Christ.  Scholarship.  Service.

Conceptual Framework

I.  Overview and Conceptual Framework

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

Huntington University was chartered under the laws of the State of Indiana as Central College in 1897 by the Board of Education of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ. Central College was renamed Huntington College in May 1917 in response to community interests. The institution became Huntington University on June 1, 2005. It retains its strong association with both the local community and the Church of the United Brethren in Christ. The University is located on a site of over 160 largely wooded acres and includes a central pedestrian mall and a memorial fountain. The fountain is circled by academic buildings such as Richlyn Library, Loew-Brenn Hall, and the large new science building completed in 2002. The Thornhill Nature Preserve, a 77 acre nature area located just minutes from campus, is used primarily by the Education Department to provide practicum experience for Elementary Education candidates. Candidates are able to interact with Huntington County and surrounding county elementary students who come to the Preserve for study trip programs throughout the school year. Huntington University is known for combining a strong emphasis in the liberal arts with all its professional programs. The core curriculum for all Bachelor of Arts candidates is a minimum of 64 hours and 52 for all other bachelor degrees. (12 hours of foreign language for BA degree). Huntington offers 60 undergraduate majors as well as graduate programs in Counseling, Education, and Youth Ministries Leadership. Huntington University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. There are nationally accredited programs in Education (NCATE), Social Work (CSWE), and Nursing (CCNE). Huntington University also holds membership in over 70 additional professional associations such as American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education and Council of Independent Colleges.  For many decades the undergraduate teacher education program has been one of the university’s largest and strongest programs.  A Master of Education (M.Ed.) program was added to address local demand in 2005.     

 I.2  What is the institution’s mission?

Huntington University is a Christ-centered liberal arts institution of higher education with a strong historic and ongoing relationship with the Church of the United Brethren in Christ. Based on the conviction that all truth is God's truth, the University exists to carry out the mission of Christ in higher education. Through a curriculum of demonstrated academic excellence, students are educated in the liberal arts and their chosen disciplines, always seeking to examine the relationship between the disciplines and God's revelation in Jesus Christ.  

The University's mission will be accomplished as we:  

  • Develop in students a commitment to scholarship which is persistent in its pursuit of truth and sensitive to the concerns of the Christian Church, the scholarly and educational community, and the world at large.  
  • Educate students broadly for a life of moral and spiritual integrity, personal and social responsibility, and a continued quest for wisdom.  
  • Equip students for a variety of vocations so that they may glorify the Creator, who charged humanity with the care of His creation.  
  • Help students develop their abilities for a life of God-honoring service to others and for personal fulfillment.  

Huntington University is committed to developing the whole person, assisting students to understand all areas of human knowledge from the perspective of a Christian worldview, and preparing them to impact their world for Christ. While the programs of the University are designed especially for students who desire to study in such an environment, the University welcomes students of all faiths who understand the objectives of the University and are willing to abide by its regulations. The University is committed to a strong liberal arts emphasis for all students, regardless of the vocation or profession for which they are preparing. In developing the whole person, the University emphasizes intellectual, physical, social, emotional, and religious objectives. 

At the advanced level, the M.Ed. program extends the mission of the university by extending HU’s strong undergraduate teacher education program into graduate degree options, offering a professionalized degree for HU graduates and local teachers, and offering a high-quality, faith-based opportunity for the region.  This highly flexible graduate program for practicing, licensed teachers provides refresher courses in classroom management, technology, and curriculum design (see M.Ed. catalog section and website). It gives teachers an update on current issues and theories tied to their specific teaching assignments with courses such as current issues, critical readings, and theory and pedagogy.  The program also introduces many teachers to the area of differentiated instruction and immerses candidates in the scholarly discipline of action research in their own classrooms.     

I.3  What is the professional education unit at your institution, what is its relationship to other units at the institution that are involved in the preparation of professional educators, and what are the significant changes since the last NCATE review?

The Education Department is the professional education unit at Huntington University.  The Education Department, along with the Department of Kinesiology and Recreation Management, make up one of six academic divisions at Huntington University. The department has the same level of autonomy enjoyed by the other academic departments at the University. Policies and program design are the purview of departments. The unit's proposals are well received in the University's committees and governance structure. All programs are managed and coordinated to support candidates in meeting Indiana licensing standards.   

The unit regularly collaborates on program design and revisions with other departments, its division, and public school personnel. Each department in the University is part of a division and must obtain approval from its respective division and the Academic Concerns Committee for all Catalog changes, such as new course proposals, program revisions, and Catalog policies. All new programs must also be approved by the full faculty of the University. All unit faculty members participate in policy revisions and program design, implementation, and evaluation. The Education Department makes the final decision about education program policy changes to be proposed to the University. The Education Department processes all requests for education curriculum and Catalog changes through its division and the Academic Concerns Committee—as all departments do. Program changes go through a standard approval process:  Education Department (with input from TEC and TEPAC); Division V; Academic Concerns Committee; and the University faculty. New education programs must also be approved by the Indiana Department of Education. The unit also works collaboratively with all content area departments if changes are necessary in content area courses.  For example, in the spring of 2010, the Indiana Department of Education instituted sweeping changes in licensing requirements for both elementary and secondary teacher education programs. Among those changes were the requirement that elementary education candidates have a minor or concentration in an additional content area and the requirement that all secondary education candidates must have an equivalent number of content area courses as their non-Education counterparts. By working closely with content area departments, all required curriculum changes were identified, processed, approved, and included in program guides for all programs before the beginning of the fall, 2010 semester.   

