Centre’s program in education offers numerous opportunities for learning and growth, including conversations with visiting scholars and specialists, relevant study abroad experiences, and research and internship opportunities that contribute to a balanced path of study with equal emphasis on theory and practice.
These transformative experiences both in and outside of the classroom form not only well-educated teachers but also lifelong learners in a number of professions.
Oakley Watkins ’13 is a prime example of how to apply an education minor to a non-formal teaching role.
Currently serving as a football coach at Lexington Christian Academy, he also works as a law clerk at a civil litigation firm as part of his studies at the University of Kentucky College of Law. Watkins believes that the education courses he took helped refine his analytical skills as well as his coaching style, which, he notes, “resembles different teaching philosophies I was introduced to during my time in the education program.”
Ellen Prusinski, coordinator for engaged and experiential learning and assistant professor of education, isn’t surprised.
“Centre strives to produce excellent critical thinkers and decision-makers who will be successful in any educational situation, whether a classroom, office setting or nonprofit organization,” she says.
Ultimately, education studies at Centre aim to develop knowledgeable and creative global citizens who have the ability to analyze situations and solve problems creatively.
Requirements for the Education minor include six main courses that span the breadth of the educational experience. Typical offerings range from Education Psychology to The Autism Puzzle, and certain CentreTerm and semester-long study abroad classes may also apply. These include courses such as Exploring Education and the Environment Across the Globe in Ghana and Examining the Mexican Educational System and Teaching ESL Abroad in Merida, Mexico.
Three of the six main courses must include classroom or other educational-related field experience, with the goal of completing 50 hours in the field. Students may choose to work in local school systems, including Montessori schools and the Kentucky School for the Deaf, or non-formal education settings such as the Danville Community Arts Center or Boyle County Public Library.
Centre has developed relationships with two partner schools, and certain courses and fieldwork can be applied towards a master’s degree at the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Louisville or a master’s degree at Peabody College at Vanderbilt University.
Kary Stivers ‘14 is a recent graduate who has taken advantage of this exceptional opportunity. Currently seeking a Master of Education in Counseling and Personnel Services at the University of Louisville, she puts the skills she acquired in her Education classes to use on a regular basis. They served her particularly well during an internship at Bridgehaven, a community mental health agency for severely mentally ill adults.
This internship allowed Stivers to work with a licensed counselor and gain experience in activities such as leading group therapy sessions.
“The training and experience I received from my Education minor in planning, teaching, and leading has helped me be successful outside of the typical classroom setting,” Stivers says. “I had the skillset to work collaboratively with others, and I had experience leading a group of diverse people for a common purpose.”
Both Stivers and Watkins firmly believe that working towards a minor in education at Centre is worthwhile.
“Not only do you get the opportunity to work with passionate and caring professors, but you obtain skills that are invaluable to future success. No matter the profession you choose, you will not regret the decision to minor in Education,” says Watkins.
by Mary Trollinger
March 22, 2016