St. Bonaventure University

Conceptual Framework

sbu_edu_clr_sm(1)The graphic depiction of the School of Education's conceptual framework includes compass points, representing points of understanding.

These understandings are enclosed in a semicircle, which represents the School of Education community, including faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members. 

Conceptual framework themes

  • Competence refers to content and professional knowledge and skills that candidates accrue and effectively apply in their specialized fields to improve the learner, learning, and learner-centered environment.
  • Experience refers to classroom and field-based experiences designed to increase candidate proficiencies through practice guided by competent faculty and reflection. 
  • Social Justice refers to an understanding of the value of individuality and diversity in educational environments as well as in the larger community. 

The conceptual framework is built upon

Shared vision
School and agency personnel are viewed as full partners in the candidates’ learning process. Our commitment to field experiences requires that candidates combine their knowledge and skills with dispositions and behavioral norms necessary to be successful professionals.

The School of Education prepares candidates who support schools and agencies in producing learners who will be contributors to the global community. To be successful, these learners must be literate, informed contributors who possess the knowledge and skills to function within a democratic society.

There exists a traditional American causal connection between formal education and the creation of good citizens for this democratic society (Delli, Carpini,& Keeter,1996; Noddings, 2005). The School of Education strives to produce educators who can meet the challenges of the 21st century learner.

“Bonaventure,” in translation, is “the good journey.” The School of Education seeks to provide a foundation of values for candidates to carry through their professional journeys. The conceptual framework rests within the greater mission of the University.

Built upon tradition, the Franciscan legacy is one that emphasizes the dignity of all, the value of diversity and the lifelong journey to meaningful knowledge.  It is the School’s goal to produce graduates whose contributions reflect Franciscan beliefs, including social justice.

The conceptual framework is assessed in multiple ways throughout the unit. Extensive data collection of student performance is ongoing. These data are analyzed and aggregated for continuous program review and improvement.

Surveys of faculty, alumni, and P-12 community partners provide valuable insight about the extent to which our students have met the conceptual framework goals in their coursework, field placements and in their employment.

Professional commitments and dispositions
The Conceptual Framework embodies desired candidate dispositions in the three themes of Competence, Experience, and Social Justice.

  • use a reflective model to improve professional practice;
  • are open to using a variety of tools, including technology and communication formats;
  • demonstrate professionalism in interactions, appearance, and behaviors; and
  • believe in the utility of data-driven decision making.

  • are accepting of feedback and engage in reflective practice;
  • create learning environments based on research and best practice; and
  • work as an active part of a learning community.

Social justice
  • demonstrate respect for the diversity, dignity and worth of individuals, and
  • create effective learning environments that recognize the strength of a unified community while affirming diversity in all its forms.

Commitment to a diverse community
The core values of the St. Bonaventure University Mission Statement include Community and Individual Worth. Inclusiveness has always been a key disposition of the Franciscan tradition and the Bonaventure culture.

The University has long cherished its diversity and has welcomed and celebrated the contributions of those individuals of differing race, ethnicity, gender, language, religion, class, sexual orientation, age and intellectual and physical ability.

The continuing work of the Diversity Action Committee reflects the University’s efforts to support change in a number of areas, including changing curriculum, to recognize power and diversity issues, providing workshops emphasizing tolerance and respect for diversity for all University staff, and even helping to provide community services and products that a more ethnically diverse population needs. Our rural location hampers efforts to increase diversity. However, the University seeks to recruit faculty, staff and students from underrepresented  populations.

Faculty of the School of Education promote diversity in their courses, preparing candidates to work in inclusive environments. When interacting with learners, candidates are respectful of and sensitive to cultural and racial differences; appreciative of bilingual ability; protective of the educational rights of learners; and committed to meeting the needs of all students.

Effective educators strongly believe that all students can learn (Landsman, 2006; Wolk, 2003). Based on their knowledge of learners and the principles of learning, candidates design experiences with appropriate expository and expressive activities and environments that provide suitable challenges and supports for all learners/clients (Lambert & McCombs, 1998).

They apply appropriate assessments and evaluations to monitor progress. Reflecting on their work leads to comparing the intended results with outcomes. Analyzing and synthesizing results leads to acting on assessment data in order to improve outcomes (Costa & Kallick, 2000; Cushner, 1992; Davidman & Davidman, 1997).

Educators use their communication skills to ensure that the learning environment is one of support, caring, trust and a strong sense of belonging and social justice (Cochran-Smith, 1999; Poplin & Rivera, 2005). Additionally, educators build learning communities that help all members to reach their potential.

Commitment to technology
Technology is pervasive in the School of Education. It is integrated throughout the undergraduate program and is a core requirement for all graduate candidates. Candidates thoroughly explore the appropriate uses and ethical practice of technology in various environments.

Candidates learn to assist, but not be the “keeper” of the technology, to experience using technologies to mediate learning for and with children. Technology enables candidates to collaborate with each other, community partners and faculty. (Herrel & Fowler, 1998; Hiede & Stilborne, 1999; Moore, 1991; Strickland, 1997; Wang & Patterson, 2005-2006).

Candidate proficiencies aligned with professional and state standards  

Individual programs within the unit utilize standards of their respective professional associations to drive program development.

Undergraduate Program
 Professional Standards
Early Childhood Education  National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
Elementary Education  Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI)
Physical Education  Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE)
Special Education  Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)
Graduate Program
Professional Standards
Adolescence Education 
  • National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)
  • National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
  • National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)
  • National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
  • American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)
Counselor Education  Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
Inclusive Special Education Council for Exceptional Children
Educational Leadership  Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC) 
Literacy  International Literacy Association (ILA)