Teacher Selection and Retention Standards

Students entering the program in Fall 2014 or later, please contact our office for the current standards.

Provisional Certification
Baccalaureate and Post-Baccalaureate Programs


Northern Michigan University is committed to excellence in its teacher preparation programs. The quality of our program is attained in many ways:

  • low faculty-student ratios;
  • dedicated faculty;
  • rigorous entrance and retention requirements;
  • approval by state agencies, learned societies, and national teacher accreditation agencies; and
  • opportunities for learning about the teaching profession through direct contact with both students and teachers in K-12 classroom settings.

The quality of our programs also demands excellence from our student participants. Success in the teaching profession is evidenced by competency in basic skills and intellectual capacity; good oral language skills; commitment to the teaching profession; and sound moral character. The presumption is that students come to us with both personal and academic integrity. Conduct at any given time may call into question this premise.

We are also committed to the idea that teachers accept unique responsibility in fostering healthy teaching and learning environments in our schools. The following set of principles are derived from the conceptual framework adopted by our teacher education faculty.

  • Teaching ethically by addressing the full range of human diversity as it impacts the learning of individual students and the class as a whole. This diversity includes (but is not limited to) race, gender, sexual preference and learning abilities.
  • Acting in the best interest of the state and the public in terms of education. When we recommend teacher certification to the state, we are indicating the student has demonstrated the understanding that they will serve the publics' interests.
  • Behaving professionally. This professionalism is not only necessary at the point of the teaching certificate being issued, but must be readily evident at the beginning of the teacher education program as well.
  • Exhibiting professional integrity. The nature of teaching is that it requires the highest form of academic, ethical and moral integrity.

I. Professional and Academic Integrity

We demand that students exhibit academic integrity. Teachers are in a position to become the most influential adults in the lives of many students. Individuals who wish to become teachers must be aware that evidence of professionalism does not begin the day a college student graduates or is awarded a teaching certificate. Indicators of a professional lifestyle must be readily evident during the time an individual is preparing to enter the profession.

Academic integrity is one of those very important indicators. Examples of how academic integrity may be violated (e.g., submitting someone else's work as one's own without proper acknowledgement or credit to the author) are provided in the NMU Student Code. Sanctions that may be imposed by faculty for violations of academic integrity are described in the NMU Student Rights and Responsibilities document. These sanctions include assigning an F grade for a paper or exam as well as lowering a course grade to an F.

We expect students to show continuing progress toward possession of the personal characteristics and competencies which personify the professional educator. Behaviors and qualities which are valued by the teaching profession and which are expected of students by the faculty include class attendance and participation, promptness in completing assignments, leadership, commitment to learning, a willingness to build collegiality by working with peers in collaborative, reflective, and problem-solving settings, and a multicultural perspective.

We also expect that students meet minimum degrees of relevant forms of socialization. The Administrative Rules Governing the Certification of Michigan Teachers gives the State Board of Education authority to deny, revoke, or suspend a certificate to individuals convicted as an adult of an act of immoral conduct contributing to the delinquency of a child or a felony involving moral turpitude. In addition, we believe that the responsibilities and challenges of the teaching profession require that teachers be of sound moral character. As a result, admission and retention in the teacher education program require that students have minimum degrees of relevant forms of socialization. In general, such socialization will not be considered present if an individual has:

  • committed a felony or a criminal offense involving a minor or an act of moral turpitude;
  • demonstrated an inability to conform to behavioral standards of this university;
  • demonstrated behavior incompatible with requirements of the teaching profession during the laboratory field experience or other work in the program including any test or procedure required pursuant to Section VII of the Teacher Selection and Retention Standards.

Moral turpitude as a ground for denial of admission or academic dismissal from the program means an intentional act prohibited by statute which:

  • has the effect of contributing to the delinquency of a minor;
  • constitutes child abuse or neglect or which otherwise involves a minor;
  • constitutes or involves a form of sexual conduct described or defined by statute;
  • involves trafficking in drugs or controlled substances;
  • involves pornographic materials;
  • involves wrongful entry, larceny, embezzlement or receiving stolen property;
  • involves perjury, bribery, graft, forgery, counterfeiting or smuggling; or
  • involves fraud, deceit or intentional dishonesty for purposes of personal gain.

Forms authorizing the release to the School of Education, Leadership and Public Service of all records and information pertaining to any and all convictions for criminal offenses, ordinance violations or penalties for violation of university regulations are required at several stages in the program. This information may be on file either at the Dean of Students Office, at the Michigan State Police Central Records Division of NMU's, the Public Safety Department, or at any other criminal justice agency. Through this form, students consent to the use and communication of such information among the faculty and others included in the administration of the teacher education program, including appropriate elementary and secondary school personnel, in carrying out their official responsibilities.

