Goals and Mission of the School | Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Studies Handbook | Kent State University

Goals and Mission of the School

  1. Mission Statement

    The School’s full-time, tenured and tenure-track faculty (hereinafter the “Faculty”) devote their work lives to the initial and continuing professional development of teachers, curriculum and instructional specialists, other personnel, and scholars. School Faculty respect the traditions of our profession and at the same time are aware of the need to address and adopt alternative approaches. The foundation of all School programs is a collaborative approach to teacher education. School programs are oriented toward the study of past and current practice, the consideration of alternative theories and strategies to confront current problems, and the development of best practice options for a variety of educational and related settings. School Faculty members encourage critical reflection and risk-taking, both of themselves and their students. School Faculty members are well prepared to help educators and their students meet the challenges of the 21st century.

    Because of its large size (faculty, staff and students), variety of programs (refer to Appendix B), and subject-matter diversity, the School represents a complex administrative unit. Amidst this complexity, there is room for the pursuit of varied interests and approaches. At the same time, the School effectively demonstrates a unity of purpose and a commitment to excellence, equity, and community. School Faculty members are able to do this through the dedicated efforts of the many individuals, with differing roles and responsibilities, who compose the School. They strive to create, develop, and maintain relationships and working conditions that enable the Faculty to do its best work, both individually and collectively.  School Faculty enthusiastically support shared governance, as advocated by both University Policy and the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

    The hallmarks of the School are commitments to Teaching, Scholarship and Service.  Five other key values guide our work. These include supporting social justice, honoring diversity, initiating and supporting global connections, integrating technology—as appropriate, and taking leadership roles with the profession, community, schools, and agencies through collaborative relationships.

    1. Teaching

      Faculty members, both full-time and part-time, are dedicated to providing high quality and robust initial and continuing preparation programs (undergraduate and graduate) for educators in various professional roles and settings (e.g., teachers, curriculum specialists, supervisors, other professional staff, and researchers). Such programs are designed to prepare reflective practitioners capable of providing effective leadership and service in classrooms, schools, colleges, universities, and non-school settings.  Particularly in the 21st century, consistent efforts are made to integrate technology in meaningful ways to support the learning of students across programs and interests.

      The professional preparation and development of students is central to the School’s mission and is of highest priority. If collaborative efforts by faculty to provide quality field-based programs are successful, students in the School will exit their respective programs not only with new knowledge and skills, but also with the ability and desire to be life-long learners who value social justice. Students will have developed the ability to think critically and to provide varying degrees of reflective, transformative leadership. Graduates will have matured professionally and personally to the point where they can differentiate effective practices. Research will be the basis from which they solve problems related to theory and practice.

      A primary goal that School Faculty set for both students and themselves is to increase individual and collective understandings of cultural diversity in its many forms and to commit to the improvement of educational and related opportunities for those from diverse and mainstream populations. The School values the diverse identities of the School’s students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders. Graduates of the School’s programs need to be well prepared to teach, coordinate, and work within national and global settings so the School consciously works to initiate and support global connections within and beyond its programs.  This preparation requires a deep knowledge of culturally diverse and equitable practices and an affirmation of individual and cultural differences.

      School Faculty members recognize the value of diversity in the School’s undergraduate and graduate programs, among both Faculty and students. Such diversity stimulates learning and enhances the Faculty and students’ ability to work with others who are from backgrounds unlike their own. School Faculty must be vigilant in creating and maintaining the best possible environment for their own continued growth and development and for all students in the School. Thus, School Faculty members are dedicated to the identification, recruitment, and retention of students and faculty from under-represented populations, through all legal and appropriate practices. School Faculty members are committed to the creation of a learning community that is inclusive and respectful of diverse ideas and practices. Consistent with this stance is the Faculty’s commitment to provide students with high quality advising and mentoring. Accurate and comprehensive advising reduces the number of problems undergraduate and graduate students might face as they near graduation (and after graduation as well). Positive interactions between advisor and student also can help shape the student’s attitude toward the faculty in general, the program, the School, the College, and even the University. School Faculty members recognize that mentorship roles are particularly critical to advanced graduate students. The one-to-one sharing of experiences that takes place with them can be as important as the courses they take. Indeed, Faculty members consider effective, personalized advising and mentoring as essential elements to meeting this commitment to all undergraduate and graduate students.

    2. Scholarship

      School Faculty members are committed to the generation and dissemination of knowledge about education, professional development, and related areas of inquiry that contribute to the development of effective educational and scholarly theory, policy, and practice. In their efforts to produce such advanced knowledge, the Faculty pursues internal and external sources of support and collaborates often to facilitate research and development activities.

      School Faculty is dedicated to engaging in multiple forms of scholarly activity and research that informs practice. These activities include but are not limited to: the publication of articles, chapters, books, and monographs, as well as the production of digital media; presentations at meetings of professional organizations, learned societies, and government committees; and editorial work for journals and publishing companies. Many of these activities are appropriately accomplished by a Faculty member working independently, but other activities might require collaboration with Faculty colleagues in the School and across campus, with peers at other academic institutions, and with School and College practitioners. Indeed, shared interests, work activities, and responsibilities often result in enhanced professional development for all parties involved, including joint publications and presentations, a greater sense of School/ College/ University community, and facilitate sustained partnerships with local schools and colleges.

    3. Service

      In a variety of ways, School Faculty members are responsible for and committed to providing leadership and service to the University and to their profession. This is accomplished through sustained effort on the part of the Faculty, guided by the principles and practices of cooperation, collaboration, and consultation. The wide range of experiences and expertise found among our faculty (and staff and students) enables the Faculty to address the challenges faced by leaders in School, College, and non-school settings. With this commitment comes an understanding that School Faculty can learn a great deal from colleagues on this and other campuses, as well as in school and non-school settings, and that working together profits all.

      In seeking to contribute to the knowledge base of the profession and to improve educational practice, the School’s mission centers on working collaboratively with schools and colleges; businesses, community agencies and professional organizations; and families and local community groups. School Faculty view themselves as both learners and leaders in the process; School Faculty teach and also learn. School Faculty share their experiences and they also find out about the experiences of others; they disseminate and also receive. In the goal to foster a community of learners as problem-solvers, School Faculty strive to both lead and learn.

      School Faculty recognize that if their efforts to provide high quality programs, exemplary instruction, and cutting edge research are to come to fruition, they must develop and maintain such collaborative relationships. Such relationships are an integral part of each of the programs in the School. These relationships make it possible to provide meaningful field experiences for students, which is crucial in the preparation of reflective educators. These relationships also enhance opportunities for research and for the dissemination of professional knowledge.