Education & Human Studies Students
Champlain's Division of Education & Human Studies has eight outstanding undergraduate programs that attract students who care about others, from the born educators and the team players to the lovers of justice and policy.
You'll be making a difference in the world years before you graduate through the extensive field opportunities, practicums and internships built into each program's curriculum. You'll also have the opportunity to experience professional settings through internships in Burlington and nationally, as well as abroad at our international campuses in Montreal and Dublin.
Read our student stories below to learn more about the Division of Education & Human Studies. If you think Champlain might be the right place for you, complete the form to the right and we'll send you information about Champlain.
- Criminal Justice
- Early Childhood/ Elementary Teacher Education
- Environmental Policy
- Middle School Teacher Education
- Secondary Teacher Education
- Social Work
She wants to work with nonprofits.
I’ve always been interested in how the criminal justice system works. I told my dad I wanted to be a lawyer when I was six. When I started looking at colleges, I knew I wanted to do something in the criminal justice field and help people.
Champlain has a really good Criminal Justice program. I loved all my professors. They’ve been in the field for so long, and they made class fun. Every class I took opened my eyes to all the different paths within criminal justice and law.
For one of my classes, I did a group project on the reintegration of felons. It helped me realize I want to go into the nonprofit sector of Criminal Justice and do an internship with substance abuse in prisons.
I’ve got a really good base here, both in my education and my connections, that’s really going to help me when I graduate. I would love to work at the Dismas House or for a women’s correctional facility. I’m talking to a couple of my professors to see if there are any internships or jobs we can find through their connections. These are all things I’m really passionate about and want to work with, and I feel confident that I’ll be able to find something that I really want to be doing right out of school.
He’s turning his dream into reality.
When you’re a little kid, you always have this dream to become an astronaut or a police officer or a firefighter; I forgot that dream until I took a law class my senior year. I realized how much the idea of the criminal justice system clicked with me. At the time, I wanted to use my degree to get into counterterrorism, which is something I still plan on down the road.
My program is awesome! The professors in the Criminal Justice department are phenomenal. All of my professors have had or are still having real-world experience. They’ve worked extensively in local police, as social workers and as substance abuse counselors. They’ve brought their field experience to light in the classroom and made the learning experience based on real-world knowledge, experience and techniques, allowing for more aware and ready students.
Champlain made me into the man that I am today. I was confident to enter the job market because I have a comprehensive degree from one of the better criminal justice programs in the country. The classes that I took have given me great confidence that I have been well prepared for the job market and the furtherance of my career.
She wants to help kids.
Like many people, I watched CSI and realized that was a real thing. In high school, after taking a forensic science class, I did a summer program at the University of New Haven for forensics and criminal justice. I learned I liked the criminal justice side more, so during my senior year, I interned with my local police department. That really solidified my goals of studying criminal justice in college. After taking classes my first semester here, I knew I was in the right place.
One thing that’s great about Champlain is the experience that our professors have. My professors are state troopers, officers, district attorneys and judges. What they bring to the major is incredible, and they all want to help you succeed. They have great connections that they’re willing to give to you.
There’s so much you can do as a Criminal Justice major. Even as a police officer, there are hundreds of different jobs and paths you can take within that field. Ideally, I want to be a police officer in a high school or middle school, where I’d help monitor students that have known domestic problems, or who have a history of drug/alcohol abuse. Through Champlain, I can attend the Vermont Police Academy to make me closer to this dream.
I’ve already learned so much; I can’t imagine the intellectual leap I’ll make by 2017. I definitely have faith in this school and the professors to help direct and prepare me.
She was in seven classrooms before graduation.
My experiences in the early childhood and elementary education program have given me the opportunity to practice what I’m learning in programs and schools across the Burlington area and abroad.
During my first year, I read to preschoolers and worked at an afterschool program with students ages 6-12. In my second year, I interned in a preschool and a kindergarten classroom. I planned lessons; taught reading, science and math; and applied my knowledge from the classroom to real life. Having these experiences in a classroom opened my eyes to the wider requirements of being a teacher and both the challenges and joys that can come from working with five-year-olds every day. When I studied abroad, I was able to spend a semester in Ireland teaching young Irish students.
Through a full-time placement in my senior year, I applied all that I learned at Champlain and continued to learn more as I worked under an excellent mentor teacher and my supportive Champlain teachers.
If I had never stepped foot in a classroom, or had the supportive mentor teachers and professors at Champlain to guide me along the way, I would not feel anywhere near as confident as I do about finding a job upon graduation. I know I’ll be able to apply all of the knowledge I have acquired inside and outside the classroom to any job I apply for.
