I. EPP Overview
a. Context and Unique Characteristics
Shepherd University, a West Virginia public liberal arts university, is a diverse community of learners and a gateway to the world of opportunities and ideas. We are the regional center for academic, cultural, and economic opportunity. Our mission of service succeeds because we are dedicated to our core values: learning, engagement, integrity, accessibility, and community. We are a nationally respected community of learners where passion, purpose, and experience unite to inspire individuals to shape the world. SU University began when the county seat of Jefferson County, West Virginia, was moved from Shepherdstown to Charles Town in July 1871. The people of Shepherdstown and vicinity decided to use the vacated courthouse for educational purposes. SU became a four-year college for the training of teachers on July 1, 1930, at which time the institution began granting the bachelor of arts degree. SU was authorized to implement liberal arts programs in 1943, and in 1950 the bachelor of science degree was added. In 1950 SU was accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (now the Higher Learning Commission), and in 1951 it became a member of the American Association of Colleges and Universities. In the past two decades, SU has added 13 new buildings, including the $9 million Robert C. Byrd Science and Technology Center; the $18 million addition to the Scarborough Library; the $10 million Erma Ora Byrd nursing building; the $10 million Center for Contemporary Arts (CCA) Phase I; the $21.6 million Wellness Center, the $13.8 million CCA Phase II, and a $5.6 million pedestrian underpass. SU’s Martinsburg Center opened in fall 2013, offering adult learners the Regents bachelor of arts degree, RN, BSN, as well as doctor of Nursing Practice, master of business administration, & master of arts in curriculum and instruction including an endorsement in multi-categorical special education concentration.
b. Description of Organizational Structure
The Professional Education Unit (PEUC) is the body responsible for teacher education at SU. The PEUC is chaired by the Director of Teacher Education (DTE) and is composed of the Specialization Coordinators from each specialization content area, all members of the Department of Education, and two elected teacher candidates, one elementary and one secondary. In this way, the PEUC exemplifies how faculty from all academic schools share responsibility and authority with the faculty from education in determining what is important in teacher education. The PEUC, through bi-monthly meetings, administers, coordinates, evaluates, monitors, reviews, and revises the Teacher Education Program at SU. The PEUC has the responsibility to ensure that all specializations are conducted in a manner that is consistent with the stated philosophy, theme, and objectives of the teacher education program. The PEUC is the body that determines admission, retention, and completion of all the Teacher Education Programs. When students encounter problems in any of these areas, it is the membership of the PEUC that decides how best to address the problem. The Director of Assessment and Accountability (DAA) and the DTE are responsible to the Dean of Education and Professional Studies, who is the head of the PEUC.
Led by the Provost, the Division of Academic Affairs’ web pages contain an organizational chart detailing the administrative structure of the OAA, the four academic schools (Arts and Humanities, Business and Social Science, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Education and Professional Studies), along with the Library, Center for Teaching, Learning and Instructional Resources, and the Division of Graduate Studies and Continuing Education. The Division of Enrollment Management supports departments and programs in meeting their enrollment and graduation targets. See here for ORG Charts: http://www.shepherd.edu/wordpress-1/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/org-chart.pdf
c. Vision, Mission, and Goals
The EPP believes candidates should possess the willingness and capacity to:
- Develop philosophy of teaching based on philosophical & theoretical viewpoints about schooling, teaching & learning;
- Commit to continuous reflective self-examination for personal & professional development;
- Demonstrate leadership by functioning as change agent who influences & improves the education of P-12 students, through scholarship, community action, & collaboration in educational settings;
- Focus on development of P-12 students’ critical mindedness, problem-solving skills, self-motivation, cooperative social interaction, & commitment to excellent performance;
- Develop adequate understanding of the social & psychological conditions of learning including cultural & linguistic differences, exceptionalities & developmental characteristics of P-12 students;
- Develop, articulate & practice a constructivist, integrated, & multicultural curriculum & pedagogy that promotes & honors individual dignity & rights of P-12 students consistent with the nature of a pluralistic & democratic society;
