Our Conceptual Framework What Do We Believe?. The Center for Education School of Human Service Professions Widener University. Who Are We?. Programs are offered at undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels.
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The Center for Education
School of Human Service Professions
Programs are offered at undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels.
Undergraduate students pursue baccalaureate degrees and initial instructional certification in elementary education, early childhood education, and special education.
Students who major in the humanities, social sciences and sciences earn initial instructional certification in secondary education.
The Center for Education offers the Master of Education Degree in 22 areas of study.
Graduate degree programs may be combined with programs leading to initial licensure, specialist certificates and certificates for other school personnel.
The Doctor of Education degree is offered in 4 areas of study: higher education, human sexuality, reading/language arts, and school administration.
The doctorate in school administration can be combined with the Letter of Eligibility as superintendent or assistant superintendent in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Faculty and students engage in teacher training in a variety of field settings, including two professional development schools and a university affiliated charter school.
The professional development schools include the Lakeview Elementary School and the Ridley Middle School: both in the Ridley School District, which borders the campus of Widener University.
In addition, in AY 2006, Widener University received authorization to begin the Widener Partnership Charter School.
Both the professional development schools and the charter school are settings where collaboration among students, faculty and seasoned teachers, administrators, and supportive educational specialists provide rich opportunities for field experiences and community engagement.
The Center for Education subscribes to key Widener University values.
The University Mission
To create and sustain communities of informed and critically reflective practitioners who function in a variety of institutions at all levels of the educational enterprise. Unit faculty encourage interactive learning experiences among faculty and students that promote the development and application of higher order thinking skills in the university and in the field.
The vision of the Center is to maintain a leadership role and to build on the Center for Education’s strong academic and professional reputation for preparing leaders in education at the initial and advanced levels. Faculty are dedicated to insuring that graduates are competent and successful in PK-12, higher education, clinical and community settings.
Professionalism is the overarching value that unifies all that we do. It is both the context and the rationale for the knowledge, skills and dispositions that define our programs of study. It is the basis for the proficiencies that represent how we wish our effectiveness to be assessed.
A tangible demonstration of beliefs that promote a virtuous course of action, in the intended meaning of educational philosophers: that which is desired because of its inherent goodness. Thus, students are expected to
Professionalism is reinforced by our willingness to accept and address 4 additional values:
The academic excellence of Widener candidates can be identified by their broad understanding of critical concepts and processes in the arts and sciences, as well their competency in reading, writing, and mathematics skills. They also have knowledge of the underlying historical, social, and philosophical foundations in their field. Project-based learning, cooperative learning, mentoring, electronic communication, and field experiences provide social contexts for the application of discipline-specific content.
Through collaboration, students learn to take the perspective of their respective disciplines and acquire the ability to create and sustain a personal and professional identity that has parity with colleagues and peers. Collaboration makes it possible to internalize the values of a profession and act within the framework of a chosen professional identity and its values. Extensive experience in the field provides rich opportunities for collaboration, as do service-learning opportunities, participation in professional organizations, and community events.
Faculty in the Center for Education use examples from a variety of cultures and groups to illustrate key concepts, principles, generalizations and themes in their subject area or discipline. Students participate in service learning projects in both arts and sciences and professional education courses that bring them into school and community settings where they further their understanding, acceptance and ability to address the uniqueness of individuals.
Graduate and undergraduate students understand that their learning is a continuous and lifelong process. Faculty continually challenge them to reflect on their learning and evaluate their goals and actions. Lifelong learning enables students to develop a deep commitment to learning, which they model in their relationships with students and peers. Through lifelong learning, educators retain their intellectual and professional vitality. They become part of broader learning communities that contribute to education in the region and in other parts of the world.
The Center for Education has also made two additional commitments: continued support of best practices and educational technology.
These priorities reinforce the values of field-based teaching and learning, collaboration, and professional development.
Reinforcing the values of professionalism, academic excellence, collaboration, diversity, and lifelong learning is not enough.
These values must be realized in the practices of students and faculty. These values need to be demonstrated in tangible ways.
Therefore, it is necessary to link values to proficiencies.
Discipline-based knowledge, as well as basic skills, foundations of education, and evidence-based practices
Mastery of the theoretic and empirical knowledge that informs teaching and professional practice
Understanding the significance of leadership in our respective disciplines
Collaborating in the classroom and in the field
Demonstrating appropriate codes of conduct of our respective disciplines
Demonstratingactive engagement with students, colleagues and peers
Demonstrating proficiency as problem solvers in our respective work environments
Engaging in service and problem solving in our communities
Using coursework and field experiences to demonstrate our professionalism
Appreciating and addressing the uniqueness of individuals and groups
Attaining positions of leadership in schools, higher education, clinical and other professional settings
Establishing and maintaining professional networks
Learning from professional dialog and interaction among students, faculty, colleagues and the community
Understanding that teaching and learning is a process that continues throughout adulthood
When problems are peopled, they have social content. Then learners must work with information about beliefs, values and points of view. This is learning that refers to empirical reality, and is concerned with how one ought to act in the world. Through collaboration, field experiences and civic engagement, one learns how to put a human face educational problems that otherwise would be only hypothetical puzzles.
The outcomes of learning are not givens. Rather they are dynamic and are situated in the context of learning. Outcomes are dependent on social realities for their value. They are acquired through experimentation. Learners learn because their social settings require them to experiment with increasingly complex constructions of their social worlds, which in turn help them to balance feedback from varied and numerous sources. Learning is a conversation, which prompts experimentation and the validation of intellectual discovery.
Schon’s earliest work focused on reflection-in-action: a concept that describes how expertise evolves and how it is sharpened by rigorous self-evaluation and an experimental attitude toward problem solving. Reflection-in-action is a progressive process and continues into adulthood; it defines lifelong learning developmentally. Innovation is at the core of effective learning; it is not centered where familiar norms are found and applied.
The ideal learning environment is found in settings where learners of any age are encouraged to discover the value of information that is presented to them, and where they are able to find meaningful patterns and to structure information creatively. Culture mediates these parallel processes of identification and organization, causing the knowledge gained from experience to be internalized, and to take form as symbols, language, and patterns of communication.
Michael W. Ledoux, Ed.D.
Associate Dean and
Center for Education
Antonia D’Onofrio, Ph.D.
Center for Education