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School of Education

The Saint Xavier University School of Education offers the master of arts degree with programs of study that prepare candidates to assume responsibilities in teaching and/or leadership. Such preparation integrates theory and clinical experiences in institutions or agencies, enabling graduates to function effectively as humane and liberally educated leaders in a variety of settings.

The conceptual framework of the School of Education of Saint Xavier University provides a structure and process to prepare candidates for the education profession. The School of Education seeks to recruit and support the development of diverse candidates who are dedicated to the pursuit of excellence as scholars, lifelong learners, leaders and reflective professionals.

The logo of the School of Education also incorporates the cross from the shield of Saint Xavier University to acknowledge the Mission and Strategic Directions of the University and the Core Values from the founding Sisters of Mercy. Caring, capable and highly qualified faculty personify those attributes in the community of Saint Xavier University and in the profession of education, and direct the candidates' progress in the acquisition of the relevant knowledge, skills and dispositions.

Programs of Study

The Saint Xavier University School of Education offers the master of arts degree in education through the following areas of concentration: administration and leadership, community counseling, school counseling, clinical mental health and school counseling, curriculum and instruction, individualized programs (ESL, science education, educational technology, reading teacher endorsement, integrative iSTEM), multicategorical special education, reading, early childhood education, elementary education, teaching and leadership and secondary education. The programs in teaching and leadership, administration and leadership, and reading (field-based programs) are available to in-service teachers at selected sites throughout northern and central Illinois.

The certificate program in advanced studies is available for those candidates who have earned a master's degree and who wish to do further graduate work without commitment to another degree program. A program of studies specific to the needs of a candidate or a group of candidates is developed and leads to a certificate of advanced studies upon completion of the program.

In addition to degree programs, candidates with a valid Illinois teaching certificate may pursue coursework leading to the addition of an approval to the certificate. Coursework is available for approvals in the following areas: English as a second language (ESL) and bilingual education. Candidates may also pursue a middle grades endorsement and educational technology endorsement.

Earning a Second Degree from the School of Education

Graduate students who have earned one graduate degree in education from the School of Education and are admitted and enrolled in a second degree need to complete the coursework required for the degree.  A minimum of 30 credit hours taken at the graduate level from the coursework offered by the School of Education is required to obtain the second degree.

Models of Program Delivery

The School of Education employs four models to deliver its graduate programs: the traditional model, the cohort model, the field-based model and the online model.

The traditional model, available to candidates in the early childhood education, elementary education, secondary education, and the curriculum and instruction programs, permits candidates to schedule program requirements at a self-selected pace, enrolling in required courses as they are offered in the schedule.

The cohort model is available to candidates in the following degree programs: educational administration and supervision, reading, multicategorical special education, secondary and elementary education. In this model, candidates begin the program together and progress through the course requirements as a group. Classes meet one evening per week for four and a half hours during the fall and spring terms, including eight sessions for each course. During the summer term, classes meet twice each week for four and a half hours for each of the five-week summer sessions. Candidates in cohort programs have guaranteed course availability each term. Cohort programs offer the additional advantage of tuition reduction and the availability of flexible payment plans. Cohort programs are offered at  the Chicago, Orland Park and off-site campuses. Counseling cohort courses are scheduled to meet two nights a week for the duration of the semester and for 10 weeks in summer. 

The field-based model is available to in-service school personnel who wish to pursue a degree under conditions convenient to practicing educators. It is available at selected sites throughout northern and central Illinois and southern Wisconsin and leads to a master of arts degree.

The online model is available to individuals interested in a master of arts degree with focus on curriculum and instruction or the English as a second language (ESL). The ESL program may lead to an M.A. if additional coursework is completed (for more information, please refer to the description of the individual track program).

Administration of the School of Education

B. Gulley, Dean; M. Fallahi, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies; C. McCullough, Associate Dean and Accreditation Coordinator; L. Sondler, Director of Teacher Education and Certification Officer; W. Manning, Director of Off-Campus Programs; W. Connolly, Director of Clinical Practice; J. Lundin, Coordinator of Field Experiences.


C. Barrett, D. Bell, J. Briody, M. Campbell, M. Carroll, M. Fallahi, A. George, B. Gulley, P. Hilton, T. Joyce, R. Kapheim, E. Knight, T. Korenman, S. Lee, E. Lilly, J. Lundin, H. Mackley, C. McCullough, K. McInerney, J. Panko, A. Randolph,  J. Reinhart, R. Rohlwing, M. Spelman, J. Steyskal, E. Thomas, L. Zhao J. Zibert. 

Office of Teacher Education and Certification

L. Sondler, Director and Certification Officer, W. Connolly, Of Clinical Practice J. Lundin, Director of Field Experience, M. Keller, Certification Advisor and Evaluator.

Administrative Staff

J. Arevalo, Data Manager, M. Cashman, Director of School Partnership.

Admission to the School of Education

Individuals seeking admission to a graduate program must complete a graduate student application, which is available from the Office of Graduate Admission. The completed application file is evaluated by a graduate admission counselor, and the file along with an admission recommendation will be forwarded to the School of Education. An Admission Committee including the dean of the School of Education and the associate dean of graduate studies and other selected faculty or professionals from the School of Education will review the file and inform the prospective candidate of the admission decision.

Admitted students will be assigned an advisor in the School of Education who will review program requirements and offer assistance with registration and academic issues. Graduate students are responsible for monitoring their programs of studies to ensure that requirements for graduation and certification are met. Either the associate dean of graduate studies at the Chicago campus or the director of off-campus programs for the School of Education at the Orland Park campus will be assigned as advisors to students admitted to the cohort programs. The office of the respective associate dean or director will register students in cohort courses each semester.

