Courtesy of UCR Today

UC Riverside’s Graduate School of Education (GSOE) began accepting applications this week for a new undergraduate education-oriented major for the Fall 2018 quarter. The major, titled Education, Society, and Human Development, seeks to provide a direct and practical path into teaching for undergraduate students interested in pursuing a career in education.

The first of its kind in California, GSOE’s new major offers a variety of courses across disciplines, which will seek to provide prospective educators with an overview of the development, methods and effects of the modern educational system.

“It’s really a study of the field of education,” said Louie Rodriguez, associate dean of undergraduate education and associate professor of education, in a phone interview with the Highlander. “Students can study the history, the policy, the developments and reforms in education.”

The major will offer two concentrations: Learning and behavioral studies, and community leadership, policy and social justice. In addition, students in the major will have some flexibility to customize their course load and tailor their education to their preference. The broad nature of the major is designed to result in effective and diverse graduates.

To complete this major, students must complete 48 units of classes (36 at the upper-division level) and engage in 40 hours of practical fieldwork. This practical experience will serve to create more able and practiced teachers through participation in research, teaching opportunities and immersion in adult education settings.

According to Rodriguez, “these hours can be completed in three ways: They could be done through research with a faculty member … on a project, through service (such as tutoring or working directly with an organization) or through service learning, where a faculty member builds in opportunities through a class.”

GSOE administrators have indicated that most of the school’s 32 faculty members will instruct at least one class, with many teaching two. Some professors will be teaching at the undergraduate level for the first time at UCR, providing these students with increased access to the expertise and knowledge of leading intellectuals in their respective fields of study.

Despite its radical and groundbreaking structure, the program does not provide students with teaching credentials; these must be obtained after graduation. The new major, however, will uniquely equip undergraduates with the knowledge and experience to become effective teachers.

“I’m really excited about students having the possibilities of being able to contribute to Riverside, the Inland Empire and even beyond that,” says Rodriguez. “We want our students to understand that educational excellency is partially about academic success, but also that being an educated person is also about giving back to your community. We’re hoping to produce students who have a desire and the ability to work for equity and social justice.”

Starting in Fall 2018, classes within the education major will be available to all undergraduate students.