C.1. What are the structural elements of the unit's conceptual framework?
Vision and Mission
The College of Education prepares teachers and other school professionals to address professional, instructional, and leadership challenges within a broad spectrum of educational roles and responsibilities. As such, the College supports the mission of the University of Alaska Anchorage to inspire learning and enrich Alaska, the nation, and the world through teaching, research, creativity, and service. The vision, mission, and core values of the College characterize programs, permeate candidates’ experiences, and are central to curriculum, assessment and instructional strategies, and field experiences. The core values represent professional practices of faculty members and program graduates.
College of Education Motto: Preparing Educators to Transform Lives
College of Education Vision:
We are a community of educators dedicated to improving the quality of education and preparing educators to transform lives. Through innovative teaching, research, service, and leadership, we:
- provide direction that inspires learning, informs the state’s educational policy and research agendas, and addresses the challenges of Alaska;
- call upon diverse cultural knowledge, values, and ways of learning and viewing the world, especially those of Alaska Natives, in order to promote the intellectual, creative, social, emotional, and physical development of educators, learners, families, and communities;
- contribute to educators’ understanding of development and learning from childhood through maturity and respond to the challenges of providing learning across the lifespan;
- transform the beliefs and practices of educators, families, and communities in order to address the wide spectrum of human abilities in compassionate and innovative ways;
- prepare educators with appropriate knowledge, skills, and dispositions in the judicious use of technology to enhance learning;
- focus relentlessly on student learning; and
- engage in dynamic partnerships with the university, community groups, and urban and rural educators to improve the quality of education in Alaska.
College of Education Mission:
We prepare educators and support the lifelong learning of professionals to embrace diversity and to be intellectually and ethically strong, resilient, and passionate in their work with Alaska's learners, families, and communities.
College of Education Philosophy
Our programs emphasize the power of learning to prepare educators to transform the lives of learners. Across the university, faculty members teach professional educators to work in diverse settings, to form and sustain learning partnerships, and to provide learning across the lifespan. We are confident that this preparation will result in educators’ significant contributions to society.
We believe that learning must be designed, delivered, and evaluated within the contexts of the following core values and program outcomes. Consequently, College of Education faculty members promote the following core values in their collegial interactions to ensure that program graduates exhibit:
- Intellectual Vitality: Professional educators examine diverse perspectives, engage in research and scholarship, contribute to knowledge and practice, and apply innovations in technology.
- Collaborative Spirit: Professional educators generate, welcome, and support the collaborative relationships and partnerships that enrich peoples’ lives.
- Inclusiveness and Equity: Professional educators create and advocate for learning communities that advance knowledge and ensure the development, support, and inclusion of peoples’ abilities, values, ideas, languages, and expressions.
- Leadership: Professional educators are committed to the highest standards of ethical behavior in their roles, using professional expertise to improve the communities in which they live and work, and demonstrating the ability to translate theories and principles into transformative educational practice.
The College of Education vision stresses the importance of improving the quality of education and preparing educators to transform lives. The College prepares educators to work in diverse settings where they provide learning across the life span within the contexts of intellectual vitality, collaborative spirit, inclusiveness and equity, and leadership. The College’s vision and mission are consistent with the University of Alaska Anchorage mission to discover and disseminate knowledge through intellectual vitality and leadership; to model inclusiveness and equity by providing a richly diverse, inclusive environment for learning; and to foster a collaborative spirit through partnerships with the community, state, and Alaska’s diverse peoples. Alignment of COE’s core values and UAA’s core themes is found in Overview Exhibit 8 Standards Alignment Table.
UAA is committed to becoming a university of first choice, distinguished for its excellence in instruction and research, its expansion of educational opportunity and commitment to student success, its diverse and engaged internal community, and its role as a public square. The College and University visions and missions share an emphasis on collaborative partnerships and the provision of moral and ethical educational leadership, scholarship, and lifelong learning opportunities for all residents in the state of Alaska, but particularly for Alaska Natives, in inclusive and equitable educational environments.
