• Dispositions, Education Programs, and the Social Justice Requirement

    NCATE 2002 Assessment Guidelines

    “Unit assessments must also reflect the dispositions identified in its conceptual framework and in professional and state standards. Often team reports do not indicate any connection between dispositions specified in the conceptual framework and dispositions that are assessed. For example, if the unit has described its vision for teacher preparation as ‘Teachers as agents of change’ and has indicated that a commitment to social justice is one disposition it expects of teachers who can become agents of change, then it is expected that unit assessments include some measure of a candidate’s commitment to social justice.”


    University of Alabama

    "The College of Education is committed to honoring diversity, respecting difference, and promoting social justice. Many problems and issues confronting professionals lie beyond the classroom or clinic. An understanding of the larger social, political, cultural, and economic influences and reflecting upon this complexity is necessary . . . The College of Education is committed to preparing individuals to promote social justice, to be change agents, and to recognize individual and institutionalized racism, sexism, homophobia, and classism. It includes educating individuals to break silences about these issues, propose solutions, provide leadership, and develop anti-racist, anti-homophobic, anti-sexist community and alliances."


    University of Alaska-Fairbanks

    "The underlying goals of our educational philosophy are similar to the early progressivist goals of democracy, equality, and social justice for all Alaska students. We also are committed to social, institutional, and political systemic change in an attempt to address the historical wrongs that have occurred in this state. All of this is with an idealist look toward what can be rather than an idle acceptance of what is. That is, we hold fast to the possibility of a more democratic, equitable and socially just public education system . . . Social constructivism focuses on the social, cultural, and historical contexts as determinants in growth and learning. Emancipatory constructivism assumes the above but adds the political context. Grounded in the ideas of social justice, this stance focuses on equity, access, and power and posits that knowledge is always situated, interested, and partial rather than decontextualized, value-free, and total."


    California State University, Hayward

    The program seeks "to prepare collaborative leaders, committed to social justice and democracy, who will influence a highly technological and diverse world."

    California State University, Long Beach

    The program “prepares socially responsible leaders for a rapidly changing, technologically-rich world.”

    California State University, San Bernadino

    The program is "participating in the politics of power through advocacy and change agentry," with a responsibility to exert leadership in the region and in the national and international community," understanding that "the social context of the teaching/learning process must be addressed and that socio-political critique is part of the educative function."

    California State University, San Marcos

    We are committed to diversity, educational equity, and social justice.”

    California State University, Sonoma

    "The School of Education is committed to preparing educators who are agents of individual growth and social change as well as models and advocates of the broader intellectual and social values of a democratic society," with dispositions that include a commitment to "anti-bias principles, social justice, and democratic practices."

    Loyola Marymount University

    "The School of Education at LMU prepares students to work in culturally diverse schools, serving as leaders in their institutions and their communities.  This work is informed by our long-standing commitment to social justice."

    University of San Diego

    "We believe that education for human service must have as its foundation a vision of enhancing human dignity and the quality of life. To do so, human service professionals must focus on moral perspectives in their professional and community lives."


     Metropolitan State College

    "The teacher candidate will demonstrate an understanding of the importance of educating and behaving in a manner consistent with the principles of a democratic society." [note: These principles are not defined in the mission statement.]

    University of Colorado

    Students in the program must demonstrate a “shared commitment to evidence-based policy and practice and to democracy, diversity and social justice.”

    University of Northern Colorado

    The program believes "that learning is cultural and social, and that one of the greatest educational challenges for the 21st century is the search for a socially-just curriculum that engages all learners and brings meaning to their lives."



    Central Connecticut State University

    The program aims at “influencing educational and social policies at the local, State, and national levels . . . All professional preparation programs should . . . serve as an advocate for groups that have been traditionally discriminated against.”


     Florida International University

    The program seeks “to develop professional partnerships that promote meaningful educational, social, economic and political change.”

    Stetson University

    Students will "respond to learner needs and advocate for change at local through global level."

    University of Central Florida

    "While seeking international prominence, the UCF College of Education and the UCF Academy for Teaching, Learning and Leadership will be recognized for scholarly leadership in the education profession, well-educated students, rigorous curricula, research and scholarship, promotion of social justice."

    University of Florida

    “Exemplary professionals develop a moral vision to guide their practice and to help them reflect upon and improve it. Their moral vision defines ‘justice, responsibility, and virtue’ in the context of their work.”


    Clark Atlanta University

    The motto of the school’s education program is “Preparing Critical Thinking Change Agents for Social Justice in Urban Schools and Communities,” and states that its goals include “to serve as a change agent and proponent of change agentry to improve the human condition with a focus on the advancement of educational services” and “to develop emerging theories to support change agentry principles and processes.”


