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Conceptual Framework

I. Overview and Conceptual Framework 

I.1     What are the institution’s historical context and unique characteristics (e.g., HBCU or religious)? 

         Newman University is one of three Catholic institutions of higher education in Kansas. Its roots began in 1933 when it was founded by the Adorers of the Blood of Christ of Wichita, Kansas. The university began as a junior college with courses available for both religious and lay women. In order to more effectively serve the educational needs of its students, in 1952 it became a four-year liberal arts college (Sacred Heart College) which in 1963 became coeducational. The college was accredited to train teachers for the first time in 1956. Master’s degrees were offered beginning with the 1992-93 academic year. On July 1, 1998 what was Kansas Newman College became Newman University. Four themes define the unique character of Newman University. These four themes are illustrated by the statement; “Newman is a university proud of its Catholic Heritage that emphasizes Academic Excellence, promotes a Global Perspective, and develops a Commitment to Service among all members of the learning community.”  These four pillars define Newman University’s roots, its purpose, its vision, and its commitment to humanity. Building on these pillars, each school develops assessment and action plans consistent with the goals of the university and addressing student learning outcomes. The focus is on preparing students to engage in society through a foundation that supports education for life. The education experience at Newman challenges students academically while exposing them to a culture of service that seeks to transform the human condition through a generous sharing of professional and personal time and talent. 

I.2     What is the institution’s mission? 

         Through its mission, Newman University provides students with both the personal and professional skills necessary to succeed in today’s world, while at the same time nurturing an ethical and moral standard rooted in Judeo-Christian principles.  Such a focus, which is further supported by The Newman Code, [Exhibit CF.1 University Catalog 2012 - 2013, p. 4-5] establishes a foundation upon which students can set goals, make decisions and develop relationships that promote respect for all individuals. Newman University is committed to the belief that the spiritual nature of all persons can and should influence all aspects of life and is an important factor in the improvement of our technological society.  The University, through its curriculum and overall educational environment, challenges its students to become liberally educated persons who will:


•        Respect the dignity of every person. 

•        Desire a higher education imbued with the values of Catholic tradition and the mission of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, namely, that of developing and empowering people.

•        Develop their whole person by following St. Newman who teaches that the development of the intellect and spirit along with the practical arts is intrinsic to the fulfillment of the human potential.

•        Consider with special regard persons who are disadvantaged.

•        Attain an interdependent global perspective formed by a critical consciousness that hungers and thirst for justice and peace. 

I.3     What is the professional education unit at your institution, what is its relationship to other units at the institution that are involved in the preparation of professional educators, and what are the significant changes since the last NCATE review? 

         The primary focus of the School of Education is to educate and inspire students to become competent, caring, reflective practitioners who are intellectually and spiritually motivated to transform self, schools, and society. The School of Education offers seven initial and four advanced programs. The initial program offers Early Childhood Unified, Elementary Education, and Secondary Education specializations in biology, chemistry, English, history-government, and mathematics. The advanced program offers concentrations in Building Leadership, Accountability, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), and Reading Specialist.

         The professional education program is housed in the School of Education with close cooperation from the academic programs offered through other departments housed in the College of Undergraduate Studies and in cooperation with the College of Graduate and Continuing Studies. Faculty members from those academic departments related to the secondary education licensure programs regularly collaborate with education faculty in program development, data collection, analysis, and preparation of program review documents and reports.

         One of the important changes we have made to our program since the last NCATE review was evaluation and modification of our assessment system. The School of Education faculty evaluated the unit assessment system and found it to be overly complex and time consuming, and gathering the data from instructors was complicated and inefficient. Data was collected in a variety of places and was not centralized or easily accessible. The university provost is working with the School of Education to better understand our needs and assist in developing a more efficient data collection and management system. The initial program has developed and launched an Early Childhood Unified program, birth to grade 3 to better prepare teachers for work with young children. We have also implemented an end of program teacher work sample called the Newman University Teacher Performance Portfolio during the student internship which is now a requirement for program completion and licensure by the state of Kansas. In the advanced program, several fully online courses have been developed to provide flexibility to students in our graduate program and to serve candidates living in distant or remote locations without access to ITV facilities. The advanced program has also added a Reading Specialist option. 

I.4     Summarize basic tenets of the conceptual framework, institutional standards and candidate proficiencies related to expected knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions as well as significant changes made to the conceptual framework since the last NCATE review? [2-4 paragraphs] 

         The School of Education seeks to educate and inspire students to become competent, caring, reflective practitioners who are intellectually and spiritually motivated to transform self, schools, and society. The guiding principles found within the Conceptual Framework reveal what represents the ideal School of Education graduate.  The Framework is rooted in the philosophy and mission of Newman University.  Equally influential has been the university’s rich history as an educational and social justice-oriented institution of higher learning.  The School of Education believes that transformation and self-improvement takes place best in a learning community.  Therefore, creating a caring, reflective, collaborative learning community, that values ethical decision-making based upon a vision of transformation, comprises the best possible description of an effective learning environment where stakeholders believe in and promote life-long learning.  What emerges is a learning community that reaches beyond the physical walls of a school to transform the larger global society, thus fulfilling a basic tenet of Newman University and directly extending the mission of its founders, the Adorers of the Blood of Christ. Transforming the culture of schools requires collegiality, reflection, and learning, as well as concern for others, and requires the integration of theory and practice.  Candidates who graduate from Newman and the School of Education will embody the mission of the university and, as leaders, will take with them the challenge to transform not only themselves as professionals but also their schools and subsequently society.  This challenge is what makes the university and the School of Education unique in its mission and its graduate’s instruments for change in today’s schools. 

         No significant changes have been made to the Conceptual Framework since the last NCATE review. The School of Education faculty reviewed the components of the framework as part of their regular program review discussions, but determined that no changes were necessary at this time. The framework continues to accurately define the important concepts that serve to organize and focus the program. The School of Education Conceptual Framework has been recognized across the Newman campus as an example of a well-developed and effective document which can serve as a model for other departments working to enhance their educational programs. This document continues to reflect our values and beliefs and serve as an effective basis for our program.  

Syllabi for Professional Education Courses