Policies and Handbook

Teacher Education Program Policies and Handbook

The University of the Incarnate Word's Teacher Education Program shares the following policies to provide guidance to prospective and current students as they prepare for Texas teaching certification.

Click on each accordion below to read policies and handbooks.


The UIW Teacher Education Program Handbook provides an overview of the program for all UIW Teacher Candidates. This handbook is intended to support students as they proceed through the program, prepare to apply to the Teacher Education Program, and as they prepare for teaching certification.

The requirements, policies, and procedures are revised as needed to reflect program and Texas Education Agency changes. The handbook is updated each January.

See Handbook


Texas Education Code: TEC §22.083 & §22.0835

All teacher candidates must comply with the background check requirements of all field experience sites (schools and organizations). If a student does not pass a background check, the program will be notified only of the status. The student will be directed to the organization's contact to get detailed information. Background checks will be conducted at different levels based on the organization's procedures and the level of interaction with minors. The inability to complete field experience requirements due to a background check may prevent students from completing the course and continuing in the program. Students who have any concerns about this requirement should contact the Director of Teacher Education early in the program to discuss options.

UIW students should expect background checks to take place throughout the program and in professional practice, including:

  • Fieldwork associated with coursework
  • Prior to clinical teaching
  • Upon application for Texas teaching certification
  • Prior to employment as an educator

Preliminary Criminal History Evaluation

Potential and current students have the right to request a criminal history evaluation conducted by the Texas Education Agency. A Preliminary Criminal History Evaluation (PCHE) is an evaluation of eligibility for a Texas educator certificate based on self-reported criminal history. As a service to prospective candidates, TEA staff may perform an evaluation for a non-refundable fee of $50. The evaluation is voluntary and non-binding. The TEA website provides additional information:

Preliminary Criminal History Evaluations

Texas Administrative Code: TAC §228.20(h)

The University of the Incarnate Word acknowledges a responsibility to prepare and certify candidates who will be effective educators. Evidence of potential effectiveness includes academic, dispositional, and professional qualities.

Candidates must apply and be accepted to the Teacher Education Program prior to enrollment in designated professional development courses. TEP application requirements must be met at the point of application and maintained throughout the remainder of the program. Candidates are continuously assessed for academic proficiency as well as professional disposition. If a candidate's academic achievement does not meet program requirements or if issues arise concerning a candidate's fitness to be an educator, the candidate may be dismissed. Acceptance to the Teacher Education Program permits advancement toward certification but does not guarantee program continuance or acceptance to clinical teaching.

Reasons candidates may be dismissed from the Teacher Education Program include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Cumulative GPA falls below 2.75
  • Multiple professional disposition reports for minor-moderate infractions
  • Significant professional disposition (TEA Educator Code of Conduct) violation
  • A criminal background check that precludes field placement
  • Transfer from the university or a one-year period of non-attendance (prior to clinical teaching)
  • Failure to complete all certification requirements within three years of clinical teaching placement
  • Significant changes in the standards or test requirements for the certification field in which the candidate was prepared due to any period of inactivity

Texas Administrative Code: 19 TAC §228.35 (a)(5)

UIW's Teacher Education Program will evaluate and may accept military service, training, or education toward the fulfillment of program prerequisite admission requirements. Military service, training, or education must be directly related to the certificate being sought and may not take the place of certification examinations. Service, training, or education may not count as part of the internship, clinical teaching, or practicum requirements and must have been provided by an approved Educator Preparation Program or accredited institution of higher education within the past five years. The Director of Teacher Education will determine whether military service, training, or education is relevant and could be applied as a substitution.

Texas Administrative Code: 19 TAC §228.40 (d)

UIW certification candidates are eligible to begin the certification testing process upon acceptance to the Teacher Education Program (TEP). The program implements a three-step process to support the candidate's certification testing preparation. For each certification exam, the candidate must complete an online review, earn a passing score on the practice test, and earn a passing score on the state exam. In the event a candidate needs to retake a state exam, an intervention plan will be developed based on the candidate’s demonstrated needs. This intervention plan must be completed before approval for state testing is provided.

Practice tests are available and administered by the UIW Teacher Education Program. The practice testing schedule is posted on the Teacher Education Program Canvas site and is accessible by all students in the Teacher Education Department.

The testing policy is reviewed for possible revision each calendar year and presented to teacher candidates as they begin their professional development coursework. The testing policy in effect at the time of testing applies to all UIW certification candidates. UIW students may not participate in certification testing preparation unless they have been officially accepted to the Teacher Education Program. Students must maintain good standing in TEP to continue in the testing process with UIW. UIW is not permitted to offer certification testing support to candidates in other programs.

Texas Administrative Code: 19 TAC §228.70 (b)

The University of the Incarnate Word's Teacher Education Program is committed to maintaining a high-quality, field-based program that adheres to specific laws and rules, generally related to state and federal requirements, set forth by the Texas Education Agency. The UIW Complaint Procedure Guidelines provide the process to report concerns about our program for investigation and resolution in a timely and effective manner.

Contact the UIW Teacher Education Department to begin the process.

Dr. Elda E. Martinez
Director of Teacher Education
Email: eemartin@uiwtx.edu

Dr. Denise Staudt
Dean, Dreeben School of Education
Email: staudt@uiwtx.edu

UIW Complaint Policy

TEA Complaints Against Educator Preparation Programs