She Loves Being a Mentor
I used to go into my mother's kindergarten class as a classroom assistant whenever I didn't have school, and I absolutely loved working with her students. The best part about being a mentor is the one-on-one connection I can have with children. When I started looking at colleges, my high school academic counselor recommended Champlain for their education program and I instantly felt at home. Champlain was the ideal college for me because I would have field placements in a local school starting first semester of my first year.
My field placements allowed me to work with children ranging from 3-9 years old in very diverse environments, from Montessori, public and private schools to inner-city and magnet schools. Since I had so many placements where I work with students of all ages, I learned that I love working with third graders because that is where students transition from learning to read, to reading to learn. Instead of teaching concepts such as phonemes and sound-to-letter correspondence, I am able to let children use those skills to learn history and help them develop their skills as a reader and a writer in the classroom. The combination of my first-hand experience at seven student placements, the leadership skills I gained through being a Peer Advisor, and the networking I have done with faculty and staff on campus made me feel confident about entering the job market.
She's Learning to Save the World
Since I was five, I planned on becoming an obstetrician. I watched a lot of home movies and I wanted to bring life into the world. Now I'm not only bringing life into the world, but I'm learning how to save it.
In high school, I was heavily influenced by environmental sciences during 11th and 12th grade. I felt that living within this world, which is revolutionizing and changing daily, I could possibly do my part if I knew more about the environment. One day a Champlain professor, who is now retired, came into my class and talked about Champlain. I took the virtual tour and Champlain became my first choice. I enrolled in the Environmental Policy program. In my classes, I looked at issues in the environment and the ethics and policies that surround them. In my Globalization class, we worked with a guy who came from the Congo, and tryed to make Champlain a conflict-free mineral campus. We talked to different people about how to start the discussion and spread awareness of how the genocide in the Congo is fueled by Americans buying technology with conflict minerals in them. I did an off-site self-designed minor through Yestermorrow, a sustainable design/building program in Warren, VT. I got to learn woodworking and painting, and the final project was building a sustainable house.
Wants to bring bees into the classroom.
I’ve changed my mind about what I wanted to do so many times, but I constantly found myself looking to the environment for ideas and guidance. I found that my passion was working to inspire and incite others to action by being a leader in the environmental field.
My time in the Environmental Policy major has been incredibly rewarding. It’s one of those programs where you can feel the energy and excitement building in everyone in your classes and then you watch that energy translate into action. We participate in a lot of experiential learning outside the classroom so that we can better understand how ecological and natural systems work before we start talking policy.
I’ve had the opportunity to conduct an independent study in Champlain’s apiary. Since I started working in the apiary, I’ve started studying beekeeping and apiary studies, and spend free time figuring out ways to make selling the honey we produce more fun and informative for potential buyers.
After graduation, I want to get a Master’s degree in something like entomology or environmental education. I hope to combine my loves for education, change-making and beekeeping. By incorporating apiary studies into my curriculum, I want to teach students of all ages about practical, innovative solutions to the many problems that face future generations, giving students hands-on, experiential-style learning opportunities that are interesting, informative and rewarding.
She cares about the food we eat.
After taking an ecology and environmental science class in high school, I discovered my passion for the environment. Champlain’s Environmental Policy program has been just what I needed: social, physical and political science all in one!
My environmental classes usually involve service learning projects or field studies that bring us outside of the classroom and into the community. The knowledge and wisdom I gained from my environmental classes greatly helped me in my job at Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG) and during my internship with Champlain’s Community Garden.
For my internship, I was the Garden Manager, and my responsibilities included holding community events; maintaining the garden, tools and shed; and being the go-to resource for members.
My ecology, environmental issues and Core classes prepared me for this opportunity; I had some knowledge about working in nature and communications, but my classes encouraged me to be open to learning.
My time at Champlain has been transformational, as it has opened my eyes to what my true passions in life really are. After graduation, I want to work with food reform, so I think that the experience as a Garden Manager and with food growth is essential to my field. The paths in food reform are endless, from policy and nonprofit to farming, service and leadership opportunities.
He's already making change in the world.
A big reason I chose Champlain was because of the Environmental Policy major. I wanted to study something that would give me the ability to help protect our environment and create some change.
Through classes I've taken, like Foundations of Ecology and Environmental Law, I've explored Vermont ecosystems and built a broad understanding of environmental problems and how to fix them. I've worked on a service-learning project in class that resulted in Champlain becoming a Fair Trade Campus and have also worked with the Lake Champlain Basin Program in creating an educational video about the Lake.
