School of Education
Westminster College's School of Education prepares students to become dedicated educators who will teach, inspire, and lead future generations. Program curriculum is rooted in global learning and social justice—you will actively seek new perspectives, cultivate a sense of social responsibility, and act towards greater equity.
Graduates of the School of Education will leave Westminster prepared to be responsive to students from diverse backgrounds and of diverse learning styles. Practical experiences you participate in during your studies will give you the opportunity to learn through doing—at Westminster, your education is much more than what can be found in the confines of a textbook or in the instruction you receive in the classroom.
Welcome to Westminster College School of Education (SOE).
We are leading the way in preparing the next generation of leadership for the changing landscape of education. We believe in the power of education to promote social change in building healthy, vibrant communities. As such, we have created a range of stimulating and challenging learning experiences aimed at preparing highly dedicated students for important education leadership roles. In our programs, students engage in signature practices that weave throughout the curriculum, pedagogy, assessments, and a wide variety of field and clinical experiences. Central to these practices are community engagement, critical thinking, progressive pedagogical practices, and global learning, which are demonstrated in students' capstone projects.
The diversity of our programs reflects the varied educational settings in which learning occurs, including schools, communities, and natural outdoor spaces. Teachers need to be responsive to diverse learners who are able to inspire students to think critically and creatively as active, engaged learners. Beyond the classroom, educators learn in field and clinical experiences that begin early in their program and continue through program completion. Faculty encourage educators to go beyond classroom teachers to be important advocates and change agents to ensure access to learning for all learners. We prepare educational leaders for a variety of community settings addressing significant societal issues on local, national, international, and global levels (e.g., education for social justice; critical pedagogy; teaching English for English Language Learners; issues of access, equity, and inclusion; and outdoor education leadership, diversity, and the environment).
It is with great anticipation that we prepare the next generation of leadership to bring about significant social change in our commitment to building healthy, educated communities. We hope you are one of them!
Melanie Agnew, EdD
Dean, School of Education
To prepare and inspire the next generation of innovative leadership for a range of educational contexts.
To be a leading school of education recognized for living our shared values, and our commitment to community engagement through teaching, learning, scholarship, and service.
Access, Equity, and Inclusion
Access to education is a basic human right. The School of Education's educational policies ensure that all people have equal opportunity to participate in education that promotes the highest quality outcomes for all regardless of their social class, ethnicity, physical abilities, religious beliefs, cognitive abilities, political views, gender identification, or sexual orientation.
Diversity reflects the uniqueness and beauty of humanity. The School of Education recognizes and values differences across the spectrum of individual and group identities and, in so doing, enriches itself, its students, and its community. Learning about the origins, traditions, cultures, values, attitudes, ideas, and perspectives that exist among us is necessary to promote positive, healthy communities.
Global learning requires that we understand the interdependencies of global systems and how these systems impact individual actors within contexts. This means actively seeking new perspectives that will strengthen our relational thinking so that we can cultivate a sense of personal social responsibility and take effective action.
Social justice is based on the concepts of human rights and equality, viewing all people as deserving equal economic, political, and social rights and opportunities. The School of Education designs curriculum to promote learning that is focused on developing awareness of how, when, where, and why social structures are inequitable. It is expected that this learning will result in taking action toward greater equity.
Life-long learning includes formal, informal, and non-formal learning experiences that foster the continuous development and improvement of the knowledge and skills needed for personal, civic, social, and/or employment-related fulfillment. Lifelong learning encourages creativity, initiative, and responsiveness in people thereby enabling them to show adaptability in a society that requires one to manage uncertainty, communicate across and within cultures/communities, and negotiate conflicts and challenges. Learning to learn is a vital skill in a rapidly-changing world.
The School of Education implements a number of practices in its curriculum to help students become well-rounded and informed educators.
Experiences in Global Learning
Global learning is a critical analysis of and engagement with complex, interdependent global systems and histories (such as natural, physical, social, cultural, economic, political, and educational) and their implications for people's lives and the earth's sustainability. Through global learning, you should:
- Become an informed, open-minded, and responsible person who is attentive to diversity across the spectrum of differences
- Reflect on how your actions affect both local and global communities
- Address the world's most pressing and enduring issues collaboratively and equitably
Critical Consciousness and Action
The development of a critical consciousness happens through group dialogue, participatory action, and empowerment. Developing your critical consciousness increases your agency to critique systems of oppression/inequality in systems of power. And, when you come together with other people with a developed critical consciousness, dialogue can go beyond a simple discussion of personal opinions to the application of critical thinking skills, active listening, and open minds in discussions about your communities, how community conditions impact you, and how you can join in taking action to improve your lives and communities. These discussions focus on purpose, issues of human dignity, freedom, authority, conceptualized notions of reason, intellectual quality, and social responsibility.
