New degree targets students aiming to educate community members

Holland Crook playing soccer

University students who aren’t looking to become certified teachers, but who do aspire to fill leadership roles in educational settings with children and adults, have a new bachelor’s degree option. The Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at ASU is now offering a B.A.E. degree in educational studies, which provides a strong general foundation in education through research and discussion of current issues and best practices in education, educational psychology, and child development.

Students may pursue the new educational studies degree on all four ASU campuses in metropolitan Phoenix: Tempe, West, Polytechnic and Downtown Phoenix.

“The motto for this program is ‘the community is your classroom,’” said Martha Cocchiarella, assistant division director for teacher preparation in Teachers College. “During four semesters of their studies, educational studies students will be placed in community settings working with children, youth and adults in a service learning internship. Their community placements will be aligned to their areas of interest and the population or populations they want to serve.”

The degree may lead to career opportunities in settings such as non-profit leadership, workforce development and training, community education and entrepreneurialism, or provide a path to professional work with museums, zoos or athletic organizations. Students will be able to choose an area of focus such as environmental science, special education, technology and more. Courses have been developed to specifically address the topics of environmental science and technology.

Students majoring in educational studies may choose to pursue post-graduate work in a variety of fields, leading to careers as guidance counselors and media specialists, among many others. Students may even use the degree as a route to a master’s degree in education and teacher certification. That’s the case for ASU student-athlete Holland Crook, whose goal is to become certified as a special education teacher.

Because it would have been challenging for Crook to juggle an undergraduate student teaching experience in special education with her schedule of practices and games as a varsity soccer player, she will pursue her educational studies degree along with a minor in English literature. She then plans to continue her studies with Teachers College, enrolling in the MAC (Master’s and Arizona Certification) program in special education. The MAC program enables students to obtain Arizona teacher certification as well as a master’s degree.

“Earning a master’s was already a goal of mine,” Crook said. “The ability to pursue the educational studies degree as an undergraduate will move me toward my career goals while also enabling me to make the most of my soccer experience at ASU.”

The educational studies degree teaches critical skills such as the ability to evaluate the impact of educational programs on diverse populations, apply principles of learner motivation in evaluating learning environments, and make effective decisions based on a sound understanding of legal and ethical issues in education. All students will graduate from the program with extensive experience in integrating technology into an educational environment.

“Educational studies is a great degree option for students looking to pursue a career path enabling them to plan and implement ideas that will have a positive impact on the community,” Cocchiarella said.

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