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School of Education Celebrates New Undergraduate Curriculum with School Partners


With much fanfare, Saint Louis University’s School of Education (SOE) recently celebrated the redesign of its undergraduate curriculum.

Two School of Education students and SLU Billiken mascot smiling with arms folded
Left to Right: Cammy Fuller, SOE student; the SLU Billiken; and Lauren Niedziela, SOE student. 

Over 15 school partners from across the St. Louis area joined SOE deans, faculty, and staff in the celebration and were greeted by the University’s Billiken mascot. Undergraduate student Cammy Fuller offered a prayer and Gary Ritter, Ph.D., dean of the School of Education, and Fred Pestello, Ph.D., president of Saint Louis University, opened the program by welcoming guests.

Through the unwavering dedication of the teacher education faculty, the new curriculum was implemented in fall 2022 after more than three years of planning and designing. School partners from the St. Louis community offered enthusiastic feedback about the redesigned program.

Key Features of the Program

Merlene Gilb, Ed.D., assistant professor in the School of Education, presented key features of the redesigned curriculum during the event. A notable feature of the redesigned program is that it includes a single track and common courses, which allows for students from all certification areas to come together and to develop an understanding of a comprehensive educational program. Students learn about the overall progression of development for learners from birth through 12th grade.

Merlene Gilb, Ed.D., Assistant Professor, School of Education stands at a lectern to talk to attendees.
Merlene Gilb, Ed.D., assistant professor, School of Education, addresses attendees celebrating the new curriculum.

SLU teacher-education students also enter a tightknit community of faculty and peers committed to innovative learning, diversity and inclusion, and the intellectual ideas of the Jesuit tradition. They are prepared to practice “Cura Personalis”—care for the whole person—and work for social justice in their communities. Students will graduate prepared to collaborate with families, build classroom communities, set high expectations for all students and advocate for social change. 

Five compass themes are interwoven throughout the curriculum, which will guide students personally and in their future teaching—sense of identity, sense of purpose, sense of context, sense of inquiry and sense of praxis—each of which are learner-centered.

Students choose from several certification areas, including early childhood education, elementary education, middle school education (language arts, math, science, social science), secondary education (English, math, social science) and special education for mild and moderate disabilities.

The new curriculum prepares teachers who are sensitive and responsive to the uncertainties in our world, our social and educational systems, and the evolving needs of our diverse society.” 

Merlene Gilb, Ed.D., Assistant Professor, School of Education

Meeting the Needs of Schools and a Diverse Society

A goal of the School of Education is to expand its student body to include a more racially, ethnically and gender diverse group of students.

Ryan Wilson, Program Coordinator for Community Projects, shared information about the unique Grow Your Own Teacher (GYOT) program, which offers students the opportunity to graduate in four years with a B.A. in Teaching degree and to be prepared to teach in the schools in their communities.  The program is an outgrowth of conversations that members of the School of Education had with superintendents in urban districts across the St. Louis region, when the need was identified to recruit more teachers to work in local schools.  

Grow Your Own Teacher students are eligible to apply to receive the GYOT scholarship in addition to other SLU financial aid. The GYOT program hopes to increase local district partnerships, grow to fund each student to be competitive with other local teacher-education programs, and attract more racially diverse students each year.

As the School of Education rolls out its redesigned curriculum and invests in and offers support to a talented pool of local students who want to return to their communities to teach, the School is poised to be a leading force for innovation and change in education.

For more information about Saint Louis University’s School of Education, please call 314-977-3292 or visit the website.