social studies, life science, physical science, or mathematics as well as licensure for grades K-12 in Spanish, German, or French. Maine participates in the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) and, through the NASDTEC Interstate Contract, Maine has reciprocity for teacher licensure with 40 other states. An Education Program faculty member will prepare documentation to support Colby graduates when they apply to transfer the Maine teaching certificate to another state.

Candidates for Maine teacher licensure must pass both the Praxis I (basic knowledge and skills) and Praxis II (content area knowledge) exams, undergo a criminal background check and fingerprinting, and complete a portfolio demonstrating competencies in the 10 Maine Initial Teaching Standards. Fees are required for both of the Praxis exams and for the background check. Furthermore, the Maine Department of Education (DOE) charges an application fee. Students may consider applying directly to another state in lieu of completing Maine’s requirements. Students who wish to apply directly to another state without first obtaining Maine licensure must contact the department of education in the other state and should also consult with Colby Education Program faculty.

Colby believes that the best preparation for a teaching career is two-fold: (a) a strong background in the liberal arts, including intensive study of the subject to be taught; and (b) appropriate course work and practical experience in education.

Students interested in professional certification should apply to the program in the spring of their junior year. Candidates must have at least a 3.00 average in their major subject area and have completed the appropriate prerequisites for the student teaching sequence. A  ninth semester program is also available to qualified students. Students in the program return to Colby after graduation to complete the senior student-teaching sequence by working full time in a local school. There is no charge for this program, but students are responsible for finding their own housing off campus. Students interested in the ninth semester program should apply to the program in the spring of their senior year.

Additional information about the professional certification and ninth semester options is available from the program faculty. Early consultation with program faculty and careful planning of the student’s course of studies is essential for a successful completion of the minor. This is especially important for students studying abroad.

Finally, students also may pursue an independent major in either educational studies or human development under the auspices of the program. Requirements for these majors typically include course work in education, psychology, sociology, and anthropology. A formal proposal for such an independent major must be submitted to the Independent Study Committee. For further information please contact the program chair.

Colby College Pass Rates for Praxis I and Praxis II Exams

The Higher Education Act Reauthorization of 1998 requires that the pass rate of Professional Certification students on the state-mandated teacher exams be reported each year. Pass rates for classes that have fewer than 10 students are not reported, and thus the annual pass rates for Colby College are not available. However, the four-year aggregate score is reported, and Colby’s pass rate for the period of 2008-2012 is 100 percent.


Requirements for the Minor in Education

Education 231 and 493; one practicum or internship; and four electives in education.

Requirements for the Minor in Human Development

Education 215 and 493; one practicum or internship; two electives in education; and two electives in other departments, to be approved by the program chair.

Requirements for the Minor in Professional Certification

Education 213 or 215, 231, 374, 431; one practicum (351); the Senior Student Teaching sequence (433, 437); and two electives in education.

Photo: Brian DiMento '10



Colby College reserves the right in its sole judgement to make changes of any nature in its program, calendar, academic schedule, fees, deposits, or any other matters in this catalogue.