Data from graduates, cooperating teachers, and other stakeholders indicated a need in the local area for a Master of Education program with opportunities for additional study in differentiated instruction, classroom management, technology, and other professional development.  The program offers tracks in elementary education, early adolescent education, and adolescent and young adult education with a number of content-specific concentrations. The M.Ed. program was approved by the university in 2003, approved by the Higher Learning Commission and the Indiana Professional Standards Board in 2004, and launched in 2005.  All of the instructors in the M.Ed. program are full-time employees at the university and faculty members in the Education Department, which is the body that makes academic and admissions decisions concerning the M.Ed. program.  Shortly after the launch of this graduate program, the university created a separate division for Graduate and Adult Studies. The division has a separate dean, and graduate and adult academic issues are approved by the Graduate and Adult Studies Committee (see minutes).   

Significant program changes since 2007: 

  • The unit’s gradual move to a much more complete system of electronic data gathering, storage, aggregation, and evaluation has greatly increased access to the kinds of information needed by the unit to assess the need for change. 
  • In 2008, the unit added an exit survey, administered to candidates at the end of student teaching in order to get immediate feedback regarding program quality and suggestions for change. 
  • Summer 2009, the M.Ed. program began offering additional courses in the summer to meet teacher demand and allow candidates to complete the program by attending only during the summer if desired. 
  • In 2009, the M.Ed. program made the graduate technology course an elective instead of a requirement because of increased teacher familiarity with technology.   
  • In 2009, the M.Ed. program added a “generalist” track for teachers of content areas other than those specified in the existing programs.   
  • In 2010, the unit received approval from the IDOE to begin offering a certification program for English as a New Language (ENL) for both pre-service candidates and licensed classroom teachers. 
  • Phase out of the Elementary Primary, Elementary Intermediate program to be completed August 2013 (IN licensing returned to a single Elementary license). 
  • Phase out of the Middle Grades program to be completed by August 2013 (This program consisted of Intermediate Elementary plus Middle School content and pedagogy). 
  • The Education Department made the decision to add a rating scale for dispositional criteria to the program interview form to provide ongoing quantifiable data. 
  • Stand- alone assessment courses were added as a requirement for all Education majors (Special Education already had a stand-alone assessment course). 
  • Spanish Education was dropped due to low enrollment and personnel changes. 
  • Implementation (Fall 2010) of the Elementary Education Major with a choice of concentrations in either Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, or Fine Arts.  
  • Implementation (Fall 2010) of the Dual Licensure Major in Elementary Education and Teaching English Learners.  
  • Implementation (Fall 2010) of the Dual Licensure Major in Elementary Education and Middle School Education. (Note that the name of the dual licensure program in Elementary Education and Special Education changed, but there were no significant curriculum changes.) 
  • In 2010 the M.Ed. program format was changed from 100% face-to-face (e.g., one night per week for a whole semester) to a hybrid format with about 50% of each course taught online.   
  • Spring Semester 2011, The Education Department instituted the Teacher Work Sample as a requirement for all candidates during the Student Teaching semester. 
  • May 2011, the decision was made by the Education Department faculty to change from 4 assessment checkpoints to 3 in order to make the continuous assessment system more fluid, relevant, and rigorous. Implementation began in the Fall Semester, 2011. 
  • Fall 2011, the Transition to Teaching program was removed from the list of program options for the unit with the one remaining T to T candidate graduating in May 2012. The change was based on changes in state requirements and significant under-enrollment in the unit's T to T programs.  
  • Fall 2011, Dr. Joni Schmalzried was hired to advise and lead the Elementary Education/Special Education program. 
  • Fall 2012, the M.Ed. program added a Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) track. 
  • Fall 2012, the M.Ed. discontinued the requirement of the GRE since data indicated the writing proficiency option was sufficient for program applicants.     

I.4  Summarize basic tenets of the conceptual framework, institutional standards and candidate proficiencies related to expected knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions as well as significant changes made to the conceptual framework since the last NCATE review?  

Huntington University's Conceptual Framework—Teacher as Effective Steward— was first implemented in the early 1990s after a series of meetings between the Education Department faculty, liberal arts faculty, and outside consultants. The goal of the Education Department is to develop teachers who are effective stewards. Stewardship is a biblical concept that fits well with our mandate from the state of Indiana to prepare students for the teaching profession. Teacher education graduates understand the conceptual framework provided by this "Teacher As Effective Steward" model in four areas.  Below are brief descriptions of these responsibilities as they are presented in a summary document which is distributed to all candidates, cooperating teachers, and other stakeholders. A full rendering of the Teacher as Effective Steward may be found in the knowledge base document.  

