The mission of the Education Department 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.
A focus on social justice means that students in the Education Department explore the impact of cultural assumptions, societal norms, and institutional policies and practices on individuals and groups and 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.
The Education Department offers a major in educational studies that encourages a broad liberal arts exploration of educational theory, research, and practice, informed by a commitment to social justice. Students may also pursue minors in education, and in professional certification under the auspices of the department.
Colby believes that the best preparation for a teaching career is twofold: (1) a strong background in the liberal arts, including intensive study of the subject to be taught, and (2) appropriate coursework and practical experience in education.
There are two pathways for students pursuing professional certification: (1) complete the professional certification minor, (2) complete a major in educational studies and a major in a department or program that corresponds to a field in which Colby offers certification.
Students who complete Colby’s professional certification program are eligible to apply for teacher licensure in Maine for secondary public school teaching (grades 7-12) in the following fields: English, social studies, life science, physical science, and mathematics. In addition, licensure is available for grades K-12 in French, German, and Spanish.
Colby’s professional certification programis approved by the Maine State Board of Education. Maine also participates in the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification and, through the NASDTEC Interstate Contract, Maine has reciprocity for teacher licensure with 43 other states. An Education Department 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 undergo a criminal background check and fingerprinting, and complete a portfolio demonstrating competencies in Maine’s Initial Teaching Standards. Fees are required for the background check. Furthermore, the Maine Department of Education 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 Department faculty.
Students interested in professional certification must apply to the program in the spring of their junior year. Candidates must have at least a 3.0 average in their major subject area and must have completed the appropriate prerequisites for the student-teaching sequence. Note: Completion of the professional certification program requires that candidates teach full time (8 a.m.-2 p.m., Monday-Friday) during the spring semester of their senior year. Other Colby courses cannot conflict with this daily commitment.
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 must 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 department faculty. Early consultation with department faculty and careful planning of the student’s course of studies are essential for successful completion of the minor. This is especially important for students studying abroad.
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.
Requirements for the Major in Educational Studies
Ten courses are required: Education 101 (previously 201); 213, 215, or 217; 493; one practicum or internship; at least four electives in education (including at least two 300- or 400-level courses); and at least one but no more than two electives in related departments (see list of approved electives below). Students may petition the director of education for approval of a course not on the list.
Honors in Educational Studies
Students majoring in educational studies may apply to participate in the honors program by submitting a formal statement of their intention to the program faculty by April 15 of their junior year. After confirmation from the department faculty, a written proposal is due in September and must include a description of the proposed work, a timeline, and the agreement of a faculty sponsor and a secondary faculty reader from outside the Education Department. A 3.25 overall average and a 3.5 major average at the end of the junior year is a condition for entry into the program. The program involves independent research conducted in education and related fields and enrollment in Education 483 and 484. Honors is typically taken for eight credits over two semesters; honors course credits may substitute for the senior seminar requirement, but they do not count toward other elective requirements in the major. A 3.5 major average at the end of the senior year and a public oral presentation of the project are conditions for successful completion of this program. The final project will typically consist of a thesis of 50-70 pages of superior quality.
Requirements for the Minor in Education
Seven courses are required: Education 101 (previously 201); 213, 215, or 217, 493; one practicum or internship; and three electives in education.
Requirements for the Minor in Professional Certification
Eight courses are required: Education 101 (previously 201); 215; 331; 351; 374; 433; 494A; and 494B. In addition, students must complete a major in a department or program that corresponds to a field in which Colby offers certification. Note: Education 433, offered during the spring semester of the senior year, requires that professional certification candidates teach full time (8 a.m.-2 p.m., Monday-Friday). Other Colby courses cannot conflict with this daily commitment.
Requirements for Professional Certification for Double Majors
A major in educational studies and a major in a department or program that corresponds to a field in which Colby offers certification. Courses in education must include 101 (previously 201); 215; 331; 351; 374; 433; 494A; and 494B. For the major in educational studies, the student teaching sequence counts as one course toward the major. Note: Education 433, offered during the spring semester of the senior year, requires that professional certification candidates teach full time (8 a.m.-2 p.m., Monday-Friday). Other Colby courses cannot conflict with this daily commitment.
Elective Courses in other departments
- 337 Gentrification
- 236 Illegal Drugs, Law, and the State
- 252 Language, Culture, Discourse
- 256 Land, Food, Culture, and Power
- 313 Researching Cultural Diversity
- 333 Contemporary Theory
- 363 Secrecy and Power
- 373 The Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality
- 334 Economics of Education
- 476 Seminar: Access, Affordability, and Equity in Higher Education
- 226 Media and Politics
- 228 Introduction to Race, Ethnicity, and Politics
- 241 Politics of Public Policy in the US
- 314 Civil Liberties in American Constitutional Law
- 315 Minority Representation
- 247 African-American History, from Slavery to Freedom
- 223 Social Identities
- 232 Cognitive Psychology
- 251 Personality Psychology
- 253 Social Psychology
- 259 Lifespan Development
- 352G Seminar: Clinical Interventions: Science and Practice
- 227 Urban Sociology
- 252 Race, Ethnicity, and Society
- 268 Social Policy and Inequality
- 276 Sociology of Gender
Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
- 223 Critical Race Feminisms and Tap Dance
- 232 Queer Identities and Politics
- 241 Foundations of Disability Studies
- 311 Feminist Theories and Methodologies