Dean: Tammy Overstreet
Undergraduate Faculty: Krystal Bishop, Gary Bradley, Jr., Bonnie Eder, Faith Laughlin, Cathy Olson, Tammy Overstreet, Cristy Pratt, Matthew W. Tolbert, Tron Wilder, Ruth Williams
- Teacher Education: Krystal Bishop
- Psychology: Ruth Williams
- B.A. Psychology, Cristy Pratt, Matthew W. Tolbert, Tron Wilder, Ruth Williams
- B.S. Psychology, Clinical, Tron Wilder
- B.S. Psychology, Industrial/Organizational, Cristy Pratt
- B.S. Psychology, Psychobiology, Ruth Williams
- B.S. Psychology, Family Studies, Matthew W. Tolbert
Philosophy and Objectives
The School of Education and Psychology subscribes to the belief that human beings were created in the image of God, and as a result of disobedience sin has marred their God-given attributes and divine likeness. We believe that the object of education is also the object of redemption-to restore in people the image of their Maker. To this end, we philosophically endorse this statement from the book Education: “True education means more than the perusal of a certain course of study. It means more than a preparation for the life that now is. It has to do with the whole being, and the whole period of existence possible to man. It is the harmonious development of the physical, mental, and spiritual powers. It prepares the student for the joy of service in this world and the higher joy of wider service in the world to come.”
Our objectives are to represent Christ in all that we do, to prepare our students for global service, and to present courses and programs of study that encourage students to integrate into their lives Bible-based beliefs and values as understood by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Statement of Mission
The mission of the School of Education and Psychology at Southern Adventist University is to prepare effective Christian professionals who demonstrate a commitment to the pursuit of truth, wholeness, and a life of service in a diverse society.
Students required to perform field or practicum experiences will accept personal responsibility for their learning and professional behavior. Each student contracts to abide by policies of the School of Education and Psychology.
Students will be expected to provide their own transportation for individual field and practicum experiences unless a lab fee has been assessed for cohort-based field experiences.
The State of Tennessee and local school districts have laws and policies governing the safety of K-12 students in reference to accessibility to these students. To be in compliance with state and local laws, all teacher candidates must submit to fingerprinting conducted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Should a fingerprint report yield record of a criminal offense, established departmental protocol will be followed. Per this policy, criminal offenses must be legally expunged before the candidate is permitted to participate in any field experiences. Students admitted to Student Teaching must become familiar with policies outlined in the Student Teaching Handbook.
The School of Education and Psychology reserves the right to revise, add, and withdraw policies and/or courses as necessary to ensure a quality program.
The School of Education and Psychology offers two Master of Science degrees:
- Master of Science in Education (three emphases)
- Instructional Leadership (online)
- Literacy Education (online)
- Outdoor Education (hybrid)
- Master of Science in Counseling (two emphases)
- Clinical Mental Health Counseling
- School Counseling
Degree requirements are described in a separate Graduate Catalog, available by contacting the School of Education and Psychology.
Undergraduate Psychology Degrees
Undergraduate programs in psychology are pre-professional in that they are designed to introduce students to a wide knowledge base in the field and to prepare them for further training.
The goal of the undergraduate psychology programs is to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that prepare them for further training and education in specialized fields of psychology. The learning outcomes emanating from this major goal are grouped into two major categories:
- Knowledge, skills, and dispositions consistent with the science and application of psychology, and
- Knowledge, skills, and dispositions consistent with both a Christian and a liberal arts education.
These outcomes are realized by providing opportunities for psychology students to become effective in the following roles:
- A caring person
- An informed and passionate learner
- A scientific thinker, and
- A committed pre-professional.
These then lay the foundation for pre-professional excellence and constitute the core objectives of the undergraduate psychology programs.
