The four biggest teaching schools in Minnesota prepare educators for a Minnesota teacher license with distinct strategies embedded in the conceptual frameworks of their programs. Hamline University offers multiple certificates and licenses in complementary fields that support direct instruction. The University of Minnesota at Duluth has integrated majors, so teachers can teach a wider variety of students with specific training geared towards the problems in today’s classrooms. Winona State University believes that students in fields and disciplines that can be taught in classrooms make the best teachers, with the goals of using subject mastery and pedagogical training to create highly qualified teachers. Minnesota State University emphasizes the use of number-driven data in the classroom, so teachers can intervene where needed, and properly modify lessons.
All in all, each program prepares teachers to meet the standards set by Minnesota’s Department of Education. Any applicant who looks forward to a Minnesota teaching license can be sure the program they enter is in full compliance with state regulations.
With a rich and deep education department, it’s no wonder U.S. News & World Report ranks Hamline University #11 among Midwestern universities and colleges, citing the 12:1 student-to-teacher ratio, with 59% of all classes having 20 students or less as key features. The education department does two things very well. It has a strong undergraduate Minnesota teacher education program that offers the choice of multiple certificates in other educational topics, such as teaching English language learners, or the correct pedagogical practices for urban classrooms. Undergraduates also have the opportunity to add licenses to their previously awarded teaching credentials, broadening their educational potential. Hamline has an education program with resources to help teachers strengthen their content knowledge and learn how to better instruct in these subjects.
The university’s education department stands among the best teaching schools in Minnesota, in full compliance with national and state standards. Teaching hopefuls will get the right training to step into a classroom, knowing they are pedagogically sound and ready to earn the No Child Left Behind status of Highly Qualified. What makes this program so special, though, is the way teacher certification classes are designed for people with other careers. While the secondary education teacher training program awards an undergraduate degree that prepares a teacher for total mastery to teach a high school subject, it’s the integrated elementary and special education program that gives teachers the proficiency to teach children with developmental and behavioral challenges in grades K-12, a teaching field that Minnesota desperately needs to fill.
Winona State University is an education school with 17% of its students getting degrees in education, as reported by U.S. News & World Report. This is important to remember, for school districts look to see where teachers earned their Minnesota teacher certification, knowing the kind of program from which they graduated. The College of Education offers degrees in elementary education, but its big standout licensure program is in secondary education, which attempts to recruit students with degrees that are endorseable for instruction. If students are in the middle of earning a degree in an area other than education, but feel compelled to teach, the college works with other departments at Winona, so students can take academic classes that align with state standards. At Winona, future teachers – and current educators going back to college – have ample resources to either obtain a certificate or add to an existing one and successfully register their academic and professional experience with the state.
Minnesota State University began as a normal school, or college for teachers. The College of Education is uniquely positioned among the other teaching programs in the state for its leadership in professional development. It also makes one of its mission statements the proper use of data, something administrators want all teachers to use for learning assessment. The college also makes good use of the fact that teachers are in demand. The undergraduate program is designed for educational studies degrees in early childhood, elementary, and secondary instructional development. The expectation for producing teachers through licensure is no different than it was in 1868. As reported by U.S. News & World Report, this is a large school with high enrollment, but with many opportunities to network for future professional development.