To ensure and improve upon the quality of our academic programs, the College of Education (COE) has identified 10 key assessments that are required of candidates in all of our academic programs. Initial certification programs require 2 additional key assessments.
The COE has also developed a Monitoring Progress (MP) involving four distinct transition points for both initial certification and advanced programs. This MP facilitates routine evaluation of individual candidate progress, ensures that candidates have the requisite knowledge, skills and dispositions necessary before entering clinical practice and before program completion.
A Conceptual Framework (CF) was in place for the first NCATE/ISBE on-site
accreditation visit in 1999. The School of Education began to further
develop its Conceptual Framework during the 2000-2001 academic year.
The theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of the CF were also
revisited. Curricular changes and development of new programs, alignment
of programs with Illinois Professional Teaching Standards (IPTS) or
Illinois Professional School Leader Standards and NCATE national specialty
professional associations (SPA), enhanced implementation of campus and
school mission over the past years and new faculty in the College who
brought new perspectives all contributed to significant changes in the
CF. NCATE 2000 also provided further guidance as we re-examined, expanded
and changed the conceptual framework.
The School of Education was formerly housed in the College of Arts and Sciences and became a College of Education (COE) after the first on-site accreditation visit. This change in administrative structure with the College having more autonomy and the ability to take greater control of its destiny also impacted the CF. During those years, work continued on better articulating the CF with candidates, faculty, staff, the school communities served, and the University community.
Intensive work began again in the 2001-2002 academic year. Lively discussions and debates at faculty planning meetings held on COE-wide planning days each semester focused on the theoretical and philosophical base as faculty worked through proposed revisions of the CF. After the planning days, the COE accreditation committee captured the discussions that had taken place and re-drafted several sections of the CF for further faculty discussion and eventual approval. Faculty work teams met regularly to address various issues directly and indirectly related to the CF. Work included on-line discussions of selected articles related to the CF, book discussion groups and development/writing teams that addressed various components of the CF.
Several drafts were presented to the faculty who after much discussion and debate, agreed on several changes including clarification of how key elements of the document align with our vision, mission and institutional standards. These changes were sent to the Education Advisory Board, select College of Arts and Science faculty and the University administration for more discussion and feedback. The final draft was approved at our May, 2004 planning meeting. During summer and early fall of 2005, the document was widely distributed and discussion continued regarding key theorists, in part to introduce new faculty members to this aspect of the CF. Following the NCATE visit in October, 2006, a team of eleven faculty members as a whole and in sub-committees met regularly during spring and summer 2007 reexamining the unit standards and assessment plan. During that time revised unit standards were determined. The faculty as a whole met for three full planning days during that time frame and the revised unit standards were presented, reviewed, analyzed and made operational for Fall, 2007. During Fall, 2007, proficiencies aligned with the unit standards, university and college missions and NCATE standards were determined and also made operational. Revisions to the mission and vision were approved by the full faculty in Fall, 2007 as well.
The Conceptual Framework now contains the five structural elements (NCATE 2006, p. 12): (1) vision and mission of the institution and unit; (2) unit philosophy, purpose and goals; (3) knowledge bases, including theories, research, the wisdom of practice and education policies; (4) candidate proficiencies aligned with the expectations in professional, state and institutional standards and (5) the system by which candidate performance is regularly assessed. A contemporary CF must also “reflect the unit’s commitment to technology to enhance candidate and student learning” and “reflect the unit’s commitment to diversity and the preparation of educators who help all students learn” (NCATE 2006, p. 12).
The CF continues to evolve – in keeping with the NCATE belief, which the College of Education at Lewis University share, that a CF is a living document, constantly being updated and refined. Examples of developmental work under each element since the last ISBE/NCATE visit include, but are not limited to:
Several drafts of the Conceptual Framework were shared for discussion and feedback with COE faculty, the COE Advisory Board, the COE Student Advisory Council and the College of Arts and Sciences faculty members who are involved with secondary certification programs. Key components of the document have been incorporated into the COE Handbooks and COE Policy Manuals and have also been shared with candidates, cooperating teachers, advisory committee members and prospective students and parents. A condensed version of the Conceptual Framework was prepared in the form of a professionally produced COE brochure for sharing with full, part-time and adjunct faculty as well as candidates and the school communities we serve.