Any misrepresentation by a student concerning a matter governed by the Teacher Selection and Retention Standards shall itself constitute a failure to comply the with Teacher Selection and Retention Standards. The Director of Teacher Education Student Services is responsible for review of these reports and for any follow up that is considered necessary. Cases which result in denial of admission or dismissal are handled in accordance with the procedures stated in the document entitled "Academic Dismissal from the Professional Teacher Education Program."

II.  Full Admission to Teacher Education Curricula

Full admission into the teacher preparation program is highly selective. Progress through the program, including approval for methods level classes, student teaching, and recommendation for certification is monitored continually. Each student is responsible for knowing and meeting all program requirements. Furthermore, students are expected to have successfully met all of the requirements of one level of their program before entering the next. Failure to meet retention standards or make satisfactory progress may result in temporary suspension or dismissal at any point in the program.

Admission to Northern Michigan University does not necessarily imply full admission to a teacher education program of study. Full admission to teacher education is determined by the Director of Teacher Education Student Services or the Certification Counselor in the School of Education, Leadership and Public Service or, on appeal, by the Teacher Selection and Retention committee.

Students are not eligible to enroll in any ED prefixed courses above 100 level until they have gained full admission to the School of Education, Leadership and Public Service.  Full admission requirements to a teacher education program of study are as follows.  All undergraduate and post-baccalaureate applicants must have:

  • a cumulative GPA of 2.7 in undergraduate level college credits
  • at least 28 credits earned and
  • passing scores on the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC) Professional Readiness Exam

Applicants may be denied admission if they do not meet the above requirements or if they have:

  • more than five repeats in college courses
  • a combination of excessive repeats and withdrawals from classes

Applicants who are already attending NMU or who are applying for re-entry must submit to the Director of Teacher Education Student Services an application which verifies that all entrance requirements have been met. An NMU transcript and transcripts and transfer evaluations from all other colleges attended will be required.

New transfer students must apply and have all transcripts submitted to the Transfer Admissions Office at least eight weeks prior to the beginning of classes so that eligibility requirements may be determined.

Students with a baccalaureate degree must apply and submit all transcripts by May 1 for the fall semester and October 1 for the winter semester. Students who do not meet all entrance requirements and the prescribed deadlines will not be authorized to enroll in education classes.

III. Admission to Methods Phase

Admission to the methods level of the program enables students to take courses in their professional education sequence numbered from ED 306 through ED 406, MA 353, and secondary education methods courses as long as deficiencies do not exist and prerequisite courses have been satisfactorily completed.

The screening of candidates for entrance to the methods phase of the program is extremely important. The Teacher Selection and Retention Committee is responsible for overseeing this function. The faculty is interested in determining whether or not the applicant possesses the characteristics that are necessary for effective teaching. Just as important, however, is the faculty's interest in identifying students who need or should be given opportunities for remediation, further academic preparation, special assistance, or special consideration of some kind. In pursuit of these objectives, interviews, application forms, portfolios, recommendations, correction of deficiencies through remedial courses, etc., may be required. The information gathered about the student is combined with the information outlined below in reaching decisions about continuance in the program. Applicants who have deficiencies may be advised about suitable courses of action.

Methods Phase Requirements and Policies

Prior to entering the methods phase of the program, students must:

  • Submit an application before registering for any methods level courses. Applications are available in the School of Education, Leadership and Public Service and online at www.nmu.edu/education
  • Possess a cumulative GPA of 2.7 or above.
  • Successfully complete required pre-methods level field experiences at the appropriate K-12 level.
  • Declare a major and/or minor.
  • Possess a GPA of 2.7 in the pre-methods education sequence (ED 201, ED 230 or 231, and ED 301); with no grades below "C."
  • Complete EN 111, EN 211, MA 150 and MA 151 with a grade of "C" or above in each course where required in the curriculum.

In the event that more students qualify for admission to the methods phase of the program than University resources can accommodate, a selection system may be established. The criteria to be used in selecting students will include (but not be limited to), GPAs, faculty recommendations, representation from under-represented populations and subject area demand.

IV. Retention in the Program

To retain eligibility in the professional teacher education program, a student must:

  • Maintain an overall GPA of 2.7 or above;
  • Maintain a GPA of 2.7 or greater with no grade below "C" in the professional education sequence, the major and/or minor(s), and the planned program and required cognates combined;
  • Have no more than five repeats;
  • Maintain minimum standards of behavior as prescribed in the section addressing professional integrity.

