Southwestern Adventist University

Undergraduate Bulletin 2015-2016 PDF



Marcel Sargeant, Chair; Michael England, Program Director and Certification Officer; Donna Berkner,  Cheryl The

Adjunct: Carol Campbell, Carlos Estrada, Mary Jacobs


The Education Department of Southwestern Adventist University directly addresses the mission to which the University is committed by preparing individuals in shaping minds, cultivating hearts, and promoting service. The program incorporates a broad liberal arts education as a basis for the more in-depth focus on academic teaching specializations, field based experience, and pedagogy associated with the teaching and learning process. The program prepares individuals for a profession in which they can affect the lives of others in a Christian paradigm.

Students' Learning Outcomes for Education Preparation Program

1)     Students demonstrate an understanding of Seventh-day Adventist beliefs, as they seek the integration of faith and  learning in the classroom.

2)     Students acquire critical content and concepts of the curriculum in their field of study, and practice their craft in and outside the classroom. 

3)     Students use a variety of pedagogical approaches for instruction to assist all students in the mastery of the concepts in their field of study with the goal of creating life-long learners.

4)     Students demonstrate skillful teaching dispositions based on current research, including the pedagogical knowledge necessary in the teaching and learning process, in their area of specialization.

5)     Students work with others to create a positive climate that supports individual and collaborative learning that encourage positive social interaction, and active engagement in learning.

6)     Students understand and use multiple forms of assessment to engage learners to take responsibility for their own learning, and to guide the teacher’s and learner’s in the decision making process.

7)     Students recognize and demonstrate respect for diversity by employing effective strategies in a multicultural setting.

8)     Students show a commitment to professional development, making connections between theory and practice in order to become reflective practitioners.

9)     Students demonstrate a commitment to service as they participate in outreach activities organized by department.

The Education Preparation Program

The Education Preparation Program at Southwestern Adventist University provides teacher training in elementary education, including the intermediate school, and at the secondary level. Through the School of Graduate Studies one can obtain a masters degree in Education.

The Education program is designed to prepare students for certification with the State of Texas, and thus be qualified to teach in either the public or private sector. This preparation is accomplished through a combination of campus and field-based delivery systems.

Degrees are awarded by Southwestern Adventist University, while certification is awarded by the State of Texas. Therefore, a student may seek certification upon completion of any degree, the completion of a state-approved teacher certification program, and the receipt of a satisfactory score on the TExES examinations. To be recommended for certification by Southwestern Adventist University, a minimum of 12 successful semester hours in residence is required.

The State Board of Educator Certification (SBEC) establishes the teacher certification standards. Any change in these standards must be reflected in Southwestern Adventist University's certification requirements; therefore, any modification in the state law affecting our certification requirements takes precedence over statements in the Bulletin.

Seventh-day Adventist teacher certification may be acquired simultaneously by meeting the requirements as outlined in the North American Division Office of Education, "Certification Requirements, K-12", as revised in 2010.

Admission to the Education Preparation Program

Admission to the University and admission to the Education Preparation Program are two separate entities. Students pursuing teacher certification or Teacher's Professional Development courses will be required to take and pass the Texas Higher Education Assessment (THEA) exam. Registration bulletins for taking the THEA are available in the Teacher Education Department. The THEA is offered six times each year. Persons who fail the test may retake it after a four month interval for as many times as needed to pass.

Professional education course work is reserved for students who have met admissions requirements, made application and have been approved by the Teacher Education Committee. The requirements for admission to teacher education at Southwestern Adventist University are as follows:

1.       Take the THEA exam and meet a minimum score of 260 in reading, 230 in math, and 220 in writing. Passing standards are subject to change, as the State Board of Education changes minimum standards.  Note:  You are exempt from the THEA if you earned a score of 500 or better in the areas of Math and Verbal on your SAT or if your ACT score had a composite of 21 with at least a 19 in Math and Language.

2.       Have completed a minimum of 60 semester hours, or be enrolled in the semester that will complete 60 hours.

3.       Have a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0.

4.       Have completed with a "C" or higher College Algebra, Speech, Freshman Composition and Research and Professional Writing or equivalent courses.

5.       Secondary Education certification candidates must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in their major courses.

6.       Meet all other requirements implemented by the Education Department faculty.

7.       Before acceptance all students must submit to, pay for, and pass a criminal background check.

The candidate is responsible for initiating the application, which is available in the Office of Teacher Education. All applications will be accompanied with the following:

1.       A statement of purpose - a one page, typed essay describing reasons for desiring a profession in the teaching field.

2.       Two letters of recommendation from individuals other than relatives.

3.       A personal background check with satisfactory results. This form can be acquired in the Office of Teacher Education.

4.       All potential candidates will have an interview with the Education/Psychology Department professors before being fully accepted into the Education Preparation Program.  See Technical Standards in the Pre--Service Teacher Candidate Handbook.

Degree Plan

After the student has been admitted to the Education Preparation Program, they should develop a degree plan with their major advisor and the Department of Education.  Secondary candidates will be assigned an advisor in the Education Department. A curriculum matrix degree plan will show the elementary or secondary major the curriculum that is required for both elementary and secondary students desiring certification.

Retention in the Education Preparation Program

To be retained in the Education Preparation Program, students must:

  1. Maintain a cumulative 3.0 grade point average in all course work.
  2. Secondary Education certification candidates must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in their major courses.
  3. Give evidence of satisfactory professional growth.
  4. Show promising development in course work and field experiences.
  5. Demonstrate behavior that is ethically and morally responsible.

