The School of Education at Loyola University Chicago, a Jesuit Catholic urban university, supports the Jesuit ideal of knowledge in the service of humanity. We endeavor to advance professional education in service of social justice, engaged with Chicago, the nation, and the world. To achieve this vision, the School of Education participates in the discovery, development, demonstration, and dissemination of professional knowledge and practice within a context of ethics, service to others, and social justice. We fulfill this mission by preparing professionals to serve as teachers, administrators, psychologists, and researchers who work across the developmental continuum, and by conducting research on issues of professional practice and social justice.
Conceptual Framework: Professionalism in service of Social Justice
Our Conceptual Framework — through its components of service, skills, knowledge, and ethics — guides the curricula of School of Education programs in the preparation of “professionals in service of social justice.” These dimensions of the conceptual framework also serve as the foundation to the School of Education standards that are explicitly embedded in major benchmarks across all SOE programs.
- Service. Our programs emphasize service to others. This implies a life-long commitment of reflection on each possible professional decision: how does my action serve others? In being taught how to critically evaluate their own social realities as well as the social realities of those different from them, professionals form moral and ethical convictions. These convictions become the basis for meaningful actions directed toward issues of social justice and service to others. Field experiences and structured service experiences followed by opportunities for reflection help shape this dimension.
- Skills. Professionalism implies practice in the use of relevant skills at a level of competency and developing expertise. Each professional field has a set of skills, termed variously methods, interventions, or treatments that all professionals in the discipline must be able to provide. Often a regulatory body specifies these skills or credentialing agency and these requirements inform our performance expectations. Our programs emphasize developing a repertoire of skills and being able to modify and adapt these skills for diverse settings and clients. In addition, competence with rapidly changing technologies is part of each professional’s skill set.
- Knowledge. Professionals have a strong knowledge-base grounded in research. This requires not only the understanding of a current body of literature, but also knowing how to critically evaluate new practices and research and a commitment to life-long learning. Professional societies and governmental bodies establish standards and guidelines for knowledge. We believe that the professional’s depth of knowledge must exceed minimum standards for competent functioning. We place particular emphasis on expanded knowledge for working with diverse populations and the ways technology can enhance education.
- Ethics. No amount of knowledge or skills alone can make a professional in service of social justice. Both knowledge and skills must be accompanied by a capacity to make reasoned decisions about what is just and an understanding of ethical principles. Development of a professional ethical sense is essential to the School of Education’s learning community and a component of each program. All members of our community are to be life-long learners about the complex issues of what is just.