The conceptual framework incorporates the following proficiencies:
- As a caring person, the psychology pre-professional will evidence knowledge, skills and dispositions by:
- Demonstrating the ideals of compassion and justice, along with the belief that all individuals are created in the image of God and thus have unique, inherent value
- Recognizing and respecting diversity, and demonstrating personal integrity
- Considering in decision-making the influence and importance of environmental contexts; familial, social, academic, religious, and cultural
- Advocating and emulating the example of Christ-like service
- As an informed and passionate learner, the psychology pre-professional will evidence knowledge, skills, and dispositions by:
- Demonstrating an awareness of nurturing environments and psychological services and programs
- Demonstrating understanding of central concepts in the major subfields of psychology
- Demonstrating understanding of how individuals develop within and across the lifespan
- Demonstrating understanding of the foundations of psychopathology and mental health and wholeness
- Using technology appropriately to enhance communication and individual learning
- As a scientific thinker, the psychology pre-professional will evidence knowledge, skills, and dispositions by:
- Demonstrating intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, and strategic decision-making
- Using theory, based on scientific research, to enhance practice
- Using the scientific method to pose and answer real-world psychological questions
- Becoming an informed and critical consumer of scientific research
- As a committed pre-professional, the psychology pre-professional will evidence knowledge, skills, and dispositions by:
- Collaborating with peers and consulting with faculty and other professionals
- Demonstrating understanding of the legal and ethical responsibilities in the field of psychology
- Participating in opportunities to achieve excellence and broaden psychological horizons
- Recognizing the value of health and a commitment to a lifestyle of wellness
- Demonstrating appropriate communication skills
Admission to Psychology Programs
- Admission Requirements: In order to be admitted to an undergraduate program in psychology, a student must meet the following requirements:
- Regular Admission to Southern Adventist University: The student must be admitted to the University under Regular Acceptance.
- Application and Statement of Intent: The student must complete an application, including a Statement of Intent essay, explaining why he/she chose psychology as a major and serving as a self-assessment of how the student feels he/she meets the core objectives and expected proficiencies of the program’s conceptual framework: caring person, informed and passionate learner, scientific thinker, and committed pre-professional.
- Adviser Recommendation: Submit an SEP-based (Psychology) academic adviser recommendation. The recommendation is to include signed evidence by the adviser and advisee that they have discussed the applicant’s academic program.
- Minimum GPA: The student must meet the program-specific GPA requirement, as follows:
- For admission to the B.A. program, the minimum GPA required is 2.25. In order to be considered for this program, students must have completed General Psychology with a grade of B- or better.
- For admission to the B.S. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, the minimum GPA required is 2.75. In order to be considered for this program, students must have completed PSYC 122 and PSYC 253 with grades of B or better.
- For admission to the B.S. in Psychobiology, the minimum GPA required is 2.90. In order to be considered for this program, students must have completed General Psychology with a grade of B or better, and General Biology I and II OR Anatomy & Physiology I and II.
- For admission to the B.S. in Psychology Clinical Concentration, the minimum GPA required is 2.75. In order to be considered for this program, students must have completed General Psychology with a grade of B or better.
- For admission to the B.S. in Psychology Family Systems Concentration, the minimum GPA required is 2.75. In order to be considered for this program, students must have completed General Psychology with a grade of B or better.
- Admission Timeframe: Admission to the Psychology program must be completed as part of the coursework required in PSYC 490 . Enrollment in this course is highly recommended in the fall of the junior year.
During their last academic year in the undergraduate program, students are required to write a major position paper and take the Psychology Major Field Test.
- The senior thesis is a self-assessment of how the student has met the core objectives and expected proficiencies of the program’s Conceptual Framework: caring person, informed and passionate learner, scientific thinker, and committed pre-professional. This paper is part of the capstone course, History and Systems of Psychology, and will be read by at least two faculty members.
- The Major Field Test (MFT) in psychology is administered as part of the required experiences of the capstone course, History and Systems of Psychology. The results from the six areas assessed in the Major Field Test will be utilized as benchmarks in the Psychology Unit Plan and Assessment Review.
Undergraduate Degrees in Teacher Education
The School of Education and Psychology is approved by the Tennessee State Board of Education for the preparation of secondary and elementary teachers and is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
The goal of the professional education unit is to facilitate the comprehensive development of school professionals as servant leaders in their communities.