Individuals who have not been denied admission to the School of Education and who do not wish to enroll in a cohort or field-based program may enroll for graduate courses as students-at-large with the permission of the associate dean of graduate studies and upon verification of completed undergraduate work by the Graduate Admission Office. Courses taken in this capacity do not guarantee admission into a graduate program. However, appropriate courses (a maximum of 12 credits) may be applied to a graduate program.

Courses completed five or more years prior to admission will not be accepted for degree requirements. Request for transfer of credit must be submitted to the advisors upon admission to the program. Students interested in enrolling in a cohort program or the field-based programs may not register in courses as students-at-large. Once admitted to the School of Education graduate students may not take any courses required for the program or the degree  

Individuals seeking a master's degree with Type 09 certification in secondary education at the School of Education must have a degree in the subject are of certification or must have completed required course work developed for them by the Office of Teacher Education. Graduate students seeking secondary certification must also pass the Illinois content area test before being fully admitted to the School of Education. Transcripts of all students seeking secondary certification will be reviewed to make sure that the undergraduate coursework meets the standards. Additional coursework will be recommended to ensure that the candidate meets the state and professional standards.

All graduate students seeking certification in elementary, secondary, early childhood and multicategorical special education must pass the Illinois test of basic skills or the test of academic proficieny or submit an ACT score of 22 or above (including writing) as an admission requirement.

Applicants for the programs in counseling must meet the additional requirements specific to the counseling programs:

  1. A two-page typed statement describing reasons for wanting to become a professional counselor, any relevant experiences in counseling, and examples of important events that have influenced the applicant's career goals. This statement will also be reviewed as an example of your written communication skills.
  2. Completed recommendations from three persons (former instructors, supervisors, colleagues) who are qualified to evaluate the applicant's academic and professional potential in the field of counseling.
  3. A cumulative grade-point average of 2.75.
  4. Results of the TOELFL test on non-native, English-speaking applicants.
  5. Affidavit of Support (non-U.S. citizens only).
  6. Interview with graduate faculty admission committee.
  7. Experience in the mental health field (community  counseling) or in the education field (school counseling), either through a practicum course, volunteer activities or work experience.
  8. Proof of passing the Illinois test of Basic Skills or Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP)(candidates have to at least submit proof of registration to be considered for admission).

Transfer of Credit

A maximum of 6 credit hours of graduate credit from other accredited institutions taken prior to admission to graduate work at Saint Xavier University may be considered for acceptance for graduate program requirements. Students may obtain a petition for evaluation and transfer of graduate credit from the associate dean of graduate studies in the School of Education. The associate dean will evaluate the request based on the following:

If a student has taken a course at the undergraduate level, that course may be considered for acceptance as an equivalency for certification. The student is required to take a 500-level course to replace it. Courses taken at the undergraduate level will not be accepted as equivalency for any 500-level courses. Graduate students in the School of Education will not be given credit for life experience. Request for transfer of credit must be submitted to the advisors upon admission to the program. Once admitted to the School of Education graduate students may not take any courses required for the program or the degree at another institution.

Program Completion

All graduate students in the School of Education in programs that lead to certification must successfully pass the coursework, tests, the core assessments and the benchmarks required by each program.

Dismissal from the Graduate Programs

Graduate candidates in the School of Education may be dismissed from a program for the following reasons: grade-point average (below 3.00); academic dishonesty; violation of professional dispositions; failure to successfully complete program benchmarks; and results of the criminal background investigation. Additional reasons not herein described may also result in dismissal. For further details, please refer to the Graduate Studies Handbook.

Candidate Disposition Assessment

In an effort to better serve teacher candidates, the P-12 school children and the community, the School of Education has implemented a disposition support model. The professional dispositions of candidates are a critical component of development for emerging educators. Candidates are required to maintain appropriate professional dispositions on campus, as well as during the field or practical experiences. Faculty and staff utilize evaluation tools which are aligned with NCATE/SOE selected requirements for dispositions to assess candidate dispositions and develop supportive intervention.  An individual disposition status level system is in place for each SOE candidate; this system indicates the level at which a candidate stands based on faculty and professional staff evaluation.

The SOE disposition support model includes five levels. Faculty and staff work closely with candidates in levels two and three to correct potential or observed disposition concerns. If candidates reach the fourth status level, they are considered to have demonstrated unsatisfactory dispositions and may be placed on probation by a disposition review team. Candidates, whose demonstrations of inappropriate dispositions reach the fifth status level, may be recommended for dismissal from the program by a review team; the dean determines whether or not the candidate is dismissed from the program. For additional information, refer to the Disposition Student Handbook

Grievance Policy for Disposition Decisions

Candidates who believe that they have been unfairly assigned to level 4 or level 5 may initiate a grievance. A candidate may submit a grievance and participate in mediation by following the steps below. 

Step 1: Initiation of Grievance

The candidate must submit a disposition status grievance form (herein after referred to as the "disposition grievance form"),  along with any supporting documents to the dean’s office. The disposition grievance forms are housed in the Office of the Dean of the School of Education.

Once the grievance form is received by the dean, the formal disposition grievance process begins and the dean sends the paperwork to a mediator, selected by the dean for the case (a mediator may serve on more than one case).

Step 2: Mediation

The mediator has 10 business days from receipt of the grievance form to initiate mediation. The role of the mediator is to be informed of the needs of both parties and to work with both parties to identify potential solutions. The mediator will submit a report to the dean that includes an overview of the process and a recommendation. If the mediation is not successful, the mediator will provide a written report to the dean. The candidate can provide a written appeal to the mediator’s recommendation to the dean. The dean will either uphold the mediator’s recommendation or uphold the appeal. For additional information, refer to the Disposition Student Handbook.