    “Positive social change does not occur without enlightened leadership. This leadership can be provided by the academy and profession itself,” with students being made “aware of the continuing threats to the promise of free public education for future generations.”

    Georgia Southern University

    Educators “must understand the political nature of education.” (p. 2)


    University of Hawaii

    "The College of Education prepares educators to contribute to a just and democratic society."


    Eastern Illinois University

    "The goal of the College is to prepare professionals who will advance the intellectual, physical, psychological and social wellbeing of our pluralistic democracy and global society. "

    Loyola University

    "Together, we form a community of educators dedicated to serving as inspiring role models of scholarship and committed to promoting social justice."

    Southern Illinois University

    "The College seeks to be a leader in a wide variety of settings--schools, industry, public and private agencies--for the promotion of a better society and improved quality of life."


    Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne

    "Effective educators, such as teachers, counselors, and administrators need to be part of a dynamic educational community as a model for the climate of community they hope to create. To do this, these educators need an understanding of the moral, cultural, social, political, and economic foundations of our society. Consequently, the SOE should foster a democratic, just, inclusive learning community among its students, faculty, and staff, and with all other stakeholders in the educational enterprise." The first goal in mission statement is to see students "becoming more caring, humane, and functional citizens in a global, multicultural, democratic society."

    Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis

    Teachers must “value and teach about diversity” and “capitalize on the potential of school to minimize inequities” by agreeing to “act as a change agent,” “mediate when learners need help to . . . change attitudes”, and “challenge negative attitudes.”

    Indiana State University

    "Education must be viewed as a primary means of redressing the inequities in our society."

    University of Evansville

     "At the University of Evansville, we regard this task [of educating] as deeper and more sweeping than may typically be thought. For being a responsible citizen in the multiple communities in which we interact implies not only having the vision, commitment, values, knowledge, and good sense to act for the collective good, but also having the capacities and commitments to lead a fulfilling life and to achieve one’s full personal potential. Thus, the profoundly important task of preparing the young for future life means, at the very least, that our young need to be able to grasp the complexities of difficult moral and social issues and be able to bring critical, rational insight to bear on those issues . . . Our emphasis on diversity emanates from our belief in the central human values of social justice."


    University of Kansas (modified on 9-23-05 to eliminate all the language below)

    The program operates under the theory that “addressing issues of diversity includes being more global than national and concerned with ideals such as world peace, social justice, respect for diversity and preservation of the environment.”


    University of Louisville

    “Teaching for change refers to the development of teachers who teach to the high standards of social justice.” (p. 1) The Education program seeks “to promote social justice in the school and larger community”, with prospective teachers required to “provide evidence” of their commitment to social justice. (pp. 3-4)


    University of Southern Maine

    Prospective teachers must demonstrate “a sense of responsibility to speak on behalf of and respond to the needs of our identified constituent groups and to promote social justice.”        


    Towson State

    Prospective teachers must demonstrate “a commitment to ethical practice, inquiry, knowledge, competence, caring, and social justice in a democratic society."

    University of Maryland, Baltimore County

    “We expect our graduates to be leaders in their schools as well as advocates for democracy and social justice.”


    University of Massachusetts, Amherst

     “Our approach is shaped by our fundamental commitment to social justice and diversity and by our belief in the essential importance of national and international perspectives as we advance education as a model for the nation.”


    Northern Michigan University

    "Given that schools are reflective of the society in which they exist, and given that schools also help shape the future of our society, taking the development of character and judgment seriously also means that we develop in our candidates a commitment to social justice and the role schools have to play in its attainment . . . A derivative that explores race, culture, and social justice attempts to call into question the social and political agenda in this country that has long included (and in some ways continues to be) the myth of cultural assimilation and the practice of racial hegemony. A by-product of such a view has helped to create and sustain perceptual differentiations of some U.S. citizens in ways that have led to stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination." The program therefore has adopted "dispositions that support social justice and oppose inequity."


    Hamline University

    "We promote pluralism, equity, and social justice in schools and society," as "we, the Graduate School of Education, believe in promoting pluralism, equity and social justice in our learning and work communities and society as a whole." [emphasis added]

    University of St. Thomas

    "The Department of Teacher Education is dedicated to developing knowledgeable, reflective practitioners committed to social justice," teachers who are "global citizens" and "collaborative agents of change."


    University of Missouri, Kansas City

    "The mission of the School of Education is that of empowering professionals as reflective practitioners committed to a more just and democratic society." [emphasis in original] This mission is centered on five key values which embody the knowledge, skills and dispositions expected of our candidates across the School of Education," which are embedded in the broader goal of "democracy and social justice."

