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 for a variety of health related careers.
Graduates will be prepared to teach in middle schools or high schools from grades 5-12 with the following majors:
Graduates will be prepared to teach grades K-12 with the following majors:
Montana Western offers academic 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:
Ann Kish has been a librarian at Montana Western’s Lucy Carson Library since 2006. In addition to her duties as a librarian, she is an instructor for the K-12 Library Media Endorsement Program. Kish has a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of North Texas and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas in Austin. Each fall, Kish teaches LIB 464: Reference Resources, in addition to teaching a variety of the other courses offered through the program.
A versatile music educator, Brent Poe McCabe has taught in a variety of educational venues, from K-12 and community college to university instruction. Throughout his academic journey, McCabe has served as choir and band director, supervised student teachers, and has taught most courses within a collegiate music education program. McCabe has also served as presenter and clinician at state and regional MENC conferences and holds a MM degree from The Juilliard School and a DMA from the University of Arizona.
As an acclaimed classical guitarist, McCabe has performed throughout the United States and abroad and has been a prize winner in numerous national and international music competitions. McCabe has also recorded two CD’s, "Classical Guitar" and "20th Century Latin Guitar Works." He has also performed on radio programs throughout the country, including National Public Radio.
Cheryl Juergens has taught health/physical education at all public school levels (K-12) with an emphasis on cooperative strategies. She has collegiate experience as the head coach for the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams at Vassar and Principia College, as well as high school coaching in cross country, volleyball and swimming and diving.
Juergens’ recent research involves investigating relationship dynamics of dual Ironman and Olympic distance triathlon couples; assessing gender attitudes in student-athletes at the Collegiate National Championships; and conducting a Strong Women™ strength training intervention for older adults.
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.
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.
Denise Holland teaches the methods courses for the Business and Computer Applications, Technology for Elementary Teachers courses, and serves as the post baccalaureate coordinator for students wanting licensure. Holland has a love for technology and the potential it has to serve both students and teachers.
Holland's students work on projects they can use in their classrooms and encourages them to learn as much about technology as possible. Her professional history includes educating college students in business, computer applications, and technology education for the past 10 years; teaching public high school courses in business and marketing; and assisting elementary teachers in creating technology projects for their classes. Holland's research interest focuses around the topic of technology and education.
Doug Daenzer teaches mathematics teaching methods. The capstone section of his methods classes is a field experience in which students observe and work in the classrooms of elementary teachers or high school mathematics teachers. Block scheduling allows his students to immerse themselves in the classroom experience all day for four days straight.
Daenzer also teaches Business Research and Statistics. In this class, students conduct a culminating research project as a class and apply their knowledge of hypothesis development and testing, data gathering, and appropriate statistical analysis in the context of a business problem.
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.
Eva Mastandrea is the chair of the fine arts department. She has taken her love of creating and teaching art around the world twice during two Semesters at Sea in 2000 and 2006. She previously developed her expertise on Asian art through her Fulbright fellowship in China and Japan. Experience One scheduling has helped her students understand and explore the creative process that is essential for artistic expression. Mastandrea has exhibited her own art in non-profit venues throughout the state of Montana.
Greg Ryan’s research focuses on various aspects of human performance. Greg is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He is responsible for teaching Exercise Physiology, Biomechanics, Motor Learning and Control and Advanced Strength Training and Conditioning. He emphasizes hands-on learning in all of his classes, giving students many opportunities to learn about and perform original research on topics of interest. Greg studied at the University of Alabama, and his dissertation focused on cooling strategies for soft body armor.
Janelle Handlos is the university's head athletic trainer and teaches courses in athletic training and nutrition for sport and exercise. Additionally she has supervised students completing internships as athletic training aids for health and human performance, business, and biology degrees.
Students in her classes participate in applied nutrition studies, hands-on first aid and injury prevention techniques, and service learning opportunities. Additionally Handlos works with students as a member of the health and wellness, library, athletic, and scholarship committees.
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.
