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Mission and Goals

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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.

Values

  • Vincentian Tradition - We are inspired to serve all members of society, especially those living in poverty and oppression, in local communities and in the larger world. 
  • Constructivist Practice - We consider the experiences, values, and multiple identities of the individuals we serve as the foundation from which to facilitate learning and development. 
  • Evidence-Based Best Practice - We implement practices and strategies drawn from the  best available research and data generated within our own professional contexts.
  • Reflective Practice - We promote self-assessment, peer-assessment, and critical examination of the efficacy of one's Professional Commitment and Responsibility.
  • Professional Commitment and Responsibility - We demonstrate dedication and accountability to our respective professions through professional, passionate, lawful and ethical behaviors. 
  • Professional Relationships - We maintain high expectations for ourselves, our colleagues, and those we serve, while respecting diversities of background, experience, opinion and perspective; and working collaboratively to support one another. 

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Conceptual Framework

This orientation is based on the belief that knowledge is created and developed by learners and is influenced by experiences, values and multiple identifies (e.g., race, class, culture, gender, nationality, exceptionality and language of individuals.) Grounded in Dewey’s progressive educational philosophy, predicated on the learning theories of Piaget and Vygotsky, and furthered through the research of such modern leaders as Darling-Hammond (2001), Shulman (2005), Gardner (2006), Perkins (2009), and Danielson (2007). 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. (Dansforth & Smith, 2005; Foote, Vermette, & Battaglia, 2001; Ladson-Billings, 2009; Marlowe & Page, 1998; Vermette, 2009).

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 filed 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.

Self-assessment, peer-assessment and critical examination of the efficacy of one's own practice are essential dispositions for all professionals (Feimann-Nemser, 1990). We believe that reflective practice can be taught in the context of courses that view students as knowledge producers in search of meaning (Palmer, 1983). Pedagogy that poses problems rather than transmits content encourages reflective thinking and doing (Miller, 1993). Reflection and metacognition enhances our own professional practice, as well as encouraging these practices among those in our fields. (Eby, Herrell, & Hicks, 2002; Egan, 2007; Henderson, 1996; Zemelman, Daniels, & Hyde, 1998). We also believe that interaction with current and future practitioners both extends and promotes such reflection.

Faculty members in the college seek to extend and promote these dimensions through modeling related pedagogical practices and instilling in our candidates a desire to promote such practices in their professional lives. As indicated on the Conceptual Framework: Alignment to Assessment System, these dimensions are assessed for candidates and faculty in terms of curriculum, instruction and teaching, field and   clinical experiences, modeling effective practice in teaching and research and though follow-up surveys.