Secondary Education

During the first 50 years of the College of Education’s existence, the Secondary Education Department has developed into a very strong department. From the beginning, faculty members have valued having substantial credentials in pedagogy and in the content areas that are typically found in middle schools and high schools. Strong preparations components of pedagogy and content also typify the degree programs of the department. The content areas have included the following: art, English, foreign languages, instructional technology, health, mathematics, music, science, social sciences, speech, and theater. Initially there were no departments in the College of Education. Each of the above areas was a teacher-preparation program with a coordinator for each program.

In the early years, the University used the quarter system which consisted of four terms of equal length each year. Emphasis was on undergraduate education. Assignments for faculty members were typically 100% for teaching. A typical assignment for full-time faculty members was three five-hour courses each term. There were no assignments for research and limited assignments for service and advising.

In the early 1970s, the organizational structure of the College comprised of four departments and two program areas, elementary and secondary school programs. This “matrix” plan was designed by Roger Wilk who was the dean at the time. The “matrix” plan was in effect until 1977. Each of the four departments had a diverse faculty with regard to content areas. Consequently, the four departments were designated as A, B, C and D the first year, and in 1973 were named Curriculum and Instruction, Communicative Arts, Educational Systems, and Human Effectiveness.

In 1980, following a faculty study, a structure with 14 departments was approved by the Florida Board of Regents. Content area programs were housed in one of these departments. The content areas included art, English, foreign languages, health, mathematics, music, science, social sciences, and theater. The Music Education Program was transferred to the College of Fine Arts (CFA) in the early 1980s. In the ensuing years, some of these small departments merged to form larger departments such as Mathematics and Science Education. The Health Education Program was transferred to the newly formed College of Public Health when that college was established in the mid-1980s.

All remaining programs that prepared middle and secondary school teachers were merged to form the new department in the late 1980s. Since these programs featured the content areas of middle and secondary schools, the name of the new department was the Content Specializations Department. However, the name of the new department did not convey well the nature of the department. Consequently, around 1990, the name was changed to the Secondary Education Department. During the 1990s, the Instructional Technology Program was transferred into the Secondary Education Department. The Art Education and Theater Education Programs were transferred to the College of Fine Arts in 1998. From 1998 to the present, program areas that comprised the Secondary Education Department were English Education, Foreign Language Education, Instructional Technology, Mathematics Education, Science Education and Social Sciences Education. The department also provided subject matter specific courses such as, Art for the Child, Teaching Mathematics in Elementary School, Teaching Elementary Science, and Teaching Elementary Social Studies. Health and Physical Education for the Child was taught in the Professional Physical Education Department. In 1999, an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) component was added to the Foreign Language Education Program.

Secondary Education Department Goals

In alignment with the strategic directions of the University and the College of Education’s conceptual framework, the goals of the Department of Secondary Education are to:

  • Create a dynamic culture for doctoral education;
  • Recruit, develop, and retain a talented, diverse faculty;
  • Recruit and retain an excellent cadre of diverse graduate students;
  • Differentiate faculty assignments in order to support the growth of graduate programs and research;
  • Review and revise curriculum to assure a process of continuous assessment and improvement for all degree programs;
  • Provide quality advising in all graduate degree programs;
  • Provide support for students in field experiences;
  • Build collaborative partnerships with schools, community agencies and businesses;
  • Strengthen participation, involvement and leadership in state and national professional associations.

Doctoral Program in Curriculum and Instruction with an Emphasis in Social Studies Education

Program History

The Secondary Education track of the Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction was initiated in the early 1980s in response to the secondary reform movement that was stimulated by reports such as A Nation at Risk, SCANS, and the Florida Governor’s Report on School Reform. The program track was designed to provide an interdisciplinary approach to curricular and instructional reform and restructuring at the secondary level. Further, it provided a programmatic venue for research and training in middle grades education, an area of specialization in which USF emerged as an international leader during the 1980s and 1990s. From its inception, the program allowed students and faculty to collaborate with school-based professionals on secondary reform issues and initiatives that cut across disciplinary boundaries and integrated content instruction with other institutional reform efforts.