    University of Missouri, St. Louis

    "Social Justice: Educating agencies play an important role in preparing individuals who engage in democracy and have the requisite employment knowledge, skills, and attitudes . . . Social structures and processes tend to be isomorphic with the expectations of the larger society. Educators and administrators play a key role in ensuring that school structures and processes remain in concert with societal expectations. Increasingly, society expects schooling to contribute to state and national economic interests. The curriculum comes to represent a particular ideology about how society should be organized. Such a condition could result in a hegemony in which students do not acquire the capacity to engage in determining for themselves what and who they wish to be. Teachers and administrators are primary agents in this process. Our desire as a COE is to counter these realities by equipping teachers and administrators with knowledge and analyatical skills enabling them to critique social conditions and structures of policies." (p.5)


    University of Nevada, Las Vegas

    Teachers must display dispositions to “know and respect the influence of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, and other aspects of culture on a child’s development and personality” by “demonstrating the belief that diversity in the classroom, in the school, and in society is a strength” and by “selecting materials, developing lessons, and promoting classroom environments that counteract negative stereotypes and bigotry.”

    New Jersey

    College of New Jersey

    Students will promote "equity and social justice through education."

    Rowan College

    "The purposes of schooling that form the building blocks of learning communities are based on Schwab's (1974) four functions of schooling: academic, social and personal responsibilities, and social justice . . . Academic knowledge cannot thrive unless social and personal responsibilities are supported. Also, social justice and the democratic values that go with such responsibilities must also be promoted." (p. 2)

    New Mexico

    Western New Mexico University

    "All approved programs within the SOE reflect bicultural, multicultural, anti-racist, pro-justice, critical, participatory, and cognitive grounded curricula. Also, the School of Education's mission is to prepare its students to become critical thinkers capable of and responsible for creating change that values diversity through action in their own lives and in the broader society . . . The School of Education highlights the work of Paulo Freire to reveal its beliefs about cultural pluralism and democratic processes. Freire, 1970, speaks about the need for the liberation of the oppressed by using dialogue and reflection as a tool for critically assessing issues that impact the disempowered. Freirean methods lead to a higher consciousness, which, if acted upon, may create positive social changes. Thus, active participation may lead toward equality for politically and economically disempowered communities. Likewise, by building a community of learners-utilizing inclusive strategies among teachers, students, families, and diverse communities-we enrich culture and language, create positive social change, and promote a sense of ownership which increases the possibilities for academic success in children."

    New York

    Brooklyn College

    One:Because democracy requires a substantive concern for equity, the faculty of the School of Education is committed, in theory and practice, to social justice . . . We believe that an education centered on social justice prepares the highest quality of future teachers . . . We recognize the challenges we face in preparing educators to be advocates for those on the margins of society . . . Given the historical roots of injustice, we are committed to helping practitioners see the vast possibilities of moving toward an equitable and just world knowing that ‘extreme inequalities in matters of race, gender and class often survive on the implicit understanding that there is no alternative’ . . . Our teacher candidates and other school personnel are prepared to demonstrate a knowledge of, language for, and the ability to create educational environments based on various theories of social justice.”

    Two: Candidates “are assessed on the conceptual framework themes of diversity and social justice, themes that emphasizes the need for candidates to be knowledgeable about, sensitive to and responsive to issues of diversity and social justice as these influence curriculum and pedagogy, school culture, relationships with colleagues and members of the school community, and candidates’ analysis of student work and behavior.” A pilot of the school’s dispositions evaluation form with 159 initial candidates and 155 advanced candidates “showed that our initial candidates met or exceeded expectations on average with respect to at least 88% of the 8 dispositions, and advanced candidates met or exceeded expectations on at least 83% of the dispositions.”

    Hofstra University

    The program prepares teachers “who will be scholarly in their academic pursuit and committed to social justice.”

    Hunter College

    “As a community of learners, we actively engage in teaching, research and service for the purposes of . . . championing social justice.”

    Lehman College

    “Teacher and counselor education is a movement for social change,” based on the theme of “Education for Social Action.”

    Niagara University

    "Graduates from the College of Education will demonstrate the qualities of outstanding reflective practitioners and the dispositions of caring, respect for self and others, commitment to equity and social justice, open mindedness, and fairness."

    Pace University

    "To become professionals who promote justice, [emphasis in original] our candidates learn to work toward equity in our society. As we understand it, justice implies a balance between the rights of individuals and the needs of society, equal protection under the law, fairness in the distribution and use of resources and equal access to opportunities. Through challenging coursework and varied field experiences our candidates are provided with multiple opportunities to recognize and address unjust policies and practices both within and outside of schools."

    Teachers' College, Columbia University

    "Our graduates choose to collaborate across differences in and beyond their school communities. They demonstrate a commitment to social justice and to serving the world while imagining its possibilities." "Six dispositions are identified as essential," including "Respect for Diversity and Commitment to Social Justice."