From early on and throughout your studies in any education program, you engage in hands-on, practical experiences in the field including internships, observations, practicums, fieldwork, research projects, and student teaching. The School of Education collaborates with diverse institutions including public, private, and charter schools, afterschool programs, non-profit organizations, and for-profit organizations to offer you a variety of opportunities in differ ent settings. Key features of your practical experiences and classroom instruction include civic engagement and community collaboration with a focus on reciprocal learning.
Critical and Progressive Pedagogical Approaches
The School of Education aims to implement culturally responsive current research and evidence-based pedagogical approaches while emphasizing and modeling differentiation, relationship building, innovation, and the importance of disciplinary content knowledge. The analysis of power relations is central to the school's critical and progressive pedagogical approach. Critical and progressive pedagogical approaches frame your work as an educator, with an emphasis on social justice and, in collaboration with those we serve, draws upon funds of knowledge in your instructional practice.
The School of Education uses data to support continuous improvement and the interests of prospective and current students, faculty, accrediting bodies, and the public. This data summarizes teacher candidate performance assessment data acquired from the Utah State Board of Education, SOE iSurvey Results, Higher Education 2018 Title II Report, Westminster College Registrar’s Office, Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability and Reform (CEEDAR Center), and the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (GTL Center).
Teacher Candidate Work Sample and Portfolio Scores
Teacher Candidate Field Evaluation Scores
Title II Program Completers
Westminster undergraduate education programs prepare you to begin your career.
- Educational Studies (major and minor)
- Elementary Education (major)
- Outdoor Education and Leadership (major and minor)
- Special Education (major and minor)
- TESOL (minor)
WCore Liberal Education Program
The unique, liberal arts WCore courses that every Westminster student takes as a part of their studies are extremely valuable to education students. WCore classes focus on synthesis, communication, and research, helping you develop the skills crucial for relating to the people and world around you.
Westminster’s graduate education programs will expand your professional opportunities in your career.
Professional and Continuing Education
The School of Education’s ArtsConnect initiative offers arts-integrated professional development and continuing education programming for classroom teachers, arts educators, paraprofessionals, and administrators throughout Utah.
Throughout her life, Beverley Taylor Sorenson was a tireless champion for the arts. She graduated from the University of Utah with a teaching certificate and taught kindergarten in a Quaker school in New York. As a young woman, she also served as the children’s music coordinator for her church. In 1995, she began developing an integrated arts teaching model (which would later become the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program) by collaborating with arts education professionals, state organizations, and higher education institutions throughout Utah.
Beverley passed away May 27, 2013, leaving behind a rich legacy of love and support for arts education in Utah. Her vision remains instrumental in reinvigorating elementary arts education at institutions of higher education to prepare classroom teachers and teaching artists to teach in and through the arts.
In 2008, the Utah State Legislature adopted Beverley’s integrated arts teaching model and named it the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program in her honor. The program has since provided the funding needed to put specialists trained in visual art, dance, music, and theatre in elementary schools across Utah to develop lesson plans that incorporate art in instruction, effectively increasing student performance in every subject. The program also funds teacher training programs at colleges and universities; pays for art supplies, equipment, and materials; and supports ongoing research to ensure quality implementation and results. The Utah State Board of Education administers the program statewide.
To develop a strong and lasting foundation, Beverley and the Sorenson Legacy Foundation have committed more than $50 million to the program statewide, including collaborating with administrators and university/college faculty/staff to establish higher education programs at Brigham Young University, Dixie State University, Southern Utah University, University of Utah, Utah State University, Weber State University, and Westminster College. These programs train those who teach art to elementary school children.
Until her passing at the age of 89, Beverley was a fixture at Capitol Hill, committing her time and efforts to lobby the legislature for more funding for the program to ensure that every elementary child in Utah receives the benefits of an arts-rich education. Through her vision and dedicated building of partnerships across public and private sectors, Beverley created a strong network that continues to support the immense growth and need for arts educators across Utah.
In conjunction with the Sorenson Legacy Foundation, Beverley generously gifted an endowment in 2008 to Westminster College. This endowment helps fund much of the arts education programming at Westminster, including but not limited to:
- Undergraduate and graduate arts integration courses
- The ArtsBridge Scholarship
- The Sorenson Scholarship
Westminster will forever be grateful for Beverley’s vision, which continues to unfold each day in the lives of children locally and around the world.