For over one hundred years, the education department at Montana Western has been preparing teachers who are successful in all settings. Our program is a nationally recognized rural education center noted for producing outstanding teachers.
The mission of Montana Western's education department is to prepare effective teachers who are educational leaders for the twenty-first century.
Graduates are prepared to teach in elementary schools from kindergarten to grade eight.
Graduates are prepared to teach from pre-school to grade three.
Graduates are prepared for a variety of health related careers.
Graduates will be prepared to teach in middle schools or high schools from grades 5-12 with one of the following majors:
Graduates will be prepared to teach grades K-12 with one of the following majors:
If you already have a bachelor's degree from an accredited university, with a major in one of the subjects listed above, in Secondary Education or K-12 Education, you may be eligible to enter a post-baccalaureate teacher education program. Contact the post-baccalaureatte program coordinator to start the process of applying.
Montana Western offers education minors that, when combined with an education major, prepare teachers in the following fields:
We offer options and concentrations, which do not lead to licensure in Montana, but prepare teachers to have a strong base of knowledge to assist them in working with students:
Graduates with this degree will be prepared to assume leadership roles as early childhood teachers and directors, working with children form birth to age eight. The degree is designed to be accessible to Dillon students via a combination of block courses and online courses, and also accessible to distance students through online courses and courses based at Montana University System campuses across the state.
Graduates with this degree will be prepared to meet the unique needs of children from birth through age eight in child care centers, Head Starts and pre-schools. It also marks the halfway point for pursuing the bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education.
Graduates with this degree are prepared to be teacher's aides with the expertise to assist with instruction of students under the supervision of the classroom teacher. The degree also marks the halfway point for completing a bachelor's degree to become a licensed teacher.
Here are just two great examples of education courses at Montana Western. For a full course selection, please see the current catalog.
The first formal course in the Teacher Education Program provides an introduction to the field of education and the relationships between schools and society. Students begin to evaluate the reasons chosen to become a teacher and the effects that decision will have on their lives. Students examine social, cultural, political, legal, economic, and historical issues within schools and how these issues impact professional educators. During this course, students begin to assemble the professional portfolio, which is a requirement for entry into the Teacher Education Program (TEP). The portfolio will be maintained throughout participation in the Teacher Education Program and is an integral part of the evaluation process. Students will complete a field experience in a school setting.
This is a survey course to acquaint students with the cultural foundations of education. Special emphasis is given to the multicultural and global dimensions of education. In addition, students study educational outcomes for American Indian students. High dropout rates, over-representation in special education, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, and poor prospects for employment are endemic in this population of students. This course requires a field experience practicum for four or five days during which candidates engage in observation and practice teaching in Native American reservation schools and evening activities. The course takes place in a diverse setting where exceptionality is present. Assessment is based on projects, reports, exams, and field work.
An education degree from Montana Western will prepare you for a career as a teacher, a librarian, or an early childhood educator.
|How many students completed a teacher education program?||89||86|
|How many applied for a teaching license?||83 (93%)||78 (91%)|
|How many were surveyed?||82 (92%)||83 (97%)|
|Of those surveyed, how many employed in first year?||68 (83%)||49 (59%)|
|How many are teaching in Montana?||48 (58%)||38 (46%)|
|How many are teaching out of Montana?||20 (24%)||11 (13%)|
Montana Western graduates are rated highly in all performance areas. The table describes the percentage of UMW teacher education graduates that are well prepared to enter the teaching field, as assessed by their Supervising Teachers, their University Faculty, and by the graduates themselves.
Dana Cotton specializes in English language arts and literacy education. Cotton teaches under a constructivist paradigm and believes theory should support practice. Experiential teaching and learning is her primary method of instruction and teaches many courses in the Rural Fridays program. Most of her work focuses on the importance of critical literacy across grade levels.
Deb McCabe has a masters degree in Special Education. She has taught in diverse settings from Boston Public Schools to Hays/Lodge Pole School in Montana.
She is in charge of the UMW education post-baccalaureate program, assisting candidates who already have a bachelor's degree who are seeking licensure in Montana.
Delena Norris-Tull’s specialty is science education. In addition to teaching science methods courses to Montana Western education students, she provides professional development to Montana science and elementary teachers as part of the Clark Fork Watershed Education Project, funded by the Montana Office of Public Instruction. In winter 2010/2011, she will conduct a workshop for southwest Montana elementary teachers on the science of snow. She also works with math and science teachers statewide as part of the Mathematical Modeling for Montana Green Technology Project, funded by the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education. Norris-Tull is currently serving as chair of the Montana Western Department of Education. She also serves on the board of RESA4U, a regional service agency providing professional development to teachers in southwest Montana. Norris-Tull was also named the 2010 Montana Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.
Estee Aiken teaches a variety of courses in both the Early Childhood and general education programs. Her expertise teaching children from preschool through high school has come from many years teaching in public schools. Aiken's areas of research include gifted and talented education and instructional strategies, about which she has been invited to present regionally and nationally. She also provides in-service trainings throughout Montana and serves on the state board for the Association of Gifted and Talented Education.
Jennifer Gilliard is an instructor of Early Childhood Education. She offers her students the opportunity to conduct action research projects to learn about how young children develop and learn best. In 2004, Gilliard helped start the Building Tolerence Club at Montana Western.
John Xanthopoulos is actively involved in the Equestrian program as well as the Education program at Montana Western. He founded the Montana Western Equestrian Team in 2002 and is the current Head Coach.
In 1999 Xanthopoulos co-authored a book entitled “Global Education for Perspective Teachers” and is an authoritative voice on multicultural education.
Judy Ulrich was appointed by Gov. Brian Schweitzer to the Montana Arts Council. This agency of state government, similar to those in 49 other states and the National Endowment for the Arts, was established in 1967 “to develop the creative potential of all Montanans, advance education, spur economic vibrancy and revitalize communities through involvement in the arts.” Ulrich is also the faculty advisor for the Polynesian Culture Club and is active in its development.
Along with teaching education courses at Montana Western, Kathy Shipman is a supervisor for student teachers and a member of the Dillon K-8 Parent Council. She is the program coordinator for the elementary and secondary education program partnerships between Montana Western and Montana Tech of the University of Montana-Missoula. She is also the Montana Western-Montana Tech Education Club advisor.
Laura Straus specializes in literacy education, with an emphasis on adolescent literacy, reading engagement, and motivation to read. Straus is active in several state and national level teacher education and literacy education professional groups. Her interest in authentic assessment and experiential learning has been the focus of much of her service and leadership work on the campus of Montana Western. She loves to read, and teaching students about children’s and young adult literature is one of her favorite pursuits.
During her graduate work, Marlene Stonelake conducted research dealing with the use of portfolios for the assessment of writing. Her work was published and presented at various seminars and most notably this research led to the implementation of the Teacher Education Program (TEP) portfolio, which is a significant part of the teacher education program at Montana Western. With a firm belief in strong communication skills, Stonelake continually researches ways to teach and assess student writing and speaking.
Megan Chilson's research focuses on whole-brain learning, which is the integration of physical movement into traditional academic learning.
In her Elementary Physical Education Methods classes, Chilson pairs research findings with the teaching of a skill or discipline with some type of body movement leading to better academic performance and retention into practical teacher education. Her students develop a lesson plan for a traditional academic subject to be integrated with a physical activity in coordination with classroom teachers. Chilson's work emphasizes the importance of retaining physical education in schools.
Vikki Howard is the coordinator of the Special Education Program at UMW. Howard has worked with a range of children from infancy to adulthood in a variety of settings. These experiences include service in the U. S. Peace Corps in Jamaica. Howard’s research interests center around applied behavioral methods of improving instruction and learning for children with and without disabilities. She is the author of several publications, including peer-reviewed articles and book chapters; her co-authored text, “Very young children with special needs: A foundation for educators, families and service providers,” is in its fourth edition. Howard’s teaching is guided by the principles of commitment to the “power of one,” a progressive attitude of support for human dignity and an appreciation of those qualities that bring people together to teach well.
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Main Hall 400
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Montana Western's Education department is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
Marcus Williams came to Montana Western to play football and major in business administration.
Coming to Montana Western was part of fulfilling a childhood dream of becoming a doctor for Lindsey Densmore.
UMW grad Justinn Marshall was accepted into the University of Washington's regional medical education program.
Recent Montana Western graduate Taeler Rodriguez has been accepted to the University of Denver’s graduate program.
Kolby Brown is a literature major at the University of Montana Western.