Saint Martin's University was founded in 1895 by monks of the Roman Catholic Order of Saint Benedict. The Order, the oldest in Western Civilization, was founded by Saint Benedict of Nursia in about 528. Saint Martin's first enrolled boys and young men between the approximate ages of 10-20. The new school admitted its first student on Sept. 11, 1895. By 1897, 29 students were attending Saint Martin's. College level courses were added in 1900 and, in 1940 Saint Martin's became a four-year accredited, baccalaureate-granting institution. The College became coeducational in 1965. The Division of Education programs were established in the 1970's for secondary education. Saint Martin's College became Saint Martin's University in 2005; the Division of Education became the College of Education in 2006. The education programs now include undergraduate programs in elementary, secondary, and special education; two graduate degrees; and 24 endorsements. Programs are located at four sites-the Lacey main campus and three extension sites (Ft. Lewis Army Post, McChord Air Force Base, Clover Park School District)-all within a 40 mile radius of the Lacey campus.
The College of Education and Counseling has bachelor's and master's degree programs, and non-degree certification-only programs. Teacher certification may be completed as part of a bachelor's degree, independently after the baccalaureate is complete, or as part of the master's degree. School counselor certification is completed as part of a Master's of Education (MED) degree, or as an Education Staff Associate certification. School administrator (principal or program administrator) certification is completed as part of an MED degree, or as certification-only. All teacher candidates must complete two endorsements. Saint Martin's University has redesigned its education programs in response to the national and state reform efforts. The programs have adapted to the performance-based emphasis, while maintaining academic excellence and the flexibility to meet student needs. Individuals completing our programs are qualified for recommendation for residency (first level) and professional (second level) certification from Washington State.
Our programs, therefore, involve the recognition of change, the constructivist approach to knowledge and skills formulation, multi-age grouping practices, technological utilization, and significant themes of inquiry integrating both the practical and the theoretical aspects of knowledge.
Our curriculum engages students in basic skills development through inquiry-oriented, critical, reflective, creative, and imaginative thinking, and ethical decision making. Our programs support the use of case studies, field experiences, performance and reflective assessment, a strong background in academic content areas, and the need for students to be active agents in their education.
Students who complete our program(s) are able to function as future educators in a pluralistic, consensual, democratic society and recognize the need for instruction in both social (group) and personal (individual) realms.
The goal of Saint Martin's University College of Education and Counseling is to select and prepare teacher/counselor/administrator candidates to become outstanding P-12 professionals. To the general University emphasis on basic strength in academic areas of study for all graduates, the college adds strong professional teacher/counselor/administrator training programs which comply with specific state requirements. The programs are also shaped by practitioners who serve on its Professional Education Advisory Boards (PEAB). True to its catholic Benedictine heritage, the College of Education shares the University's strong emphasis on moral and ethical values. A teacher/counselor educated at Saint Martin's will enter his/her first school prepared not only with knowledge, but also with strong values, an educational philosophy centered on meeting the needs of the individual child, and a base of experience upon which to build.
The college's following three goals, therefore, lead us to the core of our conceptual framework:
- Curriculum (knowledge): The College of Education and Counseling programs are dedicated to developing competent teachers, counselors, and administrators who have strong knowledge in subject matter. Individuals completing our programs will utilize technology as it relates to teaching/counseling/administration, participate in free and open inquiry, and problem-solve and construct new learning opportunities for themselves, P-12 students and staff.
- Pedagogy (skills): Individuals will develop and utilize pedagogical/counseling/administration strategies and skills necessary to their program. The College of Education and Counseling programs will provide a community for P-12/SMU collaboration, thus enriching pre-service through the professional performance continuum. Individuals completing our programs will have participated in a variety of leadership opportunities and multiple P-12 field experiences, including placements with school districts with diverse student populations.
- Character (dispositions): The College of Education and Counseling programs are dedicated to developing a caring community of teacher/counselor/administrator-colleagues with strong ethical character, professional leadership, collaborative skill, openness to innovation, and personal integrity. Individuals completing our programs will reflect democratic traditions-including acceptance of the individual and sensitivity for cultural diversity.
With these goals in mind, the college programs were designed/redesigned to supply its students with: an excellent background in academic and pedagogical theory and knowledge; the ability to apply that theory and knowledge in practical, daily situations; technological and teaching/counseling/administrative techniques for successfully transmitting that knowledge and application skill; a caring, nurturing attitude toward children and colleagues; skill, confidence and sensitivity in classroom leadership; and the ability to gain employment.
To achieve these challenges, the education programs have established the following:
- program initiation/planning based on needs assessment and institutional capability
- professional/practitioner inclusion in program planning, delivery with assessment
- careful articulation of Saint Martin's program and community college offerings
- student selection based on scholarship and personal characteristics compatible with the profession
- program advising based on student interests and the market for teaching fields
- close inter-divisional coordination of teacher/counselor/administrator training and academic preparation
- a strong field experience component to develop application of teaching/counseling/administrative skills
- small classes (15-30 students) to encourage participation
- faculty with a master's or higher degrees, large majority of faculty with doctoral degrees
- the majority of classes taught by regular, full-time faculty or adjuncts who return each year
- student and peer evaluation of individual course quality
- preparation that complies with state regulations on program content and certification procedures
- careful alignment with state goals, essential learning requirements and assessment against the goals to ensure students are able to demonstrate “a positive impact on student learning”
- procedures that promote success of graduates in job placement