The Leonardo Project
Humanities in Elementary Education


The Leonardo Project is a newly designed curriculum that prepares MTSU students to be excellent elementary school teachers. The curriculum emphasizes two important ideas:

  1. The knowledge we learn in one subject can be used to help us undersand another subject; and
  2. Teaching is a thoughtful, creative activity.
You can enroll in the Leonardo Project as an alternative to the current elementary education program offered at MTSU. The Leonardo Project will better prepare you to teach in the the elementary classroom by:
  • Showing you how you will use the knowledge you gain in liberal arts courses when you teach in an elementary classroom.
  • Beginning early in your college career to help you think as an experienced teacher thinks.
  • Giving you the experience you need to develop your own teaching units in the elementary classroom.

You will be enrolled with 24 other students in a cluster of liberal arts courses which has been developed by the Leonardo Project faculty to ensure that you understand how the knowledge in various academic subjects is connected. For example, your cluster professors may together assign a book such as Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography to help students understand concepts in Speech, Composition, and American History. Or professors may focus on a concept such as the way technology has shaped our culutre so that you will have the opportunity to see one idea from multiple perspectives. Furthermore, those same proffessors as well as an education professor will meet with students once a week to discuss the teaching methods that were used in the classrooms. In this way, the Leonardo Project will prepare you to be an excelllent elementary school teacher.

No other teacher preparation program in Tennessee offers such a comprehensive, integrated program so early in a college career.

Plans are being developed for courses at the upper division level that will continue to emphasize the multiple uses of knowledge and that will provide you with extensive elementary school observation and practice teaching at our three professional development schools.

We believe that the close personal contact with Leonardo Project faculty and the carefully planned curruculum will give you the best general studies education possible at MTSU.

  • Students will have the opportunity to examine carefully the teaching profession and what it entails.
  • Students will fulfill all liberal arts general studies requirements for the Inter-disciplinary Major in Elementary Education (and most other majors in case the student chooses to not pursue elementary education as a profession).
  • Students will have the opportunity to work closely with university professors in small classes.
  • Students would receive instruction from MTSU's finest faculty who will provide excellent modelling of teacherly activities.
  • Students will have a reserved space in the Leonardo Project course clusters, thereby diminishing registration conflicts.

First Year

  • First Semester (10 credits)
    • American People (HIST 201)
    • Freshman Writin (ENGL 112)
    • Fundamentals of Speech (SPEE 220)
    • Pedagogy Seminar (ELED )
  • Second Semester (10 Credits)
    • American People (HIST 202)
    • Education as a Profession (FOED 111)
    • Introduction to Literature (ENGL 211)
    • Pedagogy Seminar (ELED )

Second Year

  • First Semester (10 Credits)
    • Cultural Geography (GEOG 436)
    • Foreign Literature in Translation (HUM 261)
    • Psychology of Human Development and Learning (FOED 211)
    • Pedagogy Seminar (ELED )
  • Second Semester (13 Credits)
    • Introduction to Philosophy (PHIL 201)
    • Cultural Anthropology (ANTH 310)
    • Introductin to Music (MUSI 310)
    • Art Activities and Appreciation (ART 221)
    • Pedagogy Seminar (ELED )

With each Leonardo Project cluster you will take other required General Studies courses in Area IV: Natural Science and Mathematics and Area V: Health, Physical Development, and Recreation.

For further information about the program, please contact
Dr. Phillip Waldrop
Leonardo Project Student Advisor
Department of Elementary and Special Education
(615) 898-2687


Dr. Ellen Donovan
Leonardo Project Director