Excellent teaching is at the historic heart of The College of William and Mary. The original charter of 1693 called for creation of a "certain place of study" for the youth of Virginia to be "educated in good letters and manners." To fulfill this mission in the Colonial era, William and Mary provided a flourishing Grammar School along with its undergraduate and advanced courses of study. Teaching and learning at all levels were interdependent, as the first Master of the Grammar School also served as Professor of Humanities. Similarly, Hugh Jones—legendary Professor of Mathematics and Philosophy—gained fame for pioneering instructional methods for teaching English grammar. And in the 1690s the College rolls included a teacher from Maryland who sought assistance to improve his professional skills—the first example of "student teaching" in America!
The College's involvement in teaching from primary through advanced studies is well illustrated by the education of Thomas Jefferson. His first school master, James Maury, was a William and Mary alumnus; later, as an undergraduate at the College, Jefferson worked closely with Mathematics Professor William Small, of whose teaching he fondly recalled, "It was my great good fortune and what probably fixed the destinies of my life. …" Finally, Jefferson's memoirs attest to the inspired, influential teaching of Professor George Wythe, with whom he read law.
William and Mary enhanced its formal role in the preparation of future educators starting in 1888 when the Virginia General Assembly appropriated substantial annual grants for the express purpose of funding the College to combine liberal education with certification of teachers for the Commonwealth's emerging public school system. This was reaffirmed in 1906 when the Commonwealth stated that one of its primary objectives in assuming responsibility for the College as a state institution was to insure a source of well-educated and trained public school teachers throughout Virginia. In subsequent decades, the College's claim to excellence in professional education escalated due to innovations in two areas: its programs for educating school principals and superintendents; and, founding of the Matthew Whaley School, one of the most influential laboratory schools in the nation.
The School of Education was created as a distinct entity within the academic structure in 1961. During ensuing years, the traditional commitment to undergraduate education for teachers has been supplemented by a wide range of graduate degree programs, including conferral of the first doctoral degree in Education in 1972. In the past decade the School of Education has become an institutional leader in advanced studies, as it has accounted for nearly a third of the master's degrees and over half of the doctoral degrees awarded at William and Mary each year. Today, the School of Education continues to take pride in its fusion of liberal education and professional studies at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
The mission of the School of Education at The College of William and Mary is the pursuit of excellence in the education of diverse learners across the life-span. The School of Education fulfills this mission through its threefold commitment to teaching, research, and service:
- As the recognized organizational unit within the College with responsibility for initial and advanced preparation of professional educators, the School of Education prepares teachers, specialists, and administrators to be leaders in their respective roles, committed to culturally responsive, reflective practice and to working in partnership with others to improve educational programs.
- The School of Education engages in scholarship and research addressing critical problems in education to generate and disseminate ideas that inform and advance educational discourse, policy, and practice to benefit all learners.
- Through a variety of outreach activities, the School of Education provides model programs in direct service to children, adolescents, and their families, as well as technical assistance and professional development opportunities for educators in PreK-12, higher education, and agency settings.
Beliefs & Values
As a School of Education, we believe that…
- Our fundamental purpose is to prepare culturally responsive and ethical professionals who are capable of engaging in reflective and collaborative practice and providing leadership in their respective disciplines.
- Our programs must be characterized by rigorous curricula, quality instruction and clinical supervision, and a supportive environment in order to prepare these exemplary professionals.
- The strength of our programs depends on the individual and collective contributions of diverse faculty and staff, the interdependence of these contributions with current and evolving program and unit needs, and an ongoing commitment to faculty and staff enrichment and learning.
- Faculty hold the unique responsibility for the development, delivery, and ongoing stewardship of our academic programs.
- We must be a diverse learning community comprised of engaged citizens who demonstrate integrity, mutual respect, and collegiality.
- Each faculty member must actively engage in rigorous, ongoing scholarship that is focused, substantive, and recognized.
- Our administrative, organizational, and governance structures must be clearly articulated to support our mission and values effectively and efficiently.
- We must actively support, impact, and be responsive to our diverse practitioner and professional communities through outreach and service to benefit all learners.
- To excel at our mission, we must engage in ongoing and intentional evaluation, assess and respond to internal and external data, and attend and contribute to the standards of our profession.
