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1. What are the institution’s historical context and unique characteristics?

Spalding University is the oldest Catholic university west of the Alleghenies. It was founded in 1814 and was named after Catherine Spalding, founder of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. The name is derived from and honors Sister Catherine Spalding, the founder of the Sisters of Charities of Nazareth, who was responsible for securing from the 1829 meeting of the Legislature of the Commonwealth of Kentucky the charter under which the university originated.

In 1920 Nazareth College opened as the first four-year Catholic college for women in the Commonwealth. Since the establishment of the Louisville campus in 1920, Spalding University has occupied the Tompkins-Buchanan-Rankin House as the core of its campus which now houses the College of Education and its programs. In 1973 the university, which had operated under the 1829 charter as  the Nazareth Literacy and Benevolent Institution  and was incorporated as an independent urban coeducational institution in the Catholic tradition for students of all faiths. Nazareth College originally located in Bardstown, opened in Louisville in 1920 and was the commonwealth’s first four-year college for women.

In 1984, the institution was designated as Spalding University in recognition of the wide range of programs offered. Today Spalding University remains a co-educational, independent institution fully accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) as a doctoral level institution open to all qualified students regardless of race, religion, color, age, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, or disability. The university boasts its nationally recognized and accredited programs, which are, including undergraduate and graduate programs in nursing, accredited by the National League for Nursing; social work program, accredited by the Council of Social Work Education; doctorate of psychology, by the American Psychological Association; and the College of Education, accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. Today, Spalding University holds a position of strength in providing innovative, educational services to the greater Louisville community and beyond.

2.  What is the institution’s mission?

At the heart of university life – past and present – is the mission statement adopted in 1991: Spalding University is a diverse community of learners dedicated to meeting the needs of the times in the tradition of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth through quality undergraduate and graduate liberal and professional studies, grounded in spiritual values, with emphasis on service and the promotion of peace and justice.

3. What is the professional education unit at your institution and what is its relationship to other units at the institution that are involved in the preparation of professional educators?

The College of Education is one of four (4) academic colleges within the university. Unit governance is constituted in the university’s governance document as follows: “The chief academic officer of a college shall be the Dean, who shall supervise all the schools and programs therein” (Policy manual section1., subsection 2, “Responsibilities of Deans”).The responsibility of preparing teachers, principals, and school guidance counselors is a shared responsibility of the university through collaboration across the College of Education and appropriate colleges and schools in the university. The university, however, recognizes the College of Education as the primary unit charged with responsibility for and authority to plan, deliver, and operate all initial and advanced professional education programs. The dean of the college is a member of the Deans’ Group at Spalding University which meets weekly for collaborative leadership in advancing the mission and vision of the University.

The dean’s office of the College of Education provides executive and managerial support and direction to the instructional and service programs within the unit as well as the student services support program. In essence, the dean’s office has three major responsibilities: academic, administrative, and student services. Administrative personnel in the dean’s office include: the associate dean, director of initial certification programs, director of the alternative certification program and certification officer, director of field experiences and clinical practice, director of the school guidance counselor program, director of the teacher leader program, director of the principal preparation program, and the director of the leadership education program (which is not a part of the self-study process).

4. What are the basic tenets of the conceptual framework and how has the conceptual framework changed since the previous visit?

The unit believes that educators are leaders. To that end, the unit has defined the Educator as Leader as a professional who embodies six (6) specific functional dimensions which include: (1) change agent; (2) knowledgeable practitioner; (3) consistent advocate; (4) continuous assessor; (5) technologically astute practitioner; and (6) professional acting responsibly. Expanding on the central idea of leadership, the unit’s outcomes represent the proficiencies that all candidates must be able to demonstrate upon completion of their respective preparation programs. These proficiencies are drawn from a professional knowledge base that is aligned with the Kentucky Education Professional standards and the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium Standards for School Leaders (ISLLC-2008) standards.

A metaphor of an interlaced Celtic knot characterizes the set of six dispositions that represent the Educator as Leader model. The never ending strands signify the permanence and the continuum of teacher professional dispositions. These dispositions draw from a knowledge base aligned with national, state, and professional standards in support of student learning and development. curriculum contracts as well as in course syllabi identify specific references to the dispositions and appropriate standards articulated in the framework.

5. Exhibit Links