While educators across the country are acknowledging the enormous value of a liberal arts education for future teachers, they also recognize the value of a strong clinical component.
Experiences in schools begin early with the exploratory EDUC 2011 or DFED 2042 Level 1 Clinical Experiences. Teacher candidates have the opportunity to lead instruction while enrolled in EDUC 3211 or DFED 3042 Level 2 Clinical Experiences. Various Level 3 Clinical Experiences are included in specialty area and upper division professional education classes. All candidates enter Level 4 Clinical Experiences with between 61 and 166 hours of school experience.
The capstone or Level 4 clinical experience takes place during the teacher candidate’s Professional Trimester. For this experience the teacher candidates, mentor teachers, and university supervisors are trained in co-teaching strategies resulting in maximum benefit for the students and heightened preparedness of the teacher candidate.
For professional trimester approval, an overall average of at least 2.50 on coursework completed is required, with a minimum average of 2.75 in the major area. The professional trimester is the culminating experience in the Teacher Education Program and generally occurs during the second trimester of the senior year. Since the professional trimester experience formally signals entrance into the teaching profession, it should be approached in a professional manner. Prospective teacher candidates should NOT initiate any contact with schools or teachers concerning possible placement.
All professional trimester placement requests must be made through the Coordinator of clinical Experiences, Dr. Nancy Hector.
Minimum requirements for approval to the professional trimester are as follows:
- Admitted to teacher education;
- An overall minimum grade point average of 2.5 with 2.75 in the major area;
- Demonstrated the ability to speak and write correctly;
- Demonstrated a knowledge of the subject matter in the selected teaching field;
- Demonstrated evidence of social and intellectual maturity;
- Satisfied the English Proficiency Examination requirement;
- Successfully completed the methods course(s) in his/her teaching field;
- Attend a pre-professional trimester meeting and apply for approval no later than February 15, for candidates teaching in the fall trimester, and by October 1, for candidates teaching in the spring trimester.
Steps for Approval to the Professional Trimester
Steps involved in applying for approval to the professional trimester are as follows:
- The semester prior to the professional trimester, the candidate will be notified of
and attend a pre-professional trimester meeting to review:
- a) the application form,
- b) the Professional and Personal Data Form,
- c) the Preference Assignment Sheet,
- d) fingerprint and background check information,
- and e) the graduation and licensure requirements.
- The candidate will complete and return the appropriate application forms to the advisor.
- The advisor will check and sign the forms and return them to the candidate.
- The candidate will make an appointment with the Coordinator of Field-Based Experiences to process all forms.
- The Coordinator of Field-Based Experiences will forward the forms to the Director of Teacher Education.
- The candidate's scholastic, personal, interpersonal, and social characteristics will be reexamined by the Teacher Education Committee with the assistance of the candidate's major advisor.
- After the Teacher Education Committee has acted upon the application, the Committee chair will notify the advisor, who will give a copy of the action to the candidate.
- If a candidate is rejected by the Committee, he/she may appeal the decision by pursuing the procedures outlined below.
All teacher candidates will be notified in writing of the professional trimester orientation meeting that they MUST attend prior to beginning their experience.
Professional Trimester Policies
USAO has established the following policies in regard to the professional trimester:
- Candidates must have the required GPAs at the time they make application to the professional trimester and maintain them until they begin their experience. NOTE: If a candidate does not have the required GPAs at the time of application, but is likely to have them by the time he/she enters the professional trimester, the candidate may appeal to the Teacher Education Committee.
- The professional trimester assignment MUST BE equivalent to a minimum of 60 days, full-time.
- The Professional Trimester is generally completed in public schools within a 50-mile radius of Chickasha. If a candidate requests and receives placement beyond the 50-mile radius, he/she will be required to pay mileage and other expenses incurred by the University supervisor in making the necessary visits.
- Candidates will not normally be assigned to:
- high schools previously attended;
- schools where their immediate family members work;
- schools where their own children are in attendance;
- school districts where they have immediate family members or spouses serving on the school board.
- Candidates will not enroll in more than one course in addition to the regular 12 hour block.
If these policies are not adhered to, candidates will be withdrawn from the professional trimester.
Admission to both the Teacher Education Program and the Professional Trimester at USAO requires that candidates adhere to the Code of Ethics of the Education Profession. Any candidate found to be in violation of this code may be denied entry either into the Teacher Education Program or to Professional Trimester.
If the Teacher Education Committee votes to reject an application to the Teacher Education Program or the professional trimester, the candidate may appeal the decision by pursuing the following steps:
- Within ten (10) days of notification of rejection, the candidate will submit to the Chair of the Teacher Education Committee a request for a hearing before the Committee.
- The Chair will schedule the hearing before the Committee within two (2) weeks of receipt of the request.
- The candidate will appear before the Committee and may be accompanied by his/her advisor and/or legal counsel.
NOTE: If the hearing should fall between any one of the regularly scheduled breaks, the Chair will then schedule the hearing within the first two weeks of the next trimester.
If a satisfactory solution for both parties cannot be reached, the dissatisfied party may proceed as follows:
- Submit a written request for a rehearing to the Vice President for Academic Affairs within ten (10) days of the completion of the first hearing.
- The Vice President shall preside at the hearing before a committee consisting of the Director of Teacher Education, the candidate's departmental representative of the Teacher Education Committee, and three student members of the Teacher Education Committee.
- The candidate will appear before this committee and may be accompanied by his/her advisor and/or legal counsel.
- The decision of this committee shall be final.
- If the decision is against the candidate, he/she may resubmit an application after all requirements have been met.