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School of Education

Meet the Dean

Barbara Baird-Pauli

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Our Christ-centered mission is to develop and empower dedicated professional educators committed to student learning in a global society.

Using the Spring Arbor University Concept as a foundation, the statement of purpose of the School of Education defines the function of our programs and curriculum. Teacher education is a major professional function of Spring Arbor, and one in which the principles of service to mankind as expressed in the Christian ethic have primary influence.

Guiding Principles

  • A Christian perspective informs who we are and what we do.
  • Our teaching and learning leads to competence in the domains of the conceptual framework.
  • Transformational learning leads to the development of dedicated professional educators.
  • We prepare students to be critical participants in issues of diversity, equity and global responsibility.

Message from the Dean

The teacher education preparation program at Spring Arbor University has been recognized since the inception of the teacher preparation institute (TPI) assessment in 2007 by the State of Michigan as being an exemplary program as measured by specific assessment indicators. This speaks well and appropriately for the program but does not fully speak to the level of commitment and sense of mission that our faculty, staff and students share. We believe that becoming a teacher is more than a profession, but is a higher calling. Therefore, the foundation for every facet of the School of Education is our faith and commitment to serving our students well so that they can go into the world and serve their students well. Because of this commitment, our faculty and staff seek opportunities to build relationships with our students so that individual attention becomes the manner through which we model faithful excellence in every area of our profession.

Barbara Baird-Pauli
Dean, School of Education

Philosophy of the School of Education

We believe:

  • All children have the potential to learn, regardless of learning modality or cultural differences.
  • The foundation for teacher effectiveness is knowledge of the liberal arts grounded in a Christian worldview.
  • Nuclear and extended family members are a vital link for successful student achievement.
  • Meaningful knowledge is connected to prior learning and is constructed through critical and reflective thinking in the mind of the learner.
  • All students have the right to know explicitly what is expected of them in terms of assessment standards. A variety of assessment tools should be used.
  • Classroom management should be proactive.
  • Students learn best when actively engaged in the learning process.
  • Students learn best by working cooperatively or collaboratively with others.
  • The teacher must understand the central concepts, tools of inquiry and structure of the subject matter.
  • Technology should serve as a means to enhance student achievement.


  • The Higher Learning Commission (HLC): All degrees offered by Spring Arbor University are accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, 230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604.
  • The Michigan Department of Education: The School of Education at Spring Arbor University is approved by the Michigan Department of Education for certification in Michigan in the subject areas listed here. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) federal legislation may affect the subjects which a certified teacher is qualified to teach. The School of Education will have the most recent information available through the Michigan Department of Education regarding this federal legislation. Students planning to be certified in other states should consult with the certification officer in the School of Education office early in the program. Students desiring Michigan certification are responsible for meeting all certification requirements of the Michigan Department of Education and the State Board of Education, whether or not they are explicitly stated in this Web site or other University publications.
  • U.S. Department of Education Title II: The program complies with the U.S. Department of Education Title II, Section 207 reporting procedures. Copies of the most recent or earlier reports are available upon request.
  • The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) recognizes the School of Education at Spring Arbor University as a fully accredited educator preparation program. The next CAEP accreditation visit will occur in spring of 2025.
    CAEP conducted an initial program (traditional undergraduate) accreditation visit of the Spring Arbor University School of Education in the fall of 2018. The site team reviewed the School of Education’s initial programs for Elementary Education, Secondary Education, Early Childhood Education, and Special Education. In addition, CAEP recognizes the CACREP accreditation for the Masters of Counseling program with a School Counseling component as the EPP’s only Advance program. The fall 2018 review by the CAEP Accreditation Council resulted in Spring Arbor University and 52 other providers from 27 states and Puerto Rico to receive accreditation for their education preparation programs.
    The Michigan Department of Education requires that all educator preparation programs be nationally accredited. Upon successfully completing the chosen program of study in which they choose to be certified, candidates participating in the Spring Arbor University School of Education accredited program become recognized certified teachers by the Michigan Department of Education.
  • Spring Arbor University joins a total of 196 other educator preparation providers nationwide to receive CAEP Accreditation.
  • The School of Education CAEP Annual Report and TITLE 1 Report can be viewed here:
  • The Masters of Arts in Counseling at Spring Arbor University is accredited through CACREP

Direct any questions regarding accreditation to the Academic Affairs office.

Career Opportunities

Students graduating from accredited universities in the state of Michigan are recognized throughout the United States as being highly qualified and well prepared to perform the duties of a classroom teacher with professionalism and skill. Spring Arbor students are also recognized as having a higher standard of excellence in their professional and personal demeanor because of the foundation of Christian ethic and commitment to their faith and their profession. Because of these expectations, Spring Arbor University teacher education students are pursued as teachers throughout the United States and other countries.