Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy Department Mission Statement and Goals
The overall mission and purpose of our work within the Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy Department is to prepare and support teachers, teacher educators and teacher leaders who support the children and families of New Mexico.
We view teacher education as extending throughout the professional lifespan, from recruitment to preparation and induction to advanced professional development. With this perspective in mind, we prepare teacher educators willing and able to effect change along each step of the continuum. Degrees offered within our department include baccalaureate degrees in Elementary Education and Secondary Education and master’s degrees in Elementary Education and Secondary Education that meet the needs of students seeking initial licensure. Practicing teachers in K-12 schools may obtain an M.A in Elementary Education or Secondary Education to further their knowledge and refine their skills as accomplished professionals. Educators with at least three years of classroom experience who want to expand their expertise to include the teaching of teachers may seek an Educational Specialist Certificate in Curriculum and Instruction, or a Ph.D. or Ed.D. in Multicultural Teacher and Childhood Education (MCTC). Acknowledging the urgent needs of the 21st century, we also offer a concentration in Mathematics, Science and Educational Technology (MSET) for graduate students as part of their master’s and advanced graduate degree programs.
Our faculty carries out this mission with particular attention to infusing all the Core Values of the College into our programs: advocacy, building professional identities, collaboration and relationships, dignity, diversity and social justice, scholarship and research, and teaching and learning all in the rich context of New Mexico. The Department has defined the relationship between our work and these core values in the following belief statements:
We are a community of scholars interested in asking questions addressing contemporary issues of teacher education, including equity in schools and the ways to most effectively prepare teachers. We start from the belief that K-12 students and teachers are at the heart of what we do. Collaboration among faculty, students, and professionals outside of the university is important because it affords us multiple perspectives making for a richer, more complete scholarly discourse. We value authentic dialogue and believe in the importance of creating a community where everyone’s voice can be heard.
We believe rigorous research in teacher education must serve multiple audiences, including teachers, K-12 students, and policy makers. Our graduates are scholars who contribute to the body of teacher education research illuminating both broad patterns as well as the experiences of individuals, teachers, students, and communities. Our programs allow students to make professional and programmatic choices that lead to rich, meaningful and transformative experiences. At all levels of our programs we integrate ongoing examination of practice with the goal of helping our students articulate, understand and improve their teaching and the learning of their students.
We believe schools in different places have different needs, and we value the unique positions and experiences our students encounter in New Mexico. We do not believe a one-size-fits-all approach to education serves the needs of all learners. Drawing on our own context in the southwestern United States, we are fierce advocates for diversity in our program and in the public schools. Our students participate in field experiences that are place-based and reflect the issues facing children and teachers in our schools. Our students address pressing issues in education and political discourse.
As faculty, we take critical stances in our work. Our aim is to assist our students in developing their own critical lenses. Our students develop a deep understanding of how local educational practice is influenced by larger societal forces and critically examine the systems and structures that perpetuate inequality and inequity. It is not enough to simply understand or see the issues involved, we seek also to recognize our role in these issues, and be fully aware of the choices we have for actions we can take as socially responsible citizens and teacher educators.