Conceptual Framework Background

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In 1991 the College began implementing an innovative review mechanism designed to assure program quality throughout the College. As part of the Curriculum Design Unit Assurance Seminars, faculty developed and revised conceptual frameworks for their program areas.

In Fall 2002, a faculty committee was formed to develop a conceptual framework for the College. The committee, with input from other faculty and members of the professional community, created a framework that delineated the College’s mission as building a better future for individuals, our state, our nation, and the world; acknowledged the vital role that education plays in supporting society today and in the future; and emphasized the preparation of competent, committed, and reflective professionals. The framework also highlighted issues of diversity, collaboration, technology, and lifelong learning.

The initial version of the College’s conceptual framework was completed in Spring 2003. At the same time, we adopted the keystone, the topmost stone of an arch, as our College logo and a visual reminder of our mission. The keystone is the building block that supports and holds an arch together just as education supports the gateway of opportunity and holds intact the promise of a better future for individuals and society.

In 2004-2005, we revisited the conceptual framework, subjecting it to ongoing evaluation and refinement. The process involved widespread input from faculty, program candidates, and professional partners. Resulting changes to the framework included the development of an intellectual philosophy; greater attention to how the mission, philosophy, purpose, and goals are interrelated; increased emphasis on the transformative nature of our work; and development of proficiencies including dispositions.

The current revision of the conceptual framework establishes what we stand for as a college while embracing, preserving, and protecting the unique contributions of our different programs. The framework provides a foundation for ongoing efforts related to systemic, data-driven, and continuous improvement of our teaching, research, and outreach. It is an inclusive framework that represents all programs within the College. We continue to strive for coherence within our work by consistently applying this framework to decisions related to programs, courses, teaching, candidate performance, faculty scholarship and service, and unit accountability. Continued evaluation and refinement of the framework will be embedded in redesigned Curriculum Design Unit Assurance Seminars (CDUAS).

The revision of this process will include inviting College faculty to reflect on the dynamic nature of their teaching, research, and outreach programs; to comment on the evolving nature of knowledge and standards within their fields; and to suggest revisions to the College’s current conceptual framework. The process also will allow new faculty members to join the conversation and infuse fresh perspectives. In addition, program candidates will be invited to contribute to the College’s evolving conceptual framework as they respond to questions posed in college-wide key assessments and complete program evaluation surveys. Also, members of the professional community will add their voices in advisory groups.