Southwestern Adventist University

Undergraduate Bulletin 2017-2018 PDF



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

Adjunct: Carol Campbell, Carlos Estrada, James The


  • B.S.  Elementary Education
  • Secondary Education Certification - A person interested in secondary education certification 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 (EPP) consist of three major components; academic foundations (general education), professional development and academic specialization.
  • Alternative Certification Program - See page 145


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 encourages 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 teachers and learners 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, intermediate school, and secondary level. Through the School of Graduate Studies one can obtain a master's 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 2016.

Admission to the Education Preparation Program

Admission to the University and admission to the Education Preparation Program (EPP) 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 as many times as needed to pass.

EPP 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 earn a score of 550 in both areas 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 in Applied Math, College Algebra, Freshman Composition and Research Writing.

5.     Secondary education certification candidates must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 in their major courses.

6.     Before acceptance all students must submit to, pay for, and pass a criminal background check. Students may request a preliminary criminal history  evaluation letter from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) regarding the potential ineligibility for certification due to a previous conviction or deferred adjudication (a formal judgment on a disputed matter) for a felony or misdemeanor offense. Failure to do this will result in you being removed from the program once this  information becomes known. You will not be able to receive Texas certification if you have a previous conviction or deferred adjudication.

The candidate is responsible for initiating the application, which is available in the Office of  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 or Education/Psychology department faculty.

3.      A personal background check with satisfactory results. The application is available in the Office of 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 advisor.  Secondary candidates will be assigned an advisor in the Education Department along with their advisor in their major field.  A curriculum matrix degree plan will show the elementary or secondary major the curriculum that is required for both certification levels.

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 2.75 in their major courses.
  3. Show promising development in course work and field experiences.
  4. Demonstrate behavior that is ethically and morally responsible according to the TEA Educator's Code of Ethics.

At the end of the junior year, the teacher education faculty 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.

TEA dictates that substitute teaching, and paraprofessional work cannot be used towards completing the internship requirement. You must consult with the Student Internship/Field Supervision Coordinator to get additional information to complete your student teaching experience. See the eligibility requirements noted below for further instruction for appropriate placement.

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 can lose credit for the course and may 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.

Application to Offer Out-of-State/U. S. Territory Field-Based Experiences, Internship, Student Teaching, Clinical Teaching

Texas Administrative Code §228.35 (d) (4)

Subject to all the requirements of this section, the TEA may approve a school that is not a public school accredited by the TEA as a site for field-based experience, internship, student teaching, clinical teaching, and/or practicum. (A) All Department of Defense Education Activity (Dude) schools, wherever located, and all schools accredited by the Texas Private School Accreditation Commission (TEPSAC) are approved by the TEA for purposes of field-based experience, internship, student teaching, clinical teaching and/or practicum. (B) An educator preparation program may file an application with the TEA for approval subject, to periodic review, of a public school, a private school or a school system located within any state or territory of the United States, as a site for field-based experience, or for video or other technology-based depiction of a school setting. The application shall be in a form developed by the TEA staff and shall include, at a minimum, evidence showing that the instructional standards of the school or school system align with those of the applicable Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) certification standards. To prevent unnecessary duplication of such applications, the TEA shall maintain a list of the schools, school systems, videos, and other technology-based transmissions that have been approved by the TEA for field-based experience. (C) An educator preparation program may file an application with the TEA for approval, subject to periodic review, of a public or private school located within any state or territory of the United States, as a site for an internship, student teaching, clinical teaching, and/or practicum required by this chapter. The application shall be in a form developed by the TEA staff and shall include at a minimum: (i) the accreditation(s) held by the school; (ii) a crosswalk comparison of the alignment of the instructional standards of the school with those of the applicable TEKS and SBEC certification standards; (iii) the certification, credentials, and training of the field supervisor(s) who will supervise candidates in the school; and (iv) the measure that will be taken by the educator preparation program to ensure that the candidate's experience will be equivalent to that of a candidate in a Texas public school accredited by the TEA. (D) An undergraduate university educator preparation program may file an application with the TEA for approval, subject to periodic review, of a public or private school located outside the United States, as a site for student teaching required by this chapter. The application shall be in a form developed by the TEA staff and shall include at a minimum, the same elements required in subparagraph (C) of this paragraph for schools located within any state or territory of the United States.

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 2.75 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 and TEA Educators' Code of Ethics.