Candidate Proficiencies Aligned with Institutional, Professional, and State Standards
COE’s conceptual framework provides a context for developing and assessing candidates’ proficiencies based on professional, state, and institutional standards. Candidates enrolled in the College’s initial programs must meet the Alaska’s Beginning Teacher Standards as well as the standards of each program’s specialized professional association (SPA). The standards are integral to each teacher education program and serve as benchmarks to evaluate candidate performance. The Standards Alignment Table (Overview.Exh.8) illustrates alignment of candidate proficiencies across institutional, state, and national professional standards. Programs for which no SPA requirements exist align with the College’s conceptual framework as well as national guidelines of the appropriate learned society.
Commitment to Diversity
The College is cognizant of the need to prepare teachers and other school professionals who are sensitive and responsive to the contextually-based learning needs of children and youth from Alaska Native populations and other racial and ethnic groups who reside in the state and nation. Faculty members integrate topics of cultural heritage as well as intellectual abilities and disabilities, socioeconomic and gender differences, and sexual orientation across initial teacher preparation and advanced programs, courses, and internships. Candidates in initial and advanced programs study educational equity and experience diverse cultural perspectives in field experiences, where they gain an understanding of and acquire skills to assess and address the educational needs of all students. Course syllabi and curriculum vitae (CV) include examples of faculty members’ respect for and incorporation of diversity in instruction. Detailed information about the integration of diversity issues across the curriculum are found in Standards 1 and 4.
Commitment to Technology
Alaska’s geography, lack of a highway system to remote communities, and immature infrastructure make reliance on technology for the development and delivery of educational programs more critical than in other regions of the United States. As such, the College of Education relies heavily on the application of technology in instructional settings, and has invested in hardware, professional development for faculty members, and candidate learning to that end. CVs illustrate the faculty members’ commitment to professional development in technology, and both course syllabi and CVs include examples of faculty members’ commitment to incorporating technology into instruction. In addition, the COE Assessment Handbook illustrates the College’s reliance on technology for its assessment system.
Schools are microcosms of their unique societal contexts. Twenty-first century education in Alaska, therefore, must be guided by standards that provide all students with equal access to educational opportunities; ensure acquisition of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to be productive citizens; and promote development of the critical thinking and problem-solving skills necessary to participate in and augment the democratic principles that define the United States. As role models and leaders, educators advance collaboration and partnerships across diverse learning communities to facilitate educational equity. They also engage in professional development that relies on research and scholarship, which in turn promotes reflection and improves instructional and assessment practices. Major representative theories that provide the knowledge bases for the unit’s core values are described in the Knowledge Bases Literature Review (Overview.Exh10) and summarized in Table C.1. The theories are reviewed for relevance to program curricula, instructional strategies, and current practices.
Table C.1. Knowledge Bases
Core Values Grounding
Theorists, Researchers, and Practitioners
Bransford, et al.; Cochran-Smith & Demers; Good; Howard & Aleman; Mugabe; NETS-T
ASCD; Cochran-Smith, et al.; Fickel; Hargreaves & Shirley; Harkavy; Hughes & Hess; Jackson & Temperley; Lawson; Sleeter
Inclusiveness and Equity
Athanases & de Oliveira; Bransford, et al.; Darling-Hammond & Bransford; Delors, et al.; Dybdahl & Ongtooguk; Jester; Lindsey, et al.; UAA Strategic Plan 2017;Villegas & Lucas
Deal & Peterson; Donaldson; Fullan; Marzano, et al.; Spillane & Diamond
Assessment System The COE Assessment System incorporates the assessment of two basic components: candidate data and unit operations. The unit collects, analyzes, and utilizes component data to evaluate and improve programs. The candidate data component includes applicant qualifications (program entry, such as GPAs, test scores, references); candidate performance (key assessments in courses and internships); and graduate performance (employer and alumni surveys). The unit operations component includes faculty data (qualifications, diversity, course evaluations, scholarly activity, service) and resource data (fiscal, space, technology). The College of Education Assessment Handbook (Std2a.Exh1) describes how COE uses candidate, faculty, and other resource data in a systematic way in order to ensure the continual improvement and quality of all programs within the College.