The Education Program of MacMurray College is committed to preparing graduates for fulfilling and productive professional and diverse teaching careers, effective leadership roles, and lives of continued learning and service. The education department's curriculum, in conjunction with MacMurray's liberal arts experience, prepares graduates with critical thinking and communication skills as well as a foundation of learning built on a strong infrastructure of theory, history and current professional practices in the field of education.

This hand-crafted education extends beyond the college classroom to include dynamic experiences of learning and teaching, through which candidates, as reflective professionals, develop and demonstrate the most effective research-based educational practices available. Students are immersed in field experiences which are embedded within the program courses. Each student will observe and participate in classrooms in various school districts to develop the skills needed to be an effective teacher. By the time a student begins their student teaching senior year, they will have already participated in over 100 hours of field observations.

What makes our program different from others?

Program Learning Outcomes

Students in the Elementary Education program will be able to:

The MacMurray Education department aligns with the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards which can be found at, as well as the National Council for the Social Studies, Next Generation Science Standards, NCTE/IRA Standards for the English Language Arts and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Education Requirements (Illinois State Requirements)

  1. ACT of 22 or higher with 6 or higher on writing or pass the ITAP prior to Student Teaching.
  2. 2.5 Overall GPA, with a C or better in all core courses, and B or better in Field Experience.
  3. Pass the State Test in your field.
  4. Complete and pass the edTPA prior to licensure.

Our location in Jacksonville, with Illinois School for the Deaf, and Illinois School for the Visually Impaired, as well as Pathways, Jacksonville Area Center for Independent Living, Elm City and partnerships with numerous surrounding school districts, provide our students a wealth of field experience.

Students have options when majoring in Education. The MacMurray Education department is one of two in Illinois that offers a Deaf/Hard of Hearing Education teacher certification program, and we are the only small college to offer the trio of Elementary Education, Special Education, and Deaf/Hard of Hearing Education.

The MacMurray Education department offers a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education with a Special Education Endorsement. Elementary Education students can earn an LBS1 endorsement by completing an additional three courses: Learning Characteristics Individuals with Diverse Needs, Diagnostics and Instruction in Special Education, and Methods of Instruction for Learners with Diverse Needs. This additional Endorsement allows teacher candidates to serve ELED students K-6 and SPED students P-21.

Students are engaged in numerous local, regional and national education related field trips and conferences.

In addition to the college general education requirements, the following courses are required for the major: EDUC 202, 225, and 237, and ELED 232, 236, 238, 248, 304, 307, 308, 312, 315, 319, 383, 395. Students will also take a total of 15 credit hours of clinical practice in Elementary Education (ELED 464). Other required courses are Biology, HIST 101, 102, or 104, MATH 125, PHSC 301, PSYC 101 and 242, and SPED 223.

View the entire sample curriculum.

ELED 232. Principles of Elementary Education. (3) Fundamental issues, curriculum and techniques in today's elementary schools. Includes a field experience component (25 hours) tutoring minority students. Offered every semester.

ELED 236. Introduction to Children's Literature. (3) This course will study fiction from board books to novels, nonfiction from references to autobiographies, and poetry written for the child and adolescent. No prerequisite.

ELED 238. Integrating Art in the Elementary Classroom. (3) Methods for teaching elementary school children through the integration of art into the curriculum. Prerequisites: ELED 232 and sophomore standing.

ELED 248. Integrating Music and Movement in the Elementary Classroom. (3) Methods for teaching elementary school children through the integration of music and movement into the curriculum. Prerequisite: ELED 232.

ELED 304. Fundamentals of Teaching Social Studies/Science. (3) Basic principles, techniques, and materials for teaching social studies and science in elementary schools. Prerequisite: ELED 232.

ELED 307. Language Arts for Elementary Teachers. (3) Research as the basis for teaching the facets of language arts; available instructional aids; survey of children's literature; whole language. Prerequisite: ELED 232.

ELED 308. Reading Methods. (3) Concentrates on the content of reading and the various methods of teaching reading, including whole language. Also includes teaching strategies, diagnostic tools, and interpretation and analysis of testing results. Other topics include the development of language as a prerequisite to reading, diagnosis of reading disabilities, designing a remediation plan, and implementation and evaluation of outcomes. Prerequisite: ELED 232.

