TEHE Mission: Teaching for Equity – Leading toward Change
The Department of Teacher Education and Higher Education provides the academic and practical preparation for educational leaders from the elementary grades to higher education in the dynamic and diverse contexts of educational institutions. The ultimate purpose of education is to ensure students’ intellectual, cultural, and social growth so that they may become active, reflective citizens. To achieve this goal, our graduates draw from knowledge of educational theory, policy, research, and practice to engage students in the active construction of knowledge, enact culturally responsive principles, adapt to the specific needs of their students, and assess and respond to students’ performances. To prepare teachers, teacher educators, and leaders in higher education to meet these goals, we hold the following five principles to be essential:
- Leadership: Our graduates will acquire the skills and dispositions to lead the field with respect to scholarship, administration, pedagogy, and professional development to contribute to educational reforms aimed at equity of access and equity of outcome.
- Scholarship: To lead and teach effectively, educators need to engage in the knowledge building of their disciplines, institutions, or educational contexts. Through such activities, educators enhance understanding of professional practice; continue to develop and improve their practice; contribute to the ongoing reform of educational efforts; and link their individual professional lives to local, state, and national educational contexts. Participation in scholarly enterprises begins with students’ initial licensure and continues through advanced studies.
- Understanding Schools and Colleges as Institutions: All educational institutions operate from a set of specific political, cultural, and pedagogical assumptions. The ability to “read” institutions for these commitments and to participate as active agents in their maintenance and renewal is an essential element of leadership. Our graduates will acquire historical, political, and cultural knowledge to be such active agents.
- Building Community Understanding: Education takes place not only in institutions but also in communities that have their own histories and hopes. Our programs engage students in the exploration of community life and its relationship to educational institutions so that their graduates will recognize the importance of community involvement to their professional and civic lives.
- Thoughtfully Adaptive Practice: Effective educators are able to reflect on their practices and respond to these reflections with flexible, purposeful decision-making. They examine their practices and alter them in order to ensure the intellectual, social, and emotional growth of their students. To be thoughtfully adaptive, educators need to be knowledgeable about their students, their discipline, and effective pedagogy, as well as the ways local, state, and national initiatives influence their practice. Our programs provide students with extensive understanding of effective curricular and institutional models, their uses in various educational settings, and the ways they may be adapted for diverse students.