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College of Education

The College of Education at The University of St. Francis has been educating teachers since 1925 and remains committed to providing engaging and high-quality programs designed to meet the challenges that face today’s educators.

college of education logo

College of Education

The College of Education at The University of St. Francis has been educating teachers since 1925 and remains committed to providing engaging and high-quality programs designed to meet the challenges that face today’s educators.

The University of St. Francis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (, a regional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

College of Education programs are further accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education ( and approved by the Illinois State Board of Education (

Dr. John Gambro Welcomes Students to the College of Education at the University of St. Francis from University of St. Francis on Vimeo.

At USF, we believe that outstanding educators can profoundly change the lives of their students and that every student deserves to work with excellent educators. That is why the College of Education is committed to providing engaging and high-quality educational programs that prepare educators to meet the challenges in today’s schools. Our programs are rooted in the Franciscan values of respect, compassion, service, and integrity and our faculty are devoted to providing learning experiences that will allow educators to realize their fullest potential as they develop an understanding of students, serve the community, and grow professionally.

I invite you to learn more about our programs and join our community of learners as we continue to positively impact society.

male headshotDr. John Gambro
Dean, College of Education
Click here to view my faculty profile

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.

College of Education Vision
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.

College of Education Mission
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.

More About COE

CLICK HERE for information on College of Education Quality Measures and Teacher Education Admission Requirements and Program Progression.

The University of St. Francis is proud to offer the dual credit course, Exploring the Teaching Profession, an opportunity to authentically engage high school students with the teaching profession while earning elective college credit. The course supports our continued efforts to “grow our own” teachers and prepare the next generation of educators who will serve children in our communities. We are actively partnering with 12 high schools and anticipate the addition of several more in the 2020-21 academic year.
Yes! I am interested in bringing Exploring the Teaching Profession to my high school.

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.

Understanding Students
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:

  • Providing learning opportunities that support the intellectual, social, and personal development of all students.
  • Creating instructional opportunities and environments that are adapted to diverse learners and integrate appropriate technology.
  • Designing learning experiences based upon knowledge of the discipline, students, the community, curriculum goals, and research-based best practices.
  • Creating learning environments that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.
  • Implementing various assessment strategies to support the continuous development of all students.

Serving the Community
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 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 undeserved, 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:

  • Dedicating ourselves to serving the poor and the undeserved by being an advocate for children and adolescents especially the marginalized and the helpless.
  • Following St. Francis and becoming an instrument of peace and working for social justice and the betterment of the community.
  • Establishing a positive climate for learning and holding high expectations and building up others through encouragement and affirmation.
  • Serving other’s needs before our own and modeling respectful and compassionate behavior.

Finding Our Professional Selves
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:

  • Demonstrating professional conduct and dispositions that are consistent with the Franciscan values of respect, integrity, compassion, and service.
  • Becoming a life-long learner and actively seeking opportunities to develop professionally.
  • Continually reflecting on and evaluating how choices and actions affect students, parents, and other professionals in the learning community.
  • Providing leadership and collegial support to improve student learning and well-being.


Education with Teacher Licensure (M.Ed.)
The Master of Education with Licensure (M.Ed.) program is designed to provide students the opportunity to earn a master’s degree and an initial Illinois Professional Educator License with an endorsement in one of the following:

Educational Leadership (M.S.)

  • Principal Preparation
  • Teacher Leader

Reading (M.S.)

Teaching & Learning (M.S.)

  • Adult TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)
  • Best Practices
  • Bilingual Education
  • Differentiated Instruction
  • Educational Technology
  • English as a Second Language
  • Health Education
  • Reading
  • Special Education

Graduate Certificate – Adult TESOL

Doctor of Education – Educational Leadership

  • Leadership, Learning, and Stewardship
  • Superintendent Endorsement

The Regional Educational Academy for Leadership (REAL) at the University of St. Francis was established in 2002 as a dedicated initiative committed to develop dynamic partnerships with the educational community. At the core of each partnership, professional development opportunities are provided for educators at large, designated as Special Students. The ultimate goal of REAL is to enrich the learning experiences and achievement of all students by supporting the professional growth of educators through endorsements, courses, conferences, and other learning opportunities.

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Meet the College of Education Faculty