Julie Bullard is the director of the Early Childhood Education Center at Montana Western. She recently wrote an educational textbook entitled “Creating Environments for Learning: Birth to Age Eight.” This text was published by Merrill/Prentice Hall/ Pearson/Allyn and Bacon. Julie Bullard’s focus of research is on early childhood environments.
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 currently serves as the Chair of the Education Department, and is also active in several statewide teacher education leadership 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.
My name is Mike Schulz and I am an instructor in the University of Montana System K-12 library media program, for the education department, and the library director at the Carson Library of the University of Montana. I started teaching in 1979 at the high school level at Stevensville, Mont. where I spent eight years in the English and history departments. I also taught in Coalinga, Calif. for two years K-12 where I was a District Librarian for a school system called Coalinga—Huron Unified in the central part of the state. I was in charge of five school libraries and an instructional materials center.
My Master’s degree is in Library Science from California State University-San Jose (1989). I also have a Master’s degree in Education with an emphasis in counseling (1984) and a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education with majors in English, History/Social Science and a minor in library science (1979) both from Western Montana College, the precursor of the University of Montana Western.
I have been lucky to work in all types of libraries during my career including school, public, academic and special libraries in both Montana and California. I have also held library positions overseas at a university in London called Huron University UK and on a university ship called Semester at Sea. I love libraries and school library media centers in particular. I came to Montana Western as the library director in 1989.
In my spare time I love to travel. I also love to read, what English teacher/librarian doesn’t, and movies are another passion of mine. I play around with art, drawing mostly, but I can’t say I’ve found my medium in that area yet. My retirement dream is to travel more, explore art, learn how to play a musical instrument and I have the idea for a book in my mind while reading lots of other people’s books.
Mikel Griffiths, a graduate of Idaho State University, is returning for his third year at the University of Montana Western. While at Idaho State University, Griffiths earned an Associates degree in Welding, a Bachelors in Sports Science and Physical Education with a Minor in Coaching, and a Masters in Physical Education. Griffiths previously taught at Idaho State University and Michigan State University. At UMW, Griffiths teaches HEE 303/304, HEE 340, HTR 240, KIN 205, & KIN 221. Originally from Hazelton, Idaho, Griffiths is an avid outdoorsman who loves to fish, hunt, and golf.
Russ Richardson is an athletic trainer and associate professor of Health and Human Performance at the University of Montana Western. Richardson just completed his service as the President/Director of the Northwest Athletic Trainers’ Association – District 10. He is currently the chairperson for the association’s Executive Committee for Education.
Richardson has been actively involved in almost every level of the profession. He has participated in both regulatory and concussion legislative efforts in Washington, California, Alaska, Idaho, and Montana. Richardson has also been teaching sports medicine in Japan since 1992.
His areas of academic expertise include: student success, integration of faith in learning, Eastern versus Western approaches to healthcare, and dealing with catastrophic injury or the death of a student athlete.
As an athletic trainer, Richardson’s career has been primarily providing patient care for intercollegiate athletes. He has provided care for a number of national and international events including the US Figure Skating Championships, World Cup of Wrestling, US Olympic Wrestling Trials, Skate America, and the Hula Bowl All-Star Football Classic.
Teresa Pletch earned a Bachelor of Arts and an Master of Science in English and English Education from Purdue University. After teaching for a few years in Florida, she moved to Indiana. Overall, she taught high school English for thirty-five years and served as a department chair for twenty-nine of them. Hunger for a new adventure brought her to Montana. She loves the outdoors, traveling, theatre, floating the river, reading, riding horses, and learning about anything and everything. Primarily a member of the English Department, she teaches a foundations course and a course on reading and writing connections for the Education Department. Passion for the teaching profession and the joy of helping students find "where they fit" have kept her in the classroom for over forty years.
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.
[Elementary Education; Secondary Education; Industrial Technology]
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University of Montana Western English professor Alan Weltzien is a champion of Montana literature.
For the third time in as many years, Montana Western has a Carnegie Foundation Professor of the Year.
Rebecca Petersen is a living testament to the proud tradition of teaching educators at the University of Montana Western.
Montana Western's biology program is now competitive in the national arena thanks to nearly $2 million in grants secured by Mike Morrow.