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The overarching theme of Indiana State University’s educator preparation programs is Becoming a Complete Professional. Originally conceived in 1991, the conceptual framework has been reaffirmed and updated through the years. Our theme encompasses three broad areas that recognize essential areas of the work of an educator:
- Educator as Expert or Mediator of Learning,
- Educator as Person, and
- Educator as Member of Communities.
The word complete in the title acknowledges that, to be truly successful, an educator must be effective in all three of these areas. Similarly, the word becoming is included in the title because new graduates, alumni, and our faculty are constantly striving to improve their learning in their profession as a teacher, counselor, school psychologist, speech language pathologist, principal, or superintendent.
The component “Educator as Expert or Mediator of Learning” deals with an educator’s professional skill as a mediator of students’ learning and/or of the progress individuals make in achieving their potential. The component “Educator as Person” represents the traits and dispositions that make a successful educator justifiably respected and emulated by students while meeting the expectations of professional, state, and institutional standards. The component “Educator as Member of Communities” reflects the necessity of contributing to the various communities of which educators, as professionals, are members. A truly successful educator must concurrently exhibit the traits of expert or mediator of learning, person, and member of communities while incorporating the latest knowledge and technologies and demonstrating multicultural competence and sensitivity to diversity.
Our preparation programs embrace clinical practice as an underlying philosophy and methodology. Through field experiences, candidates are immersed in authentic environments that allow theory-to-practice connections, maximizing experiential learning.
The Unit Assessment System (UAS) provides the teacher education and other school professionals a means for collecting, aggregating, and analyzing data for purposes of making informed decisions at the program and unit levels. Five key assessments are used for continuous improvement: (a) dispositions, (b) technology, (c) diversity, (d) work samples, and (e) field evaluations and student teaching. These assessments are completed at specified times and the data are entered into an assessment management system. The assessment coordinator and the UAS committee present results of data analyses to members of the unit each September on Assessment Day. The conversations and activities on Assessment Day help to “close the loop” as we deliberate, evaluate, and reflect on next steps based on data.