Undergraduate Catalog 2021-2022

College of Education and Behavioral Sciences

Gary A. Ransdell Hall, Office 2038
Phone: 270-745-4662; Fax: 270-745-6474
Website: http://www.wku.edu/cebs

Dr. Corinne Murphy, Dean
Email: Corinne.Murphy@wku.edu

Dr. Dennis K. George, Associate Dean
Email: Dennis.George@wku.edu


The College of Education and Behavioral Sciences fulfills its mission of, “Empowering Individuals to Lead and Serve our Dynamic World, through preparing and developing professionals in diverse disciplines who serve our region and beyond.  

The College of Education and Behavioral Sciences is composed of the School of Teacher Education; the School of Leadership and Professional Studies; and the Departments of Counseling and Student Affairs; Military Science and Leadership, and Psychology. In addition, the College provides services to the community through the Center for Gifted Studies; the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children; Training and Technical Assistance Services; Military Student Services; the Center for Environmental Education and Sustainability; the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning – Models in Innovation; the Center for Literacy; the Center for Innovation in Math, Science, Engineering, and Technology Educational Excellence; the Kelly Autism Program, housed in the Suzanne Vitale Clinical Education Complex, the Talley Family Counseling Center, located in Gary Ransdell Hall; and the Center for the Study of Lifespan Development.

Within the College, undergraduate, graduate, and professional doctoral programs are offered in educational leadership, school counseling, mental health counseling, marriage, couple and family counseling, student affairs, educational administration, elementary education, gifted studies, middle grades education, secondary education, science and mathematics education, environmental education, interdisciplinary early childhood education, special education, library/informatics and technology, literacy education, adult education, military science and leadership, organizational leadership, interdisciplinary studies, workforce administration, general psychology, clinical psychology, and school psychology. The College’s programs are designed to prepare graduates for roles as teachers and school leaders, as well as for roles in business, clinical agencies, government, and industry. In conjunction with the ROTC program, the College provides well-educated commissioned officers to serve in the Regular Army, the Army National Guard, and the U.S. Army Reserves.

Baccalaureate programs (undergraduate majors and minors) in these areas are described in this catalog, while information about master’s, education specialist, and doctoral degree programs are provided in the Graduate catalog. Those interested in any of these programs should contact the head of the appropriate department or the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences Dean’s Office. In addition, information about each department and program may be found on the College’s website: http://www.wku.edu/cebs.

Teacher Education Programs

The College of Education and Behavioral Sciences offers programs that are specifically designed for the professional growth of teachers and school leaders. These programs encompass the pre-service, in-service, and continuing education aspects of teachers’ professional preparation. Within this framework, the programs serve to develop positive attitudes toward the profession of teaching, skills in specific areas, and dispositions necessary for continuous professional growth.

While the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences assumes primary responsibility for the professional preparation of teachers, the opportunity to educate teachers for the schools of the Commonwealth and the nation is shared by the University as a whole. Western Kentucky University is a charter member of the Renaissance Group for Teacher Education, which reflects its total campus commitment to quality teacher education programs.

The College’s undergraduate teacher preparation programs are designed to meet the University’s standards for baccalaureate degrees and the Kentucky standards for the designated teaching certificate. If the requirements for certification are changed at the state level, students seeking certification may be required to modify their programs of study to meet the new requirements. The professional education unit is accredited by Kentucky’s Education Professional Standards Board and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. All programs are approved by Kentucky’s Educational Standards Board. All professional education courses require completion of field experiences in appropriate off-campus settings as mandated by the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board. Details about the field placement policy, including the requirements for approval to be placed in a field setting, are provided on the website for the Office of Professional Educator Services (http://www.wku.edu/teacherservices).

For the most current information on teacher education and certification, admission to professional education, and admission to student teaching, consult the website for the Office of Professional Educator Services: http://www.wku.edu/teacherservices. Other policies applicable to students in teacher education programs may be found here: http://www.wku.edu/cebs/programs/undergraduate/policies/.

Students should begin seeking admission to the professional education unit early in their major. Students who have not met the requirements for admission to professional education may not proceed in a teacher education program past the pre-requisite courses.