    “The foundation of liberal learning informs the professional education strand in an innovative thematic approach that emphasizes personal responsibility and global understanding that encourages the construction of communities committed to enacting social justice.”

    “Educating for social justice means our actions as well as our words seek full participation for all people in a global society. SUNY Cortland’s commitment to social justice focuses on the ongoing problems of a democratic society, contemporary social problems, rural and urban education, and environmental responsibility. Through enrollment in our teacher education program, candidates demonstrate an awareness of issues of social justice, equality, and democracy facing our society.” (pp. 18-19)


    Candidates provide evidence of their understanding of social justice in teaching activities, journals, and portfolios . . . Candidates understand and evaluate the varied approaches to multicultural reform, and identify social action as the most advanced level.” (emphasis added)


    "The role of educators in meeting that goal is to function as socially conscious catalysts for change who create and sustain school environments where excellence is cherished and social justice flourishes.  These beliefs reflect the mission of the School of Education . . . Concern for social justice anchors the educational process; it is the knot at the top of the braid."

    University of Rochester

    "At the Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development, we believe that education can transform lives and make the world more just and humane. This vision informs our teaching, research and service as a research school of education, as we strive to PREPARE practitioners and researchers who are knowledgeable, reflective, skilled and caring educators, who can make a difference in individual lives as well as their fields, and who are leaders and agents of change." This work includes the underlying belief that "the improvement of education is in pursuit of social justice."

    North Carolina

    Duke University

    “Over the past several years, there has been a growing interest among Duke undergraduates in the complex problems our nation faces and ways they as college graduates might contribute to resolving these issues [these issues are not identified anywhere in the statement]. The Program in Education offers undergraduates ways to explore these pressing problems involving issues of race, class, and gender, particularly in relation to schools.”

    North Carolina State University

    “Our inquiry and practice reflect integrity, a commitment to social justice, and the value of diversity in a global community.”

    University of North Carolina

    “Excellence entails a commitment to fully developing candidates, not only academically but also in moral and political senses.” (emphasis added)

    Western Carolina University

    "Dispositions are guided by beliefs and attitudes related to values such as caring, fairness, honesty, responsibility, and social justice."


    Cleveland State University

    “Our mission is to prepare professionals who reflect our commitment to educational excellence across the life-span through teaching, research, and service focused on leadership, social justice, and partnerships in addressing contemporary urban needs.”

    University of Toledo

    “The questions we ask and our firm belief in the value of the individual are rooted in a democratic tradition founded on social justice. Education is our prime vehicle for creating the ‘just’ society. In all of our efforts in education we are preparing citizens to lead productive lives in a democratic society characterized by social justice.”


    Oregon State University

    “We are committed to the values of diversity and social justice in a global society”; the Education program’s goal is to “produce culturally competent educators who embrace diversity and social justice.”

    Portland State University

    “We develop our programs to promote social justice, especially for groups that have been historically disenfranchised.”

    South Carolina

    University of South Carolina

    The program aims at “preparing educators to have a sincere understanding and appreciation of diversity as we challenge ourselves and others to work for social justice.”


    University of Vermont

    The ultimate purpose of these activities [in the Education Program] is to create a more humane and just society, free from oppression, that fosters respect for ethnic and cultural diversity, and maximizes human potential and the quality of life for all individuals, families and communities.”


    George Mason University

    Teachers must demonstrate a disposition for a “commitment to democratic values and social justice,” including such inherently political requirements as understanding “systemic issues that prevent full participation” and “advocate for practices that promote equity and access.”


    We demonstrate our belief in the value of diversity by . . . modeling and promoting social justice.”


    Central Washington University

    "The mission of our college is to prepare competent, enlightened citizens who will enhance their respective professions, commit themselves to socially responsible leadership, and help develop the global economy in a spirit of cooperation."

    Washington State University

    The program featured “annual events that involved the college faculty staff and students as well as the larger community in focusing on and promoting social justice."

    Western Washington University

    "Woodring College of Education fosters community relationships and a culture of learning that advances knowledge, embraces diversity and promotes social justice."



    The teacher education program “has a commitment to social justice in schools and society,” while using education “to transcend the negative effects of the dominant culture” and having candidates demonstrate a “desire to work for social justice, particularly in an urban environment.” (pp. 8, 15, 19)


    University of Wyoming

    "Roger Soder (Soder, Goodlad, & McMannon, 2001) defines twelve conditions for democracy: trust, exchange, social capital, respect for equal justice under the law, respect for civil discourse, recognition of the need for E Pluribus Unum, free and open inquiry, knowledge of rights, freedom, recognition of the tension between freedom and order, recognition of the difference between a persuaded audience and a more thoughtful public, and ecological understanding. It is the pursuit of these often-unrealized conditions that make practitioners’ “democratic” dispositions essential catalysts for positive social change."