Mission & Philosophy

Mission

Our purpose is to prepare extraordinary educators characterized by their exceptional understanding of leading practices in education, their belief in the importance of individual dignity and personal responsibility, and their desire to be life-long learners. We also promote positive dispositions in our students including a respect for others, an appreciation of diversity, and a continuous examination of values.

With a commitment to the poor and disenfranchised in society, we believe in education as a force for social justice. We also strive to be a community of learners who engage in dialogue and inquiry leading to the improvement of educational practices in schools, communities, and higher education.

Philosophy

The College of Education prepares urban, multicultural, professional educators.

As professionals, our graduates bring knowledge, skills, positive attitudes and, above all, good judgment to their roles as educators. Exercising good judgment means understanding the social and cultural contexts where teaching and learning take place and understanding the transformative role that education can play in the lives of individuals and in society. It also involves a solid knowledge of ever-changing methodologies, technologies, and resources.

Students can expect their program to be supported and shaped by the philosophy of our Conceptual Framework: "Urban, Professional, Multicultural Educator:"

Valuing Diversity.  In all our programs, students are encouraged to examine their beliefs, attitudes, and assumptions about differences of gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, culture, ethnic and racial groupings, disabilities, and other forms of diversity. Our classrooms and field-based experiences support an equitable, high-quality education for all people and view our differences as enrichment to our schools and society.

Integrated Inquiry, Theory, and Practice.  Inquiry and theory guide practice; practice informs theory and inquiry. Together, inquiry and practice help educators understand, create, and modify theory. In our programs, students gain a familiarity with many different theories and research-based practices. Immersion in field-based experiences gives students many opportunities to engage in self-reflection and learn to critically and creatively integrate inquiry, theory, and practice.

Multiple Perspectives.   In education, someone (the educator) engages in dialogue about something (the content) with someone else (the learner) within a social and cultural network (the context). In our programs, students become skilled at considering and integrating all four variables:

An educator’s personal style, teaching/learning style, values, breadth of knowledge, and level of preparation affect the interactions with learners and others.

A learner’s physical and mental health, personal and cognitive development, learning style, values, language, ethnic and cultural background, level of motivation, and background knowledge also impact each educational interaction.

The nature of the content or body of knowledge to be studied - its organizing principles, intrinsic interest, level of abstraction and difficulty, and the availability of appropriate materials - is crucial to educational interactions.

The social network or context in which learning takes place matters. The classroom, school, family, peers and community, as well as society itself, are all part of the context.

Positive Transformation.   The educational process aims at a transformation (intellectual, emotional, and ethical) of the individual, not simply a shaping of behavior. As individuals grow in responsibility and service to the larger society, society can then be transformed. Our programs emphasize personal, school, and community transformation through the collaborative actions of individuals.

Vincentian Personalism.   We encourage our students to value, above all, the dignity and integrity of themselves and others. Our programs nurture behavior that is ethical, collaborative, socially responsible, and service-oriented. The College of Education develops collaborative partnerships with community educational organizations to improve learning opportunities for all students.

Lifelong Learning.   Professional educators are always learning and constructing knowledge in dialogues with their students and colleagues. The faculty models a love of lifelong learning and expects students to develop the same habits of mind. Lifelong learning involves being literate (including computer, information, math, linguistic, visual, and scientific literacies), articulate, goal-directed, aesthetically sensitive, historically conscious, and a discipline expert.

CoE faculty members Roxanne Owens and Barbara Rieckhoff received a grant to train teachers to use technology to support implementation of Common Core Standards. Congratulations!

FYI