About the College of Education

Grand Canyon University’s College of Education aims to provide you with essential knowledge and skills for the challenging, diverse classrooms and district initiatives of modern education. Teaching and education degrees align with specialized, professional and accrediting standards. Whether you dream of earning a teaching degree in early childhood education, special education or secondary education, you are provided opportunities designed to help you gain the knowledge, skills and confidence needed to achieve professionalism as a teacher or administrator. Learn more about our college, including available degrees and program locations.

College of Education Mission

The College of Education inspires excellence in pedagogy and scholarship; advances reflective, innovative and collaborative teaching practices to maximize student learning and achievement; promotes servant leadership in educational communities; and engages a diverse and global community of learners with purpose and passion.

As a Christian university, GCU and the College of Education take a proactive approach to developing students’ servant leadership skills and growth of our alumni in educational settings. While the college’s accredited programs are designed to help prepare and equip students for a career in the field of education, we (faculty, staff and college leaders) understand the unique opportunities and challenges a career in education might present. We promise to assist all College of Education graduates who need additional support or who are experiencing challenges in an educational setting; and since 1984, we have upheld this promise. Support might include content-area teaching materials, certification testing resources, course curriculum assistance or faculty mentoring. Email the COE at [email protected]. To honor this promise, the College of Education asks graduates to pledge to uphold a high level of excellence in their educational setting.

GCU College of Education Learning Leading Serving Graphic

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Program Essentials

The following information provides you with College of Education essentials that will be important throughout the course of your program. You should become familiar with the following topics so that you can properly prepare for your education courses.

The College of Education embraces standards and principles set forth by the Arizona Department of Education, national accreditors and many educational organizations, such as the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation, the Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium, the International Literacy Association and the TESOL International Association.

The College of Education values collaboration with our local districts and schools. The learning and safety of all learners, both college and pre-K-12 students, is a priority for all field experiences in the College of Education. Therefore, the college must provide candidates who are background cleared and classroom ready in all aspects. To achieve this, each candidate is required to have and maintain current and valid fingerprint clearance for the duration of their program.

Prior to your participation in any course that requires fingerprint clearance, you must provide your field experience counselor (FEC) with a copy of an official Arizona Department of Public Safety Identify Verified Prints (IVP) Fingerprint Clearance Card or appropriate documentation in adherence to the Candidate Fingerprint Clearance policy located in the University Policy Handbook. Note, you may need to complete additional clearances for school site placements and/or for certification purposes based on their requirements.

Refer to your assigned FEC for additional information on the fingerprint clearance requirements.

Statement of Education Philosophy

Learning: We believe that all students can learn and that effective, innovative and collaborative teaching and administration maximizes best practices as well as student learning and achievement. Effective teachers and administrators are knowledgeable, committed and compassionate; they help to ensure all students are provided the opportunity to learn to the best of their ability.

Leading: We believe that education is a powerful tool with which to purposefully engage a diverse, global community. As our teacher and administrator candidates find their purpose and calling within education, they seek to lead others to reach their God-given potential in order for them to influence the changing world.

Serving: The culture and Christian heritage of GCU promotes a spirit of servant leadership within the College of Education's faculty, staff and students so they can serve people within the broader educational community.

If you are passionate about making an impact and contributing to the field of education by becoming a school leader or administrator, we offer educational administration and educational leadership programs. These programs are designed for the classroom teacher or current administrator who wants to learn research-based practices, participate in experiences in current educational settings, and develop the skills and knowledge necessary for effective leadership roles in the education sector.

For resources related to your practicum/field experience, visit the Student Success Center.

Passing educator exams is an expectation for candidates enrolled in the College of Education’s initial licensure programs at Grand Canyon University. As listed in the University Policy Handbook, required basic skills and/or content area exams must be completed and passed prior to applying for the student teaching experience. Most states, including Arizona, also require candidates to take a professional knowledge exam to achieve certification. While the professional knowledge exam is not a requirement to progress into student teaching, some states may require passing exam scores for issuance of the Institutional Recommendation (IR). All teacher candidates seeking an IR for a teaching license in their intended state of licensure are responsible for determining state specific deadlines and requirements, and must complete the programmatic and state licensure requirements.