V. Limitations on Acceptance of Transfer Courses and Validity of Courses

Students are expected to take their professional education sequence courses at Northern Michigan University. Guidelines for specific courses are as follows:

A.  ED 201, Introduction to Education

  • Transfer credit will be accepted but given only a satisfactory or unsatisfactory grade designation. An S grade will be assigned when the grade earned is C or greater, and a U grade will be assigned when the grade earned is below C.

B.  Methods level courses.: A minimum of 20 credits of methods-level courses must be taken at NMU, including the following:

Elementary Education:
ED 311 3 credits
ED 316 3 credits
ED 420 11 credits
ED 450 1 credit
ED 450 1 credit

Secondary Education:
ED 319 3 credits
ED 349 2 credits
__  350 3-4 credits
ED 430 11 credits
ED 450 1 credit

Special Education:
ED 311 3 credits
ED 316 3 credits
ED 401 or ED 408 4 credits
ED 406 or ED 409 2 credits

Elementary Based:
ED 423A 5 credits
ED 423B or ED 423C 6 credits
ED 450 1 credit

Secondary Based:
ED 424A or
ED 424B 11 credits
ED 450 1 credit

All Education courses are invalid after six years. Math 150, MA 151, and MA 353 are also invalid after six years.

These requirements apply to all provisional certification programs of study. Exceptions to the requirements may be made by the director of Teacher Education Student Services or the certification counselor in consultation with the appropriate faculty member.

Repeats of all education courses must be taken at Northern Michigan University.

VI. Eligibility for Student Teaching Placement

Students should plan to do their student teaching when they have completed all prerequisite course work. Students should notify the student teaching office of their intent to do student teaching two semesters in advance and must submit a complete student teaching application one semester in advance. Forms, policies and procedures and other information are available in the Laboratory Field Experiences Office.

Student teaching placements are made by the university. Students are not to contact school personnel to arrange student teaching placements.

To qualify for a student teaching placement, students must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Compliance with all of the previously stated admission and retention requirements.
  • Submit an application for student teaching by the end of the third week of the semester prior to the semester that student teaching is anticipated.
  • Removal of all "I" or "X" grades.
  • Grades of "C" or higher in all required education courses and specialized secondary methods courses.
  • Completion of all course requirements in the student's major and minor(s). Requests for exceptions to this requirement will be reviewed by the student's advisor and the director of Laboratory Field Experiences.
  • Satisfy the faculty that he/she possesses the knowledge, skills and attributes which are necessary and desirable for successful teaching. Interviews and other procedures or assessments may be conducted or required in making this determination. The student may be required to correct deficiencies. Students who are found to seriously lack the necessary knowledge, skills and attributes for effective teaching may be dismissed from teacher education.
  • Maintain minimum standards of behavior as prescribed in the section addressing professional integrity.

NOTE: Occasionally NMU finds it difficult to secure a student teaching assignment. Although NMU may request an assignment, school districts are under no obligation to accept a student teacher. Reasons such as a poor academic record or a lack of a suitable supervising teacher are responses typically given by districts when not offering a student teaching placement. Students should be aware of this possibility as they progress toward a degree in teacher education.

VII. Eligibility for Recommendation for Certification

To be eligible to be recommended for certification, students must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Compliance with all of the previously stated admission and retention requirements;
  • Completion of the baccalaureate degree in accordance with the above criteria and any additional criteria as established by other academic departments, where applicable;
  • Satisfactory completion of the student teaching assignment with a recommendation for certification by the supervising teacher and the university supervisor;
  • Satisfactory completion of all MTTC subject area competency tests as required by Public Act 451 as amended (major, minor(s), and elementary education where applicable).

VIII. Other Requirements

Students who do not meet requirements for continuous enrollment (i.e., those who drop out for one or more semesters or withdraw from all courses in which they are enrolled) are required to re-apply for admission to the level of the Teacher Education program in which they were enrolled at the time of their departure.

Students may be required to complete other tests or evaluation procedures for admission to any phase of the Teacher Education program, for removal of any suspension from the program, or for teacher certification.

IX. Role of the Director of Teacher Education Student Services and the Certification Counselor

The director of Teacher Education Student Services shall be responsible for making all initial decisions on the admission and retention of students and the validity of course credits for undergraduate students. The Certification Counselor assumes these responsibilities for post-baccalaureate degree students. These officers shall have the authority to make exceptions to admission and retention requirements when circumstances warrant them.

X. Appeals

Students who are denied admission or are academically dismissed from the program may appeal the decision to the Teacher Selection and Retention Committee by contacting the Committee's chairperson or the director of Teacher Education Student Services. Hearing procedures followed by the committee for dismissal cases are stated in a document entitled "Academic Dismissal/Denial from the Teacher Education Program."