We believe that becoming an educator is a dynamic process extending from initial preparation over the course of an entire career. Through its program of study, the Department of Education at Stetson University has made a strong commitment to quality education for the 21st century–striving to prepare a common series of courses and experiences that provide knowledge, skills and attitudes that will enable candidates to meet the needs of students within culturally diverse educational settings in a rapidly changing world.
We established these four organizing strands—reflective practitioner, collaborative instructional leader, responder to diversity and facilitative change agent—to create a sense of unity across all programs at both the initial and advanced levels.
Professional Commitments and Dispositions
Building on Stetson University's commitment to infuse programs with the values of ethical decision making, human diversity and commonality, gender equity, community service, and environmental responsibility, we expect that all candidates will:
- Show evidence of behaviors that exemplify the ethics of the teaching profession.
- Develop awareness, appreciation and understanding of diverse populations.
- Value a questioning and analytic attitude (e.g., utilize critical analysis of data and behavior to initiate change).
- Seek articles in professional journals about teaching, learning, educational management and reform.
- Reflect on and formulate a personal philosophy with respect to learning and teaching.
Commitment to Diversity
Florida schools are growing in diversity, and we recognize the serious implications of this evolving change. About half of Florida's students are considered to be members of a racial or ethnic minority; about 25 percent are labeled ESE; over 200 languages are reported as being the native language in the home; and more than 50 percent of Florida's elementary students receive free or reduced lunch (Florida Department of Education, 2006). We recognize the serious implications of these statistics to meeting the learning needs of diverse students. Our commitment to diversity is evident in the strand of responders to diversity, which is woven throughout initial teacher preparation programs and advanced programs. The design, delivery and evaluation of our courses and field experiences reflect this commitment.
Specifically, we expect that candidates will:
- Have knowledge of issues involving teaching and schooling in a complex and culturally diverse society.
- Have knowledge of unique learning characteristics, needs and capabilities of students of different ages, cultural, language and socio-economic backgrounds, and exceptionalities.
- Demonstrate the ability to bridge theory to practice in a variety of educational settings.
- Plan and implement strategies in cultural diversity and nurture human relations with pupils, peers, teachers and other stakeholders.
Commitment to Technology
Our commitment is shown in our faculty's use of technology in their teaching and monitoring of students' progress in the use of technology throughout the programs. Candidates demonstrate competence in the use of educational technology through an ability to utilize technology personally and professionally in their teaching in order to help all students learn. The use of technology has been integrated across the curriculum, instruction, field experiences, clinical practice, assessments and evaluations.
Throughout our professional programs, there is an underlying commitment to the following beliefs:
- All candidates must understand their own culture and the cultures of others. As educators, they must accept all students and teach in an atmosphere that honors the unique cultural differences and fosters in each student respect, appreciation for human and cultural diversity in a democratic society. See department strands: responders to diversity and collaborative instructional leaders.
- Educational leaders influence students towards inherent possibilities of human development by using multiple instructional strategies in high-performing learning environments that facilitate the academic achievement of each K-12 student and the importance of the individual's commitment toward living a meaningful life. See department strands: collaborative instructional leaders and facilitative change agents.
- Educators—beyond their responsibility to transmit knowledge—have the mission to transform practices in schools so that all students may learn to their fullest potential and participate fully in our democratic society. See department strands: reflective practitioners and facilitative change agents.