Throughout the 1990s, the program housed students interested in secondary school reform and teacher education. It focused research efforts on professional development schools and collaboration between the university and the public school. Its research agenda was driven largely by school-based initiatives and their links to higher education.

In the late 1990s, both formal and informal assessments of the local professional community indicated a need for a program focused on the research and professional development interests of social studies educators, a group that had never been served with a Ph.D. program in the department. True to its cross-disciplinary roots, in 1999-2000 the program offered admission to an eight student cohort (two existing doctoral students also joined the program for a total of ten), all of whom were directed toward a solid core of coursework in social sciences education and supporting study in foundations, instructional technology, leadership, literacy, and teacher education. In addition, the students complete a rigorous program in both quantitative (12 credit hours) and qualitative research (4-8 hours).

By 2002, through the outstanding performance of the student cohort and the mentorship and advocacy of the program’s very active faculty, the program had earned national recognition. In the winter of 2002, the program hosted the annual conference of the College and University Faculty Association of the National Council for the Social Studies, an affirmation of quality that is truly astonishing for so young a program. In the fall of 2002, the program admitted a second cohort of eight students from three states. In the fall of 2004, the program admitted a third cohort of eleven students.

Secondary Education Department Coordinators and Chairs

Throughout the years, many notable faculty members have chaired or headed the various program areas and subsequent departments. Following is a list of those persons, in the order they served.

Early Program Coordinators (circa 1960-1972): Dr. Don Lichtenberg and Dr. William Engle, Mathematics Education, 1965-1970; Dr. Lawrence Monley, Science Education, 1967-1970; Dr. Vern Whitney, Foreign Language Education, 1968-1972; Dr. Doyle Casteel, Social Science Education.

Program Directors (circa 1972-1976): Dr. Edward Uprichard, Elementary Education; Dr. Donald Lantz, Secondary Education.

Chairs of Departments in the 14-Department Structure that later merged to form the Secondary Education Department: Dr. Roger Johnson, Social Science Education; Dr. Bill Engel, Mathematics Education; Dr. Edwin Steiner, Science and Health Education Department.

Chairs of Content Specializations Departments and the Secondary Education Department (circa 1988-2006) included: Dr. Roger Johnson, Dr. Ray Phillips, Dr. John Bullock, Dr. Howard Johnston, Dr. Dick Puglisi, Dr. Carine Feyten, Dr. Bill Blank, Dr. Edwin Steiner, Dr. Joan Kaywell, and Dr. Jane Applegate.

Since 2005, Dr. Stephen Thornton has served as Chair of the Secondary Education Department.

History of Masters Programs in the Department of Secondary Education


Proposed Implementation of the Master of Arts in teaching (M.A.T.) Effective Spring 2002

This proposal for a new Master of Arts in Teaching degree comes in direct response to the teacher shortage in Florida and is offered as a high quality alternative teacher preparation program. This modified proposal is submitted to the Office of Academic and Student Affairs in response to and based on the direction given in the February 28, 2000 letter from Dr. Dorothy J. Minear to Provost Thomas J. Tighe. In May, 2001 there was a brainstorming meeting with the Department of Secondary Education

Dr. Feyten, Dr. Daniel, Dr. Kaywell, Dr. Steiner, Dr. Roberts, Ms. Paul); Pasco County (Ms. Smith); Hillsborough County (Mr. Fleming); and Pinellas County (Sheila Keller).


In 2006, Dr. Thornton proposed a new M.Ed. concentration which was approved and is to be implemented in 2007. This new concentration in the M. Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction is a response to changing content and delivery of instructional programs in schools and technology agencies, new professional accreditation requirements in teacher education and affiliated fields, innovations in the professional development routes available to educators as well as growing diversity in school settings. These developments have transformed the demands on all six of the academic programs in the Department of Secondary Education: English Education, Foreign Language/ESOL Education, Instructional Technology, Mathematics Education, Science Education, and Social Science Education. This new concentration provides flexibility/individualization in the program of study.

Additional Photos

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