Lehigh University undergraduate students can earn their Bachelor's and Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree in Elementary Education or Secondary Education plus Pennsylvania Teacher Certification in 5 years. We are accredited by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to certify general education teachers in the following areas:
General Science 7-12
Earth and Space Science 7-12
Social Studies 7-12
1.9 M Job Openings Nation-wide
In a completely rational society the best of us would be teachers" Iacocca
The College of Education's teacher certification and degree programs are built upon the premise that expert teaching occurs at the intersection of discipline-specific knowledge and pedagogical knowledge. Good teachers know how to adapt their instruction accordingly to ensure that each child is learning. For this reason --and unlike other four-year undergraduate education programs-- our master's-level teacher education program is in addition to (not in place of) the depth and breadth of coursework required to complete a bachelor's degree in a discipline-specific area. However, if you're working toward the completion of a bachelor's degree at Lehigh, we can shorten the time it takes for you to add a master's and teacher certification from two years to just one additional year.
Lehigh undergraduate students with a minimum cumulative 2.75 GPA can apply for permission to take education classes in the 5-year program. To request an "Application to Take Education Classes as an Undergraduate" and apply to the 5-year program contact the Teaching, Learning, and Technology Program at email firstname.lastname@example.org. Those accepted will begin education classes during the second semester of their sophomore year (or junior year). After graduating with their bachelor's, students continue their master's and certification program with coursework in the summer (12 credits), fall (9-12 credits), and round out their experience in the spring with student teaching (3 credits). All of our teacher education courses explore best practices in evidence-based teaching and learning carefully designed to integrate real-word classroom experiences. The actual number of credits required will vary depending on undergraduate degree and area of certification selected by the candidate. Although any student can apply to the program, in order to finish in 5 years, the student's major must be tightly aligned to the intended area of certification. Students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of at least 2.75 each semester and have attained a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 by the end of the senior year in order to continue on to the fifth year. During the fall semester senior year, 5-year students must apply to the graduate Elementary Education or Secondary Education program for the Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree and teacher certification (fifth year).
Pennsylvania Department of Education Requirements for Teacher Certification
It is important for individuals considering teaching as a career to be aware of the fairly rigorous academic, health, and personal character requirements for teacher certification that are required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) for teacher candidates statewide:
- An overall GPA of at least 3.0 (both graduate and undergraduate)
- Clearances. See Office of Teacher Certification (OTC)
- Refer to the Pennsylvania Department of Education for information on Pennsylvania Certification
Pennsylvania certification is widely accepted nationwide under reciprocity agreements with many other states.
Please contact our Program Coordinator, Donna Toothman, for an application for the 5-year program today!
Civic Hacking: Creating Change
"Knowledge," said the Greek philosopher Plato, "is the food of the soul." Lehigh students who participated in a summer civic engagement project now know first-hand that knowledge can also feed hungry mouths.
Five undergraduates and one graduate student explored the issues of food access and security in the neighborhood around the university as part of Lehigh's Mountaintop initiative, which allows students to independently explore open-ended questions and try to implement sustainable change. The students involved in what was ostensibly termed a "civic hacking" project were asked to identify "potential social issues and community needs" using technological tools to perform research and data analysis. Thomas C. Hammond, associate dean of Lehigh's College of Education, and Sarah Stanlick, director of Lehigh's Center for Community Engagement and a professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, were mentors.
"For the first two weeks we did a lot around technology tools, what types of things you can use to collect data, what data looks like, what are the ethical issues around data," Stanlick said. "Then we started to do some brainstorming about some issues the students may be passionate about. What came to the forefront was food access, food security, education and public health." Bill Farina, a doctoral student in the Teaching, Learning and Technology program whose role was to help guide the other students, said the undergraduates became intrigued with how economic and social divides were reflected in the map of Bethlehem.
Lehigh's home city has as its most distinctive geographic feature the Lehigh River, which separates the North and South sides—the quaint, historic downtown at the site of the original Colonial Era settlement of Moravian missionaries and a weathered home of the Industrial Revolution where Bethlehem Steel forged an empire with poor immigrant laborers who settled nearby. Though the South Side has undergone some revitalization in the past two decades following Bethlehem Steel's collapse, parts of the neighborhood have remained home to some of the city's most economically disadvantaged. The students got to thinking about where people bought their food, what they ate and how where they lived impacted that, Farina said.
