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M.A.T. Candidate Handbook Cohort 2024: Program Information

Program Information

Program Advisors


The staff of the M.A.T. program assumes the advisory role for each cohort. From the initial orientation through student teaching, each candidate is assigned an advisor with whom they maintain a close relationship throughout the program. This personalization of the advisory role has been expressly valued by the candidates.

In addition to ongoing communications via phone and email in response to candidates’ questions or problems which may arise, the advisory continuum is as follows-
At the beginning of the program, advisors:

  • Contact advisees and welcome them into the program
  • Request that students schedule a “get-acquainted” appointment with advisor
  • Provide the supports needed for successful navigation of the program
  • Provide faculty with a list of advisors and their advisees, and regularly communicate with professors to discuss students’ dispositions and academic progress
  • Encourage professors to notify advisor at first sign of a student experiencing difficulty

After completion of the first term, advisors:

  • Meet with advisees about progress and discuss overall first impressions of their courses and the program, and any possible issues that need to be addressed
  • Check advisees’ initial successful navigation of Taskstream

During second term, advisors:

  • Meet with advisees to discuss student teaching placement/capstone process
  • Continue to monitor advisees’ progress in Taskstream

After the third term, advisors:

  • Stay in touch with advisees via email and remind of open invitation to meet as needed
  • Continue to monitor advisees’ progress in Taskstream

During pre-student teaching and practicum, advisors:

  • Participate in pre-student teaching workshops
  • Continue to monitor advisees’ progress in Taskstream

During student teaching/capstone development, advisors:

  • Maintain contact with advisees, student teacher supervisors, and capstone advisors as needed
  • Monitor advisees’ student teaching evaluations in Taskstream
  • At the conclusion of the program, advisors:
    • Are available to write letters of recommendation (when/if requested)
    • Attend and evaluate Final Assessment Presentations

While candidates are assigned specific advisors, the staff at the M.A.T. program works as an advisory team. If an advisor is not available at any given time, any of the other advisors can step into the role of advisor for any candidate. The advisory team meets on a regular basis to ensure the uniformity and consistency of message to candidates.



In the Johnson & Wales Master of Arts in Teaching program, teacher candidates work together as a cohort. A set curriculum is followed, eventually leading to the M.A.T. in one of the following concentrations:

  • Elementary Education/Elementary Special Education
  • Business Education/Secondary Special Education
  • Culinary Arts Education

Good assessment practices and high academic standards are vital components of the M.A.T. program. Assessment of candidates’ work is a continuous process to ensure that all teacher candidates are fully prepared for student teaching. A wide range of criteria or “transition points” defines the candidates’ responsibilities and the assessment process throughout the program (see Transition Points document below).

Assessment Philosophy: The Teacher Education Program recognizes a variety of instructional delivery models.  For purposes of evaluation, we adhere to a performance-based assessment philosophy.

Guiding Principles of Assessment: When evaluating candidate performance, the faculty is guided by the following principles of assessment:

  • Assessment is an ongoing process that establishes clear, measurable, expected outcomes of student learning.
  • Assessment systematically gathers, analyzes, and interprets evidence to determine how well performance matches course expectations, and uses the resulting information to understand and improve student learning.
  • Assessment is performed without any form of discrimination.
  • Multiple forms of assessment are necessary to accurately determine a candidate’s proficiency in program outcomes and standards.
  • The overall goal of assessment is to grow and nurture a candidate into a competent, knowledgeable educator.

Johnson & Wales Teacher Education Program Course Assessment Policies:

1. All major course assignments are assessed according to rubrics specific to the assignment
2. For monitoring the purposes of meeting teaching standards, professors also assess their final project in Taskstream with the Major Course Assessment Rubrics below. 
3. Course assignments are due on deadlines as determined by professors.



An essential quality for any teacher is the ability to interact effectively with students, colleagues, administrators, parents, support staff, and all other constituents who comprise the broader school community. In the M.A.T. Program, candidates who possess this ability are identified as having the appropriate “disposition for teaching.” Disposition encompasses a wide range of personal traits including one’s temperament or emotional makeup, moral and ethical qualities, professionalism, self-discipline, respect for and ability to work well with others, sense of responsibility, patience, flexibility, and other inherent qualities which define our identities and govern our actions.

