Social and Emotional Learning Specialty | University of Portland

Social and Emotional Learning Specialty

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is an integral part of education. SEL is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. Effectively implemented SEL at the classroom, school and community levels has the potential to advance educational equity and promote the academic, social and emotional development of all children.

The Social and Emotional Learning Specialization at University of Portland is designed to give educators the foundational knowledge and skills to implement effective SEL in K-12 schools.

This specialty is “added value” on an Oregon-issued teaching license, indicating that the educator has demonstrated exceptional knowledge, skills and dispositions in SEL pedagogy and practice. The Social and Emotional Learning Specialization meets standards set by the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC). 

Enroll in Our Social and Emotional Learning Specialty 3-Course Series

Oregon's Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) approved "Specialty in SEL" on teaching license.

Course 1: ED 341/501 Fall & Summer
Foundations of Social and Emotional Learning in Schools
This course focuses on how positive social and emotional development can be cultivated through promoting positive school and classroom climates as well as helping students develop skills in self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. Content focuses on theory and research related to social and emotional development drawing on knowledge from multiple fields including psychology, neuroscience, sociology and education. This class also considers the intersectionality between SEL and equity in our schools. Students will gain an understanding of culturally relevant pedagogy in SEL and the importance of promoting adult SEL as well as student SEL in schools. *Note: this class is a prerequisite for ED 342/511 and ED 343/512.

Course 2: ED 342/511 Spring
Social and Emotional Learning Programs and Practices
This course takes a deep dive into SEL programming for students and teachers in preK-12. Students will learn about a variety of programs that schools use to promote the 5 dimensions of SEL. Additionally, the course will explore Adult SEL and support participants' own SEL skill development to support their schoolwide SEL efforts. Students also have the opportunity to work with an educator who is implementing SEL and will practice implementing SEL lessons and activities with students.

Course 3: ED 343/512 Fall
Continuous Improvement in SEL Implementation
Students will learn how to monitor and assess SEL implementation through continuous improvement cycles utilizing resources from CASEL's Guide to Schoolwide SEL. Students will learn how to choose instruments such as climate surveys and assessments exploring students’ competencies, interpersonal and intrapersonal knowledge, skills, attitude and mindsets in accordance with the recommendations from the SEL Assessment Work Group (AWG) through CASEL. Students will also understand the national policy strategies around SEL. Students will also develop approaches to engaging with a diversity of stake holders –parents, teachers, administrators, district leaders – about SEL. Each candidate will carry out an action research project related to SEL in their field experience.

Courses can be taken for undergraduate or graduate credit. Students do not have to be enrolled in a UP program to take this series of courses. All SEL courses are offered in-person.

Want More Information?
Deirdre Hon, MEd, PhD
Associate Professor
503.943.7164 or 1.800.543.3633