Vision, Mission, Philosophy
The College of Education strives to create an environment where all participants are critical, creative thinkers, problem-solvers, life-long learners, and global citizens who advocate and work for justice and equality as they pursue their various professional roles. We organize the above crucial roles of educators in terms of transformations, of ideas/ information, individuals, intermediate social institutions (e.g., schools, school districts, communities), and the larger polity. These transformative philosophies, goals and institutional standards are organized around the theme of the Transformative Professional and are supported by the appropriate knowledge bases cited in the extended discussion of the conceptual framework. A shortened version of the framework is found in these pages.
We believe that teaching and learning is made of significant transformations that fundamentally alter individuals and social institutions. Incremental change as measured by formal testing reflects only incomplete aspects of the changes wrought by the formal and informal interactions [with people, ideas, text and media] that characterize excellent education.
We believe that currently understood effective practices can be achieved by candidates. Education in the unit is seen as holistic, yet we believe that by subdividing pertinent discussions via the Conceptual Framework, candidates have a better chance of understanding education’s complexities. Finally, while we believe that candidates can and should learn didactic information related to their disciplines and pedagogy, we also want to instill in them a respect for the dynamism of information and a vigorous skepticism about the permanence of current policies and conceptualizations in the field.
Specifically, the transformations that we embrace in the unit can briefly be described as follows:
- We embrace the notion of social constructivism but only in the sense that we believe that knowledge (about teaching and learning) must be reworked and transformed (made personal) by candidates as they acquire it.
- We believe that an excellent education program transforms individual learners. Candidates are transformed via acquiring the knowledge, skills, and dispositions of professional educators. Students in the schools are changed to become more sophisticated learners from their interactions with candidates. Professors and instructors rethink modes of instruction and even their belief systems as they interact professionally with candidates. Parents of public school students and school administrators are changed constantly by new information emanating from the unit.
- Because we ask candidates to become excellent consumers of new information, they influence positive changes in schools and school districts in curriculum, pedagogy, and culture. We expect our candidates to bring a strong disposition to their careers in democratic values and racial/ethnic equity affecting practices and attitudes in schools regionally, statewide and nationally.
- As students and intermediate social intuitions change as a function of the strengths brought to the field, we expect that our candidates will participate in societal change that increasingly accepts multiple cultures and languages, that is increasingly participatory, and that reflects ever greater levels of fairness in interacting with students and families of color.