Nationally recognized ‘ed’ school adds new programs

The University of Miami’s School of Education’s efforts to improve the quality of its education have gained recognition not just in the Coral Gables community but on a national level as well.

In an annual report released by Academic Analytics, the School of Education has two programs ranked in the top five in the country: the Teaching and Learning Program, ranked second in the Curriculum and Instruction category, and Counseling Psychology, ranked fifth.

“This particular recognition is important because it is made on the basis of our productivity, and it is not a popularity contest,” Dr. Etiony Aldarondo, associate dean for research, said. “It’s nice to know that there are other ways that people can learn about the great job we’re doing.”

To keep up with growing needs, a new major and minor were created. The Human and Social Development major focuses on the promotion of well-being throughout the community and helps students who are interested in working in the non-profit, social services and counseling fields.

“When we talk about human and social development in psychology, we talk about how people develop over their lifespan: cognitively, socially, emotionally and so on,” Dr. Ora Prilleltensky, the major’s coordinator, said.

David Sargent, a senior in the Frost School of Music, decided to pick up a minor in Human and Social Development over the more traditional options in the Teaching and Learning Department.

“I like the idea of psychology more,” he said.“I’m more interested in the whole process of how people learn.”

The new minor in Jewish Education will begin in the fall and will focus on improving education in current Jewish schools through teacher training and curriculum development. It also gives students the opportunity to study abroad for a semester in Galilee, Israel.

Another recent addition is the Professional Training Option (PTO), which consists of an 18-credit education minor including mandatory field experience.

It is open to any UM student.

“The program allows students to pursue other programs and gain the knowledge and skills needed for teaching,” senior Matthias Martinez said. “Most classes require field experience and allow students to go out into real classrooms and correlate assignments with real-life situations.”

Approved in June 2007, Professional Training Option is one of many attempts by the state of Florida at an alternative certification program. According to Dr. Shawn Post, associate dean, this attempt is different from ones in the past.

“There have been many, many attempts at alternative certification programs and they’ve produced teachers we cannot retain in the schools,” Post said. “We lose them, but with this PTO the state got it right. We’re very happy to be part of this program.”

Contacts: School of Education

Human & Social Development Major: Robin Shane

Jewish Education Minor: Dr. Anita Meinbach

Professional Training Option: Robin Shane