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Undergraduate - Conceptual College Framework

Conceptual Framework

I. Mission Statement

The College of Education and Human Development, as part of the land-grant university, provides leadership, professional development, research and resources to advance education at all levels and to help people, regardless of age, ethnicity, race, gender, socio-economic status, exceptionalities, sexual orientation, language, geographic area or religion pursue life-long learning and achievement. The College centers its teaching, research and service on broad developmental, educational and social issues to generate insights that shape perception, policy and practice.

Philosophy and Purposes
Reflective Practice as a Framework for Teacher Education

Reflective Practice serves as the overarching theme for our education programs. Education is a reflective process and practice that involves:

  • recursive self-evaluation and systematic assessment of students and programs
  • drawing upon shared, ambitious standards and expectations for teaching, research and service
  • promoting the personal and professional understanding of one’s own actions and potential
  • contributing to continually improving performance

A variety of inter-related factors affect how students learn. These may include cultural and socioeconomic background, cognitive and social development, prior knowledge and experiences, personal motivations and interests, and countless combinations of these and other learning factors. An educator who seriously acknowledges the complexity of the learning environment will seek to understand how certain variables in a particular setting affect student learning by analyzing and evaluating the effects of specific curriculum, instruction and assessment practices. Through such analysis the educator is able to create the most appropriate learning environment for a particular group of students.

The reflective educator then is one who analyzes the factors that affect teaching and learning and continually develops understanding regarding what content is important to teach, how students learn, and how to teach so that students will learn. The reflective educator knows how to identify and interpret information that can be used to make informed, rational and justifiable decisions regarding educational practices. The ultimate outcome is to implement practices that are equitable, meaningful and relevant for student and societal welfare.

Substance, Lenses and Processes for Reflective Practice

Three core principles support this overarching theme by articulating the beliefs underlying our practice as faculty and the practice expected of our candidates.

1. Excellence in Teaching and Learning

Excellence provides the substance of our reflections, including the content, processes and contexts for education in our programs and PreK-12 schools. Our understandings of this core principle include a vision of education motivated by dedication to teaching and learning that is:

  • informed by philosophical, intellectual and historical perspectives of the t teaching mission
  • supported by a caring, collegial learning community
  • responsive to evolving learning goals and learner needs in a wide range of learning settings
  • characterized by active engagement of both educators and learners
  • inclusive of all learners throughout the life span
  • inspired by enthusiasm, joy and passion
  • committed to diversity
  • empowered by the uses of technology
  • grounded in knowledge of content in the disciplines

2. Synthesis of Theory and Practice

Synthesis of theory and practice is the lens we use to reflect on our programs and PreK-12 education. We recognize that our understandings are informed by research and theory and by our own practice and that both theory and practice contribute to the societal consensus represented in educational policies. Our understandings of this core principle are:

  • founded on understanding of the learner and of life-span development in the context of family relationships
  • enriched by awareness of culture and community
  • guided by knowledge of pedagogy and content
  • characterized by a commitment to the generation of new knowledge through the development and application of theory and research

3. Collaboration and Mentoring

Collaboration and mentoring are the most important processes we use to work with colleagues and guide candidates. Our understandings of this core principle include actions that:

  • develop the capacity in each individual for effective communication and collective action
  • reflect a commitment to public service through advocacy, collaboration and partnerships
  • provide statewide access to educational opportunities and leadership
  • ensure high-quality services to our students
  • build trusting and nurturing relationships with all our constituencies
  • foster open exchanges of ideas and respect between and among faculty, students and the broader community

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