Preparing outstanding teachers for today’s classrooms

Few careers offer the sense of fulfillment and accomplishment that teaching does. Successful people, whether they lead large companies, hold public office or quietly contribute in their communities, often can recall a teacher or mentor who made a difference in their lives.

Widely recognized for the success of its teacher education program, which is guided by a philosophy of “thoughtful practice in a community of learners,” Elon is one of only a few private schools in the state selected to offer the prestigious North Carolina Teaching Fellows program. The Department of Education prepares you for a career as an elementary, middle, high school, special education, Spanish, French, physical education or music teacher. You will learn how to use various teaching methods effectively, including how to incorporate technology in your teaching. Through specially designed classes, you will discover how to create a learning environment that meets the needs of students with diverse abilities and backgrounds.

Elon’s teacher education program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

“The administration that I work with has commented on the difference they see between first-year teachers from Elon compared to first-year teachers from other schools. We are more prepared because we are exposed to so many enriching experiences that impact our performance as teachers.”

Amy Nussbaum ’04 G’08

Early hands-on training

One important goal of the education program is to give future teachers a better understanding of the purpose of education and the role of schools in our society. To bring these concepts to life, Elon offers education majors the opportunity to observe and learn in public school classrooms beginning their freshman year. This early exposure to a real classroom is possible because Elon has developed supportive partnerships with area public schools. A sequence of courses involving field experiences culminates in a full semester of student teaching during the senior year. By the time you graduate, you will have developed the necessary knowledge and skills to enter your own classroom with confidence.

Degrees and licensure

At Elon, you can earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in early childhood education, elementary education, special education or middle grades education. The School of Education also awards a master’s degree (M.Ed.) in elementary education, gifted education and special education. 

Elon offers programs leading to North Carolina licensure in the following areas:

  • early childhood education
  • elementary education
  • middle grades education
  • special subject areas for secondary education: English, social studies, mathematics and science
  • Special education-general curriculum
  • Special subject areas for grades K-12: Music*, physical education/health, and foreign languages

*Audition required.

Teaching Fellows

Twenty Teaching Fellows will receive scholarships valued at $4,500, which are renewable annually as long as the student remains a Fellow in good standing. This is in addition to any Presidential or Elon Engagement scholarship received. Visit the Elon Fellows programs website for more information.

Experienced faculty

At Elon, you will study alongside accomplished faculty who encourage students to strive for excellence.

Dr. Angela Ansah, associate dean of the School of Education, director of the M.Ed. and teacher education programs, teaches assessment in the undergraduate program and social science research in the graduate program. She researches intercultural competence, provides experiential teaching models for an MBA program in Ghana, and has experience designing electronic unit assessment systems.

Dr. Joan Barnatt teaches and researches integrated language arts and social studies methods. Working with the Asia Institute, she designed curricula for elementary and middle grades students on Southeast Asian cultures, and she has experience developing charter schools for middle grades students. 

Dr. Stephen Byrd teaches special education courses for undergraduate and graduate students. He researches international special education service delivery and support for families of special-needs students, and he provides development support to special educators in Madurai, India.

Dr. Jeffrey Carpenter teaches courses in and is the coordinator of Secondary and K-12 Programs. He is the Principal Investigator on the National Science Foundation-funded Elon Noyce Scholars Program. He researches new and innovative modes of student and teacher learning, and is currently conducting several studies on how social media can enhance student learning and teacher professional development.

Dr. David Cooper teaches courses in educational assessment and support of children’s social development and behavior. He studies the preparation of new teachers and the continuing education of veteran teachers.

Dr. Glenda Crawford is Elon’s director of the N.C. Teaching Fellows and coordinator of the middle grades program. She received Elon’s 2008-09 Daniels-Danieley award for Excellence in teaching and recently published a book, Differentiation for the Adolescent Learner.

Dr. Gerald Dillashaw serves as coordinator of the secondary science education program, and he teaches research and measurement courses in the graduate program. He represents the Department of Education at state-level organizations for higher education and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

Dr. Cherrel Miller Dyce teaches diversity in education, family, school, and community engagement, and the social foundations of education. She researches the role of diversity, social justice, and inequities in education.

Dr. Mark Enfield teaches mathematics and science methods, and the philosophical and historical foundations of U.S. public school education. He researches the effect of children’s dialogue during group interaction on their development of science concepts and methods of inquiry.

Dr. Heidi Hollingsworth teaches early childhood courses and serves as program coordinator for the early childhood major and minor. She conducts research on early emotional and social development as well as early childhood personnel preparation.

Dr. Mary Knight-McKenna teaches literacy and special education courses, and recently presented at the Oxford Round Table Symposium on Early Childhood Literacy. She researches the preparation of teacher candidates for working with families and teaching in high-poverty schools.

Dr. Rich Mihans, chair of the Department of Education, teaches literacy and language arts and social studies methodology. He researches teacher and satisfaction, and course design, and has published in the Phi Delta Kappan and the International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

Dr. Scott Morrison teaches courses on literacy, culture, and diversity in the elementary, middle, and secondary education programs.  His research focuses on environmental education, theories of social and environmental justice, and ecologically minded teaching.

Dr. Jean Rohr teaches courses in literacy and diversity and uses service-learning as pedagogy in her courses. Dr. Rohr is widely published, and her play, Valued Voices, depicting the struggles of minority students in public schools, has been performed by the Black Repertory Theatre.

Dr. Terry Tomasek serves as coordinator of the secondary science education program and teaches senior seminars for secondary and K-12 students. She is also the Co-Director of the Elon Academy and conducts research on technology use with high school students and identity-related affordances in informal science education.

Professor Marna K. Winter serves as coordinator of the Elementary Education program. She teaches literacy, integrated language arts and social studies methods courses, as well as supervises teaching candidates. She researches Global Education in elementary education, and best practices with regards to involving parents in the education of their children birth-6th grade.

On-campus learning

The Department of Education is housed in Mooney building and includes a curriculum resource center that provides professional literature, textbooks and other resources for instructional planning. Students use two computer labs for access to the campus network and the Internet. Education majors also have the opportunity to conduct research with faculty mentors. Outstanding students can become members of Kappa Delta Pi, the national honor society for education majors.

Graduate school

Elon recommends that education students interested in graduate school first gain some teaching experience. At some institutions, classroom experience is a requirement. Recent graduates have pursued advanced teaching degrees at Elon and the following institutions:

  • George Mason University
  • University of Georgia
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • North Carolina State University.