School of Education (SOE)

Director: Kathleen Enz Finken (interim)
235 Thomas Morris Hall;
(608) 785-8134
Assistant to the Dean/Certification Officer: Sandra Keller
Academic Advisers - Troy Richter, Tim Walls
260 Thomas Morris Hall;
(608) 785-5454


UW-L teacher education programs are:
Accredited by Higher Learning Commission (North Central Association
Approved by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction since 1937.

Certification Programs Offered

Curriculum and Instruction Course Descriptions/Requirements

  • Early Childhood-Middle Childhood (ages birth-11)
    • Requires completion of the Early Childhood Education minor
  • Middle Childhood-Early Adolescence (ages 6-12 or 13)
    • Requires completion of a certifiable minor including:
      Computer Science
      Earth Science
      General Science
      German Studies
      Political Science
      School Health Education
      Social Studies
      Special Education
      Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.
  • Early Adolescence-Adolescence (ages 10-21)
    • Areas of study include:
      Broadfield Science
      Broadfield Social Studies
      Computer Science
  • Early Childhood-Adolescence (ages birth-21)
    • Areas of study include:
      German Studies*
      Physical Education
      School Health Education

*Minors in French, German Studies, and Spanish are certifiable at the early adolescence-adolescence developmental range only, unless another language is completed as a major. If a language major and language minor are completed, both languages may be certifiable at the early childhood-adolescence range.

SOE Mission

The mission of the School of Education is to develop within its graduates a commitment to the teaching profession, a profound respect for the dignity of all learners, and the professional competencies that enable them to be effective teachers and responsible citizens in a diverse and dynamic world.

Teacher Education Governing Council

As the primary policy-making body for professional education programs at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, the Teacher Education Governing Council oversees the professional education unit. It consists of representatives from teacher education programs across campus and faculty from departments in liberal studies and sciences. Public school professionals and students in professional education programs are also members.

Conceptual Framework

Vision. The School of Education as UW-La Crosse strives to become a leader in the preparation of globally responsive teachers through a university-wide commitment to teacher education.

Definition. The globally responsive teacher believes that all learners can learn at high levels and persists in helping all learners achieve success. The teacher appreciates and values human diversity, shows respect for learners’ varied talents and perspectives, and commits to the pursuit of excellence for all learners. Globally responsive teaching includes infusion of a strong academic curriculum linked to world events, geography, world cultures, and diverse perspectives. Globally responsive teachers act to make the world a healthy and more sustainable and just environment.

A Globally responsive professional education program includes the following:

  • Teacher candidates gain understanding of contemporary content issues from a variety of perspectives.
  • Teacher candidates learn how to employ discipline-specific skills in their analyses of global issues.
  • Teacher candidates design integrated curricular units so their students will have a greater understanding of the world.
  • Teacher candidates are encouraged and supported to engage in international study abroad programs.
  • Teacher candidates develop model lessons that infuse global awareness into their curriculum.
  • Teacher candidates develop enrichment of cultural, environmental, and/or civic issues.
  • Teacher candidates consider content issues, both local and global, using technology, and utilizing community resources to enhance learning and expand their resource networks.

Wisconsin Teacher Standards

Standard #1:

The teacher understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline(s) he or she teaches and can create learning experiences that make these aspects of subject matter meaningful for pupils.

Standard #2:

The teacher understands how children with broad ranges of ability learn and provides instruction that supports their intellectual, social and personal development.

Standard #3:

The teacher understands how pupils differ in their approaches to learning and the barriers that impede learning and can adapt instruction to meet the diverse needs of pupils, including those with disabilities and exceptionalities.

Standard #4:

The teacher understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies, including the use of technology to encourage children’s development of critical thinking, problem solving, and performance skills.

Standard #5:

The teacher uses an understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior to create a learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning and self-motivation.

Standard #6:

The teacher uses effective verbal and nonverbal communication techniques as well as instructional media and technology to foster active inquiry, collaboration, and supportive interaction in the classroom.

Standard #7:

The teacher organizes and plans systematic instruction based upon knowledge of subject matter, pupils, the community, and curriculum goals.

Standard #8:

The teacher understands and uses formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and ensure the continuous intellectual, social and physical development of the pupil.

Standard #9:

The teacher is a reflective practitioner who continually evaluates the effect of his or her choices and actions on pupils, parents, professionals in the learning community and others and who actively seeks out opportunities to grow professionally.

Standard #10:

The teacher fosters relationships with school colleagues, parents, and agencies in the larger community to support pupil learning and well-being and who acts with integrity, fairness and in an ethical manner.

