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School of Education


The School of Education has a comprehensive and dynamic structure, where 23 programs across all colleges and schools at the university work collaboratively to support best practices in teaching, learning, and leading.   The major units within SOE include:

The Department of Educational Studies prepares teachers for work in elementary and middle schools.  SOE also works collaboratively with departments in the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CASSH) and the College of Science and Health (CSH) to prepare teachers via majors in art education, music education, world language education, secondary education, and physical, adapted and school health education.  SOE oversees several graduate programs including School Psychology, Reading, Professional Development, Physical Education, and Adapted Physical Education.

Professional Studies in Education also offers a number of certificate programs to support the ongoing growth of in-service teachers.

Continuing Education and Extension works to connect the university and the community, offering diverse programs to meet the needs of individuals of all ages.

Our commitment both on and off campus supports an investment in strong education programs that lead, collaborate, and innovate to meet 21st century learning environments. 

The goal of preparing teachers has been central to the mission of UW-La Crosse ever since this institution began as a Normal school with 176 students and 14 faculty members in 1909. Today, the School of Education's administrative offices and faculty offices are located in Morris Hall, which honors the memory of Thomas Morris, the Regent and State Senator whose efforts resulted in the selection of La Crosse as the site of Wisconsin's eighth Normal School. Students were immediately attracted to La Crosse's teacher preparation program as demonstrated by the fact that La Crosse was one of only two Normal Schools (Milwaukee was the other) to achieve an enrollment of more than 1,000 students prior to World War II. La Crosse and Milwaukee also shared the distinction of being the first Normal Schools to offer graduate classes in education. 

In 2000, Wisconsin legislators approved Wisconsin Administrative code PI 34. This resulted in the implementation of an educator preparation program approval process and educator licensing process that are both standards and performance-based.  In 2018, PI 34 was revised, resulting in some changes to the institutional ("entity") and program approval processes. 

Institutions are responsible for providing evidence that their programs prepare educators who are able to meet the standards established by the state of Wisconsin in Chapter PI 34. The evidence is reviewed during the program approval process. Institutions must demonstrate that all of the program approval components of PI 34 are met. Institutions undergo a comprehensive Initial Program Approval to ensure compliance with PI 34. Following the initial approval, continuing program approval decisions are based on an ongoing process as described in PI 34.007 Program approval.