Candidate Proficiencies


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Based on our evolving shared vision, we delineated 15 proficiencies representing the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that we expect of all College graduates and that we as College faculty continue to strive for in our own professional journeys. We conclude that more expert professionals when compared to more novice professionals do not have different kinds of proficiencies but exhibit proficiencies at greater levels of sophistication. For example, more expert professionals exhibit more highly-developed understandings, enhanced capacities for integrating their understandings and their actions on behalf of learners in flexible and adaptive ways, and greater leadership in professional learning communities.

We organize our 15 proficiencies using the three key attributes delineated in our conceptual framework: competent, committed, and reflective professionals. The first ten proficiencies focus on competencies (knowledge and skills). The next four proficiencies focus on commitments (dispositions). The final proficiency targets reflection.

To make the proficiencies inclusive of all program candidates and College faculty, we use the phrase “professional practices” to encompass the varied work of teachers, administrators, and counselors in school settings; educational and human services professionals in non-school settings; and College faculty engaged in teaching, research, and outreach. We also purposefully use words such as “individual(s)” or “learner(s)” rather than “student(s)” to acknowledge that the people whom faculty and program candidates serve include pre-school children, K-12 students, adults with special learning needs, clients in counseling contexts, individuals in need of fitness-related support, program candidates, and all practicing professionals including College and University faculty.

The proficiencies provide a foundation for ongoing efforts in developing an integrated and comprehensive assessment system. Refinement of this system focuses on reviewing and supporting the progress of program candidates as well as the scholarship of College faculty. We have developed more detailed descriptions of these proficiencies for candidates in preparation programs for teachers and other professional school personnel.

As we continue working toward greater coherence in our work, we need to consider developing descriptions of these 15 proficiencies for candidates in programs that prepare educational and human services professionals for non-school contexts as well as descriptions that articulate our expectations for College faculty.

Competent Professionals

1. Understand the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the content they teach or practice.
2. Create learning experiences that make the content they teach or practice meaningful for individuals.
3. Understand how individuals differ in their approaches to learning and create instruction or implement other professional practices adapted to this diversity.
4. Use knowledge of how individuals learn and develop to provide educational opportunities that support intellectual, social, and personal development.
5. Understand and use a variety of evidence-based professional practices in reasoned and flexible ways to encourage individual development of critical thinking, problem solving, and performance skills.
6. Use an understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior to create a learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.
7. Use knowledge of effective verbal and non-verbal communication to foster active inquiry, collaboration, and supportive interaction in learning environments.
8. Plan professional practices based upon knowledge of subject matter, individuals, the community, and identified goals.
9. Understand and use formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and ensure continuous progress toward identified goals.
10. Use technology in appropriate ways.

Committed Professionals

11. Engage in responsible and ethical professional practices.
12. Contribute to collaborative learning communities.
13. Demonstrate a commitment to diversity.
14. Model and nurture intellectual vitality.

Reflective Professionals

15. Analyze past practices to stimulate ongoing improvement of future practices.