The goal of McNeese State University (MSU) and the Professional Education Unit is to prepare candidates who are life-long learners. Unit faculty believe that four important qualities exist in life-long learners: professionalism, reflection, collaboration, and diversity. Programs also meet the state and national standards that are currently being formulated and revised. In order to meet NCATE's Standard 2, the Unit Assessment Committee developed the assessment goals and system around the conceptual framework and program goals.
The goal of McNeese State University administration, Professional Education Programs Unit, Professional Education Advisory Council, school faculty, and other stakeholders is to produce candidates who are life-long learners. For this reason, the conceptual framework's central theme is Professional Educators as Life-long Learners. Professional educators possess a foundation of content knowledge and best practices regarding teaching and learning, developed during their time in a program and continuing throughout their lifetime. Professional educators recognize the importance of continually seeking knowledge in order to meet the diverse needs of students and realize the importance of working collaboratively, acquiring new teaching methods, implementing new technologies, and utilizing new material that will be available in the future.
The Conceptual Framework outlines four critical components of Professional Educators as Life-Long Learners: professionalism, reflection, collaboration, and diversity. Life-long learning refers to the continuation of seeking knowledge throughout one's lifetime and career and reflects the commitment to acquire and use professional knowledge to benefit all students. Professionalism requires that candidates understand the goals, demands, and responsibilities of a career in education; reflection allows candidates to consider and refine professional practices to identify connections between educational strategies and student learning; collaboration means candidates respect the various groups involved in the educational system and network with these groups to demonstrate best practices; and diversity demands that candidates understand and display sensitivity to the diverse environment occurring in the education profession. A visual model of the conceptual framework, which depicts the four strands as the foundation of the life-long learner beacon, has been developed. The flame symbolizes the life-long learner's contribution to the community as one who enhances intellectual, civic, and cultural well-being; influences educational, economic and technological development; and improves quality of life.
All professional education programs at McNeese State University are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).