SOE Resources

Several resources for education students, university faculty, and area teachers are provided through the School of Education.

Alice Hagar Curriculum Resource Center

- contains many teacher education materials and references for teaching all grade levels

- located on the upper floor of Murphy Library

Center for Cultural Diversity and Community Renewal

- created in response to our commitment to the value of diversity, need to recruit and retain students of color in teacher education programs

- Center works to establish positive relationships with communities of color in La Crosse and Milwaukee

- encourages young people to come to UWL to pursue a career in teacher education

Rhea Pederson Reading Center

- provides reading resources for UWL students and area teachers

Admission to Teacher Education

All students must be admitted to Teacher Education in order to enroll in professional education courses. Application and admission requirements vary by program. Students are encouraged to work closely with their academic adviser to ensure completion of the application requirements in effect for their program of study. Meeting the eligibility criteria does not guarantee admission into the Teacher Education Program. Resources available limit the number of students admitted. See school health education, physical education, and department of educational studies, page 111 for criteria and application procedures.

Any student who has been convicted of a criminal offense must contact the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to discuss eligibility for teacher licensure. A copy of the DPI Conduct and Competency Code is available in the certification office in Morris Hall.

Assessment System in Teacher Education (including portfolio)

 All teacher candidates seeking certification must successfully complete procedures related to program admission, progression, and exit criteria. The teacher candidate’s progress toward competencies in the Wisconsin Teacher Standards is monitored while completing requirements in the respective teacher education program. Teacher candidates must maintain the appropriate program general and major quality GPAs. Course and field experience assessments are designed to monitor professional growth in the 10 Wisconsin Teacher Education Standards. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) requires that each candidate who prepares for a teaching career must have a portfolio of evidence documenting that the standards required for a teaching license have been met (PI 34.13). Specific program details can be found on the School of Education Web site at

Retention in Teacher Education

Candidates may be retained in the Teacher Education Program as long as they maintain a 2.75 GPA (3.00 for graduate candidates), show proficiency in oral and written communication, fulfill additional assessment criteria (e.g., portfolio) required by the candidate’s program, and are otherwise in good standing with the university and the School of Education.

Teacher Candidate Progress Review Committee

The Teacher Candidate Progress Review Committee is charged to oversee the development and assessment of knowledge, skills, and dispositions among educator certification candidates as assessed by the multiple measures of the Teacher Education Assessment System. Academic and non-academic misconduct (plagiarism, cheating, etc.) are referred directly to the Office of Student Life. In order to support teacher candidates as they move through the program, we encourage faculty, staff, and supervisors to identify concerns early in a program. If issues related to the progress of candidates are identified, a support plan can be designed to enhance the student’s likelihood of success. Faculty and staff (including clinical and student teaching personnel) who have concerns about a candidate’s knowledge, skills, and/or dispositions will document and initiate the referral process by completing the appropriate notice of concern form.

Notice of Concern

A concerned faculty or staff member should complete a notice of concern form and discuss it with the teacher candidate before forwarding the notice to the director of the School of Education. Notices will be kept confidentially on file. If two notices of concern are received, the teacher candidate will meet with the Teacher Candidate Progress Review Committee.

Admission to Student Teaching & Internships

The student teaching experience is generally completed during the final semester in residence. Applications for student teaching may be obtained at Completed applications must be returned to that office by the deadlines posted on the Web site for a fall or spring semester placement.

Candidates student teach for a full semester as calculated according to the calendar of the cooperating school. Most cooperating schools are located approximately within a 50-mile radius of La Crosse.

To be eligible for student teaching, candidates must:

  1. have and maintain 2.75 combined cumulative, major, minor, concentration, and professional sequence grade point averages
  2. meet prerequisites specified for ECE 400, ECE 401, EDS 493, EDS 494, SHE 494, SPE 483, or SPE 484, including an official Praxis II content test score report documenting passing scores on Praxis II content tests in the appropriate certification area/discipline
  3. declare the major(s), minor(s), and/or concentrations for which they are seeking certification at the time of admission to student teaching.


To be eligible to apply, candidates must be formally admitted to teacher education, and must possess and maintain through graduation, a combined cumulative grade point average of 3.00. Interns are assigned for an entire semester to schools that are part of the Wisconsin Improvement Program. The Intern Selection Committee admits students to the internship program. Applications for internships may be obtained at The completed application is due by the dates posted on the Web site for placement during the fall or spring semester of the subsequent year.

Certification to Teach

Candidates must maintain a 2.75 combined cumulative grade point average and a 2.75 grade point average in all certifiable majors and minors, concentrations and professional education courses. The completion of a Reflective Practice Portfolio also is required. An official Praxis II content test score report documenting passing scores on Praxis II content tests in the appropriate certification area/discipline must be on file in the certification office, 275 Morris Hall.