This goal is reflected in the conceptual framework, a goal in which we seek to provide opportunities for each candidate to become effective as (a) a caring person, (b) an informed facilitator of learning, (c) a reflective decision maker, (d) a committed professional. These core objectives are reflected through specific proficiencies that lay the foundation of professional excellence.
The conceptual framework incorporates the following core objectives and proficiencies:
- As a caring person, the candidate/school professional will demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions by:
- Designing experiences that honor best practices related to multicultural and academic diversity
- Nurturing relationships by showing warmth, care, respect, and fairness to all individuals
- Reaching out to families and community agencies
- Emulating the Christ-centered principles of discipleship and service
- As an informed facilitator of learning, the candidate/school professional will demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions by:
- Providing nurturing environments and services based on developmentally and culturally appropriate practices
- Knowing the content and conveying the importance of subject matter
- Developing a repertoire of discipline strategies and procedures that encourage positive learning environments
- Planning for differentiation and scaffolding to ensure that all students experience success
- Utilizing technology to enhance student learning and communication
- As a Christian reflective decision maker, the candidate/school professional will demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions through:
- Demonstrating intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, and strategic decision making
- Planned lessons that incorporate evidence-based practices and appropriate materials
- Using informal and formal assessment data for instructional planning and evaluation
- Reflecting on observation, instruction, and assessment through a Christ-centered world view
- As a committed professional, the candidate/school professional will demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions by:
- Collaborating, consulting, and engaging in opportunities to achieve professional excellence
- Demonstrating professional demeanor, ethical behavior, and carrying out responsibilities conscientiously and punctually
- Recognizing the value of health and a commitment to a lifestyle of wellness
- Demonstrating appropriate written and verbal communication skills
- Studying God’s Word and seeking His will
Teacher Licensure Programs
Southern Adventist University has approved teacher licensure programs at the following*:
||STATE of TN
|BA in Liberal Arts Education Leading to Licensure
|BA in Biology
|BA in Chemistry
|BA in English
|BA in French
|BA in History/Government
|BA in Mathematics
|BMus in Music Education
|BS in Physical Education/Health
|BA in Physics
|BA in Religious Education
|BA in Spanish
|English as a Second Language Teaching Endorsement
|Psychology Minor, Teacher Licensure 9-12
*School Counseling licensure is available in a School Counseling Master’s program.
**7-12 NAD Licensure
Admission to Southern Adventist University does not automatically admit the student into teacher education. There are three stages that students must go through to successfully complete the Teacher Education Program prior to student teaching.
1. Initial Admission to the Teacher Education Program
Each student accepted at Southern Adventist University who indicated that teaching is his/her professional objective is assigned an educational program adviser by the Records and Advisement Office. The advisers assist in planning a student’s academic program each year and guide their advisees through the stages of the Teacher Education Program. Advisers and advisees should work closely to follow the professional sequence of courses.
Students assume responsibility for making necessary applications, meeting the requirements, and other relevant deadlines.
At the time of a student’s Initial Admission to the Teacher Education Program (TEP), the current and subsequent catalogs will determine the requirements for completion of the program and graduation. Deviations to this policy will be valid only if mandated by the North American Division and/or the State of Tennessee Department of Education. Note: Courses with grades lower than “C” in the major studies and professional education must be repeated. Courses required only for SDA licensure must be repeated for any grade lower than a “C-“. At admission to student teaching, candidates must have a minimum 2.75 grade point average in the major studies and a minimum 2.75 grade point average in professional education.
The student must apply for Initial Admission to the Teacher Education Program (usually by the end of the third semester) after completing all requirements as outlined below. Initial admission is required before the student can enroll in most upper division education courses. The following criteria are required for each applicant.
- Be in residence at the University.
- Show evidence of professional dispositions at a developing level or higher.
- In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, students must be, with or without reasonable accommodation (physically and mentally), capable of performing the essential functions of the program.
- Possess an overall grade point average of 2.75 or above.
- Successfully complete 45 undergraduate hours. These hours must include EDUC 129 - Introduction to and Foundations of Elementary Education or EDUC 138 - Introduction to and Foundations of Secondary Education and ENGL 101 and ENGL 102 with a grade of C (2.00) or higher.