Much of South Bethlehem is classified as a "food desert" by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, meaning it lacks places to purchase fresh fruit, vegetables and other healthful foods. Students mined Census data and other government statistics as well as interviewed local stakeholders, including representatives of St. Luke's Hospital and local food banks and churches. What they found was that despite an apparent need, the number of applicants for benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP—formerly known as food stamps—has been in decline. They also found that beneficiaries were not taking advantage of opportunities to buy healthful foods at local farmers markets.
"We started looking at these farmers' markets and how convenient they could be if people knew they could utilize them," Farina said. "I think there's also a bit of a perception that if you're on a government SNAP program that you can't go to a farmers market or it's going to cost too much." In fact, students found the opposite is true, thanks in part to the "Double SNAP" program offered by Buy Fresh Buy Local of the Greater Lehigh Valley, which promotes local, sustainable food sources. Buy Fresh Buy Local will match every dollar up to $10 per day for SNAP beneficiaries who use their electronic benefits transfer cards at a local farmers market.
After weeks of research, the students—Sophie Bysiewicz '18, Maddie White '17, Ellie Hayden '17, Janelle Jack '17 and Kassidy Green '17—concluded that what SNAP and local farmers markets needed was a boost in publicity. They produced a flier touting the Double SNAP benefits and a listing of farmers markets where they can be applied, including one at Farrington Square, on Lehigh's doorstep. The fliers were distributed to food banks, churches and other community organizations.
Buy Fresh Buy Local has told the group that they are beginning to receive more calls from seniors inquiring about the program.
Parents Plus: Language Coach
Brook Sawyer, assistant professor of Teaching, Learning and Technology, received a three-year, $1.5 million grant from the Institute of Education Sciences to develop and assess the promise of Parents Plus: Language Coach. The online tool, coupled with individual coaching, aims to educate parents of preschool children with language impairments about techniques to promote their children's language skills.
Sawyer is working with colleagues from Teachers College, Temple University and the Oregon Research Institute to develop the web-based training course.
"It's imperative that we promote young children's language skills early so that they can have optimal success in reading and academics as they enter elementary school," she said. "And right now, parents of preschoolers often don't have sufficient or convenient enough means to learn evidenced-based language facilitation techniques to help their children."
Five Trends: Educational Technology
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson called apps-plus-handheld-devices "a watershed moment in civilization." The most powerful tools ever imagined, he said, "are in the hand of essentially everyone." Scott Garrigan, professor of practice of Teaching, Learning, and Technology at Lehigh, explains how technology is empowering students.
Mobile Devices: Many schools provide a laptop or iPad for each child to use at home and school. Uruguay was the first nation to give each student a laptop. (Lehigh professor Scott Garrigan is helping Malta plan to be the first one-to-one iPad nation in Europe.) Closer to Lehigh, most suburban school districts have one-to-one schools. Even a low-income district like Allentown (Pa.) will give a mobile device to each ninth-grader in its newest school. Mobile apps and e-books become portable laboratories and libraries for each child.
Open Educational Resources (OERs): Open Educational Resources from CK12.org include free e-textbooks for California, Virginia and Texas. The 12-state K-12 OER Collaborative develops free e-texts supporting state Math and English Language Arts Standards. The White House announced a $250 million initiative to provide 10,000 educational eBook titles for ages 4-18 free to low-income families. Students using OER apps and websites can now take full courses for free.
Online: Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) from major universities serve over 10 million students, and some top scorers are teens. Schools use KhanAcademy.org to "flip" the classroom, teaching new material through online homework videos, allowing more teacher-student interaction in class. Khan has delivered over a billion K-12 lessons. Its motto: "You can learn anything. For free. For everyone. Forever." Five states require an online course for graduation, and seven ask schools to give credit for online courses to cover subjects not offered (25 percent of schools serving neediest minorities lack Algebra II and 33 percent lack chemistry).
Interactivity: Children as young as 8 months engage in interactive experiences through touch control of phones and tablets. Interactive and adaptive children's books and educational videos support independent learning.
Creative Productivity: Technology-empowered students design and produce creative works. Tools like multimedia story builders and video editors support text, audio, animation and video production. Some schools and libraries create "maker spaces" to promote hands-on learning, using new technologies like 3D printers. Students learn by making and doing in the best John Dewey tradition