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 2016 School of Education graduates are listed below:

86%students study abroad
98%students complete internships
17%students conduct research
53%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. Eight-six percent of School of Education majors in the Class of 2016 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. Seventeen percent of School of Education majors in the Class of 2016 completed undergraduate research while at Elon.

Class of 2019 Honors Fellows:

Molly Kearns (Mentor: Prof. Erin Hone)
Implications for elementary educators’ abilities to accurately self-evaluate their mathematics teaching practices in relation to math anxiety levels.

Kristen O’Neill (Mentor: Prof. Marna Winter)
Reading to Succeed: An Examination of Interests, Motivations, and Engagement of Struggling Pre-Adolescent Readers

Class of 2020 Honors Fellow:

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

Class of 2021 Honors Fellow:

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 Poster Session, held May 4, 2017:

Junior Class

Nicole Baugh (Mentor: Dr. Cherrel Dyce)
Learning from Black Teachers: Closing the Achievement Gap for Students of Color

Amanda Cassaday (Mentor: Dr. Jeffrey Carpenter)
Pinterest as Professional Development

Eliana Chervin (Mentor: Dr. Jessica Wery)
Perceptions on Effective Interventions for those with NVLD, from those with NVLD

Samantha Childers (Mentor: Dr. Jeffrey Carpenter)
Exploratory Research on the r/Teachers Subreddit

Izzy Fagen (Mentor: Dr. Scott Morrison)
Beyond Science: Examining the Effects of Teaching Social Studies Outside

Samantha Friedman (Mentor: Dr. Scott Morrison)
Investigating the Effects of Outdoor Learning Environments on Children with Autism

Emily Gaa (Mentor: Prof. Liz Bailey)
The Impact of Alamance Girls in Motion on Resilience and Self-Esteem

Jossie Geyer (Mentor: Dr. Aaron Trocki)
The Effects of an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant Position on Pedagogical Mathematical Knowledge

Stefania Monti (Mentor: Dr. Jeffrey Carpenter)
Educators’ Perspectives On and Use of Pinterest for Professional Development

Colleen O’Brien (Mentor: Dr. Stephen Byrd)
Perceptions and Use of Assistive Technology in the Classroom

Anna Pickard (Mentor: Dr. Heidi Hollingsworth)
Effective Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners

Nicole Schmidt (Mentor: Dr. Heidi Hollingsworth)
Effective Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners

Grace Robertson (Mentor: Dr. Stephen Byrd)
Sonoflex vs. Words for Life: The Effectiveness of Speech Generating Devices to Prompt Expected and Unexpected Responses from Students with Autism (nonverbal)

Maia Salinger (Mentor: Dr. Mary Jo Festle)
What Students Find Meaningful, Interesting and Challenging about Learning History

Bryanna Schoenblatt (Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Zinchuk)
Acclimation of International Students

Melody Titus (Mentor: Dr. Aaron Trocki)
Investigating Standards-Based Grading in a Math Classroom

Christina Truska (Mentor: Dr. Stephen Byrd)
Preservice and Classroom Teachers’ Understanding of Inclusion

Katrina Weil (Mentor: Dr. Joan Barnatt)
Analyzing PISA Data to Inform 21st Century Mathematic Pedagogy

Sydney Weiss (Mentor: Dr. Jeffrey Carpenter)
What Happens in a Global Read Aloud Program


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. Fifty-three percent of School of Education majors in the Class of 2016 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 2016 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.