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Conceptual frameworks, typically used as the first step in scholarly research, are taking on an importance even beyond academia. Today, as business organizations struggle to embrace collaboration among diverse stakeholders working in many different locations, developing clear conceptual frameworks is key to communicating a shared vision, one based on an organized set of values and definitions that help everyone work toward a common goal.

Inspired by both academic and commercial approaches, the College of Education has established its own conceptual framework to support its mission, which is to "impact student learning, one educator at a time."

"We developed our conceptual framework to inform the design, implementation and evaluation of our curriculum, and to set expectations for teaching and learning by our faculty and students," regional assistant dean Connie Lorthridge explains. "The objective of our degree programs is to prepare students to possess the knowledge, skills, dispositions and dedication to lifelong learning that support their practice as P-12 educational professionals."

Those four core elements (knowledge, skills, dispositions and lifelong learning) frame seven major themes:

Advocating for Learning

Demonstrating a belief in learning for all, degree candidates are expected to create caring and supportive learning environments. They are also expected to analyze assessment data and make adjustments to instructional strategies.

Collaborating with Educational Communities

The College of Education works closely with education colleagues nationwide to ensure that academic programs and faculty are consistently answering current and long-term needs at both the micro- and macro-levels.

Engaging in Reflective Practices

The College focuses on outcome-based learning practices and trains educators to continually assess themselves and their work.

Integrating Technology

Curriculum is designed to ensure that educators can speak the language of their students. Utilizing the latest technology, degree candidates discover techniques to better reach students with diverse learning styles.

Leading through Innovative Practices

Faculty members help educators think outside the box when implementing educational initiatives. The aim is to find innovative ways to build on the strengths and learning styles of individual students, and to create school environments that enhance those strengths.

Practicing Professional Ethics

The education profession is obligated to exercise ethical leadership while influencing a future generation of ethical, respectful individuals. Ethical guidelines and high standards are embedded in program coursework and field experiences.

Valuing Diversity

Educators are expected to embrace the cultural and linguistic plurality of today’s classrooms. The College of Education provides learning opportunities for educational experiences within a diverse student body, collaborating with diverse colleagues, peers and faculty.