- Possess an enhanced ACT/SAT composite score of 22 OR have passed all three sections (Reading, Writing, Mathematics) of the Core Academic Skills for Educators test which is the entrance competency test required by the State of Tennessee. The ACT composite or average score of 22 or above will EXEMPT the Core Academic Skills for Educators test. There is a competitive appeal process for students unable to pass the Core Academic Skills for Educators tests. According to the TN guidelines, only 5% of a yearly cohort may be admitted on appeal.
- Submit a formal application.
- Obtain recommendations from the Vice President of Student Development and the student’s academic adviser.
- Demonstrate evidence of professional dispositions as defined by the Educator Disposition Assessment (EDA), at the developing level or higher. Acceptance to the program with any score below 1 will be conditional; a remedial action plan must be successfully completed.
- Complete a Tennessee Board of Investigation background check that shows no indication of any record. Should a fingerprint report yield record of a criminal offense, established departmental protocol will be followed. Per this policy, criminal offenses must be legally expunged before the candidate is permitted to participate in any field experiences.
- Disclosure of a criminal arrest must be made in writing to the School of Education and Psychology Dean within forty-eight (48) hours after an arrest.
Applications meeting the above criteria are presented to the Teacher Education Council. The candidate will be informed in writing as to the status of the application for admission following the action of the Teacher Education Council.
- Students transferring from another institution and desiring immediate admission to the TEP must provide two recommendations from professors at the institution from which they are transferring and meet all initial admission requirements.
- Transfer students who are seeking licensure and have completed the majority of their field experiences at another institution will be required to complete EDUC 343 .
The primary goal of the advisement process is to orient the teacher candidate with the total teacher education program, with major emphasis on its three components, namely, general education, professional education, and major studies. This is accomplished by the academic adviser as he/she interacts with his/her advisees during advisement sessions.
Secondary majors have an adviser in their major; furthermore, they are expected to seek on-going advisement related to the Teacher Education Program from the Secondary Coordinator and/or the Certification Officer in the School of Education and Psychology.
Criteria and standards for admission to teach education are explicit. Courses may be repeated to raise GPA or candidates may follow the Grievance Procedures found under Academic Policies in the Southern Adventist University Catalog. Students seeking admission to the Teacher Education Program who have failed to obtain satisfactory ACT scores (minimum composite or average of 22) on a test administration in college and who have failed one (1) attempt to pass the Core Academic Skills for Educators test may submit an appeal to the Teacher Education Council. Appeals must be submitted by the 4th semester. Submission of an appeal does not guarantee admission to the Teacher Education Program (TEP). Due to state licensure protocols only five (5) percent of a yearly cohort may be admitted on appeal. This makes the appeal process competitive in nature. Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to teaching and show evidence of strength in other initial admission criteria (e.g. GPA, leadership, service, interpersonal skills, commitment to teaching profession). To submit an appeal due to an ACT score lower than 22 the student must:
- Have an ACT of 20 or higher.
- Submit documentation of working with Learning Support Services to learn test-taking skills.
- Take the Core Academic Skills for Educators tests as mandated by TN Department of Education.
- Demonstrate dispositions that meet expectation as scored by two (2) faculty members identified by the Teacher Education Council.
- Submit a letter of commitment to teaching.
- Submit two letters of recommendation from previous or current professors.
- Submit one letter of recommendation from a professional who has observed interactions with children and youth.
- Interview with faculty.
- Meet all other requirements for initial admission.
A letter of response will be provided to each applicant stating the decision of the Teacher Education Council. The letter will indicate that those accepted on appeal must initiate a meeting with the education adviser, and content area adviser, if applicable, each semester for Praxis II coaching.
If the minimum GPA is not met, an appeal should not be submitted.