These traits cannot be easily measured by a single test, course, or assignment. Rather they emerge and are recognized over the entire course of the program. For this reason, disposition is assessed throughout the program by professors according to the Disposition Rubric. Graduate student disposition is also assessed by the advisory team, clinical educators, university supervisors, and the candidate's own self-assessments.

If during the course of the program, a candidate demonstrates that they may be deficient in any of the dispositional qualities described above, the candidate’s advisor will be notified. The advisor will request a conference with the candidate to determine whether a serious problem exists and, if so, explore possible resolutions. Such conferences will be documented, and if the problem persistsit may be necessary to counsel the candidate out of the M.A.T. Program.

Field Experience


In keeping with Johnson & Wales’ Core Value of experientially-based learning, and to fulfill Department of Education requirements, the Master of Arts in Teaching program requires field-based experiences to enhance teacher candidate learning and employability. These field experiences evolve from an overview of standards-based education for all students.

Definition: Field experience consists of visiting schools and educational settings that allow  “hands-on” experiences in classrooms. In the M.A.T. program, there are three levels of field experience: Practicum I (Course-based field experience), Practicum II (Pre–student teaching and course-based field experience), and Student Teaching.

Purpose: Field experience allows for the utilization of research-based theories and best practices that are taught in the M.A.T. courses by observing, applying, and connecting them to classrooms in public schools and at the college level. M.A.T. candidates will be placed in schools at specified times throughout the program for the following purposes: to assist in formulating a realistic view of classroom culture and school life; to provide opportunities for observation and analysis of classroom situations through first-hand experience; and to provide opportunities to apply the skills and knowledge gained from coursework by working with students in actual classroom teaching situations.

Candidates are encouraged through class discussions, reports, and other assessment tools to carefully reflect on their experiences. In addition, candidates are encouraged to make thoughtful decisions about their own personal philosophy of education, and about classroom instruction and management.  

Setting: Field experiences are designed so that candidates will have the opportunity to observe and work with host teachers in a variety of settings. Each of these experiences has unique learning possibilities and increases overall understanding of diverse student populations.

To ensure that field experiences enhance course work, they will take place at schools/classrooms selected by the M.A.T. staff. As required by Rhode Island General Laws, candidates must have a current (Rhode Island) Criminal Background check completed in order to observe in schools or to student teach in Rhode Island.

Practicum I (Course-based field experience): M.A.T. program students attend two or more classes each semester, two or three nights a week. Field experience is a key component of a number of the courses.

Documentation of field experiences (24 hours per course) must be submitted according to the following procedure:

  • Beginning with the first school visit, students record hours and visit details on the paper Field Experience Log and electronically in Taskstream.
  • Each week the host teachers/chefs verify and sign the paper log which is then initialed by the professor at the next class. Through this process, the log is updated weekly.
  • Field experience hours are electronically submitted to Taskstream each week, allowing M.A.T. advisors to monitor documentation in real time over the course of the semester.
  • At the end of the semester, after the final visit, paper logs are scanned and uploaded into Taskstream.
  • Since these field experience hours are a requirement of coursework, it is critical that logs be complete and updated every week.

Each professor assigns specific projects which relate theories being presented in the course to practical applications in the public school or university classroom. During this process M.A.T. students will progress from simply observing to working with individual students and small groups, and eventually will plan and teach lesson(s) in a whole class setting. Field experiences will correlate to coursework throughout the semester. Please see document below for further details.

Practicum II (Pre-student teaching): Having completed previous course requirements for field experiences, and to ensure that student teaching time is maximized, candidates then move on to Practicum II. Candidates are placed with the Clinical Educator with whom they will be student teaching. 

For those student teaching at public schools, Practicum II begins (at the discretion of the Clinical Educator) with the assigned school’s first day in August/September and continues every week until student teaching begins. For those student teaching at the university, Practicum II begins on the first week of classes of the Fall II semester, and continues every week during the semester. Practicum II field experiences are related to the fall courses. Additionally, this is when candidates have the opportunity to become members of the school community. As with Practicum I, documentation of Practicum II field experiences will be recorded on the paper Field Experience Log, signed by the Clinical Educators, and submitted to the professors. Completed logs will be uploaded and submitted to Taskstream at the end of Practicum II. Note: it is not unusual for candidates to spend more than the minimum number of hours in their Practicum II classrooms if they are fortunate enough to have the time to do so. As a measure of their readiness for student teaching, candidates will submit a video showing them teaching a brief lesson during Practicum II.

