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Conceptual Framework Report

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I. Overview and Conceptual Framework

I.1 Historical Context and Unique Characteristics

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania is one of the 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and has existed for 155 years as an educational agent of service and change in northwestern Pennsylvania.  Founded as a teacher-training institution, the University has evolved into a comprehensive university with a full range of academic and support programs paralleling the region’s economic, population, and demographic changes.  It is currently designated as a “Master’s I-Public” university. Uniquely, Edinboro University (EU) ranks first in the PASSHE in the number of wheelchair bound students and is ranked among the five top universities across the nation for service to students with disabilities. Since the last visit, the School of Education has maintained its high standards and commitment to excellence even during several significant transitions including reorganizations, leadership transformations, and state changes to certification areas (Full Description of EU characteristics).

(Exhibit I.1)

 I.2 Institution Mission
Mission: Distinguished by its focus on individual attention to student success, commitment to diversity, and responsiveness to the evolving needs of the broader community, Edinboro University provides the highest quality undergraduate, graduate and co-curricular education.

Values: Edinboro University is committed to creating opportunities for intellectual and personal growth in an inclusive environment. We value excellence, curiosity, respect, responsibility, and integrity.

Vision: Edinboro University will be the first choice among students, employers, and the community for excellence in higher education. 

(Exhibit I.2)

I.3 The NCATE Unit and the School of Education

As a result of recent reorganization, beginning Fall 2013 there will be five colleges/schools comprising the Academic Affairs Division of Edinboro University:  The College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CAHSS); the College of Science and Health Professions (CSHP); the School of Business; the School of Education; and the School of Graduate Studies and Research. Until reorganization, CAHSS and CSHP were combined under the College of Arts and Sciences. The School of Education (SOE) includes all programs in the departments of Early Childhood and Special Education, Elementary, Middle and Secondary Education, Health and Physical Education, and Professional Studies. The Unit includes all programs in the School of Education plus the professional educator programs in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, namely Art Education and Music Education. The Dean of the School of Education is the head of the Unit and also serves as the certification officer for all professional educator programs at the University (SOE Homepage).

Faculty from the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences as well as from the College of Science and Health Professions prepare our students in general education courses and serve on NCATE committees.  Preparing our teacher candidates and related professionals to fulfill the belief statements of the Conceptual Framework is viewed as a collaborative effort among School of Education faculty and faculty from the CAHSS and CSHP.  This collaboration prepares our teacher candidates and related professionals with the knowledge, skills, dispositions and experiences to effectively facilitate student learning.

Changes to initial certifications were made in accordance with the PA Department of Education revised guidelines. The new certificates (Initial/Advanced Program Chart) issued after January 1, 2013, are:

(a) Early childhood (PK through grade 4)
(b) Elementary/Middle (grades 4 through 8)
(c) Secondary (grades 7 through 12)
(d) Specialized areas (PK through grade 12)
(e) Special Education PK-8 (PK through grade 8) with a dual certificate in Early Childhood

EU is currently developing a program in Special Education (grades 7 through 12) as a dual certificate with Secondary Education.

In order to best prepare our candidates for these new certifications, in 2010 some of the SOE departments were rearranged such that we now have the departments of Early Childhood/Special Education, and the Elementary, Middle, & Secondary Education and Professional Studies, as well as the existing Health & Physical Education. Many of the advanced programs, including those for other school professionals: Reading Specialist, Principal/Superintendent/Special Ed Supervisor, Educational or School Psychologist, and School Counselor are all housed in the Professional Studies Department.

I.4 The Conceptual Framework

The Conceptual Framework (CF) was developed in 2003-2004 by a diverse team comprised of members from seven academic departments, the Office of the President, and Office of University Planning, Institutional Research, & Continuous Improvement. The purpose of the committee was to ensure that the CF would engender multiple perspectives from faculty and administrators across the university.  Construction of the CF consisted of a study and adoption of elements from the following sources:

 

The knowledge base that provided direction for the framework narrative was collaboratively researched and has been updated by faculty members across the Unit. Agendas and minutes from Steering Committee and CF Committee meetings outline the step-by-step process used to write a framework that resulted from a shared, collaborative vision.  Exit outcomes were developed for use in creating assessments that reflect the CF as candidates progress through and complete their programs.

The NCATE Unit Conceptual Framework is entitled Effective Facilitators of Learning showcasing the Unit’s belief in the role of all education professionals. The Unit faculty continues to believe in and support the CF that was developed although minor revisions to the CF were made over time related to alignment with current standards and mission statements. This is also reflected in the updated bibliography. It is the purpose and vision of the SOE to prepare highly qualified teacher candidates and related professionals who possess the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to positively impact the learning of students  in a diverse and global society. This vision is focused on 10 belief statements that serve as the foundation for program, course, and clinical experience development.  Further discussion of particular Belief Statements can be found in Exhibit I.3 (Statement Discussion).

The Unit’s CF, Effective Facilitators of Learning, is evident throughout the campus and the local and regional community. The CF is consistently shared with candidates and faculty members.  It appears on all syllabi, and it is articulated by professors, clinical field supervisors, cooperating teachers, Unit graduates, and current students.  Evidence that the CF is a shared vision with undergraduate and graduate students can be found in the History of the CF Development, the extensive list of references, the alignments of the CF with INTASC, PDE, Grad KSD, NBPTS (Alignments) and each individual SPA report. The Unit’s CF, Effective Facilitators of Learning, provides philosophical grounding for all initial and advanced programs. Each course offered in the Unit has aligned content with the CF. This is evidenced by specific components of the framework being addressed in course syllabi

Significant changes since the 2006 NCATE review include how our candidates reflect on the vision and belief statements.  Beginning in 2006, for every course in the Unit, candidates reflected upon how each course fulfilled the belief statements of our CF at the end of each semester or course (2006 Rubric). As the committee reviewed these data, it became apparent that there were inconsistencies in implementation of the reflection assignment.  The directions were interpreted differently by professors, and some professors did not assess the reflection using the rubric on Livetext.  Students found redundancy in having to reflect in every course every semester, resulting in lower quality of their written work.  During the fall 2011semester the committee (in concert with unit faculty input) changed the assignment from assessing individual courses to looking at the programs in relationship to the CF. The instructions were changed (2011 CF reflection) to have candidates reflect upon their entire program in light of every belief statement. The committee agreed that undergraduates would reflect at the beginning, midpoint and the end of their program and include all of the belief statements in their reflections. Graduate students would reflect twice-once at the beginning and once at the end of their program (Courses for CF assignment).The rubric was also revised to include knowledge, skills dispositions for each belief statement in light of candidate progress in the program. Data is now being collected and analyzed to determine effectiveness.