2015-2016 Graduate Catalog 
    Nov 27, 2022  
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

School of Education

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Paula R. Gossard, PhD, Acting Dean

Distinguished Professor Emeritus

Martha E. MacCullough, EdD


Dianne K. Alexander, EdD, Program Advisor, Early Childhood and Elementary Education (PK-4)
Sheryl A. Vasso, EdD, Program Advisor, M.S. in Education

Associate Professor

Stephanie F. Chung, EdD, Program Advisor, Special Education (PK-8, 7-12)

Assistant Professor

Joseph W. Beeson II, MS, Program Advisor, Secondary Education (7-12)
Gregory J. Fanus, MA, Program Advisor, Health and Physical Education (PK-12)

Part-time Faculty

Charlotte Gleason, MLS
Diane K. Kloth, MEd 
Ann C. Rivera, MSEd, Director of Student Teaching and Field Placement
Barbara Underhill, MEd, Program Advisor, TESOL

Adjunct Faculty

Jill Barnes, MS
Rebecca Benjamin, MEd
Richard Bucko, EdD
Rebecca Cella, MEd
Patricia L. Cook, EdD, Program Advisor, MS in Educational Leadership and Administration
Stephen P. Dill, EdD
Daniel J. Egeler, EdD 
Judy E. Severns, MEd, Coordinator, International Student Teaching
Stephen M. Weir, MS
David K. Wilcox, PhD

The School

In a day when traditional and progressive educational philosophies continue to play tug-of-war, when modern and postmodern worldviews vie for the public mind, Christian educators need to develop a foundation for intellectually coherent and professionally informed practice.  The School of Education exists to prepare highly qualified, biblically-minded educators for the teaching and educational leadership professions.

The School of Education’s graduate programs began in 1992 with the distinct purpose of providing a quality education for teachers and administrators in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the nation, and the world.  The core curriculum, integrating a biblical worldview into professional areas of study, promotes academic excellence, celebrates wise and innovative practices, and champions a global perspective and human diversity.

Core Values

The faculty and staff of the School of Education hold to and promote the following core values:

  • Relationship with God
    “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment…” (Matthew 23:37-38, NIV)
  • Relationships with others
    “…and the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 23:39 NIV)
  • Pursuit of scholarship
    Believing that knowledge and pedagogical skills go hand-in-hand, an excellent education prepares the mind and the heart, equipping the teacher for engaging students in the classroom.
  • Developing a global perspective and appreciation of diversity
    Diverse people groups and individuals require teachers with the knowledge and skills to prepare instruction to meet these diverse needs.
  • Integrating a biblical worldview
    All of life and learning are regarded from a biblical Christian worldview and our philosophy of education is informed by that perspective.

The Programs

MS in Education

The MS in Education program is designed to prepare educators to create quality learning experiences for students in an environment that fosters the development of the whole person. Graduate students form a community of learners who challenge and encourage one another and draw from one another’s experiences and perspectives. Students take advantage of their current employment or are placed in internships to apply what they learn in practical settings.


The curriculum is designed to assist the student in meeting specific competencies. The goal is that the graduate is able to:

  1. Design, implement, and modify instruction for students based upon human nature and learning, as well as their individual developmental levels, exceptionalities, and needs.
  2. Select and implement models of teaching based on human nature and learning, desired learner outcomes, and curriculum objectives.
  3. Apply theories of learning in designing and developing an overall approach to teaching, learning strategies, and modifications.
  4. Apply a personal educational philosophy to the educational setting and integrated biblical worldview to curriculum design, instructional methodology, assessment, and educational decision-making.
  5. Assess and design curriculum based on outcomes, ongoing learning assessment, differentiated learning, and authentic learning experiences.
  6. Identify, critique, and use specific trends in education, including instructional technologies, to enable effective student learning.
  7. Synthesize and evaluate educational research in order to improve teaching and learning.

MS in Educational Leadership and Administration

The MS in Educational Leadership and Administration program provides a biblical model of leadership that enables graduates to face the challenges of today’s educational setting with a strong knowledge base and managerial skills. As a community of learners, graduate students in the program draw from one another’s experiences and perspectives. Students have the opportunity to immediately put into practice what they learn in the classroom in their employment and involvement outside of Cairn. The program creates an environment for graduate students that makes learning applicable both in and out of the classroom.


