Secondary Education

Secondary Education

PROGRAM OVERVIEW The School of Education offers a strong professional program with a solid foundation in the arts and sciences, providing knowledge and perspective for disciplines taught in secondary schools. Within their educational program, secondary education students master a variety of methods of classroom instruction and assessment in courses that can lead to teacher certification in any state or Department of Defense schools globally.

Because Drake University is a “hometown university” in a metropolitan area, School of Education students have the opportunity to interact with PK-12 students and their teachers all four years of their experience through five separate practicum experiences. The quality of Iowa teachers and Iowa schools offers a living lab that is matched by small classes and doctoral-level faculty members in the university setting. Although graduate students help organize the multiple practicum experiences for students, there are no graduate students teaching in the Drake University School of Education.

Program faculty serve also as advisors in order to move students swiftly and correctly through their programs. The junior-year experience with an expert teacher in a discipline is a unique on-site, special methods practicum. Collaboration, academic excellence, and social justice are principles stressed throughout the student-involved programs wherein student voices are sought and heard.


Eleven of the 12 faculty members have earned their doctoral degrees. Their research interests include technology integration, science methodology, reading innovations, gender issues, urban education, at-risk students, “I Have a Dream” assessment, qualitative research methods, ESL methods and assessment, emotional and behavioral disorders, juvenile justice, motivation, reading engagement, pre-service teacher dispositions, optimal environments for middle school, preparing all teachers for diverse students/classrooms.

Academic Preparation

As preparation for the secondary education program, students should have a well-rounded, academic high school curriculum, an interest in working with middle-age and teenage students, and an interest in a specific area of study. In addition, all students should have the disposition that all students can learn.

Requirements for Major

Secondary education students must complete at least 37-38 credit hours in the School of Education, including Professional Education courses.

Approved endorsement majors are available in all science (5-8), all science (7-12), all social studies, American history, American history/American government, American government, art, biology, chemistry, economics (second endorsement only), earth science, all business, general science, English/ language arts, English/rhetoric/theater (English emphasis), English/speech-theater, journalism, English as a second language (K-12), journalism, mathematics, physics, physical science, reading (second endorsement only), sociology, theater, rhetoric/English (theater emphasis), world history and world languages—French, German, Spanish. Other endorsement programs may become available. Add-on endorsements are also available for middle school (6-8) and coaching (K-12). Specific requirements and program descriptions are available in the Teaching and Learning Department.

Drake Curriculum

The Drake Curriculum, required of all undergraduates, is designed to help students meet personal and professional goals as they acquire fundamental knowledge and abilities in ten Areas of Inquiry, including communication, critical thinking, artistic experience, historical consciousness, information and technology literacy, international and multicultural experiences, scientific and quantitative literacy, values and ethics and engaged citizenship. Students work closely with their academic advisers to craft a program of study in general education that prepares students for civic and professional leadership.

The Drake Curriculum also requires first-year seminars, which foster development of critical thinking and written and oral communication skills through a topical focus; and a Senior Capstone, in which students demonstrate the capacity to bring information, skills and ideas to bear on one project.

Internships & Opportunities

Education majors begin observing working classrooms during their first year in order to experience a variety of educational settings at all levels of secondary certification (grades 7-12). In their sophomore year, secondary education majors complete a 40-hour practicum at two levels in two local classrooms. The junior year gives students specialized methods instruction and prepares them for the education capstone experience—student teaching. During student teaching, secondary education students spend 15 weeks in Iowa 7-12 classrooms under the mentorship of an experienced teacher. The secondary education program at Drake follows a coaching model, featuring weekly contact with a university supervisor.

Students can gain additional enriching experiences through university or community organizations. For example, students can tutor adults as part of the Drake School of Education Adult Literacy Program, act as student mentors for the Drake Community Center, volunteer for the Des Moines Big Brother-Big Sister organizations, and even collaborate with faculty on research projects through Undergraduate Research Assistantships. Other tutoring opportunities are available through area service agencies.

The Drake University School of Education has a state of the art Macintosh computer classroom for development as well as teaching and learning. Materials from an in-school curriculum library with samples from major textbook companies, important literature, and culture kits are available for two-week check-out.

Career Options

With licensure at the secondary level and at least one endorsement in a specialty area, secondary education students can teach in their endorsement area in grades 5-12. In addition, many businesses seek education graduates because of their abilities to design plans, solve problems, and communicate well.


The Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education recognizes scholarship and excellence in education.

Student Organizations and Activities

The DEA or Drake Education Association is the School of Education’s chapter of the National Education Association, the largest teacher’s union in the United States. All education students are invited to join and engage in fundraisers for local schools, social events, and activities for teacher appreciation day.


For any questions about this program, please reach out to the individual below.

Catherine Willson Gillespie, Ph.D.
Professor and Associate Dean