ELED 312. Classroom Assessment and Measurement. (3) An introduction to the study of assessment instruments and measurement strategies in teaching. Strong emphasis will be placed on the construction of classroom examinations, an analysis of alternative forms of classroom assessment, and the measurement strategies that relate to grading and reporting data from these assessment tools. In addition, students will investigate the processes of selecting, administering and interpreting the results of published tests. Prerequisites: EDUC 225 and 237.

ELED 315. Field Experience in Language Arts. (3) 40 - 45 hours of field experience working in an elementary classroom language arts program. Students who do not receive a grade of B or higher must repeat the course and cannot continue to take upper-level education courses until they do so. Prerequisite: ELED 307 (may be taken concurrently).

ELED 319. Field Experience in Reading. (3) 40-45 hours field experience working in an elementary classroom reading program. Students who do not receive a grade of B or higher must repeat the course and cannot continue to take upper-level education courses until they do so. Prerequisites: ELED 308 (may be taken concurrently) and ELED 315.

ELED 325. Methods of Teaching Mathematics in the Elementary School. (3) Examination of methods and materials for teaching elementary school mathematics. Prerequisite: MATH 125, or permission of advisor.

ELED 383. Reading Laboratory. (3) The student will practice diagnostic and prescriptive teaching in reading through individualized instruction with public school students. Prerequisite: ELED 308.

ELED 395. Seminar for Elementary Education Majors. (3) A seminar to provide for integration of concepts, attitudes and theories for clinical practice (student teaching). Prerequisites: ELED 232, 304, 307, and 315, and junior standing.

ELED 464. Clinical Practice: Elementary Grades. (15) 15 weeks of elementary teaching, individual conferences with the cooperating teacher and professor, and seminar meetings four times during the semester. Students who do not receive a grade of B or higher must repeat the course and cannot continue to take upper-level education courses until they do so. Prerequisites: All courses required for the major.

Photo of Heather Johnson

Heather Johnson

Assistant Professor of Elementary Education

"Be the change you want to see."

  • Areas of interest: Johnson has a passion for the induction and mentoring of pre-service and beginning teachers as they enter the field of education. Her professional experience draws on her background in social work as she strives to improve the quality of education in urban and high needs schools by understanding the needs of the whole child. Johnson believes in stressing purposeful integration of technology into the classroom as well as collaboration and creativity. She also enjoys blending “STEM” content and literature to build cross-curricular learning.
  • M.A. in Educational Technology – Concordia University Chicago
  • Teaching Certification – Governor’s State University
  • B.A. in Social Work – Bethany College
  • Courses taught: Principles of Elementary Education; Math Methods for Diverse Learners-K12; Reading Methods and Reading Lab; Methods of Teaching Social Studies and Science in Elementary School; Technology and Instruction in Education.
Photo of Dr. Bradley Walkenhorst

Dr. Bradley Walkenhorst

Associate Professor of Special Education

"Give your whole heart to the students without ever asking for anything in return." – Lao Xing Zhi

  • Areas of interest: Dr. Walkenhorst enjoys expanding his knowledge on instructional methods, needs of diverse learners and re-structuring education to meet the needs of all students. He also enjoys learning about Special Education and inclusion models on an international level.
  • Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction – St. Louis University
  • M.A.T. (Special Education) – Webster University
  • B.A. in Liberal Studies – Thomas Edison State College
  • Courses taught: Teaching in a Diverse Society: Education of the Exceptional Learner, Diagnostics and Instruction in Special Education, Field Experience in Special Education, Methods: Instruction for Students with Diverse Needs, Advanced Field Experience: Special Education, Clinical Experience in Special Education.

Our students are in local classrooms from day one through student teaching. Education students take what is learned in the classroom, observe what is happening in the schools and analyze and reflect throughout their academic career. During their times in local classrooms, students will observe, assist, tutor, and teach small and large groups.

Photo of Rhea Drake

Rhea Drake '12

Rhea Drake graduated from MacMurray in 2012 with a degree in Special Education. Drake worked full-time and had a family when she made the decision to go back to school, but she worked hard in her classes and continued to take on extra responsibilities. She was President of the Council for Exceptional Children, Chapter 99 in Jacksonville, and, worried about her students with disabilities struggling to read, she took specialized training during the summer to learn Orton-Gillingham, a multi-sensory approach to teach reading more effectively. She currently teaches special education for the Meredosia School District and was named the Clarissa Hug Special Education Teacher of the Year for 2018. Drake remains active in her community, in working with professional organizations and she continues to help mentor current MacMurray students.