One of the initial purposes of Jacksonville State University was to serve as a teachers college. Education is the focus of every college, but preparing students for a career in education has been a goal of the university since 1930.
That is one reason why such a high percentage of JSU students major in education. The Secondary Education Department has continued the focus of turning students into teachers.
The department is located in Ramona Wood Hall. Dr. Emily Sims serves as the Secondary Education Department head.
She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Jacksonville State University before receiving her Doctorate from the University of Alabama. She has been the Department Head for a year and a half.
Students majoring in Secondary education learn in university classrooms, but they are also able to gain real world experience. They are able to participate in both practicas and internships. Students handle real classroom situations and learn lessons to aid them in their teaching careers.
David Crunkilton, a student majoring in secondary education, said, “My time with the secondary education program has definitely prepared me for graduation. All of the courses that they offered and all of the in-school experiences have helped me develop skills that I will use as long as I teach.”
Before a student may enter the Secondary Education program, there are specific requirements that must be met. Students must take and pass the English Competency Exam (ECE), the ETS Proficiency Profile (EPP), and the PRAXIS II.
They are also required to take the Alabama Educator Certification Testing Program (AECTP), which is a test that consists of three different portions. Each portion of the test must be passed. These are required standardized tests for similar programs at other universities as well. There may also be other standardized tests that are required, depending upon the student’s concentration.
The Secondary Education Department offers both undergraduate and graduate programs. There are about 15 undergraduate programs. Some of them include biology education, English language arts education, Spanish education, history education, music education, family and consumer sciences education and mathematics education.
There are about 10 graduate programs. Many of the programs are similar to the undergraduate programs, but they are more advanced. The undergraduate and graduate programs are consistently reviewed and improved to ensure that the students are getting a high quality and beneficial education. There are faculty advisers for each type of program.
The faculty advisers also aid students in reaching their graduation requirements. “They put forth a great deal of effort to make sure that we are as prepared as possible to enter the workforce,” Senior student Courtney Brown said.
“The best part of the Secondary Education Department is the staff at Jacksonville State University. They are always willing to help students to the best of their ability,” David Crunkilton said.
When students graduate, they are able to teach their major program in grades six through twelve in Alabama public schools. “Based on recent data provided by the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama, Jacksonville State University graduates more teachers than any of the other Educator Preparation Providers in the state. We systematically place our candidates in diverse school settings to allow them to experience various learning environments. Our programs will equip candidates with the necessary knowledge, skills, and dispositions all effective educators must possess,” Sims said.