Mission and Goals

Mission: The College of Education at Western Oregon University prepares skilled professionals in the fields of education, rehabilitation, sign language interpreting, health promotion and exercise science.

Our graduates are academically strong, ready to contribute to the continuously evolving state of their chosen professions, and prepared for a variety of diverse and complex roles in schools, service organizations, and businesses.

  • Goal 1: College of Education faculty and administration will provide quality services and strong academic programs to prepare graduates to be knowledgeable, competent, and ethical in their professional lives.
  • Goal 2: College of Education faculty and administration will provide leadership to our communities through the preparation of graduate students and through strong working relationships with public and private agencies, schools, and professional associations.
  • Goal 3: College of Education administration will ensure professional growth and intellectual vitality in an academically strong and diverse faculty through its recruitment and hiring practices, support for teaching, scholarship, and service, and cultivation of a supportive and collaborative community.
  • Goal 4: College of Education faculty and administration will practice and promote excellence in teaching that results in student learning, respects diversity, reflects current knowledge, and models best practices.
  • Goal 5: College of Education faculty and administration will maintain and enhance its leadership presence in regional, state, and national dialogues, partnerships, and policy development.
  • Goal 6: College of Education faculty and administration will use internal and external data to continually plan, evaluate, enhance and market both its on and off campus programs to meet the changing education, health, social service, and business needs of the local communities and Northwest region.
  • Goal 7: College of Education faculty and administration will work with the university, alumni, and external communities to attract and manage the resources needed to carry out the College’s mission and goals.

Conceptual Framework

Our Core Commitment: Connecting teaching and learning requires a team of professionals working through states of development, resting upon core values and principles. First, our goal as teacher educators is to assure our teaching efforts result in deep, meaningful learning on the part of our teacher candidates. Second, the teaching actions of our candidates should result in deep, meaningful learning on the part of P-12 students.

Foundational Values (Outer Ring)

Educational Equity

Our educational programs value and model the inalienable human right of educational equity. We believe in ethical commitments to access, fairness, justice, and opportunity for all. We strive to eliminate barriers in ways that support access and contribute to connecting teaching and learning.

Intellectual Vitality

Our educator programs value and model a rich, intellectual community focused on inquiry, excellence, adaptability, and continuous improvement. We seek to understand our practices and capacities and demonstrate a willingness to grow in ways that contribute to connecting teaching and learning.

Professionalism

Our educator programs value and model a rich sense of professionalism including the development of leadership capacities, professional engagement, and lifelong learning. We are committed to modeling, mentoring, and demonstrating a commitment to these values in ways that support connecting teaching and learning.

Cultural Sensitivity

Our educator programs value and model the broadest range of diversity and human identity. We believe strength and wisdom are found through seeking multiple perspectives, actively pursuing a diverse culture, and expanding our individual capacities for compassion, situational awareness, and self-knowledge in ways that support connecting teaching and learning.

States of Development (Inner Ring)

Understanding

After establishing appropriate readiness through awareness activities, candidates must build deep, flexible understandings of key concepts, theories, routines, and skills necessary to connect teaching and learning (Bransford, Brown & Cocking, 2000; Brown, Collins & Duguid, 1989; Woolfolk, 2001). Methods courses and early student teaching experiences are commonly designed to help students build understanding.

Awareness

Building on current knowledge about how learning occurs, candidates must first become aware and confront problems, issues, or concepts, including their own naive conceptions, before moving on to more sophisticated understandings (Bransford, Brown & Cocking, 2000; Portes, 1996; Smith, diSessa & Rochelle, 1993; Strike & Posner, 1985). Foundations courses and early field experiences are common settings in which awareness building is likely the goal as candidates move toward the goal of connecting teaching and learning.

Application

Commonly pursued concurrently with understanding goals, application requires candidates demonstrate what they know, and are able to do, in authentic settings (Anderson, Reder & Simon, 1996; Lave & Wagner, 1991; Resnick, 1987). Through the work sample process and student teaching experiences, candidates demonstrate the application of skills necessary to effectively connect their teaching to P-12 student learning.

Commitment

Ultimately, our efforts in teacher preparation should result in candidates’ long-term commitment to the goal of connecting teaching and learning (Freeman, 1991; Kennedy, 1999). Capstone and other summative program experiences should adopt commitment as one key goal.