The School of Social Sciences, Communication and Education

Student TeacherThe mission of the School of Social Sciences, Communication and Education of Saint Vincent College is to achieve distinction in undergraduate education as well as graduate education in select disciplines housed within the School. The faculty, students, staff and administration constitute a thoughtful, learning community devoted to educational excellence. Resting upon a foundation in the Benedictine, Catholic liberal arts tradition, the School has a distinctive concern with providing students a full understanding of human beings and their development, both as individuals and as members of groups and social institutions. Students shall acquire both knowledge and skill in the scientific process and a developed ethical sense as it applies to the content of the school’s programs. The School promotes personal and intellectual growth, encourages an awareness of human similarities and differences, advances a sense of social responsibility, develops the foundation for professional competence, and deepens spiritual values in keeping with the Catholic and Benedictine character of Saint Vincent College. To this end, the School encourages outreach to the community and the practical application of knowledge toward the good of society in the fields of social sciences, communication, and education.


The School of Social Sciences, Communication, and Education seeks to prepare students to be:

  • Effective professionals in a range of chosen fields. 
  • Thoughtful contributors to the intellectual and scholarly world.

As part of Saint Vincent College, the School of Social Sciences, Communication, and Education educates students in the liberal arts tradition so that they are well prepared for successful and rewarding lives. Our programs not only advance your knowledge in specific subject areas, they also encourage and develop analytical and critical thinking, problem solving, writing, and technological skills.


School of Social Sciences, Communication and Education Outcomes  

  • 84% of our graduates are working within their fields within one year of graduation 
  • we prepare teachers to teach online as well as in classrooms 
  • 31% of our graduates attend graduate or professional school 
  • our students studied abroad in England, Mexico, Greece, Guatemala, Cyprus, Italy and East Asia 
  • our graduates are medical doctors, teachers, lawyers, social workers, anthropologists, politicians, public relations executives, public health officials, school principals, archeologists, college professors, marketing executives, television broadcasters, therapists, university administrators, professional writers, website designers and many other fascinating professions
Our Programsssce-programs
Our Programs
Program Major Minor Cert. Joint Prog. Career Prep Graduate Prog.
Anthropology check Major, check Minor,
Children's Studies check Minor,
Communication check Major, check Minor,
Counselor Education check Graduate Program,
Criminology, Law and Society check Major, check Minor,
Curriculum and Instruction check Graduate Program,
Disability Studies: Special Education check Certification,
Early Childhood PreK-4 check Major,
Education check Major, check Minor, check Certification, check Graduate Program,
Forensic Studies - Cybersecurity Program check Minor,
Forensic Studies - Financial Investigations Program check Minor,
Forensic Studies - Natural Science Program check Minor,
Global Security check Minor,
Instructional Design and Technology check Graduate Program,
K-12 Certification check Certification,
Middle Grades 4-8 check Major,
Pre-Law Program check Career Prep,
Psychology check Major, check Minor,
Public Health check Minor,
School Administration and Supervision check Graduate Program,
Science Education check Graduate Program,
Secondary Grades 7-12 Certification check Certification,
Sociology check Major, check Minor,
Special Education check Graduate Program,
Meet the Deanssce-meet-the-dean
Meet the Dean

Mary Beth SporeDr. Mary Beth Spore is the Dean of the School of Social Sciences, Communication and Education as well as an Associate Professor in Education. She teaches children’s and young-adult literature. Prior to joining Saint Vincent College, Dr. Spore was an Associate Professor of English and Senior Assistant to the President at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. She has been awarded many honors, including the University of Pittsburgh’s Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award, Distinguished Professional Development Award, and President’s Award for Excellence. Dr. Spore has published a book and scholarly journal articles and has presented numerous conference papers. She is a member of the American Educational Research Association's Arts-Based Education Research Special Interest Group. Dr. Spore received her Bachelor’s Degree at Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, IN, and both her Master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh.

Interesting facts about Dr. Spore:

  • Dr. Spore’s father, Rudolph Roitz, is a 1949 graduate of the St. Vincent Prep School, so her ties to this institution have very deep roots. 
  • Dr. Spore has organized a local Children’s Literature Conference for the past eleven years. 
  • Dr. Spore teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses at Saint Vincent College. 

Educational Philosophyssce-educational-philosophy
Educational Philosophy
by Dean Spore

I have long thought of education as vocational rather than occupational. I personally enjoy my time in the classroom with students more than any other professional time, and I hope that my students feel the same about their time spent with me. Because I have taught such a broad range of students in a variety of educational settings from elementary school to graduate classes, I have had an opportunity to reflect on the similarities of these diverse educational experiences.

To educate well demands certain standards of the educator:

  • to earn the respect of students with thorough preparation, careful attention to their progress, and fulfillment of objectives as stated in the syllabus, 
  • to respect students, never allowing condescension to creep into criticism, 
  • to remain open-minded to students’ possibilities for success, 
  • to seek assistance of others in the university and the community for validation and evaluation, and 
  • to maintain that teaching can always be improved, the work never complete.

Much of education is initially about negotiation, not negotiation of the requirements or grading policies but rather the negotiation of the teacher-student relationship. How will I be teacher for the student best to learn? How will the student be student for me best to teach? I realize that such negotiations are subtle and rarely overt, existing in a subtext of the relationship and evolving as time progresses, but all the same, the interactions between the students and instructor are often the primary source of satisfaction for any educator.

In addition to the relational aspects of education, much of what learners believe about education comes from what they have observed as students. When I was a student, I observed that the best teachers always seemed excited about teaching, the subject matter, and being with students. They had time to talk outside of class and space in their busy lives to talk of matters beyond the subject under study. Their excitement was contagious, their scholarship inspiring. I was a better student with these good teachers. They, these best teachers, come with me every time I enter a classroom, no matter how tired or dispirited I am that day. They enter the classroom as my guides and as my exemplars, and their presence energizes and invigorates me. Thus, good educators provide significant models and often provide inspiration for those who seek to educate others.

While quality education does involve interactions and stimulation, teaching has a contemplative side as well as a social side and begs for time spent in solitude and reflection. Good educators are good scholars, basing their teaching pedagogy on thoughtful contemplation of the work of others and in their own writing. The reading, research, and preparation time leading to the classroom is quiet, isolated time. It is as if the solitude planted in research, reading, and writing germinates into the fruitfulness of the learning experience in the classroom that is celebratory, difficult, and, ultimately, social.

To educate well is to view others as fellow learners, in other words, to embrace the learner in oneself, to find a connection in the fellowship of education, a fellowship that unites students and teachers in a common cause and mission. Educators make preparations to depart into unknown waters with each class, a bit unsure of the route but energized by the company they keep and the promise of treasure.