MCE leads education innovation for the 21st century
There is a growing policy trend in a number of states to establish 'P-16' and 'P-20' councils related to the governance of education. 'P' represents pre-school or other early childhood supports for education, and the '20' represents graduate school and beyond. Colorado's governor recently organized such a Council. These P-20 councils are primarily looking for ways to smooth out the transitions between one level of formal education and another, with the primary goal of ensuring that more students are able to successfully enter and graduate from college.
In addition to our concern over college access and success, the Morgridge College of Education is taking our P-20 cues from a broader set of trends affecting all learners of all ages in 21st century society, schools, and related organizations, including:
- Increasing globalization and shifting workforce demands, emphasizing a need for creativity, innovation, interdisciplinary thinking and problem-solving;
- An expectation that all learners are capable of high levels of achievement, and that our society needs all citizens to reach their maximum educational potential;
- An increasingly diverse citizenry; linguistically, culturally, and socially:
- Expanded understanding, through research, of how people learn and an appreciation of and support for diverse learning styles:
- Rapidly advancing technological changes, and an accompanying explosion of knowledge;
- A workforce composed of workers who will likely change jobs, even careers, many times;
- An explosion of "informal sources of learning" such as internet, blogs, pod-casts, television and other media, that change how individuals learn and relate to the world.
All of these characteristics of modern society create a perspective on the world and education's place in it. In particular, they influence and enhance the shaping of our P-20 work in the Morgridge College of Education. For us, the 'P' stands for 'Pre-natal,' and represents the first point at which education and community institutions support parents to ensure long-term success of their children. The '20' represents students seeking standard undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as lifelong learners returning for additional education to change careers or just to expand personal horizons.
The education field is still working out exactly what all these global changes mean for educational practice, and MCE is taking a lead in research and policy analysis to help turn these challenges into new opportunities to improve education for all learners. Our initial changes in the Leadership programs are bringing the full spectrum of new leaders together in strategic areas of learning. The goal is to help educational leaders understand the systemic supports needed across all ages and stages of learning for growth to occur. We are also linking new teacher preparation and leadership preparation in some innovative ways, through connections between the Curriculum and Instruction, Teacher Education, and Leadership programs. The emphasis is on innovative solutions to educational challenges, aiding educators as they lead learners to success, and helping all personnel in educational institutions make data-informed decisions about effective student-centered instruction.
Our Library and Information Science Program helps lifelong learners and learning organizations to navigate the challenges of our information-driven, technological society. Academic and teacher librarians work closely with educational institutions to provide access to enhanced learning technologies to help students, both youth and adults, engage in active learning. Our Counseling Psychology program works with all ages across the life span to provide education and counseling on areas such as coping, problem solving, and social relationships. Our Child, Family, and School Psychology program are working closely with early learning leadership and educator preparation, bringing best evidence-based practices and new research to implement developmentally appropriate support and instruction in early years. These collaborations are aimed at improving community and family connections with better educational system supports to level the playing field for all children by the time they enter formal schooling
Our support of P-20 innovations signals a commitment to changing how we teach our students at the University, modeling effective forms of collaboration and integration, and how we, as researchers, engage as true partners with the community around us. We believe that through working together we can understand and enact the best ways to support all members of our society in active lifelong learning.