Mission and Goals
It is the mission of the College of Education to prepare leaders in educational and clinical professions, who demonstrate the knowledge, skills and dispositions needed to serve others and who further the values and practices of their respective professions in a global society. We seek to inspire our candidates in the Vincentian tradition, and to foster core professional dispositions of professional commitment and responsibility (fairness), professional relationships (includes belief that all children can learn), and critical thinking and reflective practice. As a faculty, we are committed to developing programs with courses, clinical experiences and assessments based on the following three complementary orientations:
Student Centering Through Constructivist Practice
This orientation is based on the belief that knowledge is created and developed by learners and is influenced by experiences, values and multiple identifiers (e.g., race, class, culture, gender, nationality, exceptionality, and language of individuals). This perspective drives us to place the prior knowledge and experiences of students at the core of our institutional practice and facilitate their development through meaningful exploration. Constructivist practice invites candidates to be active participants in their own development and to view knowledge - in theory and in practice - as fluid social constructions that are made and re-made through reflective interactions with social, cultural and natural phenomena.
Throughout our programs, we emphasize that professionals are most effective when they integrate the best available research with pedagogical and clinical practice. Practitioners, therefore, in their design and implementation of effective programming, should draw from the extant research base and implement their own file-based evaluations of program appropriateness and efficacy. This data-based decision-making integrates the fullest range of evidence that should be considered in order to promote and enhance effective outcomes within a profession or discipline. With this individualized framework of growth, there are multiple paths to effective practice and we encourage educators, leaders and counselors to continuously examine and implement a wide range of evidence-based best practices.
Reflective Practice Self-Assessment
Self-assessment, peer assessment and critical examination of the efficacy of one's own practice are essential understandings for all professionals. We believe that reflective practice can be taught in the context of courses that view students as knowledge producers in search of meaning. Pedagogy that poses problems rather than transmits content encourages reflective thinking and doing. Reflection and metacognition enhances our own professional practice, as well as encouraging these practices among those in our fields. We also believe that interaction with current and future practitioners both extends and promotes such reflection.