What distinguishes the Smith College teacher education program is our commitment to rigorous subject matter preparation rooted in the liberal arts combined with a course of study that provides intensive clinical preparation for teaching. We believe that habits of inquiry cultivated by a liberal arts education are the best foundation for the intellectual and practical demands of teaching. Students major in a subject other than education (or in addition to education), giving them depth in a liberal arts area of study. In addition, they gain breadth and core knowledge by taking a distribution of courses in the sciences, the social sciences, literature, math and history. We also believe that we do our best thinking and growing as teachers and learners in collaboration with others. We embody this ideal in our program.
We are a small, flexible program devoted to providing students with opportunities to deeply engage with faculty, each other, and practicing educators around the core challenges of teaching and learning. We provide opportunities for students to explore education in a wide array of contexts including urban schools, charter schools, local public schools, international study opportunities, and within our laboratory school. Some aspects of our program that make it unique include:
- Research opportunities with faculty
- The Smith College Campus School, a preeminent laboratory school
- Our Urban Educational Fellowship in New York City, Chicago and Boston
- Project Coach, a Smith College designed and staffed out-of-school program
that prepares high school students to coach and tutor elementary students
- The Pistoia Program near Florence, Italy
- Our Museums Concentration
Preparing for a teaching career is foremost among the reasons for studying education. No undertaking is more challenging than teaching well. Our goal is to help students develop the ideas and tools they will need to address the challenges they will face. However, teaching is not the only reason to study education. Other student interests that have motivated study in education include the history of education; educational publishing; children's literature; curriculum and instructional development; museum and corporate education; reading; learners with special needs; urban and multicultural education; science, mathematics and engineering education; and guidance and counseling.
Smith College boasts one of the largest and well-supported education departments at any liberal arts college. Students have many opportunities to work closely with faculty in a variety of research and school-based projects. The college's laboratory school, The Smith College Campus School has been in existence since 1926 and represents an enormous commitment to excellence in the study of children and teaching.
The education of teachers was a stipulation in the will of Sophia Smith, the college's founder, and Smith graduates have been making an impact in the lives of students ever since.