Mission Statement

Elementary Education prepares its students to be knowledgeable, ethical, caring decision makers. The Department prepares students at the undergraduate level in elementary education, at the master's level in elementary education, and at the doctoral level in curriculum and instruction.

The mission of the Department of Elementary Education is consistent with the mission of the College of Education.

The faculty in elementary education fulfill the mission as they:

  1. Deliver exemplary instruction to students at the undergraduate and graduate levels; 

  2. Produce, interpret, and disseminate sound and useful research and scholarship; and

  3. Provide leadership, collaboration, and service within the profession.

The preparation of educational personnel is accomplished through courses and experiences anchored in a foundation of professional knowledge. This knowledge is organized into the following categories: (a) groups and institutions, (b) learning and students, (c) teaching and planning, and (d) clinical application and practice. This framework guides the planning and delivery of courses and experiences, and also serves as a framework for research, scholarship, and service related to the departmental mission.


Secondary Education is committed to addressing the needs of a broadly divergent set of constituencies. Our primary responsibility, as a major component of one of the oldest and strongest land-grant universities in the nation, is providing quality instruction and clinical supervision in both on-campus and field-based settings.

Examination of our programs, our students' skills and understandings, and the reactions of those institutions and school districts that employ our graduates, highlights our success in adhering to our major goal - Developing educators who are knowledgeable, ethical, and caring decision - makers. This goal is intertwined throughout our undergraduate program and is the basis for our national accreditation by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). To meet this stated goal, it is our mission to prepare educators to:

  • appreciate differing viewpoints
  • consider new and divergent thinking
  • weigh ideas carefully
  • evaluate conventional wisdom
  • obtain accurate and useful knowledge
  • use critical and analytical thinking
  • use careful and thoughtful communication
  • promote a desire to explore, question, and solve problems

The Secondary Education program will contribute to the economic development of the State of Kansas by preparing human capital in the form of secondary school teachers. The preparation of individuals to serve as professional education personnel in local, state, and regional schools and institutes is accomplished through a common core of experiences anchored in a foundation of professional knowledge. The foundation is comprised by a framework in the context of (a) groups and institutions, (b) learning and students, (c) teaching and planning, and (d) clinical application and practice. This framework further guides the planning and delivery of specific courses within the program as a whole and demands that we engage in scholarly research that contributes to the quality of our undergraduate and graduate teacher education programs. The faculty of the Department of Secondary Education recognizes that the preparation of middle and secondary level educators is unique due to differences in function, curriculum, teaching methodology, and organization from other levels of the educational hierarchy. Therefore the Secondary Education program is designed to reflect, disseminate, and contribute to that identifiable professional knowledge base needed by successful practitioners in school systems and related institutions. The teaching, research, and service functions of Secondary Education focus on:

Groups and Institutions

  • The effects of culture and customs of the community and how it impacts schools.
  • Understanding philosophic implications and analysis of educational issues.
  • Interpreting historical conclusions as tools for clarifying the present and speculating on the future of education.
  • Demonstrating an understanding of public law, policy and agencies that influence schools.
  • Understanding schools and school systems as formal and informal social organizations.
  • Interpreting and applying professional propriety and educational ethics.
  • Understanding the role of professional organizations and public school policy in the development of issues, curriculum, methods and materials.

Students and Learning

  • Understanding the implications and applications of human growth and development integrated with teaching and learning.
  • Recognizing that social and economic (socioeconomic) status, family perceptions and personal values influence individual learners.
  • Constructing a concept of multiculturalism and diversity and their impact on students and learning.
  • Understanding the thesis for equality and social justice in education.
  • Understanding theories of learning and their relevance in educational settings.
  • Recognizing the need to be a life long learner.
  • Assessing student differences and identify learning experiences appropriate to meet the needs of diverse learners.

Planning and Teaching

  • Developing appropriate curricula utilizing a variety of support materials.
  • Selecting best instructional practice in order to diversify approaches consistent with the needs of learners.
  • Applying appropriate instructional strategies to a variety of teaching situations.
  • Understanding major concepts drawn from educational measurement, assessment, and evaluation literature.
  • Utilizing educational technology in teaching and advancing learning.
  • Diversifying instructional approaches based on sound rationales, goals, and learning outcomes.
  • Analyze the advantages and disadvantages of instructional modes and strategies that promote critical thinking and problem solving.
  • Demonstrating knowledge of curricular design and development.
  • Constructing appropriate learning outcomes.
  • Demonstrating an understanding of alternative assessments that match identified learning outcomes.

Clinical Application and Practice

  • Interacting professionally in a variety of clinical settings.
  • Applying appropriate management skills and/or procedures in diverse educational settings.
  • Modeling the habits of mind which learners need to acquire to effectively live in our democracy.
  • Critically reflecting personal behaviors and professional practice.