2. Candidacy and Retention in Teacher Education
Retention in the Teacher Education Program is contingent on successful completion of courses attempted and maintenance of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions required for initial admission to the program. If the GPA falls below 2.75 or if a candidate does not demonstrate the dispositions expected of a committed professional an Action Plan for Remediation must be successfully completed. The steps for this plan include (a) plan developed in collaboration between the candidate and the Professor and/or Teacher Education adviser, (b) approval of the plan granted by the Teacher Education Council, (c) successful implementation of the plan. The results of the plan will be reported to the Teacher Education Council and shared with the student via email.
3. Admission to Student Teaching
The teacher candidate must file a formal application with the faculty of the School of Education and Psychology for admission to student teaching. A late application may delay the student teaching experience. Student teaching is regarded as the culminating experience of the Teacher Education Program.
NOTE: Prior to the professional semester, the candidate must pass all required PRAXIS II licensure exams. Each candidate must arrange for a Designated Institution Report to be sent by the testing service to Southern Adventist University and the State of Tennessee as evidence of passing scores. All candidates planning to student teach in the fall semester must successfully pass all required Praxis II exams by June 15. All planning to student teach in the winter semester must successfully pass all required Praxis II exams by October 15 of the preceding year.
The following criteria are required for each applicant:
- Complete all professional education courses
- Earn a cumulative minimum GPA of 2.75
- Earn a Major Studies minimum GPA of 2.75
- Earn a Professional Education minimum GPA of 2.75
- Repeat any EDUC courses with grades lower than “C” (2.00)
- Repeat any courses in the major with grades lower than “C”
- Repeat courses in the cognate with grades lower than “C-“
- Obtain a minimum grade of C- in religion and health courses specifically required for S.D.A. teaching licensure
- Demonstrate evidence of professional dispositions as defined by the Educator Disposition Assessment, at the following level: A composite score on EDA of 1.56 (78%) or higher, with no score less than 1, will demonstrate acceptable dispositions. A composite score on EDA of 1.56 (78%) or above, with one score at 0, will require a remedial action plan.
- In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, students must be, with or without reasonable accommodation, (physically and mentally) capable of performing the essential functions of the program.
- Adhere to standards and objectives of Southern Adventist University and the Teacher Education Program
- Submit application and recommendation forms (adviser and recent education professor) by January 30 for student teaching fall semester and by April 26 for the following winter semester required.
- Pass all required PRAXIS II examinations
- Submit key evidences in online platform; these evidences must be at the Proficient level or above.
- Complete a fingerprinted Tennessee Board of investigation background check. Should a fingerprint report yield record of a criminal offense, established departmental protocol will be followed. Per this policy, criminal offenses must be legally expunged before the candidate is permitted to participate in any field experiences
- Disclosure of a criminal arrest must be made in writing to the School of Education and Psychology Dean with forty-eight (48) hours after the arrest
- Provide evidence of CPR Certification
- Provide evidence of First Aid Certification
Applicants meeting the above criteria are approved by the Teacher Education Council upon recommendation from the Teacher Education Advisory. The candidate will be informed in writing as to the status of the application for admission following the action of the Teacher Education Council.
In the event that the Teacher Education Council recommends a conditional acceptance, student teachers will be notified of the condition(s). The adviser and student teacher will collaborate in the development of an action plan. Student teachers accepted conditionally will receive additional coaching from the supervisor. Failure to complete the action plan satisfactorily will result in termination of the student teaching placement. The Teacher Education Council will then determine eligibility for continuing student teaching.
Candidates who do not meet all the criteria required to do Student Teaching may appeal to the Teacher Education Council. Submission of an appeal does not guarantee admission to Student Teaching.
Licensure and certification are synonymous terms for the process of granting legal authorization to teach in the public or private elementary or secondary schools of a state or of the Seventh-day Adventist Church based on meeting predetermined qualifications. Licensure has been established to give professional status to qualified educators and to assure school boards and parents that the teacher is well prepared.
Who can obtain licensure?
Every candidate who successfully completes the requirements for teaching in the elementary or secondary school and graduates from Southern Adventist University will receive recommendation for licensure based upon the following criteria:
- Successful completion of student teaching assignments
- Satisfactory completion of all credential requirements
- Passing scores on the following examinations:
- All required Praxis II
- Applicable edTPA
Licensure is not automatic. The eligible candidate must make the necessary application to the Southern Union Conference, and to any other appropriate union conference for denominational certification; and to the State of Tennessee and to any other specific state department of education where the candidate expects to teach. Information regarding licensure is available from the Southern Adventist University certification officer. Since teacher licensure regulations are always in the process of change, graduating teacher education candidates are urged to make their applications for licensure as soon as possible.
