MSU’s Deep Roots in Teacher Education

Dr. Steven W. Shirley
President, Minot State University
Published February 22, 2020 in the Minot Daily News

Last month’s column in this space focused on the Nursing degree at Minot State University. This month, let’s explore another high-profile degree area in which MSU both enrolls a large number of students and for which we are well known, that of Teacher Education. As a campus originally founded as a Normal School, MSU has particularly deep roots in the area of Teacher Education. The Normal Schools across the United States were established in the mid/late 1800s and early 1900s as post-secondary institutions to train new teachers and provide education for the children of new American settlers.

Originally founded in 1913 as the State Normal School at Minot, today’s MSU continues graduating a large number of teacher education students every year. Approximately 85-100 students graduate annually from MSU with majors across the education spectrum. These students earn degrees in Elementary Education (the largest number of education degrees we confer each year), as well as Art Education, Biology Education, Business Education, Chemistry Education, Early Childhood Education, Earth Science Education, English Education, History Education, Math Education, Music Education, Physical Education, Social Science Education, and Special Education. Beyond the undergraduate offerings, MSU also delivers Master’s degrees in Education and Special Education, with multiple certificates and concentrations available within these Master’s programs. Courses are delivered in a variety of formats including face-to-face, online, and during the day and evening, to provide enhanced flexibility.

MSU’s Education program is accredited by the rigorous standards of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). CAEP is one of only two nationally recognized accreditors of teacher educator preparation, and MSU is one of just 281 CAEP-accredited colleges and universities in the United States, thereby validating the high-caliber academic excellence found in our Teacher Education programs.

Beyond their coursework at MSU, all teacher education students must also complete a student-teaching experience (typically 12-16 weeks in length). Our students also complete hundreds of clinical and practicum hours in the classroom prior to student teaching, and this further ensures their preparedness to succeed. We are incredibly grateful to Minot Public Schools as well as all the other school districts, along with the cooperating classroom teachers, with whom we have strong partnerships supporting these important experiences for our students. Successful graduates from our program must also pass their content-area national exams. MSU graduates have a strong track record of being highly successful on these exams, and are well-prepared to enter the classroom and highly sought after with extremely high placement rates. Passage of these exams is required for graduates to be granted licensure by the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board.

MSU has established a storied and proud tradition in teacher education for over a century, with a strong reputation across the state and nation, known for outstanding graduates who educate future generations of our citizens. I would guess the majority reading this column right now were educated or have a child who has been educated by a Minot State graduate. A wonderful legacy indeed!

As always.....Go Beavers!