In 2001-02, School of Education (SOE) faculty collaborated to produce a conceptual framework that would capture the essence of SOE’s guiding philosophy and the orientation of all SOE programs. Four pillars were developed to achieve the mission of the university and the school. These pillars support the overall emphasis that SOE is committed to providing learning opportunities which promote the skills, dispositions, and understandings that encourage its graduates to:
- Seek knowledge by formulating questions and answers to current educational issues and by formulating research-based solutions. This pillar is consistent with the research of Levine (2006), Ravitch (2000) and Shulman (1997), which points to the importance of teachers acquiring content knowledge, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
- Seek wisdom by applying the knowledge in a manner that demonstrates a God-given wisdom to create an environment in which justice, human dignity and academic achievement are valued. This pillar is consistent with the research of Sternberg (1998, 2002), which defines a wise person as one who uses their intelligence and gifts for the common good.
- Serve others by treating others with dignity, love and respect as well as supporting and encouraging others. This pillar is consistent with the work of Greenleaf and Spears (2002) and Palmer (1998), which emphasizes service and relationship building in teaching and leadership.
- Edify others by demonstrating awareness of and sensitivity to the individual needs of their students, colleagues and community by growing in competence and character. This pillar is consistent with the research of Lickona (1991) and Selig and Arroyo (1996), which emphasizes the relationship between building workmanship and relationship character traits and academic achievement.
The essence of our Christian mission is expressed in the center of our conceptual framework. This mission is also supported by a strong commitment to preparing competent, caring and qualified educators. SOE emphasizes subject matter and pedagogical knowledge as demonstrated by caring actions and teaching skill.