Preparing Leaders in Education

The School of Education is committed to the preparation of candidates who can assume leadership roles in the field of education. Such preparation is accomplished through the coherent integration of the abilities and predispositions of candidates, the knowledge and abilities of faculty, and the contextual elements of academic and field settings. Candidates accept their professional responsibilities and focus their expertise and energy on supporting Birth-12 student development and learning. They must work to maintain a meaningful involvement in activities within schools and in partnership with parents and the community.

The growth and development of candidates is promoted through curriculum, instruction, research, field experiences, clinical practice, assessments, evaluations, and interactions with faculty and peers. All of these elements work together to build a solid foundation for exemplary practice in education, creating educational practitioners who are prepared to better serve children, families and schools, as well as business and agencies of government within North Carolina, across the nation and throughout the world.

For Equity and Excellence

Preparation of educational leaders for today’s society is based in values of equity and excellence that assure our candidates’ and their students’ future success. Attending to the challenge of promoting both equity and excellence is imperative. To address only one of these goals would, on the one hand, sacrifice those put at risk by social and cultural hierarchies in society or would, on the other hand, fail to press for the highest possible levels of accomplishment. Equity and excellence must be pursued concurrently to assure that all students are well served and that all are encouraged to perform at their highest level.

Within the School of Education, equity is seen as the state, quality, or ideal of social justice and fairness. It begins with the recognition that there is individual and cultural achievement among all social groups and that this achievement benefits all students and educators. Equity acknowledges that ignorance of the richness of diversity limits human potential. A perspective of equity also acknowledges the unequal treatment of those who have been historically discriminated against based on their ability, parents’ income, race, gender, ethnicity, culture, neighborhood, sexuality, or home language, and supports the closure of gaps in academic achievement. Decisions grounded in equity must establish that a wide range of learners have access to high quality education in order to release the excellence of culture and character which can be utilized by all citizens of a democratic society.

Within the School of Education, excellence is seen as striving for optimal development, high levels of achievement and performance for all and in all that is done. In preparatory programs across grade levels, curriculum and instruction furthers excellence when it moves a learner as effectively as possible toward expertise as a thinker, problem solver and creator of knowledge. Excellence entails a commitment to fully developing candidates, not only academically but also in moral and political senses.

In a Democratic Society

The preparation of exemplary practitioners in education to meet the challenges of equity and excellence is best accomplished through preparation for a democratic society. Democracy around the globe is an ideal, one with the potential to meet the needs, recognize the interests and establish the rights of all citizens. Education is a necessary foundation for this ideal, and both must be subscribed to and participated in by all.

Conceptual Framework Principles

The School of Education is committed to diverse, equitable, democratic learning communities. As a result, candidates are expected to acquire and apply the knowledge, skills and dispositions that prepare them to support the development and education of all students.

The School of Education uses the following unit principles, applicable at all program levels, to identify the knowledge and skills that are central to preparation of candidates. It is the School of Education’s goal that candidates will become leaders supporting and promoting the development, teaching and learning of all students in multiple contexts.

  1. Candidates possess the necessary content knowledge to support and enhance student development and learning.
  2. Candidates possess the necessary professional knowledge to support and enhance student development and learning, including meeting student needs across physical, social, psychological, and intellectual contexts. Candidates incorporate a variety of strategies, such as technology, to enhance student learning.
  3. Candidates possess the necessary knowledge and skills to conduct and interpret appropriate assessments.
  4. Candidates view and conduct themselves as professionals, providing leadership in their chosen field, including effective communication and collaboration with students and stakeholders.

Conceptual Framework Dispositions

Certain dispositions are essential to prepare leaders who support equity and excellence in education within a democratic society. Dispositions are beliefs that foster commitments, leading to actions within educational environments with students, colleagues, families, and communities. Candidates strengthen these dispositions as they think deeply, reflect critically and act responsibly in their professional practice. These dispositions are interconnected with knowledge and skills; specific dispositions connect to and exemplify unit principles, facilitating their enactment in particular programs.

  1. Candidates will exhibit behavior that demonstrates a belief that all individuals can develop, learn, and make positive contributions to society.
  2. Candidates will exhibit behavior that demonstrates a belief that continuous inquiry and reflection can improve professional practice.