- We must create and sustain a collaborative culture that reflects our shared beliefs and promotes behaviors that constructively resolve inevitable dissonance.
The Conceptual Framework of the School of Education at the College of William and Mary incorporates a shared view of how to best prepare our graduates to deliver services to children, schools, families, and communities in a manner that will promote educationally and psychologically healthy environments in a pluralistic society. This framework embodies the essential elements for our programs, courses, teaching, student and faculty scholarship, and student performance. As an integrative whole, the framework is comprised of the four main strands of the Content Expert, the Reflective Practitioner, the Educational Leader, and the Effective Collaborator, which we believe constitute a highly qualified professional who will positively and productively contribute to the lives of students, clients, community, and the profession.
We believe fundamentally that professionals must have specific knowledge to learn in context and problem solve throughout a career. A profound understanding of disciplinary subject matter is vital. Content knowledge must be accompanied by pedagogical content knowledge for educational practitioners to be able to interpret, communicate, and construct knowledge that promotes learning ( Shulman,1987; Abell, Rogers, Park, Hauscin, Lee, & Gagnon,2009) and to understand the role of identity in knowledge construction (Tatum, 1999). The value of our long-standing commitment to intellectualism by our faculty is confirmed by recent research conducted by Hill, Rowen and Ball (2005), Krauss, Brunner, Kunter, et al.,(2008), Goldhaber and Anthony (2003), and Griffen, Jitendra, and League (2009) that validates the need for intellectual rigor in subject matter. The role of our programs is to provide opportunities and a local, national, and international context for students to build and evaluate knowledge that equips them to work in a diverse global society (Banks, 2008). To accomplish this goal, we encourage students to master content appropriate to their disciplinary foci, consider diverse perspectives, participate in engaged learning, reflect on their actions, and generate responses based on research and best practice. The organization and transfer of knowledge and skills across these experiences results in deeper learning for our students and those whom they will serve.
Our beliefs and preparation programs emanate from the continuing scholarship on reflective practice by Dewey (1901, 1933), Schon (1983, 1987), Kolb (1984), Johns (1994), Zeicher and Liston (1996), Newman (1999), Sherwood (2005), and others. We believe that ideal professional preparation produces an educator who can "reflect-in-action" and "reflect-on-action." According to research-based principles of reflective practice, learning does not occur through direct transmission of knowledge from instructor to student. Instead, instruction provides students in all fields of education with multiple opportunities to articulate their own ideas, experiment with these ideas, construct new knowledge, and make connections between their professional studies and the world in which they live and work. To this end, the School of Education cultivates a style of reflective practice that embraces the role of data, active inquiry, careful analysis, and thoughtful decision-making that leads to effective and culturally responsive pedagogy (Gay, 2000; Ladson-Billings, 1994). This reflective practice begins with self-examination of one's own identity and the myriad ways that identity and life experiences influence one's view of the world. We believe that teaching is a cognitive process that involves decision making (Sergiovanni & Starratt, 1993), and we hold that our responsibility is, in large part, to educate our students to reason soundly and to perform skillfully. Although students in our programs prepare for specialized roles, we focus overall on the development of analytic and creative practices through which they can approach new issues and problems in a proactive way throughout their educational careers.
Given the strengths of our students and preparation programs, we expect that our graduates will assume leadership roles in a variety of educational and societal settings. We broadly define educational leadership to include traditional positions such as preK-12 and university administrative assignments, as well as emerging and expansive roles such as leaders in research and scholarly positions, teacher-leaders, and leaders in the counseling and school psychology professions. To prepare our graduates for these varied roles within their respective specializations and career settings, we aspire to equip them with the essential skills and dispositions requisite for successfully supporting innovation and excellence across the field of education (Fullan, 2005; Fullan, Bertani, & Quinn, 2004; Hattie, 2009). Among the important abilities that will inform the leadership practices of our graduates are research-based technical skills, conceptually sound decision making, thoughtful and informed problem solving, and clear and inclusive communication. We expect our students to embrace and model ethical principles in all aspects of their work. As reflected in these ideals, we hope our graduates develop a personal sense of competence and confidence in leadership roles that encourages resilience in coping with and promoting desired change within the context of a globally connected environment (Zhou, 2009). Further, we expect our graduates to conduct and apply research for the public good through their schools, clinics, and community and state organizations (Anyon, 2005; Ladson-Billings & Tate, 2006). Ultimately, we believe that our graduates will contribute significantly to the educational organizations in which they work and thereby improve the quality of life of the students and other individuals they serve (Hallinger & Heck, 1996; Leithwood, Louis, Anderson, & Wahlstrom, 2004; Marzano, Waters, & McNulty, 2005).