My junior year, I interned as a Field Organizing Intern with Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG), an environmental nonprofit advocacy group. My internship gave me the ability to see how the passing of legislation actually happens and what work goes into lobbying legislators with public support. Because of this internship, I gained a better understanding of environmental law, politics and environmental issues, and I worked on the campaign that helped pass the country's first GMO labeling bill in June 2013.
As graduation approached, I felt confident that Champlain taught me everything I needed to know to enter the job market and, combined with my work experience, I felt I will find a job quickly. For the time being, I would like to continue working in environmental advocacy and possibly go into lobbying.
She’s amazed by her students.
I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, but I really struggled with the age group that I wanted to teach. Champlain’s Upside-Down Curriculum allowed me to get a feel for my major, and after working with middle school students, I knew that this was the perfect age group for me. They’re right at the age when everything about the world is starting to make sense, and it’s amazing to watch them progress and grow as individuals.
I really enjoyed working in a classroom each semester. I worked at Edmunds Middle School, Westford School and Hunt Middle School. The Burlington district really allows students to gain experience in working with diversity. The classes that I worked in have always had a mix of learning levels which offers a unique challenge that most students haven’t experienced. Being able to start in the classrooms early also allowed us to make those crucial connections and references that we wouldn’t normally have forged until later.
But, my favorite part about Champlain’s education program was the class size. My classes only had eight students in them, so over the years, we really get to know each other well. It felt really good to struggle and succeed with people who were experiencing the same things as you.
It all helped me feel incredibly confident entering the job market. Champlain gave me the skills and experiences necessary to be a top-notch applicant.
She’s making a difference.
I’ve always known I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to be a teacher, but one day in physical therapy, I started talking to a four-year old girl. I was able to give her attention that I knew she wasn’t receiving elsewhere. Putting a smile on her face truly made a difference in the way I felt. I knew then that was exactly what I was going to do for the rest of my life.
Up until my sophomore year, I was set on working as a child psychologist. I envisioned myself in an office, working with children and steering their lives in the right direction. But psychology is much more than simply "helping" people. It’s getting to know their problems. After watching a clip of a little boy who couldn’t physically function on his own, followed by a video about a girl who was mentally ten years younger than her chronological age, I learned that I’m not strong enough to separate life and work, and that I want to go into positive psychology.
The early exposure that Champlain’s Psychology program offers has been beneficial. I’ve become more confident in myself, my abilities and qualities. Finding a job has become less intimidating now that I have the resources of an effective resume, interview skills and a good cover letter. I feel that when the time comes to enter the job market, I will have the ability to land where my heart is.
She’s right where she needs to be.
In high school, I took an AP Psychology course, and I thought it was something I wanted to learn more about. I was always someone who, if something went wrong or someone did something unexpected, I wondered why it happened, and I realized it was something I could study. It could be my life.
I originally wanted to go into the forensic branch of psychology. It would’ve been something similar to Criminal Minds, diagnosing different conditions and disorders. After going through Champlain’s curriculum, I knew I wanted to go into law enforcement.
The criminal justice focus gave me more of a background in law enforcement and how to apply what I learned in psychology. For example, I took six classes one semester, and my Criminal Law and Psychology in Law courses went back and forth about which class is ahead of the other. It was interesting to learn the same things but from the different perspectives.
Also, I talked with one of the Burlington police officers, and she told me that although they used to look for more Criminal Justice majors, now they’re looking to hire more Psychology majors. Law enforcement is very people related, and it helps to have people who understand people. I thought I was in the wrong place and was worried I would have to change majors, but it turned out I was exactly where I needed to be.
She Found Balance Between Two Programs
When I was in high school, I was a camp counselor at Camp Wilmot in New Hampshire. They had a week of summer camp for people with mental delays and varying levels of physical mobility. I loved what I was doing, and I decided I wanted to major in psychology. When I came to Champlain, I took Applied Psychology, which talked about what we could do with our degree. We had a guest speaker who said the quickest/best way to become a clinical psychologist or counselor was to study social work at the undergraduate level. So I started questioning if I could double major, and I met with my advisors. Then I was in a five-year program, double-majoring in Psychology and Social Work.
Social Work teaches more practical skills, while Psychology teaches more theoretical knowledge. I appreciated the balance of the two and I felt incredibly supported by my faculty. I had a competitive advantage because I have truly had four years of human service experience and six student placements. I think students at other schools are only expected to have an internship for one semester. At Champlain, students are expected to engage in service learning classes, student placements and internships throughout their entire career. I heard so often that experience is what is truly important. Some employers will hire someone with a lower degree because they had more experience than other candidates. I had both when I was done at Champlain.