At the end of the junior year, the teacher education staff will review each student's progress and advise each according to the findings. A student found in violation of any of the above criteria will be placed on probation for the preceding semester.  Each semester thereafter, progress will be evaluated for continuance in the program.

Student Teaching

Student Teaching is a privilege granted to the student through the courtesy of the school and/or district to which the student teacher is assigned. Prompt and regular attendance is required. Students are advised to become familiar with the Student Teaching Handbook prior to student teaching.

Student teaching normally will be taken during the last semester. Student teaching requires full days in the schools for a minimum of 14 consecutive weeks in accordance with the calendar of the school district. Students may not take classes at the university during the hours they are scheduled to student teach, and are limited to 12 credit hours.

Students who do not graduate within six months of student teaching may lose credit for the course and would then need to repeat student teaching. The Teacher Education Committee, prior to consideration for an additional student teaching assignment, must review candidates who withdraw or are withdrawn from a student teaching assignment.

Admission to Student Teaching

To be eligible for student teaching, students must:

1.  Be unconditionally admitted to the Education Preparation Program and approved for student teaching status by the Education Preparation Program Committee.

2.  Maintain a grade of  C or better in courses in the teaching field(s), or academic specialization area, with an overall grade point average of not less than 3.0.

3.  Secondary Education certification candidates must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in their major courses.

4.  Complete a minimum of 45 clock hours of satisfactory work in the field experience component of the professional education courses.

5.  Have senior status.

6.  Completed all methods courses in the program.

7.  Have a commitment to high moral and ethical standards, as defined by the Bulletin.

8.  Students planning for S.D.A. certification only must complete at least one module in a multi-grade teaching setting.

9.  File an application for student teaching by April 15, including the graduation contract, if planning on student teaching for the following academic year.

The Teacher Education Committee will review all applications to determine eligibility for student teaching. Admission to the Education Preparation Program does not necessarily ensure acceptance into Student Teaching. Appeals to any decision must be made in writing to the Department of Education and Psychology, and if needed, to the Vice President for Academic Administration.

Recommendation to the State Board for Educator Certification

To be recommended to the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) for teacher certification, a student must have successfully met the following criteria:

1.  All specified course work must be completed on the degree plan or certification plan in which certification is sought.

2. Students must complete EDUC491-04 and EDUC491-05 and score a minimum of 80% on the posttests to receive approval to take the TExES certification exams

3.  In accordance with Article 6252-13c, Texas Civil Statutes, the Texas Commissioner of Education may suspend or revoke a teaching certificate, or refuse to issue a teaching certificate, for a person who has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor for a crime which directly relates to the duties and responsibilities of the teaching profession. All applicants for Texas certificates will be screened for a record of felony or misdemeanor conviction through the Texas Department of Public Safety. Students must make application through the SBEC website and enclose the appropriate fee required for the certificate sought. The Teacher Certification Officer will make recommendations based upon satisfactory completion of all requirements pertaining to certification.

State Certification

Certification levels for teaching certificates will be:

  1. Early Childhood-Grade 6 (EC-GR 6)
  2. Grades 4-8 (GR 4-8)
  3. Grades 8-12 (GR 8-12)  (will no longer be 8-12 but 7-12 as of Fall 2013) with specialization in English, History, Journalism, Life Science, Physical Science, Mathematics, Speech, or Social Studies.
  4. All Level Physical Education or Music for Early Childhood-Grade 12 (EC-12).

SDA Teaching Certification

North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists: Elementary Endorsement for Grades 1-8, Speciality Endorsement in Kindergarten, and Secondary Content Area Endorsement for Grades 7 - 12. Content areas available for Grades 7-12 are Business, English, History, Journalism, Life Science, Mathematics, Music, Physical Education, Social Studies, and Speech.

State of Texas:
EC-6, GR 4-8, GR 8-12, and All Level Physical Education and Music K-12. Content areas available for Grades 8-12 are: Business, English, History, Journalism, Life Science, Mathematics, Physical Science, Social Studies and Speech.

Federal Title II Rating

Southwestern Adventist University  is currently ranked in the second quartile nationally for its Title II rating. This reflects a 90% pass rate by students taking the state certification exams during the last year school year.

Programs (Click for more info)

  • B.S.  Elementary Education

Southwestern Adventist University offers a major in Elementary Education. A major in Secondary Education is not available. A person interested in Secondary Education must complete a major and/or a minor in another discipline in addition to the course work required for teaching certification. The Education Preparation Program consists of three major components; academic foundations (general education), professional development and academic specialization.

Information not shown.

Courses (Click for more info)

Information not shown.

Other Courses Required (Click for more info)

Information not shown.

Alternative Certification Program (Click for more info)

This program is designed for individuals who are in possession of an undergraduate degree and their degree is not in the field of education, but they want to enter the teaching profession. It is our goal to prepare individuals for State Certification in the State of Texas by means of online and field-based delivery systems.

The State Board of Educator Certification (SBEC) establishes the teacher certification standards and grants the certification once students have passed the necessary certification tests as stipulated by said body. This Alternative Certification Program (ACP) prepares and recommends students for certification when they have completed all requirements as stipulated by the Teacher Education Department at Southwestern Adventist University.

Information not shown.

Alternative Certification Courses (Click for more info)

Information not shown.


Southwestern Adventist University