As the oldest public coeducational teacher education institution in the nation, Westfield State University has an historical and abiding commitment to serving the educational needs of all students in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We offer programs across a range of professional disciplines and degrees, including initial teaching licensure programs at the baccalaureate, post baccalaureate and masters levels; advanced preparation for licensed teachers who are advancing their knowledge and skills in the area of their license, or seeking an additional license; as well as masters and specialist programs for reading specialists and guidance counseling. Therefore we have needed to develop and maintain a conceptual framework that is broad enough to meaningfully unite a diverse group of programs that prepare professionals for a wide range of roles, while allowing programs to maintain individualized approaches and tenets within the overarching framework.
Consequently, the shared vision of all education programs at WSU, and coordinated under the leadership of the School of Education is articulated as "Educators as Leaders Building Learning Communities". The vision represents the joining of two key concepts: leadership and learning community. We define those concepts as:
Leadership - Whether a candidate leaves WSU as a fledgling teacher with a first degree, or as a seasoned educator with an advanced degree, we expect graduates to view themselves as leaders, as advocates for children and adolescents, and as professionals who work effectively with colleagues, administrators and parents to create a supportive and stimulating environment for all learners. We also expect our graduates to recognize the value of scholarship and professional development as an important tool in the further development of their capacities as advocates and leaders.
Learning Community - Learning communities are vibrant social systems characterized by a high level of member dialogue and interaction, and by a shared commitment to the creation of knowledge. Learning communities are motivated by shared goals, values, and responsibilities and they are also respectful of the contributions of all community members. Learning communities encourage the development of leadership qualities and participants who can participate effectively in collaborative settings specifically and more generally in a democratic society.