All community stakeholders have a basic and continuing concern with professional education and how it is provided. At Missouri State University, the preparation of teachers, counselors, school administrators, and specialty school personnel is an integral component of our mission in public affairs and addresses the essential needs of our community and society. The preparation of educators is the University’s heritage and a key element of the long-range plan. Students graduating from Missouri State University will continue to be among the best prepared educators in the United States.
Professional education includes individuals prepared in the fields of early childhood, elementary, middle school, secondary, reading, special education, and educational technology, as well as in administration and educational leadership, school and community counseling, library media, and other specialty areas in education-related disciplines. Professional education also includes any organized body of knowledge combined with extensive field and clinical experience in the application of evidence based practice that prepares students for careers in pre-kindergarten through grade 12 (PK-12) school and settings. Moreover, professional education at Missouri State University includes lifelong continuous learning offered through such programs as the Beginning Educator Assistance Renewal and Support (BEARS) program.
Well established and new partnerships with area school districts, public agencies, community organizations, and institutions of higher education contribute to the preparation of professional educators. The Teaching Academy and newly formed Ozarks Educational Research Initiative are examples of these collaboratives. Partnerships will be expanded to improve teaching and learning, focusing on the achievement of all PK-12 students, including those with special needs and disabilities. The College of Education will continue to partner with the University of Missouri-Columbia, as well as other Missouri institutions of higher education, to offer a cooperative Ed.D. in educational administration. This program is designed to meet the needs of Missouri principals and superintendents as they progress through the leadership ranks in school districts throughout the State.
The University’s unique collaborative model for teacher and educator preparation is represented by the Professional Education Unit (PEU), a group comprised of members of the College of Education, as well as faculty and professional staff across all six academic colleges and 27 academic departments. The diversity of this 200-plus member unit will be expanded and enable the University to prepare professional educators who can design and deliver effective learning programs for students in rural, suburban, and urban school districts. The PEU has regulatory and oversight responsibilities for monitoring the University’s education programs and certifications.
The PEU will continue to develop distance education programs that are responsive to critical needs identified for a wide population of children and adults in a multi-state region. Finally, in an effort to produce highly competent professional educators, the College of Education in partnership with the PEU and area schools, will continue to expand programs that support the growing Hispanic community in Southwest Missouri and Northern Arkansas. Agreements with institutions of higher education in Mexico are also being developed to promote faculty and student exchange programs.
The University, the PEU, and the College of Education, working with school districts, the interested public, and other agencies, such as the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, will continue to produce educators capable of meeting the complex challenges of the teaching and learning environments in which they will work.
The College of Education will continue to host experimental and innovative programs, and it will serve as a clearinghouse for research and evidence - based practices that enhance continuing education and advanced program experiences. One unique site is Greenwood Laboratory School, a department within the College of Education, which will continue to play a role in the preparation of professional educators by providing quality K-12 educational experiences for practicum and student teaching. Through increased partnerships, both inside the University and in the community, Greenwood Laboratory School will expand its mission of program experimentation and demonstration, especially within one or more of the University’s six themes, as well as in the area of technology-related learning strategies and approaches. For example, a summer Missouri Innovation Academy will be developed during the five years of this plan. The Innovation Academy will be closely linked to the Missouri Virtual School, Greenwood, and the Jordan Valley Innovation Center.
In addition to Greenwood, students in the PEU have an opportunity to complete field experiences in the Child Development Center (CDC). The CDC is part of the Early Childhood and Family Development Department and is an accredited center that serves 88 children from 6 weeks to 5 years of age. Not only does the CDC provide excellent care for young children in the community, it is a learning environment for University students and provides rich research opportunities for faculty.
With the growing interest in the development of young children in our community, the Early Childhood and Family Development Department has developed a Master of Science Degree in Early Childhood and Family Development, the newest degree in the College of Education. This interdisciplinary degree is designed not only for early childhood teachers but for other professionals in the human service field. It will be carefully evaluated over the next 10 years of implementation, beginning in 2007.
The Department of Counseling offers a valuable service to the community and essential training to school and community counselors, through the downtown Center City Counseling Clinic. New graduate programs are being developed, including a Master of Science Degree in Student Affairs and an Educational Specialist’s Degree in Counseling, with options in couple and family counseling and school psychology. Interdisciplinary efforts are being developed, including areas of special education and counseling, which will merge with existing clinical programs offering special services and supports to the community.
The University enters the 21st century as a recognized leader in preparing highly qualified teachers and education professionals. Adhering to the highest of standards, Missouri State University excels in pre-service teacher preparation, continuing professional development, advanced and graduate programs, and scholarly and applied educational research to ensure that all educators understand and can implement evidence-based practices in accord with state and federal mandates. In order to enhance the recruitment, preparation, and ongoing support of teachers, Missouri State University will continue to explore structural changes and improvements in the College of Education and PEU that will most effectively and efficiently meet these goals.