As Stewards of Knowledge teachers are responsible to society, the culture at large, and to God to help all students learn skills and concepts from the huge body of current knowledge.  Candidates in teacher preparation programs must have a strong knowledge base in three areas: general education/liberal arts, specific content areas (including the knowledge specified by state content area standards), and professional/pedagogical knowledge (including pedagogical knowledge specified in state developmental standards and INTASC Principles). In the University's extensive general studies program, candidates receive a strong introduction to the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. Candidates become life-long learners who cherish and respect the value of liberal knowledge and human diversity. The academic disciplines provide candidates with thorough preparation in their content areas and a focal point around which they can synthesize knowledge acquired in the general studies program. In the area of professional studies, candidates gain theoretical and practical knowledge that enables them to deal effectively with the myriad of tasks, constituencies, diversities, information, and technologies that today's teachers must manage. 

As Stewards of Learner Development teachers have a responsibility to parents, students, and the public to guide learners in their intellectual, social, emotional, and moral development.  Learner diversity requires broad exposure of teacher candidates to differentiated instruction, multicultural teaching, and knowledge of cultures, gender, economic status, and learning styles.   It is important for teachers to teach in ways that maximize each student's potential and minimize influences which limit or distort learning potential. Effective teachers exhibit professional dispositions toward all learners, identify learner strengths and weaknesses, and develop instructional and assessment techniques to support learner progress. They are able to use approaches which strengthen student initiative and self-responsibility. In addition, teachers develop techniques which encourage student interaction, success, and self-worth. Finally, they address and capitalize on classroom diversities such as ethnicity, exceptionalities, and learning styles. 

As Stewards of Learning Environments teachers have a responsibility to administrators, parents, and the community to provide the best possible conditions for student learning.  Effective teachers provide an environment conducive to maximum productivity for both learner and teacher. Teachers must use available elements including space, materials, facilities, time and people to insure specific learning tasks are accomplished. In addition, teachers must create an atmosphere which promotes feelings of safety and encourages productive interaction. This requires teachers to develop and implement structures in classroom management and promote positive learner behavior.  Teachers must also develop and use techniques which engage and hold learner attention and make the most of learner differences. Beyond the classroom, teachers must establish strong bonds within the school and community. Teachers must be equipped to communicate with various audiences, including parents, peers, and other professionals. 

As Stewards of Instruction, teachers have a responsibility to teach the various academic disciplines with integrity and thoroughness in the most effective ways possible for all learners.  Planning, managing, and delivering instruction are obvious ways in which stewardship is manifested in the classroom. Teaching requires effective planning that relates content to the specific needs, abilities, and diverse characteristics of the learners. This requires that teachers help learners think critically and see both the nature and application of knowledge.  Effective instruction involves efficient management of classroom interactions, learning technologies, and varied assessments of student learning. Through an understanding of research and evidence based practice related to instruction, candidates are better able to become effective stewards of instruction.   

Since effective teachers are called to be responsible managers of the curriculum, the classroom and students, and their teaching methods, regardless of the specific curriculum or methodological approach, these components of stewardship have proved to be robust and sustainable through two decades of changes in NCATE, state, and content area standards and in federal expectations such as No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. We have changed terminology—such as changing "pupil" to "learner"—and we have updated our descriptions of the components to emphasize diversity, assessment, learning styles, special education, technology, and reflective professionalism. The basic components of the framework, however, have remained unchanged and are just as relevant to our program today as they were twenty years ago. 

The conceptual framework is included in all undergraduate and graduate course syllabi.  At the inception of the M.Ed. program, the unit’s conceptual framework was examined for its applicability to graduate level programs and found to be very compatible with the program objectives at the advanced level as well as the initial level.  The conceptual framework’s emphasis on stewardship and responsibility in various facets and in diverse learning environments proved a perfect fit for the M.Ed. program and aligned very well with National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) core principles as well.

1.5 Exhibits 


I.5.a.1   2011-2013 Unit Catalog 

 I.5.a.1.a 2009-2011 Unit Catalog 

 I.5.a.1.b 2009-2011 ENL 

 I.5.a.1.c 2011-2013 EL 

 I.5.a.1.d 2011-2013 HU Academic Catalog 

 I.5.a.2 Sample Guide to Typical Programs and Checksheets (others available onsite) 

1.5.bI.5.b.1 Undergraduate Syllabi for professional education courses  

I.5.b.2  M. ED Syllabi 


I.5.c.1 Conceptual Framework Summary 

I.5.c.2 Conceptual Framework (Knowledge Base) 

1.5.dFindings of other national accreditation associations related to the preparation of education professionals (e.g., ASHA, NASM, APA, CACREP)  Not Applicable 
1.5.eUpdated institutional, program, and faculty information under institutional work space in AIMS (Available in AIMS) 


NCATE Review 

Conceptual Framework

Standard 1

Standard 2

Standard 3

Standard 4

Standard 5

Standard 6

IR: Addendum and Exhibits