8.  Students planning for Seventh-day Adventist certification from the North American Division of Office of Education (NADOE) must complete at least one module in a combination teaching setting.

9.  File an application for student teaching two semesters prior to directed teaching.  A valid graduation contract from the Registrar's Office must be in the student's file prior to student teaching placement.

The Education Department will review all applications to determine eligibility for student teaching. Admission to the EPP 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.

Dismissal from the EPP

It is never anticipated that a student will be asked to leave the education program.  There are several levels of support provided for students in order to assist them through the process of teacher certification.  Please seek assistance from these resources when necessary.  it is much easier to deal proactively with a potential situation than to handle it re-actively.  Failure to adhere to the TEA Educators' code of Ethics is cause for immediate removal from the program with no appeals allowed.

If a student finds it necessary to withdraw from the EPP, written notification is required.  it is also important to speak with the advisor for the student to be aware of potential implication of leaving the program.  If necessary, a student may be placed on a growth plan, targeting areas of deficiencies, and support to address and remediate these deficiencies.

A committee will meet comprised of members familiar with the student's situation and construct a plan including goals and a specific timeline.  Failure to meet the goals in the growth plan will result in dismissal from the EPP.


Appeals must be submitted in writing to the Department Chair and the student's advisor.  If appealing an admission or dismissal decision, the request must be provided to the department no more than 5 days after decision is rendered.

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 EDUC 495 and EDUC 496 and score a minimum of 80% on the post tests 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 7-12 with specialization in English, History, Journalism, Life Science, Mathematics,  Physical Science,  or Social Studies.
  3. 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, and Social Studies.

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. 

Certification Program (Click for more info)

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Education Courses (Click for more info)

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Alternative Certification Program

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.

Admission Requirements

There are certain general admission requirements for all applicants and other requirements that are specific to your level and area of certification. General admission requirements for all applicants are as follows:

  1. Bachelor's degree from an accredited university. Note: Applicants who are currently completing degree requirements will not be admitted to (ACP) until degree is confirmed. All applicants with degrees outside of the United States must have these degrees evaluated from an accredited evaluation service and admission to the alternative certification program will be determined by the results of the evaluation. You can obtain an approved list of accredited evaluators from our office or the university registrar (Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc., P O Box 514070, Milwaukee, WI. 53203-3470. Tel: 414-289-3400 or website: If you have already completed this evaluation process, please submit your transcripts and evaluation to The Office of Admissions for further evaluation.

  2. GPA Requirement. GPA of 2.50 from all post-secondary coursework from accredited institutions will be taken into consideration (i.e., community college and college/university) Maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 in all courses in the ACP at Southwestern.

  3. Prospective student is responsible for the following. Completing application for admittance to the ACP (download application form from department website:

    • A statement of purpose - one page, typed essay describing reasons for desiring a profession in the teaching field
    • Two letters of recommendation from individuals other than relatives. Preferably, these recommendations should come from work experience supervisors or former professors
    • Before acceptance to the program all students must submit to and pay for a criminal background check.
  4. Cost of Program.

    • Application: $75
    • A package price of $5,000.00 will be charged for this program. A portion of this fee is designated as a training fee ($200.00 for exam preparation and $400.00 for the internship) Students will be responsible for purchasing their textbooks.
    • Financial aid will be available to qualifying students. All fees related to TExES exam fees and SBEC certification fees are not included as part of the program costs – students pay for their probationary and standard certificates
  5. Length of Program. 12 - 18 months

  6. To maintain Program status students must:

    • Give evidence of satisfactory professional growth
    • Show promising development during internship period
    • Demonstrate behaviors that are ethically and morally responsible

See current Bulletin under the Education section for additional information regarding student teaching and recommendation to SBEC for certification.

Course of Study for Certification Areas:

Certification Areas

Early Childhood

  • EC-GR6 Core Content
  • EC-GR6 Generalist/ESL

Secondary Areas

  • English Language Arts and Reading
  • Life Science
  • Mathematics
  • Social Studies Composite

All Level Areas

  • Music Education
  • Physical Education


All classes are online.

Alternative Certification Courses (Click for more info)

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Educator Certification Examination Retake

Beginning September 1, 2015 candidates will be limited to four attempts to retake any educator certification examination. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is implementing this change to Texas Education Code §21.048 in response to HB 2205, 84th Texas Legislature, 2015.


Southwestern Adventist University