The University of Idaho College of Education’s conceptual framework is part of its shared vision to prepare caring professionals to effectively work in P-12 schools, institutions of higher education, business, health care and communities to educate our citizens and promote healthy active living. It provides direction for programs, courses, teaching, candidate performance, scholarship, service and accountability. It is knowledge-based, well-articulated, coherent, widely shared and consistent with the college’s and university’s mission and vision. It is continuously evaluated – using direct and indirect assessments and evaluations – and is therefore constantly evolving. It represents our values and beliefs, and informs the process by which we develop and work toward clearly defined goals.
Our conceptual framework is aligned with the University of Idaho Strategic Action Plan, the Idaho State Department of Education’s Ten Core Standards for Teacher Preparation Programs and the Four Domains of Charlotte Danielson’s Professional Practice: A Framework for Teaching. With deliberation, we have chosen the acronym CARE to represent the core values and beliefs that drive the thoughts and feelings of individuals and the college as a whole. University of Idaho educators do CARE.
Together we develop, scholar practitioners who value, professionally apply and advance:
Cultural proficiency includes the policies and practices of the organization, or the values and behaviors of an individual, that enable the agency or person to interact effectively in a culturally diverse environment. We endeavor to promote the development of caring professionals who can be secure in their identities, acknowledge their predispositions, biases and limitations, and actively and critically engage in culturally proficient leadership and teaching.
The caring professionals at the University of Idaho embrace a cultural proficiency approach, or an inside-out approach, to developing harmony and unity through diversity. This approach thinks about those who are insiders in the organization, and encourages reflection on self-understandings and values. It relieves those identified as outsiders — members of excluded or marginalized groups — from the responsibility of doing all the adapting. This approach acknowledges and respects the current values and feelings of people and encourages change without threatening feelings of worth.
Assessment, teaching and learning are interrelated, intrinsically linked and cyclical in nature. The cycle begins with assessment of prior learning, which informs meaningful teaching and produces measurable learning that, when assessed, informs further instruction. The spiral continues as knowledgeable educators apply the sciences and arts of assessment, teaching and learning. University of Idaho caring professionals continually engage in reflection and professional development, and demonstrate a willingness to collaborate with others to promote student learning. They embrace doctrines of service, ethical behavior, citizenship and community fellowship (Gage, 1978; Glickman, 2010). Professional educators motivate and support learners (Hunter, 1982; Joyce & Weil, 2000), and develop, implement and evaluate learning environments conducive to cognitive, affective and psychomotor development (Bloom, 1956). Moreover, Idaho caring professionals envision good teaching as a comprehensive repertoire of learner-centered teaching strategies (Marzano, 1998; Caine, 1991). University of Idaho caring professionals understand that learning is the end product of education (Marzano, Brandt, Hughes, Jones, Presseisen, Rankin & Suhor , 1998; Lambert, 1998). As such, they understand how and when to employ a variety of instructional strategies and customize curricula to elicit optimal engagement for all students, including multicultural perspectives and special considerations (Kagan, 1992; Smoker, 2006; Mellard & Johnson, 2008). They embrace tenets of best practice informed by research known to foster student success (Bransford, Brown & Cocking, 2000).
A focus on reflection usually involves an examination of personal beliefs, goals and practices. Reflective practice involves the presence of higher-level thinking processes such as inquiry, metacognition, analysis, integration and synthesis. The process involves an exploration and articulation of ideas, personal beliefs, knowledge and experience (thus its emphasis on experiential learning); ongoing analysis of personal theory-in-use; and designing activities that are collaborative in nature. In action, reflective practice encourages the meaningful construction of connections between the new and the known.
We conceptualize our research as engaged scholarship that involves faculty members in a reciprocal and mutually beneficial partnership with a community of learners. The scholarship involves integrating faculty members’ teaching, research and service roles with the exchange of knowledge and resources of professionals and lay public — local, regional/state, national, global — outside the academy. This collaboration with non-academics enhances and broadens engagement and deliberation regarding major educational issues inside and outside the university. Through our scholarship, we seek to facilitate a more active and engaged democracy by bringing affected publics into problem-solving work in ways that advance the public good.
We believe it is the responsibility of local communities, including parents, school personnel, health and movement professionals and business and community leaders, to work together to ensure that all citizens receive the services that prepare them to become responsible, healthy and productive citizens in a civil society.
Community building is a multi-faceted process calling on all social constituents to help shape responsible, productive citizens. Teachers and school district administrators partner with parents, health care and movement professionals and business and community leaders to provide relevant learning experiences that educate the whole person. Together, we create community and school environments that promote health and active learning and prevent disease and injury, enhancing the development of each individual and the collective. It takes everyone in the community to build nurturing environments that promote the well-being of all of its members.