- Plan, implement & assess learning experiences that promote acquisition of knowledge, skills, & dispositions P-12 students need to become critical participants in a global society;
- Access current research regarding schooling, teaching & learning-use findings in educational programs;
- Develop critical understanding of the central concepts, tools of inquiry & structures of representation & their interdisciplinary connections in pedagogical content knowledge that are central to the discipline(s) she/he teaches including the uses of educational multimedia technology;
- Foster relationships between schools, higher education colleagues, parents, governmental agencies, individuals & groups in the larger community to support P-12 students’ learning;
- Integrate and implement theory & practice in a coherent pedagogy;
- Consistently reflect on their knowledge base, dispositional orientations, and performance characteristics
d. EPP’s Shared Values and Beliefs for Educator Preparation
Collaborative efforts of a broad constituency created the conceptual framework, Teacher as Reflective Problem Solver (TARPS) in 1987, revised in 1992, 2008, & 2009. The PEUC, candidates, public school personnel, & EPPAC reflect & work together to benefit candidates’ positive impact on the education of all children. The mission of the PEU is to work in partnership with area schools to prepare highly qualified, reflective teachers who believe in fairness & that all children learn. Based on the belief that education should empower all students & teachers to exercise informed choices in a global society, our purpose is to facilitate the development of liberally educated teachers who demonstrate the willingness and capacity to empower all P-12 students. The unit is committed to promoting social justice, embracing diversity & inclusion, & enhancing teaching & learning through technology. Teachers identify & frame problems, generate & consider multiple solutions, choose & implement courses of action, & evaluate results. Teachers must refer to a knowledge base that supports their beliefs & actions to engage pedagogical problems. The ability to develop a knowledge base that justifies the predispositions & assumptions that underlie teaching/learning behavior is a key characteristic of the TARPS. Candidates must possess knowledge of content, context, & learners.
Candidate’s reflective disposition is fundamental to TARPS. PEU’s commitment to the development of reflective dispositions is indicated by the use of terms “willingness” & “capacity” in the statement of Program Goals & Candidate Outcomes. Willingness means the demonstrated commitment to continual professional development & capacity means demonstrating the ability to achieve professional & pedagogical goals. Reflection is an innate human capacity & ability amplified so it becomes a conscious tool for effective teaching/learning. Candidates demonstrate the capacity to reflect on the day-to-day aspects of teaching/learning; to decide whether a teaching/learning activity achieves the purposes of a sound education; & to judge how this experience relates to the larger issues of democracy, justice, & equity in our diverse society. Performance goals facilitate the development of the candidate’s capacity to plan, implement, & assess a program of teaching/learning that is effective for all students. Candidates must be skillful in reflection on learner & teacher performances. Reflective dispositions prepare candidates to respond effectively to the range of concerns found in the classroom. Teachers need to be concurrently reflective across three fields of consideration: Action, Interpretation, & Critical Reflection. Candidates examine their action are concerned with the application of pedagogical knowledge to achieve stated educational goals for every child. This action is subject to Interpretation. Candidates explicate & justify the assumptions & predispositions that underlie their teaching/learning activity. During Critical Reflection, candidates assess the adequacy of the educational goals toward which the educational experience leads & incorporates moral & ethical criteria in assessing the outcomes of teaching/learning activities.
This model conceptualizes & implements an experience cycle for candidates that involve them in a continuous process of action & reflection. The cycle occurs respective to the aspects of campus coursework and field experiences/teaching. The majority of professional education courses are characterized by a pattern of attendance in campus-based courses followed by performance in a field-based site This campus-field-campus pattern ensures that each episode of action is followed by a systematic opportunity to reflect on practical experience & the theoretical frameworks that guide practical activity. Field experiences are not just opportunities for application, but are occasions for critical reflection on the theory/practice interaction.