The following are required of all undergraduate students seeking admission to professional education:

  1. The candidate must file an application for admission to professional education and attend a Professional Education Admissions Orientation.
  2. The candidate must file a statement indicating no convictions or pending charges on a felony or sexual misconduct misdemeanor. Individuals with a conviction or pending charges must contact and confer with the Director of Professional Educator Services.  Falsification of this statement will result in immediate removal from teacher education.
  3. The candidate must file a statement verifying that he/she understands such information as the current employment conditions, demands of the teaching field, wide range of skills essential to the teaching field, amount and nature of required class work, necessity of becoming involved in clinical experiences, increasing complexity of the teaching profession, cut-off scores on required tests, and academic attainment required for admission.
  4. The candidate must file a statement indicating that he/she have received a written copy of the: (1) requirements for admission to teacher education and student teaching, (2) components/requirements related to program courses (portfolios, authentic assessment techniques, field experiences), (3) “Program Matriculation Standards Correlated to Teacher Admission,” and (4) current Kentucky testing requirements (Praxis CORE).
  5. The candidate must file a statement indicating a commitment to uphold The Professional Code of Ethics for Kentucky School Personnel and received notification of the Code of Conduct Review.
  6. The candidate must submit a completed physical, TB screening, Child Abuse & Neglect (CAN) check, and criminal background check (through Verified Credentials), all dated within one year of submission.
  7. The candidate must provide an appropriate photograph for his/her file.
  8. In order to be admitted to teacher education, the candidate must achieve and maintain a minimum overall GPA of 2.75. (In order to student teach the candidate must have a 2.75+ GPA in professional education, any identified certification area(s), and overall.) If the candidate has less than a 2.75 GPA, he/she can request admission based on the last 30 hours of course work if GPA is 3.0 or above. Requests must be emailed to the Office of Professional Educator Services at teacher.services@wku.edu.
  9. As verification of proficiency in the use of oral language, the candidate must attain a grade of “C” or higher in an approved general education speech course for education majors, COMM 145, or equivalent course.
  10. As verification of writing proficiency, the candidate must have at least a 2.5 GPA in English 100 and English 300 (or equivalent courses) with neither grade being less than a “C”.
  11. The candidate must provide the Office of Professional Educator Services with official verification that he/she has successfully completed the pre-professional skills assessments of basic knowledge administered by the Educational Testing Service with the corresponding minimum score: The Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (CASE): Reading, Writing, and Mathematics with minimums of 150 in Mathematics, 156 in Reading, and 162 in Writing. Praxis Test Preparation at WKU: https://www.wku.edu/educatorservices/praxis_test_prep.php.
  12. The candidate must arrange for three separate positive faculty recommendations: Dispositions toward teaching will be evaluated according to specific qualities and traits. Recommendations may not be obtained from instructors of online courses as the dispositions are not necessarily observable in a learning environment. Students will be required to obtain permission of their instructors prior to submitting their recommendation requests online. Students will submit their recommendation requests using a link provided by the Office of Professional Educator Services (OPES). OPES will make contact with the designated instructors once the online request is submitted. Candidates may use only one non-WKU education instructor.
  13. If pursuing a second degree program, the candidate must submit to the Office of Professional Educator Services a copy of their written degree program. Students must be admitted to/enrolled in a program that leads to certification.
  14. All candidates must be officially approved by the Professional Education Committee prior to applying for student teaching. Each of the above requirements must be met prior to committee consideration of the candidate. Deadlines for application and committee consideration of a candidate’s credentials are: September 15 for Fall admission and February 15 for Spring admission.

Required of applicants seeking a second baccalaureate degree or certification-only for initial certification (in addition to the requirements for all students):

  1. Document a minimum overall GPA of at least 2.75 (counting all coursework completed at the time of admission to teacher education), or a minimum GPA of at least 3.0 in the last 30 hours.
  2. Demonstrate proficiency in oral communication, either by attaining a minimum grade of “C” in COMM 145 (or approved equivalent course); OR by documenting a minimum undergraduate degree GPA of at least 2.75.
  3. Demonstrate proficiency in written communication, either by attaining a GPA of at least 2.5 in ENG 100 and ENG 300 (or approved equivalent courses), with neither grade lower than a “C” (English credit earned with an Advanced Placement score of 3 or higher, ACT English score of 29, SAT Verbal score of 620, or CLEP proficiency will be accepted as equivalent to a “B”); OR by documenting a minimum undergraduate degree GPA of at least 2.75.
  4. Obtain three favorable faculty recommendations.
  5. Submit a copy of an approved written degree program or certification-only program for a program leading to initial certification.