You may contact your assigned field experience counselor (FEC) for more information on state testing and certification.

Additionally, we encourage you to browse through our exam resources by visiting the Student Success Center.

Practicum/field experiences are field-based learning opportunities that require you to observe and interact in diverse and practical education settings. These experiences can allow you to put into practice the theories and concepts you’ve acquired during your program coursework. Your practicum/field experience, aimed at meeting diverse student needs from pre-K-12 grades in different educational settings, forms the basis for selfreflection, personal growth, professional development and self-assessment. These enriching experiences can enable you to immerse yourself in practical settings within the field, under the supportive guidance from a GCU instructor. This guidance, combined with your hands-on experiences, is an important step on your journey to becoming an effective educator.

For resources related to your practicum/field experience, visit the Student Success Center.

GCU offers you the opportunity to engage in credentialed programs, yet it cannot ensure certification since certification eligibility is determined solely by licensing agencies, typically a state’s department of education. Given that our programs are approved in Arizona, the College of Education strictly adheres to Arizona’s rules and regulations for successful program completion. Since certification criteria differ from state to state, it is crucial for you to thoroughly review and understand your state’s certification requirements as you progress through the program.

Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Secondary Education, Special Education

Having completed coursework and its related practicum/field experiences as well as passed state-mandated exams, you are now ready to move to the next progression point in your program: student teaching. At this point, you acquire the designation “teacher candidate.” The capstone experience for the education programs consists of a 16-week guided student teaching experience designed to provide opportunities for you to apply your knowledge and skills as identified in national standards and research.

Student teaching is the culminating experience in your academic program of study. It can be an exciting, yet challenging, learning experience that places you in unfamiliar situations, affords intellectually stimulating activities and allows for empirical application of concepts and skills learned. These experiences are offered through scaffolding that includes observation, participating and actually leading activities. During student teaching, introspection, personal change, professional growth and self-assessment empower your sense of development as a professional. The opportunity to work as an independent practitioner within the field coupled with supportive mentoring from the mentor teacher and faculty instructor provide a strong sense of the exciting opportunities that await you in the coming years.

For resources related to your practicum/field experience, visit the Student Success Center.

Arizona Alternative Teaching Pathway

The Arizona Alternative Teaching Pathway is designed for students who have secured a full-time teaching position with a district in a high-needs area, hold an Arizona Alternative Teaching Certificate, and are currently enrolled in one of the following master's degree licensure programs:

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To be eligible, you must:

  • Have an official transcript showing a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • Be enrolled and active in one of the licensure programs listed above
  • Have a current and valid AZ IVP Fingerprint Clearance Card
  • Have been offered a full-time contracted teaching position in an area that aligns with the program of study

If you would like to request additional information or determine eligibility, or if you have questions regarding this pathway, contact us at [email protected]. For resources and more information, please visit the Student Success Center.

Educational Resources

Knowledge in the field of education is expanded when we have information at our fingertips. Clicking on any of the links below will open up the world of education to you. Here, you can probe state and federal departments of education; investigate education career prospects; quick link to professional and content standard organizations; and discover professional development opportunities. Happy exploring!

Educator Preparedness

California State Submission Documents and Requirements

Grand Canyon University is seeking initial institutional approval from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) for California-specific versions of the Elementary and Special Education programs currently being designed by the College of Education. Interested parties are invited to submit comments that may help to inform the Commission of substantive issues regarding Grand Canyon University. Comments should be submitted to the Commission at [email protected]. Please note that comments should specify that party's relationship to the institution (i.e., graduation, present or former faculty member, etc.). All identifying information will remain confidential.

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