Candidates who complete all university requirements and all teacher education requirements for student teaching/internship, but who fail to successfully complete the student teaching/internship experience, may be awarded a Bachelor of Science degree without certification. This degree will not earn Department of Public Instruction endorsement for licensure. (See the Academic Assistant to the Dean for details.)

Background Screening

Candidates enrolling in field experiences in the School of Education are screened for physical, mental, and criminal histories which might lead to non-acceptance into programs, courses, and/or fieldwork. Having a history in these areas does not automatically deny admission to the program. Before issuing a teaching license, the State of Wisconsin conducts a criminal background check through the FBI.

Wisconsin state background checks are conducted for each field experience and a national criminal background check will be conducted prior to student teaching, with prior permission from the candidate. Candidates will pay the cost of all background checks. Background check information is confidential. Copies of background checks will be kept in a secure location in the Office of Field Experience. Questions concerning criminal background checks should be directed to the Office of Field Experience.

Wisconsin Application

Graduates desiring a license to teach in Wisconsin may obtain the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s License Application from the DPI Web site. Upon completion of all items appropriate to the certification desired, the application and a $100 check payable to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction should be returned to the certification office in 275 Morris Hall. When all certification requirements are satisfactorily completed, the certification officer will endorse the application and forward it for approval to the State Department of Public Instruction.

Out-of-State Applications

We recommend that graduates seeking certification in other states request application forms and instructions from the Department of Education of the state in which certification is desired. Candidates should seek such information early in the professional preparation program. Most states will require institutional endorsement as Wisconsin does.

Statutory Requirements

Environmental Education and Conservation. Demonstration of knowledge and understanding in environmental education and in the conservation of natural resources is required for licenses in early childhood-middle childhood, middle childhood-early adolescence, science (majors or minors), and social studies (majors or minors). Instruction in environmental education and conservation is required for the completion of these programs.

Cooperatives. Demonstration of knowledge and understanding of cooperative marketing and consumer cooperatives is required for licenses in social studies (majors or minors). Instruction in cooperatives is noted by the major and minor course listings in social studies disciplines. 

Exceptional Education. Demonstration of knowledge and understanding of procedures used for assessing and providing education for children with disabilities, including provider roles and responsibilities and curriculum modification.

Human Relations. Demonstration of knowledge and understanding in the areas of “Minority Group Relations” under PI 34 3.15 (4) (c) 1-6 to be certified to teach in the state of Wisconsin.

Reading. Demonstration of knowledge and understanding of teaching reading and language arts including phonics, for licensure in early childhood-middle childhood and middle childhood-early adolescence.

Conflict Resolution. Demonstration of knowledge and understanding in:

  1. resolving conflicts between pupils and between pupils and school staff;
  2. assisting pupils in learning methods of resolving conflicts between pupils and between pupils and school staff, including training in the use of peer mediation to resolve conflicts between pupils; and
  3. dealing with crises, including violent, disruptive, potentially violent or potentially disruptive situations that may arise in school or at activities supervised by a school as a result of conflicts between pupils or between pupils and other persons.

General Education Requirements

Students take specific courses from General Education to meet statutory requirements in the areas of human relations, environmental education and conservation depending on the certification desired. General Education check sheets listing required courses are available in Morris Hall and on advisement reports. The two-year transfer policy does not exempt students from these requirements. 

Standardized Testing

Passing scores on the Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPST) in reading (175), mathematics (173), and writing (174) is required of all candidates in teacher preparation programs. In addition, an official Praxis II content test score report documenting passing scores on Praxis II content tests in the appropriate certification area/discipline is required prior to enrolling in the student teaching/internship semester and to be recommended for licensure by the certification officer. The State Superintendent of Public Instruction determines passing scores.

NOTICE Students should be aware that the Department of Public Instruction is specific in its requirements about the content of both general education and professional education; therefore, prospective teacher education candidates should work closely with an adviser from the outset of their studies at the university. Completion of Department of Public Instruction requirements for licensure may take longer than four academic years. 

Title II Reporting

Section 207 of Title II of the Higher Education Opportunity Act requires institutions to report program information to the state each year. Program information includes the total number of students enrolled in teacher education programs, the number of students enrolled in supervised student teaching experiences, the number of faculty and staff supervising student teachers, a student/faculty ratio, the average number of hours per week and the number of weeks required for student teaching. State approval information is also required. Title II reports for UW-La Crosse can be found on the School of Education Web site.