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Introduction to Education Opportunity

Reason for the Introduction to Education Course

Southwest Minnesota State University has received partial funding from the Minnesota Department of Education to develop and offer an “Introduction to Education” course through the College Now program.  The purpose for this funding is to encourage teaching as a profession in an effort to address the existing and increasing teacher shortage issues prevalent across Minnesota.  It is our goal to spark an interest in the field of Education early in a student's college experience.  The course will be offered in the high school setting and will be equivalent to the Introduction to Education course taught on the SMSU campus.

Possible High School Partners

Funding for this program is geared towards school districts located in the Southwest West Central Service Cooperative 18-County Region. These counties include: Big Stone, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac Qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, McLeod, Meeker, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Renville, Rock, Swift, and Yellow Medicine.  However, all districts are encouraged to offer this course to help create interest in the field of Education. Special consideration will be given to those districts with high populations of American Indian students, students of color, or other underrepresented students including low income and first generation. 

Student Participants and Eligibility Requirements

This course is intended for any junior or senior high school student considering Education as a possible future career.  Whether students are just becoming interested in the field or they are fully committed and ready to get started, this course gives students the opportunity to explore their potential for teaching.  Concurrent enrollment eligibility requirements are as follows:

Seniors - need to have a 3.0 GPA or above and be in the top half of their graduating class*

Juniors - need to have a 3.0 GPA or above and be in the top third of their graduating class*

*Note:  Test scores from a nationally standardized test can be used to replace class rank if needed.  Students will still be required to meet the 3.0 GPA to go along with their test scores.  Seniors need to score in the 50th percentile and juniors need to score in the 70th percentile.

Course Description and Details

ED 101 - Introduction to Education is an introduction to early childhood, elementary, and secondary education for students interested in teaching.  The course includes the study of historical and social foundations of education topics such as inquiry into the teaching and learning process, schools in a multicultural and diverse society, the profession of teaching principles of cooperative group learning and cultural differences, communication, and stereotyping. Fifteen hours of field experience is required.

As a part of this Introduction to Education course, students are required to participate in a 15 hour field experience observation. School districts will be responsible for placing each student with an appropriate teacher. The teachers that the students are placed with must be a licensed teacher in K-12 and have at least one year of experience in their field. Valid teaching licenses must be presented at the time of student placement. The students should be placed in their area of interest and can be within the district or in another district.  

As a follow-up to the ED 101 course, SMSU is also offering our ED 251 - Introduction to Growth and Development course to allow interested students to continue to grow within the field.

ED 251 - Introduction to Growth and Development is an introductory study of child growth and development from conception through adolescence with a concentration on the physical, cognitive, and social-emotional domains of development. Emphasis areas of the course include: historical foundations and theories associated with the study of child development, the research process, the implications of teaching and learning, student diversity and pertinent topics associated with the possible effect of environment and behavior on prenatal development through adolescence.   

For further information, please feel free to reach out to the College Now Office.

Contact Information:

Jessica Mensink
Director of Concurrent Enrollment
Southwest Minnesota State University
(507) 537-6390 (office)
(507) 537-6472 (fax)

Last Modified: 6/7/22 1:39 PM | Website Feedback