WKU programs that lead to teacher certification through Kentucky Educational Professional Standard Board (EPSB):

  1. Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education (grades P-5) leading to teacher certification.
  2. Bachelor of Science in Middle Level Education in Social Studies and Language Arts (grades 5-9) leading to certification in English/Communications and/or Social Studies.
  3. Bachelor of Science in Science and Mathematics Education, leading to certification for middle school (grades 5-9) or secondary (grades 8-12) mathematics or science certification when combined with one of the following majors:
    • Middle Grades Mathematics
    • Middle School Science
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
  4. Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education (birth to primary age), leading to certification.
  5. Bachelor of Science in Special Education/Elementary Education: Learning and Behavior Disorders (grades P-12) and Elementary Education (grades P-5) leading to dual teacher certification in both areas.
  6. Program of study in Secondary Education (grades 8-12) leading to certification with the following academic majors:
    • English for Secondary Teachers
    • Social Studies (includes Economics, Geography, Government, History, Psychology, Sociology)
  7. Program of study in Middle/Secondary Education (grades 5-12) leading to certification with the following academic majors:
    • Agriculture Education
    • Family and Consumer Sciences Education
  8. Program of study in Comprehensive Education (grades P-12) leading to certification with the following academic majors:
    • Art Education
    • Modern Languages Education, including Chinese, Spanish
    • Music Education (Instrumental, Integrated, Vocal)
    • Physical Education
  9. Program of study in Comprehensive Education (grades P-12) leading to certification with the following academic minor (also requires completion of a teacher certifiable major):
    • Health Education

Expiration of Courses and Programs Leading to Teacher Certification

For Undergraduate Certification-only Programs

A student who entered WKU as a beginning freshman or transfer student Fall 2005 and thereafter (i.e. electronic degree audit eligible students) will be allowed seven consecutive years from the student’s catalog term (initial term of entry) to complete coursework. The Dean of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences may grant an extension to this deadline. If the Commonwealth of Kentucky makes changes in certification requirements, students seeking certification may be required to modify their programs of study to meet the new requirements.

For Undergraduate Courses Used to Satisfy Requirements in Programs Leading to Teacher Certification

Consistent with CAEP Standards, approved courses for programs leading to teacher certification must be aligned with current standards. Some older courses may not be aligned with current standards, and thus it may not be appropriate to count them in a student’s program. Generally speaking, professional education and “content” courses used to satisfy program requirements in programs leading to professional education certification should be no more than 10 years old. Decisions about whether older content courses may be used will be made on a case-by-case basis by the department head of the student’s major. For students in programs leading to secondary certification (Grades P-12, 5-12, and 8-12), decisions about whether older pedagogy courses may be used will be made by the faculty in the department in which the course is offered. However, if the pedagogy course is offered outside of the School of Teacher Education, the decision about whether the course may be used will be made in consultation with the School of Teacher Education. In all cases, documentation regarding the currency of course content and the alignment of the course with current teacher standards must be provided by the student and approved by the department that offers the course, upon recommendation from the School of Teacher Education when appropriate. Students who wish to use courses older than 10 years to satisfy program requirements may be required to demonstrate proficiency related to current course content and learning outcomes.

Advising for Teacher Education Programs

All majors will be advised in the College of Education and Behavioral Science once they have reached junior status.

Recommendation for Initial Teacher Certification

To be recommended for initial certification at the baccalaureate level (including post-baccalaureate certification-only programs), an applicant must document:

  • Completion of approved program in each desired certification area(s);
  • Passing score(s) on the PRAXIS II exam(s) or other assessments required for each desired teaching area(s) (see http://www.ets.org/praxis/ky for the most current list of required assessments);
  • Achievement of at least a 2.75 GPA overall, in each certifiable major(s) and minor(s), and in professional education courses; and
  • Attainment of at least a “C” in all professional education courses, including EDU 489 and student teaching.

Transfer Credit for Teacher Education

If determined to be equivalent, professional education courses completed at another institution may be accepted for transfer to Western Kentucky University teacher preparation programs, provided that a minimum grade of “C” was earned in each course accepted for transfer and the course meets the course expiration guidelines as stated above.  

Field Experience Policy

WKU undergraduate teacher preparation programs are designed to meet the University’s standards for baccalaureate degrees, master’s degrees, specialist degrees, and certification-only programs, as well as the Kentucky standards for the designated teaching certificate. All professional education programs require completion of a variety of diverse and focused field experiences in appropriate off-campus Primary-Grade 12 school settings and school-related settings as well as student teaching or equivalent experiences. The number of required hours of field experiences varies by program; however, a minimum of 200 hours of approved off-campus field experience is required in professional education courses prior to the student teaching experience or equivalent. The candidate is responsible for documenting completed hours, date, and setting. In addition, all programs require one 16-week or two 8-week full-time student teaching placements, or appropriate equivalent. Every effort is made to provide teacher candidates with field experiences in diverse settings (based on socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, language, and exceptionalities of students) in order to ensure that they are prepared to help all students learn. Prior to visiting any school, a student must have on file in the Office of Professional Educator Services a current TB risk assessment, a current physical exam, and a current criminal background check. Students are responsible for the expenses incurred in complying with this requirement.

By state regulation, the requirements regarding field experience apply to all students doing student teaching in Spring 2014 and beyond.