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LSOE and CSON Offer Varying And Intersecting Paths With A&S

Asst. Features Editor

Published: Monday, February 18, 2013

Updated: Monday, February 18, 2013 01:02

The College of Arts and Sciences at Boston College is the oldest and largest of the undergraduate colleges of the University. A&S  enrolls nearly 6,000 undergraduate and 1,100 graduate students, and offers a diversity of courses, programs, and research opportunities. Although smaller and narrower in scope, the Lynch School of Education (LSOE) and The Connell School of Nursing (CSON) provide analogous opportunities for variety in courses, research opportunities, and graduate programs. The Lynch and Connell Schools offer interesting intersections with A&S that many students may not be aware of.

The most defining feature of BC is its alignment with Jesuit ideals. BC’s mission is to foster intellectual development, and the religious, ethical, and personal formation of its students in order to prepare students for citizenship, service, and leadership. The core curriculum, although under analysis right now, is one avenue by which BC works to provide students with a wide range of opportunities. LSOE and CSON have their own distinct mission statements, although they are grounded in the same Jesuit principles and work very much in tandem with the overall core mission of the University.

The Lynch School “endeavors to improve the human condition through education and applied psychology,” which is pursued through excellence and ethics in teaching, research, and service. Lynch students benefit immensely from their proximity to the city of Boston, which offers a hub of diverse schools—from private K-12 schools to urban charter schools. LSOE began as BC’s first coeducational school on the Chestnut Hill campus, with the mission to “enhance the human condition through education.” The school has grown to house 800 undergraduate students, 1,000 graduate students, and more than 25 academic programs in education, human development, and psychology. Collaboration is a key component of Lynch, as students work to not only understand, but also to ameliorate real issues such as discrimination, violence, and social inequity in the surrounding communities.

LSOE’s promotion of community outreach is seen through programs such as the Jumpstart program, and through the practicum experience. Elementary education and secondary education majors in Lynch must complete three pre-practica and one full practicum. Pre-practicum requires  eight to 10 hours per week in the field under the supervision of a cooperating teacher for 10 weeks. One is completed either first or second semester sophomore year, and the timing of the rest is dictated by whether or not the student goes abroad. A concerted effort is made to ensure students are exposed to a wide range of experiences—and complete their practicums in urban schools, suburban schools, as well as private parochial schools.

One universal aspect for all BC students is the core curriculum. Freshman year is a general time of exploration for all incoming students. In the Lynch School, students are required to complete the University core, along with a Child Growth and Development course, and Family, School, and Society, which exposes students to issues that are central to the LSOE’s mission. Over the past few years, the human development major has been revised and is now called applied psychology and human development, which allows students to explore multiple areas. Students can pick up a minor across the university, and many students double major in applied psych and an A&S major (such as sociology or Communication). Within the applied psych major, there are numerous focus areas a student can take.

In some ways, the applied psych major provides more flexibility than the secondary and elementary education majors. The requirements for elementary and secondary education majors are extremely rigid, and don’t allow much room for electives. Students majoring in secondary education must double major, and pick up a major in A&S in the content area they are interested in teaching in the future. Thus, a student interested in teaching high school history would have to double major in secondary education in LSOE and history in A&S.

Audrey Friedman, assistant dean of undergraduates in LSOE, noted another overlap with A&S that is evident through the fifth year program. The Lynch fifth year program was actually created for A&S students. If a senior who majored in history realized he or she wanted to be a teacher, he or she can start taking courses as a senior toward his or her graduate degree in the Lynch School. Although the student did not major in education as an undergrad, he or she can come to Lynch for her master’s and the content area major requirement will already have been completed.

“Our students acquire skills in teacher training, of knowing how to speak in front of a group, how to organize and manage class, relate to other professionals, and are trained in cultural competency,” said Maureen Kenny, interim dean of LSOE. Kenny noted that in bringing students that had graduated back over the years, they found that many stayed in education, but others moved in different directions.

“There are a lot of skills that are really 21st century skills that individuals learn as part of teacher training. The broad base of training that the school of education in conjunction with the core and A&S majors, prepares students well because most students will move across different careers,” she said. “With the equipment of a range of critical thinking skills and vast theoretical knowledge, students are very prepared for life and work.”

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