She Followed Both of Her Passions
When it came to deciding which college I wanted to attend, I was terrified. I applied to Champlain because I wanted to expand my writing skills, and the Professional Writing major offered just that. But writing wasn't the only thing I wanted to do. In high school, I was blessed with teachers who really cared about me as an individual and they helped me follow my heart; I wanted to pay it forward and make a difference. I decided to do two things: follow my dreams by pursuing writing and become the best teacher I could.
On Accepted Students Day, I found my niche. I was coaxed out of my anxious shell in front of a room of strangers and asked to rattle off a poem I had just written. That action alone, the ability to make me be open, made it clear there was one place I needed to be: Champlain College.The most important thing the Professional Writing program has taught me is not to pigeonhole myself. Veins of opportunity are opening up in front of us every day, and all we need to do is recognize and act on them. If there is something I want to do, there is nothing stopping me except myself and my own self-doubt. Once you dispel all that, the possibilities for what you can do are limitless.
He learned he was cut out to teach.
When I was in high school, I knew I wanted to teach; I just wasn’t sure what subject or age. One of the main things that attracted me to Champlain was the Upside-Down Curriculum. The idea of beginning to work in my major right from the start was incredible. I was able to apply what I was learning and figure right away whether or not I would enjoy teaching.
I realized that as much as I love kids, teenagers are just more entertaining because you can really build a relationship with them.
At all of my internships, I was in charge of creating lessons and curriculums that engaged and taught students. But nothing compares to my time in Dublin at Mount Temple Comprehensive School. I taught four American Literature classes each week where I was completely on my own within a classroom. I don’t think I could have gotten that experience anywhere else. The teachers that I worked with were extremely helpful and really gave me a chance to make those class periods my own.
All of my experiences will help further my understanding of how to run a classroom successfully in the future. I’m very confident about finding a job because of the amount of in-class experience that I acquired in just four years.
She’s more than ready for the classroom.
I knew I wanted to become a teacher in the first grade. I looked up to all my teachers and I thought they had the coolest jobs. I didn’t do very well in the beginning of high school and it wasn’t until certain teachers really showed that they cared about my education and well-being that I started to excel. I chose my major because I want to be the teacher who makes a difference to students.
Champlain’s education programs did a really good job at preparing us for jobs after college. Each class I took made me aware of different learning styles to think about when creating lesson plans, including working with English Language Learners (ELL). There were a lot of challenges that I had to overcome throughout the program, and ELL was definitely the hardest. But this program has such a great support system that I overcame this and gained the skills I needed to help and provide knowledge to ELL students.
I’m was confident about entering the job market after graduation because not only did I learn techniques and skills for educating students, but I also applied those skills right away. I was in a school or a mentoring program every semester. Within my first month at Champlain, I was placed in a middle school classroom. I can’t wait to be a teacher, and I’m more than ready.
She’s more genuine.
I picked Champlain because of the Social Work program. I’ve wanted to be a social worker since middle school. I saw a social worker every week in middle school, and we had a really great connection. She told me I had a natural gift for talking to people and listening and that I should look into social work as a career.
When I was looking at schools, I stumbled across Champlain. After visiting the school, I knew this was the school I wanted to go to. I applied Early Decision, and there I was.
The program was absolutely fabulous. We did field trips and a lot of hands-on learning, and my interactions with people became more genuine because of my Social Work classes. I now know what to do when people ask for advice. During my field placement in the Integrated Arts Academy, I could feel myself knowing what to say in certain situations.
She’ll save the world, one person at a time.
I knew I wanted to help people, and volunteer work is an ingrained part of Champlain’s Social Work curriculum. It sounds daunting, but the experience is eye-opening in the most amazing of ways.
During my first semester, I had a project on homelessness, housing and food insecurity. I went to the Salvation Army, received food and sat with the people of the community who struggled with feeding themselves and their families. I had to experience it as if I were unable to fend for myself. It was not only a humbling moment but also an extremely valuable lesson.
Because of a semester-long volunteer placement, I was offered a summer position at the Converse home, a local assisted living home for the elderly. You can learn about theory and about the human experience in a classroom, but to be out there with real people is where the lessons are truly exposed.
When I left Champlain, I learned more than I ever thought possible and was ready for the world beyond college. Champlain helped me realize my passions, goals and all the opportunities that lay before me. I know I want to go to graduate school at some point, but I also have a strong desire to enter the Peace Corps. I know I cannot save the world, but if I can help at least one person, that's a start.