Conceptual Framework

Development of the Conceptual Framework

The conceptual framework has been developed and refined over several years through a participatory process that included all faculty members in addition to members of our Education Consortium (teachers, students, and administrators). The Conceptual Framework found here is a summary of the complete Conceptual Framework , and was accepted as part of the approved Preconditions by NCATE in 2005. The process of developing the Conceptual Framework has led us to numerous refinements of documents and procedures within the College of Education. (These are highlighted in Element Three of Standard Two.)

Shared Vision

Coursework in all programs—Initial and Advanced—is grounded in the constructivist philosophy of teaching and learning, which is embedded in the overall COE goals including reflective practice, promoting self-regulated learning, use of pedagogical content knowledge, and the belief that all students can learn. Ultimately the constructivist philosophy is evident in student-centered classrooms in which our candidates encourage P-12 students to construct their own understanding of the world through active experiences. Students become aware of our Conceptual Framework very early in the application process, as it is infused throughout our admissions materials, informational meetings, and interview process.



Figure 1
Philosophical Focus of the Conceptual Framework








The philosophy that unites our endeavors is illustrated above. Faculty members have worked closely together to formulate the values that ground what we do. These arose partly from the values of the institution as a whole but more specifically in articulating the beliefs we share about the nature of teaching and learning. We determined that we must adhere to the same values in our own teaching that we want to foster in our students as they prepare to teach in the P-12 classroom. Therefore the values are reflected in the structure and curriculum of all of our programs as well as in our teaching strategies and professional endeavors. Students interact with these values as our focus themes are incorporated into all coursework, syllabi, field experiences, and course evaluations. While the list of values is long, it captures our commitment to the individual, to the relationships that are crucial to effective education, and to the community that supports both teachers and students. In order to express that commitment in a simpler form we crafted the diagram (Figure 1) to display the four themes: (1) Transforming education through communities of learners; (2) Promoting cultural competence; (3) Creating student-centered classrooms; (4) Enhancing learning through technology. These themes, as the summary of our philosophical focus, organize and guide our programs.

The College of Education Mission Statement

The Pacific University College of Education embraces the mission and values of Pacific University along with its commitment to the liberal arts and sciences as we seek to prepare aspiring and practicing educators to promote and nurture learners’ intellectual, ethical, social, and emotional growth within a learning community that is committed to equity and diversity.

Student-Centered Classrooms

Our shared vision and mission have led COE faculty to adopt and put into practice the philosophy of constructivism as a teaching style, focused on student-centered classrooms. Throughout our programs we model and encourage the development of learning communities, so that students are engaged, nurtured, and free of risk within their classroom.

The faculty of the College of Education value:

  • professional educators who understand the subject(s) being taught and appreciate how knowledge in that subject is created, organized, linked to other disciplines and applied in real-world settings.
  • educational environments that provide opportunities for developing and sharpening intellectual, analytical, and reflective abilities.
  • professional educators who promote intellectual independence and active, responsible learning.
  • professional educators who exhibit the energy, drive, and determination to make their school and classroom the best possible environment for teaching and learning.

Professional Commitments and Dispositions

The conceptual framework emphasizes candidate and student learning throughout. There are explicit commitments to support and extend the learning of all students. Our values statements emphasize a learning process that supports candidates in making reflective and deliberate decisions. We as a faculty model high standards of professional responsibility by actively participating in our professional organizations.

The faculty of the College of Education value:

  • professional educators who, as reflective practitioners, continually study theory, research, practice, and available resources as they strive to improve the effectiveness of their teaching.
  • professional educators who act as leaders and agents of change in the education profession within and beyond the University.
  • professional educators who model ethical behavior a) in their classrooms and b) in their communities.
  • education as a lifelong process for learners of all ages and backgrounds.
  • professional educators who model an inquisitive attitude and enjoyment of intellectual pursuits.
  • professional educators who are confident, energetic and both physically and mentally healthy.

Commitment to Diversity

From the initial design of our teacher preparation curriculum, the emphasis on the learning of all students has been an essential component. This faculty uniformly shares a strong commitment to diversity and continually strives to work toward cultural competence.

The faculty of the College of Education value:

  • professional educators who respect humanity in all its diversity.
  • professional educators who believe that all students can learn and who assume responsibility in furthering that learning.
  • professional educators who interact constructively with students and their parents as well as colleagues, administrators, other school personnel, and the community – to achieve both instructional and relational goals.
  • professional educators who are keen observers of the learner, family, community, and environment and who use that data to the extent possible when planning instruction.

Commitment to Technology

The conceptual framework clarifies our commitment both to communicate using a variety of methods and to employ a variety of effective teaching tools, in order to support and maximize the learning experience. We value the ability of our faculty and candidates to engage students in current, appropriate, and powerful applications of technology that foster learning. Our graduates are recognized as leaders in the use of instructional technology as they enter their first teaching position.

The faculty of the College of Education value:

  • professional educators who utilize a range of instructional resources and technology tools to support learning.
  • professional educators who engage students in pedagogically powerful applications of technology that foster learning.

Candidate Proficiencies Aligned with Professional and State Standards

Candidate proficiencies are articulated in the student handbooks, highlighted during orientation , reviewed during student teaching, and used as an assessment tool during both the midplacement and summary evaluation process. In addition, proficiencies are assessed through the candidate’s ability to prepare and teach two work samples during student teaching. Advanced Programs candidates’ proficiencies are assessed by means of their portfolio presentation as well as coursework and certificate requirements.


The state of Oregon, through its Teacher Standards and Practices Commission licensing agency, has developed a set of competencies candidates are required to meet before attaining licensure. The faculty of the state’s teacher education institutions participated in the process of determining what candidates should know and be able to do as teachers in P-12 classrooms. Pacific’s College of Education adopted these competencies as the proficiencies that encompass most of the goals we had for our candidates. Based in the values of the University as a whole and our constructivist approach, we added proficiencies in subject area knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, evaluation of knowledge students bring to the classroom, adaptation for exceptional learners, integration of knowledge across disciplines, using knowledge to think and problem solve, and effective use of technology. The candidate proficiencies are presented in the full Conceptual Framework, aligned with our candidate outcomes and proficiencies, the state TSPC competencies, and the professional standards from the Interstate New Teacher Assessment Support Consortium (INTASC), as well as the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS•T). Note that the work sample methodology and student teaching evaluation documents are aligned with state standards and requirements, but also demonstrate some of the unique philosophical themes of the College of Education.


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