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KNOXVILLE — The College of Education, Health and Human Sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has established the Graduate School of Education. It is the only graduate school of education in the Southeast.

The graduate school’s creation was approved by the UT Board of Trustees in February and by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission in April. The school opened on July 1.

By creating the Graduate School of Education, the college aims to further distinguish its teacher-training program on the national level.

Although 39 colleges and universities in Tennessee offer teacher training programs, UT Knoxville is the only one that requires the post-baccalaureate model. This five-year program requires students to earn a bachelor’s degree in their chosen discipline from the College of Arts and Sciences with a minor in teacher education before completing a full-year graduate internship in a regional school system along with embedded coursework through the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences. Students leave with a master’s degree in education.

The new Graduate School of Education provides an umbrella for three existing departments — Theory and Practice in Teacher Education, Educational Psychology and Counseling, and Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.

“This is predominantly a change in structure, as opposed to programmatic. We firmly believe the creation of the Graduate School of Education will heighten the national and international visibility of our various graduate education programs. In addition, having the graduate school will help us attract top-notch students, give us additional leverage in obtaining grant awards and assist in establishing additional outreach partnerships,” said Bob Rider, dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences.

“Having a Graduate School of Education will help emphasize the excellent program we already have in place,” Rider said. “An example of that excellence can be seen in studies of Tennessee teachers and how much they personally affect their students’ learning. In those studies, UT graduates in math and science, for example, perform at significantly higher levels than teachers who are trained elsewhere.”

Lynn Cagle, the associate dean for professional licensure, will serve as the first director of the Graduate School of Education.

Most other teacher training programs in Tennessee and across the country require students to major in teacher education, minor in their discipline and spend a semester student teaching.

Cagle said the Graduate School of Education will allow UT to highlight the successes it’s seen through its post-baccalaureate model — namely, producing teachers who can walk into the classroom more confident in their chosen subject and who have a much clearer picture of what life in the classroom will be like.

Other graduate schools of education across the U.S. include the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University, Fordham University, the University of California-Berkeley and the University of California-Los Angeles.


Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,