Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education
The overarching theme for the Unit, "Educator as Advocator," is a distillation of our vision, mission, beliefs, goals, central philosophy and five related tenets. This overarching theme captures a central commitment to the philosophy of social justice, accomplished through the related tenets of diversity, achievement, compassion, knowledge, and service. The conceptual framework follows a constructivist approach to instruction that shapes who we are and informs our daily pursuit of educational excellence as faculty, staff and candidates in the school. The theme, philosophy and tenets provide a strong context for the work that we do in collaboration with the College community, P-12 schools and broader community; our collective efforts to engage high-quality faculty in programs grounded in inclusive practice, with an extraordinary focus on the teaching profession in service to others, and an informed understanding of the teacher’s and educational leader’s responsibility to encourage children and adults toward intellectual pursuit and personal growth.
Consistent with our conceptual framework, the School of Education has adopted the following set of shared beliefs to help guide our work:
- A strong liberal arts background helps candidates to hone their intellectual skills and understand their chosen discipline more fully.
- Providing service to others is our civic responsibility.
- Commitment, dedication, and caring enhance student learning.
- Moral integrity, collegial, and respectful conduct among the administration, faculty, staff, and candidates are necessary to provide an effective professional and cohesive educational experience.
- Self-determination, self-advocacy, and self-improvement are keys to lifelong learning.
- All students can and will learn when provided with the appropriate conditions, opportunities, and resources.
- Successful learning communities respond to the needs, interests, and backgrounds of each student.
- Professional educators should develop content knowledge and pedagogical skills concurrently and in the most authentic settings possible.
- Effective teaching and learning involves the transformation of understanding based on the depth, quality, and flexibility of the content being taught, and its applicability to the prior knowledge of the learner.
- Maximizing the relationship between technology and other resources enhances educational programs, faculty and staff development, and candidate learning.
- Understanding and respecting diversity enhances professional and personal development.
- Reflective practice is the foundation for career-long professional and personal growth.
- Embracing multiple perspectives expands our knowledge base and informs our decisions.
- The use of data collection, analysis, and evaluation informs decision-making and guides program improvement.
- Continuous improvement is essential and most effective when it is informed by research, best practice, and internal and external assessment.
- Partnerships within our own institution and with other institutions are essential and mutually beneficial.