Overview of the Institution

Washburn University is a public, metropolitan university located in the capital city of Topeka, Kansas and was established in 1865. Washburn is a publicly funded, independently governed, and state-coordinated university with approximately 6500 students. Classes are offered face-face and on-line. Degrees are offered at the associate, bachelor, masters, and professional levels through the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Schools of Applied Studies, Business, Law, and Nursing, as well as a wide array of learning and professional development opportunities through the Division of Continuing Education. Washburn University primarily serves the residents of Shawnee County, but students attend from a radius of more than 100 miles.

Washburn has a long history of commitment of service to the city of Topeka, the region, and the state. The university views as a primary mission, the preparation of qualified individuals for careers, further study and life-long learning through excellence in teaching and scholarly work. The education unit, along with its arts and sciences and P-12 partners, seeks to facilitate the education and development of reflective educators along the professional continuum. We are committed to preparing educators to work in rural, suburban, and urban settings and to educating leaders and professional specialty practitioners for leadership roles in schools and other community settings. WU is a comprehensive liberal arts university which puts a focus on diversity and a technology-rich, academically stimulating educational experience for both initial and advanced candidates.

The Department of Education is the unit responsible for coordinating the 20 teacher licensure programs. The Department includes 11 full time faculty and also makes use of highly qualified adjunct faculty each semester most of whom have taught in the unit for several years. College of Arts and Sciences faculty also teach methods courses required of teacher education candidates.

The Department of Education is the unit responsible for the preparation of professional educators. The Department is under the administrative responsibility of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS). The Department does work closely with other departments within CAS to provide secondary and P-12 preparation programs. A formal mechanism for this relationship is the University Teacher Education Committee (UTEC) which is made up of faculty representatives from each of the CAS departments that jointly offer a teaching license at the secondary or P-12 levels. UTEC meets on a regular basis to discuss plan, develop, implement and evaluate these programs. The department is led by a department chair with clerical support and a licensure officer. There is a faculty advisor for each licensure or degree program and a faculty member who helps oversee assessment and accreditation. Standing committees include undergraduate program, scholarship, graduate and recruitment.

The department oversees 20 licensure programs. Washburn offers instruction and clinical experiences leading to P-12 licenses in physical education, music, art, ESOL, and foreign languages. Instruction and clinical experiences leading to 6-12 licenses are offered in Biology, Chemistry, English/Language Arts, History and Government, and Mathematics. Candidates completing a P-12 or 6-12 license complete the major in their teaching disciplines. Candidates in elementary education earn a second license in an area of emphasis (Special education, early childhood unified, or middle school math, English or social studies).

Delivery of advanced professional licensure programs is a function of the Department of Education. Licensure programs include Reading Specialist, Building Leadership, District Leadership, and Special Education. Non-licensure advanced program include Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Technology and Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Literacy and Educational Studies.

Mission and Goals

The Department of Education seeks to facilitate the education and development of Reflective Educators for teaching and leadership positions. We are committed to preparing educators to work in rural, suburban, and urban settings. We are committed to educating leaders and specialty practitioners for leadership roles in schools and other community settings. The mission of the unit is aligned with the university mission “to develop and to realize their intellectual, academic, and professional potential, leading to becoming productive and responsible citizens.”

The Department of Education emphasizes pre-service and in-service teacher education. The basic mission of the Department is to prepare initial and advanced candidates for careers in education and an emphasis is placed on quality, creative teaching, reflective decision making, and diverse field experiences. In addition to a dedication to excellence in teaching, the faculty is committed to community and university service, and scholarly activity.

Department 5-Year Goals as outlined in the WU program review fall 2014

Goal 1: Design and formulate curriculum review and modification practices to ensure that the learning opportunities are focused on ensuring students have the skills and knowledge to contribute to P12 learning including meeting the college and career-ready goals.
Goal 2: Reinvigorate and design clinical partnerships to support our mission to prepare teachers for rural, suburban, or urban teaching. We will establish significant community partnerships that will ensure the preparation of educational professionals is a shared endeavor.
Goal 3: Develop and implement strategies to recruit and retain candidates who reflect the diversity of the community in which we live.
Goal 4: Design and formulate the ability to understand the impact our candidates have on P12 student learning.
Goal 5: Design and formulate a quality assurance system to ensure access to meaningful and substantive measures of student learning.

Shared Vision and Beliefs

Eight separate, yet interdependent, Dimensions of Reflection have been identified that influence the education and development of educators at all levels of professional practice. These dimensions were revised in the 2015-16 school year.
Reflection on Self as an Emerging, Developing, and Maturing Professional Educators’ beliefs, values, and perspectives are products of personal life histories that are infused into professional practice. Reflective thinking based on professional learning and development allows educators the opportunity to challenge their personal belief system in a variety of teaching and learning situations. Reflective educators value reflection as important to meet professional responsibilities and engage in ethical practices. They develop dispositions to support their ability to evaluate the impact of their decisions and actions on children, families, and the community.
Reflection on Collaboration and Leadership
Educators shape and are shaped through our interactions with students, their families and the educational community. Educators must reflect on the impact of their presence in this community of learners, and the extent to which they are contributing members of the community. They understand their shared responsibility for children’s educational success, and reflect on ways to actively participate in efforts to advance learning for all children. They reflect on how they collaborate with families from diverse backgrounds in order to develop shared understandings that support student success.
Reflection on the Context of Teaching and Learning
The development of a critical reflective capacity predisposes educators to consider the moral and ethical implications of educational practice, and the subsequent educative value of those practices for students in a variety of learning environments. Reflective educators are able to assess the needs of different teaching and learning contexts and generate approaches to teaching that best suit the effective education of children and youth in that context. Reflection on Student Diversity
Students bring a wide range of cultural characteristics and backgrounds to school settings. Reflection on student diversity enables educators to more clearly understand students and their many pathways to learning. Upon reflection, educators are able to recognize the importance of social and cultural influences on learning, construct ways to utilize differences to enhance learning, and incorporate student’s experiences into the curriculum.
Reflection on Content
Teachers' thorough understanding and reflection of content enables them to engage students in solving real world problems using a range of approaches.

Reflection on Instructional Practices Effective instruction is aided by reflection on the interaction among a variety of instructional approaches, resources, and technological tools, all of which enhance educators’ ability to make pedagogical decisions that are driven as much by learner attributes as they are by the nature of the content being addressed, and the context in which it is being taught.
Reflection on Assessment as a Process to Inform Decision Making
Reflection on assessment allows educators to assess and monitor student learning and make informed decisions about practice. Reflective educators engage in assessment practices that are purposeful and serve as a direct link to teaching, content, and materials used to aid student learning. The link between teaching and assessment becomes clearer as educators use assessment information to plan for change in their professional practice.
Reflection on the Role of Technology in Teaching and Learning
Educators are aware that education is impacted by the digital age in a variety of ways. They reflect on how technology influences the nature of the work they perform as educators. They reflect on how to shape learning experiences that incorporate technology and the skills and dispositions needed to function in a digital world.

Regional Accreditation

The link to our Status of Affiliation provided to us by the Higher Learning Commission (our regional accrediting body – formerly North Central).  Clicking on the HLC icon takes you to their web site which verifies Washburn’s status.

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