Frequently Asked Questions
Can I take the courses out of sequence?
Perhaps. The best sequence of courses for the endorsement begins with the introductory course (The Gifted and Talented), then the curriculum course (Educational Strategies for the Gifted and Talented), followed by the administrative course (Coordinating Programs for the Gifted and Talented), with the practicum (Practicum for the Gifted and Talented) at the end. The practicum needs to remain as the last course. However, one can begin with the curriculum course, take the administrative course, and then the introductory course if one is willing to do some background reading on gifted students as needed to compensate for lack of background.
I have several years experience already as a teacher of gifted/talented students or as a TAG coordinator. Do I need to take the practicum or can my experience count for that?
You will still need to take the practicum course. The practicum is the last course in UNI's four-course sequence for the endorsement. During the practicum you will apply the concepts learned during the three previous courses. You will also participate in other new activities and apply these to your teaching. Although your prior experiences with gifted students will undoubtedly assist you during the practicum, these cannot substitute for it, as you will need to demonstrate your new learning from the first three courses during the practicum.
I have a bachelor's degree with a non-education major. I am working on an education degree and a teaching credential as a graduate student. Can I begin taking the courses for the endorsement?
No. You will need to wait until you receive your teaching certificate to begin the sequence of courses leading to the endorsement. The gifted education endorsement coursework builds on teaching skills already learned in an initial certification program.
I have completed a teacher education program in another country and do not have an Iowa teaching license. Can I take the Endorsement courses ? I am planning to return to my country and continue teaching there.
Yes, you may take the courses, but you will not be able to be endorsed to teach by Iowa. As long as you understand this and do have a valid teaching degree from your own country, you can take the courses.
I am currently a gifted education teacher. Will I be able to complete the practicum at my school?
Yes, in most cases, you will be able to complete your practicum at your school.
I am currently a teacher in a regular education classroom. Will I be able to complete the practicum at my school?
Yes, in most cases, you will be able to complete your practicum at your school or with gifted students in your district. Many of the practicum activities can be completed with a broader regular classroom population or a group of higher-achieving students in your class. However, you may need to make some arrangements to work specifically with students identified as gifted. Usually, teachers can work this out so that they can meet with a group of gifted students when students from their own classroom are attending. You may need to negotiate an occasional substitute teacher or some release time with your administrator to support your practicum requirement. We will make every effort to accommodate your needs concerning the practicum, but it is ultimately the responsibility of the graduate student to fulfill the practicum requirements.
I have taken some gifted education courses at another college/university and I wonder if these can transfer and be substituted for some of the coursework for the endorsement at UNI.
It depends. Courses from other regionally accredited institutions will be evaluated to determine possible equivalent courses at UNI. Professional development workshops and Area Education Agency courses/workshops cannot be substituted. However, courses that typically count for graduate credit toward a master's degree at UNI may transfer if the course content can be matched to one of the gifted education endorsement courses. Please provide the institution and course number. The course description and the syllabus may be necessary for us to determine eligibility for substitution. You may have to ask your institution to complete a Graduate Transfer Evaluation Form. No transfer courses may be substituted for the practicum, which capstones our endorsement program and applies learning from the other courses. Substitution of transfer credits can be for a maximum of one of UNI's courses for the gifted education endorsement (210:254; 210:255; 210:257).
I have taken some courses several years ago at UNI that were gifted education courses. Will these courses count for the endorsement?
It depends. We have a seven-year limit on the completion of coursework for the gifted education endorsement. The seven year time span starts with the first course that you take that is part of the endorsement and ends with the last course in the practicum experience. All coursework must be completed within seven years. Courses older than seven years become outdated and you will need to retake those courses. If the previous course from UNI is one of the courses that is part of the endorsement [210:254; 210:255; or 210:257) and you took that course recently enough for you to complete all coursework within the seven-year limit, then it will probably work.
I was a certified teacher some years ago, but my certification has lapsed. Can I enroll in the gifted education endorsement and can these courses count for my recertification?
Yes, if you have a degree and past certification in teacher education, you can enroll in the gifted education endorsement program. You will need to contact the Iowa State Department of Education to determine more details about renewing your teaching license. There are answers to frequently asked questions at their website at: http://www.boee.iowa.gov/FAQRenew.html#d . This website states: "Renewal of the Standard License requires six Area Education Agency renewal credits or six college credits from a regionally accredited college or university in any combination. All credits must be relevant to your educational career, and must have been earned after the issue date of the license. You will also need to submit a Mandatory Reporter of Child Abuse Training certificate no older than five years. (Note that if the license has expired, no credit may be older than five years.)."