Ave Maria University has been awarded status as an “Initial Teacher Preparation Program” by the State of Florida’s Department of Education. This designation means that students who graduate with an Education Major from Ave Maria University automatically qualify for a Florida professional teaching license. AMU joins 48 other Florida colleges and universities authorized to provide initial teacher preparation in Florida. State approval required submission of an extensive report and artifacts documenting that AMU’s program presents required core content, prepares and tracks teacher-candidates in the required skills and dispositions expected of teachers, has an extensive program evaluation and continual improvement process in place, and has the ability to collect and document evidence for continued approval by the state. There are more than 700 program data points that the program must account for. A special database is used to track collect and evaluate artifacts as well as teacher-candidate performance on more than a hundred individual metrics.
“This was a huge process, taking many months of work” remarked education department chair Dr. Dan Guernsey, “I am grateful to the members of the department for their assistance as well as to Dr. Michael Dauphinais and President Towey for making sure we had the resources to move through this intense process at the greatest possible speed.”
The AMU Education Department has formed its core philosophy so as to be deeply in the Catholic tradition. While examining the field of education using methodologies and practices proper to the discipline, the program maintains a deliberate and explicit foundation in the philosophical and theological insights of the Catholic tradition, especially its understandings related to the nature and dignity of the human person, the nature of Truth, and the unity of all knowledge as ultimately rooted in the order of God and creation. Holding that education is more than simply preparing K-12 students for college and career, Ave Maria’s teacher candidates are formed to attend to authentic human liberation and orient their students to transcendental realities related to truth, beauty and goodness. The Ave Maria University Educational program provides a strong undergraduate preparation in the liberal arts and a strong Catholic worldview, providing for a powerful pedagogical punch. Our teacher candidates spend time thinking deeply about the liberal arts tradition in general and about the nature and purpose of Catholic education in particular.
The program anticipates continued growth now that teacher licensure is awarded upon graduation. Those who wish to return to a home state with a Florida license are usually able to transition to the new state’s license under reciprocity agreements between states. Formal entry into the major is only possible for rising juniors who have substantially completed their core liberal arts studies, maintained a sufficient GPA, passed the first of three required Florida Teacher Certification exams, and who have met other requirements typically begun in the spring of the sophomore year.