Why You Should Join the Binghamton University Education Minor

Binghamton University’s Education Minor is a 16-credit program designed to give students deep insight into the ever-changing education field, what life as an educator is truly like, and the wide variety of careers available in the discipline. While the minor itself does not lead to NYS teacher certification, it strongly prepares students for graduate school and beyond. It was launched in 2013 by faculty advisor Mr. David Archer, and one decade later it has grown to become the largest minor on campus – at any one point in time, the minor has 400 to 500 students enrolled.

What makes the Education Minor unique from other programs is that it is entirely student run! With the guidance of Mr. Archer, students (who serve on the minor’s Steering Committee) have built the minor from the ground up – including running events, building the core and elective courses for the program, maintaining administrative tasks, and brainstorming new ideas to improve the minor. It is open to students of all majors, providing interdisciplinary skills that will be useful in every career (not just one in the classroom.) As the minor is only 16 credits and has a diverse portfolio of course offerings, it is easy to fit into even the most difficult academic schedules.

Education Minor courses have been carefully designed by students, for students. This means that unique teaching methods and assessments are utilized in these classes – you won’t be having tests, quizzes, or long papers! They are dynamic and changing as the education field evolves, so the topics covered remain relevant and up-to-date. The faculty who teach these courses have a great deal of education experience, and they are experts on creating an interactive, engaging, and tight-knit classroom community. Be prepared to make new friends and meet others who share the same passion for education as you!

Eight of the 16 credits must be fulfilled by EDUC 406: Teaching, Learning, and Schooling, and EDUC 410: Issues in Education, which are commonly praised as students’ favorite courses during their time at Binghamton. These courses focus on giving students a strong foundation into education and an appreciation for the role it plays in society. In EDUC 406, you will bolster your presentation and public speaking skills while learning how to structure a lesson plan, and in EDUC 410, you will engage in project-based learning to enhance your ability to collaborate with others.

The remaining eight credits are elective credits, which can be completed through other education courses, cross-listed classes, or pre-approved internship and research opportunities. Other courses offered by the Education Minor cover a broad spectrum of topics, including: Mental Health in Education, Multicultural Perspectives in Education, Early Childhood Education, Adolescent Education, Special Education, and Community Schools. Like the required courses, these offerings were designed by students with those in the Education Minor in mind. You can also satisfy your credits by taking select classes in other departments, including human development and psychology, making it easy for students to diversify their path to the Minor. 

The Education Minor offers numerous service opportunities to earn credit while simultaneously gaining firsthand experience in the field and making a difference in the Binghamton community. The minor’s Classroom Assistants program allows BU students to both shadow a teacher in the area and teach sections of a class, while building relationships in local schools and engaging in a collaborative seminar to reflect on their experiences. The Education Research Scholars initiative gives students the chance to conduct education-centered research with a faculty member and produce a meaningful product that can be showcased in a professional portfolio. Students may also serve as a Teaching Assistant in a Binghamton course for Education Minor credit, or work with the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Educational Leadership (TLEL) to design their own internship to satisfy their minor requirements.

In addition to needing 16 credits of education-related coursework, students must also attend three Education Minor events (one of which must be designated a “Bearchat” series event) in order to complete the program’s requirements. These events are designed to supplement classroom education and provide a unique insight into the discipline, through an educator’s lens. Like other components of the minor, the events are student-run and cover a diverse spectrum of topics. Previous events hosted by the Education Minor include educational expositions, educator panels, networking receptions, grad school and teacher qualification information sessions, insights into the effects of COVID-19 and technology on the classroom, interviews with previous NYS teachers of the year, and events on coaching and counseling. This wide range of topics, combined with the fact that at least eight events are held each semester, allow students to choose to attend the events that interest them most. Through the event requirement, Education Minor students build strong relationships with local educators while expanding their knowledge of the field beyond what is taught to them via coursework.

The final component of Education Minor requirements is the completion of 10 Action Hours, which refer to non-paid, not-for-credit volunteer or service hours related to the field of education. This gives students the opportunity to explore education from the other side of the desk – not as a student, but as an observer or instructor themselves. There are endless ways to complete this requirement, including, but not limited to, unpaid tutoring or substitute teaching, volunteering at Gigi’s Playhouse or another educational institution, peer advising for other Education Minor students, and attending Education Club events. Through the Action Hours requirement, you will gain practical experience in the community and make a meaningful contribution to the field of education.

The Education Minor has absolutely changed my life – it has solidified my passion for education and given me the opportunity to contribute to the local community through research and leadership positions, while simultaneously giving me some of my closest friends and networking connections in the discipline. If you are interested in the Education Minor, the three-week application period opens once per semester. All those except first semester freshmen may apply into the minor. To be considered for admittance into the minor, you should have at least a 3.0 GPA, with at least two full semesters remaining at Binghamton University, and you must submit a 1-page letter of interest expressing your interest in education and desire to join the minor. 

We can’t wait to have you as part of the most unique and engaging program on campus! If you have any questions about the minor, you may visit the minor’s Peer Advising office in Academic B, Room 119 (open Monday – Friday from 10am to 5pm) or email educationminor@binghamton.edu. To stay up to date on upcoming events and the latest Education Minor updates, follow @binghamtonedminor on Instagram!

By Stephen Corbisiero
Stephen Corbisiero President of Education Club