For Elementary, Business, and Culinary Certification candidates a number of field experience hours are also committed to becoming a member of the school community. These hours are recorded on a Participation Sign-Off log. Please see document below for further details.

Student Teaching: The third and culminating level of field experience in the M.A.T. program is Student Teaching. A detailed description and explanation of the requirements and policies of both Practicum II and Student Teaching may be found in the Student Teaching section of this handbook, which will be made available prior to student teaching. 

Field Experiences Policies:

  1. The Teacher Education Program staff members select sites and place candidates in schools for field experiences.
  2. Candidates’ field experiences will take place in a variety of diverse school settings.
  3. The professor of record in each graduate course is responsible for specifying the nature of the field experiences that will be required, and for assessing the log and fieldwork reflections throughout the course.
  4. Candidates may not conduct fieldwork experiences, nor be placed for Practicum/Student Teaching, in schools in which their own children are students or parents are teachers.
  5. Candidates must carry their Johnson & Wales University ID cards and current BCI when visiting schools.


Johnson & Wales considers field experiences to be the most essential part of learning to be a teacher, providing candidates with the opportunity to interact with a wide range of diverse students and classrooms. Field experiences allow candidates to progress beyond theories of knowledge and participate in authentic settings that can only be achieved through firsthand classroom participation. As a Johnson & Wales M.A.T. candidate, students must make a total commitment to enthusiastically embrace field experience upon entering the program.

Glossary of Terms


Clinical EducatorThis individual hosts the student teacher full time in their classroom for the Practicum II and student teaching experiences. Requirements include:

  • Certified teacher in the content area
  • At least 3 years of successful teaching experience
  • Trained in program responsibilities by M.A.T. staff
  • Experience as mentor or coach preferred

CC- Cultural Competency Standards

CEC- Council for Exceptional Children Standards

DispositionA wide range of personal traits including one’s temperament or emotional makeup, moral and ethical qualities, professionalism, self-discipline, respect for and ability to work well with others, sense of responsibility, patience, flexibility, and other inherent qualities which define our identities and govern our actions.

Host TeacherAn educator who welcomes teacher candidates into their classroom as part of Practicum I course-based field experiences. Requirements include:

  • Certified, experienced teacher
  • Recommended by the principal/school district
  • Compliance with program requirements

Practicum I- (Course based field experience) Assigned course-based field experience hours, completed in public school classrooms or University classrooms/labs prior to student teaching.

Practicum II- (Pre-student teaching field experience) Teacher candidates are assigned to Practicum II field experience placements in the classroom(s) in which they will complete their student teaching. Students complete 24 hours per course of observation and active participation through planning, teaching, and assessing in the classroom(s) during this practicum. Dual certification candidates complete Practicum II hours in each placement prior to student teaching.

RIPTS- Rhode Island Professional Teaching Standards 

Special EducationPrograms to identify and meet the educational needs of children with emotional, learning, or physical disabilities. Federal law requires that all children with disabilities be provided a free and appropriate education according to an Individualized Education Program (IEP) from infancy until 21 years of age.

Student Teaching- Full-time student teaching under the guidance of an assigned Clinical Educator and monitored/assessed by a University Supervisor.  It is the culmination of the teacher candidate’s preparation. Upon successful completion of student teaching, the candidate will be prepared to work (in the certification area) with diverse students who have a wide variety of needs. Successful completion of student teaching is a major requirement of program completion and eligibility for teacher certification. The student teaching placement is for 60 school days for each certification area.

Taskstream- The online data collection and assessment system used throughout the M.A.T. program.  (

Transition PointsA series of three gateways completed throughout the M.A.T. Program.  Data is collected at each transition point to ensure that each teacher candidate meets the standard for all program requirements and to measure program effectiveness. 

University SupervisorAn employee of the M.A.T. Program, this individual is responsible for supporting and assessing the student teacher’s progress, ensuring that they meet all expectations of the program throughout student teaching.  They also serve as a liaison between the university, Clinical Educator, and school site.  Requirements include:

  • Extensive successful experience as a teacher and/or administrator
  • Successful completion of an interview that ensures a match with the goals and objectives of the M.A.T. Program
  • Willingness to undergo extensive training, including (but not limited to) calibration of rubrics/forms which are used in the assessment of student teachers