One of Elon University’s distinctions is its leadership in the area of “high-impact” educational practices. These high-impact practices are seen as particularly beneficial for the development of undergraduate students. Each year U.S. News & World Report issues a “Focus on Student Success” ranking of key programs that enrich the college experience. Elon is the only university in the nation identified as a leader in eight high-impact practices:

  1. Study abroad
  2. Internships
  3. Senior capstone experiences
  4. First-year experiences
  5. Learning communities
  6. Service learning
  7. Undergraduate research/creative projects
  8. Writing in the disciplines

The faculty and staff in the School of Education are strongly committed to having students engage in these high-impact practices. Participation rates of 2019 School of Education graduates are listed below:

85%students study abroad
100%students complete internships
40%students conduct research
49%students hold leadership positions on campus
100%students participate in service learning

Read on to learn more about how we accomplish this in the School of Education.

Study Abroad

Studying abroad gives students the opportunity to expand their global perspective and broaden their cross-cultural awareness, better preparing them to lead in the classroom and beyond. Eighty-seven percent of School of Education majors in the Class of 2018 reported studying abroad at least once during their college career.

Winter Term Study Abroad Courses

The School of Education, in conjunction with the Isabella Cannon Global Education Center, offers the following undergraduate Winter Term study abroad courses: Science, Education and Development in India, Malawi: The Warm Heart of Africa, and Jungle Service in Costa Rica.

Semester-long Programs

Examples of programs Education students participate in include:

  • School of Education Center Abroad – Dunedin, New Zealand
  • Liberal Arts and Education Studies – Oxford, United Kingdom
  • Fundación Ortega-Maranon – Toledo, Spain
  • Liberal Arts – Seville, Spain in partnership with CIEE
  • Spanish Studies – Córdoba, Argentina in partnership with the Center for Cross-Cultural Studies


Students who are pursuing degrees in one of the teacher education programs in the School of Education, with the exception of non-licensure programs, must complete the EDU 481: Student Teaching course in an approved placement during their senior year. The student teaching experience is designed to transition the candidate from student to teacher.

The student teaching clinical experience provides teacher candidates with:

  • A formal partnership for success that includes the candidate’s university supervisor and clinical teacher
  • Formative assessments to move candidate towards proficiency in pedagogical and professional knowledge, skills and dispositions
  • Reflective feedback to facilitate the learning process

Undergraduate Research

Working under the guidance of a faculty mentor, students engage in inquiry in their chosen field of study and complete an original thesis. Select students present their research in public forums such as Elon’s Spring Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF), Elon’s Summer Undergraduate Research Experiences (SURE), and at regional, state and local content specific conferences. Twenty-seven percent of School of Education majors in the Class of 2018 completed undergraduate research while at Elon.

Class of 2020 Honors Fellow:

Kylee Gomilla (Mentor: Dr. Crista Arangala)
Mathematical modeling for school attendance zone plans

Class of 2021 Honors Fellows:

Madison Clark (Mentor: Dr. Katherine Baker)
Innovating Mathematics Teaching and Learning: Taking Math Outside

Abigail Decker (Mentor: Dr. Scott Morrison)
From Risky Play to Caring for Nature: Searching for Situated Decoding of Gender in Forest Schools

Teaching Fellows

SURF 2019

Maddie Craft (Mentor: Dr. Jeffrey Carpenter)
Instagram Microcelebrity and Educators’ Uses of Instagram

Nicole Kister (Mentor: Prof. Erin Hone)
Math Anxiety: Is There a Correlation between Awareness and Reduction?

Julia Field (Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Eidum)
Perceptions of Service Learning

Juliette Firla (Mentor: Prof. Paula Patch)
Putting Journaling in your Teacher Toolbox

Emily Ford (Mentor: Dr. Stephen Byrd)
Reflective Writing in Pre-service Teachers: Habits, Techniques, and Effectiveness

Sara Gostomski (Mentor: Dr. Stephen Byrd)
Least Restrictive Environment Doesn’t Look the Same: Three Case Studies in the Alamance-Burlington School System

Nathan Hunnicutt (Mentor: Dr. Scott Morrison)
Beyond Interconnected Sustainability Education: A Case Study of NC Green Schools

Paige Knapke (Mentor: Prof. Erin Hone)
Do Gritty Teachers Create Grittier Students? Implications of Teachers’ Dispositions within the Classroom Environment

Courtney Kobos (Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Eidum)
Looking Beyond the Classroom: Responding to Educator Needs in Linguistically Diverse Schools

Rachel Kowalewski (Mentor: Dr. Julie Justice)
“My Hands Feel Relaxed”: How Children Use Fidget Spinners to Manage Activity and Attention in a Play-Based Environment

Michalene Lee (Mentor: Dr. Jeffrey Carpenter)
How and Why Educators Use Instagram

Micaela Malachowski (Prof. Erin Hone)
Do Gritty Teachers Create Grittier Students? Impact of Teachers’ Dispositions on Student Mindset

Danielle Marzullo (Mentor: Dr. Shannon Duvall)
Comparing Physical and Virtual Educational Practices

Elizabeth McFarland (Mentor: Dr. Joan Barnatt)
Mentoring Novice Teachers to Improve Teacher Retention

Mirella Cisneros Perez (Mentor: Dr. Scott Morrison)
Beyond Science in Environmental Education: Examining the Effects of Teaching Math Outside

Ashley Pritchard (Mentor: Dr. Chad Awtrey)
Classifying Ramified Polynomials of Degree 2p

Diana Xiomara Pinel Urrutia (Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Eidum)
Integrating Cross-Cultural Students across First-Year Writing


Through School of Education courses, students develop important leadership skills, such as oral and written communications, decision-making, persuasion, team building, innovation and motivation. Students further develop and practice their leadership skills through co-curricular activities, including consulting projects and student organizations. Forty-nine percent of School of Education majors in the Class of 2018 reported serving in a leadership position for a student organization while attending Elon.

Service Learning

Performing service provides students the chance to meet a social need while developing skills they would not gain through formal teaching alone. Service is performed through service-learning courses, student organizations, university programs, on-campus events and community partners. Examples of Elon programs students participate in are The Village Project, Safe Rides, ElonTHON and Relay for Life. One-hundred percent of School of Education majors in the Class of 2018 reported completing at least one service learning experience while at Elon.

Service-learning Courses

Service-learning courses include service components that are relevant to course objectives. Examples of such courses taught by School of Education faculty include Supporting Math and Science in Early Childhood, Strategies & Instruction for Struggling Readers, and Early Childhood Language and Literacy.