Brescia University is a Catholic, liberal arts institution founded in the Ursuline tradition of personal and social transformation through education. Brescia’s vision is to be a moral and intellectual powerhouse, adapting to the needs of the 21st century and beyond. The framework for the vision is “The Brescia Difference” that promotes:
1.) Respect for the Sacred, especially in human beings
2.) Devotion to Learning, aspiring to independence of learning, a creative adaptability to change and an openness to lifelong learning
3.) Commitment to Growth in Virtue, using values-driven critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills and ethical decision-making
4.) Promotion of Servant Leadership, serving, in imitation of Christ, within one’s professional, personal and social lives.
The works of Saint Angela Merici, the founder of the Ursuline community of sisters, provided the foundation for the “Ursuline Legacy of Teaching and Learning” recognized worldwide as the highest quality of education. Eleven values permeate this legacy and while each is incorporated in the total BU experience, focus on the individual, commitment to the whole person in need of transformative education, the importance of service and the power of education to transform society are central to the efforts of the School of Education. Thus the new mission statement of the SOE states “Brescia University School of Education Candidates are challenged to become Professional Educators committed to Ethics, Advocacy, Service and Lifelong learning.” and the new visual model of “home for the professional educator” within the broader context of community reflect the importance of equipping children and youth to become free, educated persons with the capacity to adapt to the needs of the 21st century and beyond.
The School of Education strives for excellence in preparing teachers and school leaders. Our faculty seek transparency in modeling their expectations so candidates can observe the professional educator committed to ethics, advocacy, service and lifelong learning in action throughout the teacher preparation program. The period of engagement in this program self-study has been uniquely affected by changes in the unit relative to faculty and organizational structure. Education Studies is now the School of Education. Four faculty have served as Chair of the School of Education in the past five years. All of the current faculty are new to Brescia since the last accreditation visit and had never before been actively involved in the NCATE/EPSB self-study process and reporting.
As you would expect, beginning and completing this documentation for the self-study presented a myriad of challenges and hours of opportunities to acquire true insight into and ownership of the teacher preparation program at Brescia University. For us, this accomplishment is our number one learning outcome. We have evolved from professional colleagues acting independently in practice and attempting to fulfill university, unit and accreditation requirements by personal interpretation and action into a much more cohesive faculty supported by a common vision, a new mission statement, a new conceptual framework and a new depth of understanding regarding the efficacy of the unit and its programs. The hours invested in examining, questioning and evaluating data allowed us to achieve our second learning outcome regarding awareness of, agreement with and implementation of our program as it exists today. Work on our third learning outcome is ongoing and energizing as we uncover the strengths and challenges. The third outcome is the envisioning. We have created a “To Do” list and have begun to address ways to illustrate maintaining, up-dating and meeting new requirements for our “home”.
Now is the perfect time to seek your input for improving, implementing and assessing the quality of our efforts. We eagerly anticipate your suggestions on ways we can aid pre-service and in-service educators to increase their evidence-based knowledge of teaching and learning, pedagogical skills, leadership abilities and professional dispositions to address the needs of 21st century learners.
Please do not hesitate to call upon me if I may be of any assistance during this important process.
Marlaine K. Chase, Ed.D.
Chair, School of Education