What licenses may be obtained?
- Initial Teaching License (Tennessee)
A license is issued on the basis of a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree with a major in at least one subject teaching field and the completion of an approved teacher education program. Passing scores on all required PRAXIS II Examinations and edTPA (as required) must be obtained.
- Basic Certificate (SDA denominational)
This denominational certificate is issued on the basis of completing the following courses in addition to the required professional education and other EDUC courses. A minimum grade of “C-” is required in these:
Requirements for Licensure
Candidates for state licensure must complete the appropriate teacher preparation curriculum. This consists of three components: general education, professional education, and major studies as specified in the Southern Adventist University Catalog.
- General Education:
This component represents that portion of the total teacher education program designed to foster the development of those competencies that are basic to life’s responsibilities and provides intellectual foundation in the liberal arts. Students pursuing a teacher education curriculum must work closely with their advisers for guidance in the selection of general education courses that are appropriate to their individual needs. Relevant courses are listed in this Catalog under the three main areas of the General Education requirements.
- Professional Education:
Elementary: The elementary program with the degree requirements is listed here .
Secondary and P/K-12: The following courses are required for secondary teaching licensure. In order to be eligible for licensure, candidates must have a minimum grade point average of 2.75 in the major, professional education, and cumulative areas.
- Major Studies:
Major studies requirements: Preparation for teaching in the elementary school requires a B.A. in Liberal Arts Education leading to licensure K-8 SDA (K-5 TN) or its equivalent.
The following departments/schools offer majors/minors that can be combined with professional education courses resulting in licensure to teach:
||Modern Languages (French and Spanish)
Students are to complete the degree requirements as specified by their chosen majors plus the professional education courses as listed above.
- Additional Endorsements:
For licensure, a major is not always required for additional endorsements. A minor may be acceptable in some disciplines as a second field endorsement area. Candidates should contact the Certification Officer in the School of Education and Psychology for information on specific requirements in the area(s) of endorsement sought.
Individuals meeting requirements for secondary licensure who wish to be licensed for elementary or individuals meeting the requirements for elementary education licensure who wish to be licensed/endorsed in one or more secondary areas must meet with the Certification Officer to work out an individualized course of study that meets State of Tennessee and/or Seventh-day Adventist guidelines for teaching licensure.
- Miscellaneous Information Relative to Teacher Training:
- With the exception of EDUC 464 and PEAC 425 according to the State of TN, “no other courses may be taken by candidates during the student teaching clinical practice. In exceptional cases, candidates may seek the approval of [the Teacher Education Council] to take no more than one additional course provided: (1) the course does not interfere with the participant’s full participation in all activities associated with student teaching, and (2) no other opportunity exists for the candidate to take the course before completion of the educator preparation program” (TN Educator Preparation Policy 5.504). Requests for exceptions must be submitted to the Teacher Education Council at the time of applying for student teaching. The Teacher Education Council will determine if the exception will be granted.
- Off-campus or online credit will be accepted to the extent of twenty-five percent of the credit required for the certificate provided that no more than three semester hours in education are applied on the professional education requirement. If personal circumstances demand an off-campus or online course, a petition must be filed with the School of Education and Psychology and its approval obtained before registering for the course. The course must be completed and the grade filed in the Records and Advisement Office prior to the beginning of student teaching.
At the time of an individual’s Initial Admission to the Teacher Education Program, the current and subsequent catalogs will determine the requirements for completion of the program and graduation. Candidates, however, must meet any and all such additional requirements mandated by the NAD, CAEP, or the State of Tennessee Department of Education, even though such changes may not be listed in the Teacher Education programs in the particular catalog under which the candidate entered. Candidates should stay in contact with the School of Education and Psychology to be aware of any changes that may affect them.