The curriculum is designed to assist the student in meeting specific competencies. The goal is that the graduate is able to:

  1. Apply theories of educational leadership, including systems theory, data-driven decision-making models, hiring, mentoring, team building, and cultivation of a school culture that promotes learning.
  2. Effectively communicate and personally interact with organizations in the social and political environment, including school boards, community organizations, state boards, accrediting agencies, special interest groups, and other professional organizations.
  3. Understand and apply historical and contemporary issues of school law to employment, discipline, privacy, safe schools, crisis planning, drug-free schools, sexual/physical/emotional abuse and harassment, and due process.
  4. Retain and apply fiscal operations of school budgeting, including facilities management, strategic planning, long-range planning, the budget process, technology implementation, and resource allocation.
  5. Professionally demonstrate a holistic understanding of administrative best practices and procedures.
  6. Develop action research in the school environment and summarize conclusions through professional journal writing, APA style.
  7. Develop curriculum and plan instruction for students based upon their developmental levels and cognitive, physical, social, language, and individual needs and be able to provide professional development in these areas.
  8. Apply a personal, intentional educational philosophy in curriculum design, instructional methodology, assessment, and educational decision making.
  9. Assess and design curriculum based on outcomes, ongoing learning assessment, differentiated learning, authentic learning experiences, and PA Academic Standards.
  10. Identify, critique, and use specific trends in education to promote effective student learning and professional development.
  11. Design, conduct, and evaluate educational research to improve instruction and learning.
  12. Integrate a Christian worldview with the school curriculum.


Related Program Information


Twelve areas of teacher certification are offered through the School of Education. Master of Science in Education students who are not already certified may work toward PA Instructional I with ACSI certification in a blended master’s degree and certification program. PK-12 school principal certification is available to qualified candidates in the Master of Science in Educational Leadership and Administration program. Both PA public school PK-12 and ACSI private school K-12 certificates may be earned through the program.

Cohort Programs

Cairn has developed a three-year delivery of the MS in Education degree program using a cohort approach in which ten or more students complete online courses during the fall and spring semesters and meet for two weeks in the summer to take face-to-face courses. A cohort currently exists in New Brunswick, Canada. This program can be offered at campuses around the world by agreement with Cairn.

Distance Learning

It is possible for students to pursue a graduate degree with Cairn University even if they live a distance from the main campus in Langhorne.  The MS in Education, MS in Educational Leadership and Administration, and PK-12 Principal certification-only programs are offered in fully online formats.


A strength of the School of Education’s graduate programs is the diversity represented in every class.  Strategic interactions with educators who share unique experiences and wisdom provide a dynamic learning environment.

Independent Research

The Action Research Project (for MS in Educational Leadership and Administration candidates) and Instructional Design Project (for MS in Education candidates are culminating projects in which research is conducted and completed by students who are assigned an advisor.  Candidates for PA PK-12 Principal certification complete the ARP under an internship mentor in a school. These projects are highly practical and provide the capstone of the professional experience at Cairn.

International Convention Courses

The School of Education’s graduate programs offer courses at the ICEC conferences sponsored by the Association of Christian Schools International.  Courses have been taught in Germany, South Korea, Hungary, Malaysia, Ecuador, Kenya, Philippines, and Hong Kong.

International Site

The School of Education began offering an MS in Education degree with an International Education specialization at Cairn’s European Campus in Kandern, Germany, in 1997. In 2011, the MS in Educational Leadership and Administration program offered its first courses in Europe. The European Campus uses the facilities of Black Forest Academy. Kandern is located approximately twenty-five minutes north of Basel, Switzerland, and fifteen minutes from Alsace, France.

It is possible to complete the MS in Education program through summer modules in Kandern, Germany, combined with online courses, in two calendar years.  Core courses in the MS in Educational Leadership and Administration program are also available at the international location or may be taken online. This program can also be completed in two calendar years.


In the MS in Educational Leadership and Administration program, students may take a three-credit PK-12 administrative internship at an accredited school or organization under the mentorship of an approved administrator. The internship covers all levels of administration, PK-12. The internship is required for those desiring to obtain the PA PK-12 Principal certification or the ACSI K-12 Principal certification and requires a total of 360 hours that includes the Action Research Project and subsequent school intervention.


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