The mission and philosophy of the College of Education are closely connected to the institution’s history and mission. USF’s commitment to preparing high quality educators can be traced to the inception of the founding congregation of the Third Order of Saint Francis of Mary Immaculate in 1865. One of the sisters’ main concerns was that of preparing teachers for parochial school work. In 1920 the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate received a charter to open “The New College” in order to provide women the opportunity to “pursue advanced study, permeated with Catholic principles, and shaped in accordance with Catholic ideals.” The college was formally organized in 1925; classes, including courses in education, started in the fall of 1925. In May of 1926 the State Board of Education granted approval to issue First Grade Certificates. In the course of time, “The New College” became ” Assisi Junior College,” and with the inclusion of a senior college curriculum in the fall of 1930, the name of the institution was changed to the ” College of St. Francis,” described as a college of liberal arts and sciences. In January 1998, the College of St. Francis adopted university status and became the University of St. Francis.
Rooted in its Catholic, Franciscan mission, the College of Education affirms its ability to prepare educators to meet the demands of contemporary society, and its readiness to build on the institution’s legacy of high quality education programs. The College of Education aspires to be a premiere education unit by offering a continuum of high quality programs and services for pre-service and in-service educators.
The mission of the College of Education is to prepare competent and caring educators who understand students, serve the community and develop professionally to become ethical decision-makers and leaders.
The College of Education’s philosophy is expressed in the three core tenets and corresponding goals that guide our mission and are integrated into every aspect of our programs. These tenets (Understanding Students, Serving the Community, and Finding Our Professional Selves) represent a shared vision for the implementation of our unit and institutional missions and reflect the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that are fundamental for a USF graduate to acquire from our programs. The framework is the product of a common understanding among a cross-section of stakeholders, including faculty and administrators in professional education programs, representatives from the campus community at large, the P-12 public and private school community, and candidates. The tenets are derived from our institutional values, state and national standards, and educational research and have been developed in conjunction with the professional community.
At the core of all learning experiences is the student, and all educational experiences must begin with the individual student in mind. Thus, the College of Education promotes a student-centered approach to teaching and learning that affirms and values the diversity and individual differences that each child or adolescent brings to a learning experience. To that end, our programs seek to develop teachers and administrators who educate the whole person and design developmentally appropriate learning environments that allow all students to maximize their potential. Because of the central role that technological resources play in accessing and utilizing information in modern society, technology is seen as an essential element in providing appropriate and comprehensive learning experiences.
The College of Education and our candidates demonstrate “Understanding Students” by:
Our patron saint, Francis, stressed the theme of love and brotherhood, and reached beyond his social status to help individuals in need. Just as St. Francis turned his back on wealth and luxury to embrace poverty and dedicated himself to helping the poor and the weak, the College of Education of the University of St. Francis embraces the community and its needs. Our programs extend to the community at large through collaborations with schools, religious institutions, social service agencies, businesses, and government. Candidates are expected to view their vocation as an educator as a calling in which the needs of students and the community take on primary importance. Service is not limited to schools but may extend to families, communities, and professional cultures. The College of Education believes that service, especially to the traditionally underserved, should be of central concern for educators, and it values those practices that promote systemic change and social justice for the betterment of the community.
The College of Education and our candidates demonstrate “Serving the Community” by:
The College of Education expects its members and professional candidates to adhere to the highest professional standards. Educators have professional responsibilities to the community, to students, to colleagues, and to the profession. One manifestation of these responsibilities is expressed through professional dispositions. The principles outlined in the College of Education’s Code of Professional Conduct are intended to provide candidates with an explicit description of desirable professional dispositions, characteristics, and actions. The College of Education cultivates these professional attributes by immersing candidates in a professional culture that models collegiality, life-long learning, and reflective practice that leads to continual improvement.
The College of Education and our candidates demonstrate “Finding Our Professional Selves” by: