College of Social Sciences, Commerce, and Education


Dr. Kimberlee Wagner, Chair and Unit Head

Prof. Annie Baddoo

Prof. Gina Braun

Dr. Jacob Hardesty

Dr. Kelly Monson

Dr. Brandi St. James




“Empowered Minds Learning Together”

All teacher education programs at Rockford University are firmly rooted in the liberal arts to provide a broad range of knowledge and practical experiences that will help students understand themselves, society, the natural world, and the world of arts and humanities. Students learn how individuals develop within the context of their social, economic, cultural, linguistic, and academic experiences. Further, students learn to identify and adjust for diverse characteristics and abilities of each student to create a positive learning environment, while reflecting upon and evaluating their own teaching skills.

The Education department offers Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Middle Grades Education, and Special Education (LBS1), and offers minors in Special Education (LBS1), Bilingual Education, and English as a Second Language. In addition, minors in Secondary or K-12 education with licensure are offered for majors in Biology, Chemistry, English, French, History, Mathematics, Physical Education, Spanish, as well as Theatre and Visual Arts. In addition, the department offers Early Childhood, Elementary, and Special Education majors without licensure.

Rockford University Programs Leading to Professional Educator License (PEL)

As of July 1, 2013, a professional licensure system replaced the teacher certification system in the state of Illinois. Students completing approved teacher education programs at Rockford University will receive a Professional Educator’s License (PEL) with endorsements in their chosen area(s) of study. Rockford University offers several endorsements for those seeking an Illinois PEL.

Important Notes: Illinois licensure requirements may change, and students must satisfy Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) requirements in effect at the time of application for licensure, endorsements, and approvals. Rockford University has no control over any such changes in state requirements, and state requirements are not negotiable. Students are advised to refer to the Education department’s current Handbook for Professional Educator Licensure (PEL) Programs for the most recent updates in requirements for various aspects of the program.

The following PEL endorsements are available upon completion of Rockford University approved programs.

  • Early Childhood (birth to grade 2)
  • Elementary (grades 1-6)
  • Middle Grades (grades 5-8)
  • K-12 (Foreign Language: French, Spanish; Physical Education; Visual Arts)
  • Secondary (Biology, Chemistry, Drama/Theatre Arts, English/Language Arts, History, Mathematics)
  • Special Education--LBS1 (preK-21)

The following endorsements may also be earned. A PEL must be awarded prior to entitlement for these endorsements.

  • Bilingual
  • English as a Second Language (ESL)
  • Special Education (LBS1)

An Early Childhood Special Education approval for Pre-K only is available for those completing licensure endorsement requirements in either Early Childhood Education or Special Education (LBS1).

Rockford University Education Programs without Professional Educator License (PEL)

In compliance with Illinois statutory licensure requirements, Rockford University offers degree options for students who are ineligible to pass student teaching and state of Illinois licensure tests necessary for successful program completion of approved programs in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, and Special Education (LBS1). The following degrees without licensure are available to those students. Students should seek further information from their faculty advisors.

  • Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Education without Licensure
  • Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood without Licensure
  • Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Special Education without Licensure

Admission to the Teacher Education Program (TEP)

Admission is contingent upon the following.

  • Successful completion of EDEC 300 or EDUC 300     
  • Filing a declaration of major or minor in Education
  • Completion of 45 credits of university-level work with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 of either Rockford University General Education requirements or from an acceptable community college

Student Teaching Requirements

Rockford University teacher education programs leading to professional educator licensure culminate in the student teaching semester. Students may student teach during the fall or spring semester of the senior year. Admission to student teaching is not automatic. Students are required to attend the Student Teaching Application Meeting and submit their applications during the semester preceding student teaching. The student-initiated application process may be repeated only once. Admission to student teaching is contingent upon the following.

  • Completion of designated coursework with a grade of “C-” or higher (students must earn at least a “C-” in all courses required for program completion resulting in licensure, endorsements, or approvals)
  • Overall GPA of 2.50 or higher with a 3.0 GPA or higher in the major 
  • Passing of the appropriate ILTS content-area test (s)
  • Successful professional dispositions review by the Student Teaching Admission Committee
  • Approval of the Student Teaching Admission Committee

Important Note: Additional requirements specific to each Rockford University approved teacher education program are found in the current Handbook for PEL Programs.