Finally, we promote and develop the use of a collaborative style for working effectively and cooperatively in professional communities, no matter how broadly or narrowly defined. As Glaser (2005) states, a collaborative style empowers individuals and groups to make changes necessary for improvement. We find the evidence compelling that partnerships among professionals, as well as between academic and non-academic realms, are critical for the successful education of all students, as such collaboration allows students to take full advantage of their schools' academic opportunities (Baker et al, 2009). Collaboration aids in the interpretation of data, the development of goals and interventions, and the measurement of progress (Camizzi, Clark, Yacco, & Goodman, 2009: INTASC, 2007), which are all integral to understanding students and meeting their individual needs. In addition to professional partnerships, it is vital for educators to build positive and effective relationships with the racially, culturally, economically, and linguistically diverse families and communities we serve (Delpit, 1995; Sleeter, 2008). We believe that programs that prepare individuals who will assume roles of teaching, service, and leadership must expect graduates not only to demonstrate effective collaborative skills but also to model these skills for their students (INTASC, 2007).
A Dynamic and Core Framework
The Conceptual Framework of the School of Education must be adaptable to the experience and background of the candidates within programs, the relative importance of the four strands within program areas, and to the external forces of our society. The dynamic nature of the framework is most clearly demonstrated by the relative emphasis placed on the four strands by each program. While all of our graduates embody the core qualities of the Content Expert, Reflective Practitioner, Educational Leader, and Effective Collaborator, we recognize and account for the valid and important degrees of emphasis, distinction, and definition that these core concepts take not only in a program area, but also with regard to the unique strengths and weaknesses of each student and over the duration of the professional life of a graduate and beyond.
Ultimately, the Conceptual Framework reflects the core elements of a graduate of the School of Education and, as such, it provides a structure for our programs and a process for generating and responding to new knowledge. The framework guides the experiences we require of students in their programs. The framework also provides the basis for the expectations and the evaluation of candidates and their programs. Through the process of candidate and program evaluation, we expect that our programs will produce highly qualified professionals and continuously evolve in response to our students' experiences within the program and our graduates' contributions to the profession as practitioners.
Enrichment and Outreach
In addition to providing a spectrum of regular degree programs, the School currently sponsors or co-sponsors a number of special enrichment and outreach programs with direct impact on local, state, and national communities. Examples of these programmatic efforts include the following:
The Center for Gifted Education provides a forum in which scholars and practitioners collaborate on research and development projects that enhance an understanding of gifted learners and the ways in which they can be nurtured in the home, school, and community. The Center is recognized nationally and internationally as an organization that develops and disseminates research based curriculum materials for K-12 students. As part of the School of Education at William and Mary, it also provides master's and doctoral students opportunities for working with school districts and precollegiate learners to foster talent development.
The New Horizons Family Counseling Center is a collaborative project between the College and regional school districts. At-risk students in the public school system are referred for family counseling that is provided by masters and doctoral family counseling interns who are supervised by licensed faculty. As a teaching clinic, New Horizons Family Counseling Center provides both a training site for advanced graduate students at William and Mary and free family counseling services for the surrounding community.
The New Leaf Clinic provides brief counseling to William and Mary students with issues related to the use of alcohol or other drugs. Counselors at the New Leaf assess students' behaviors and attitudes relating to alcohol and other drugs with research-validated instruments and conduct interventions using Motivational Interviewing techniques. Counseling is provided by faculty-supervised doctoral students and advanced masters students who are interns in the Community and Addictions Counseling track of the School of Education.
The Eastern Virginia Writing Project Program provides a summer writing workshop for 20-25 teachers of language arts and other subject areas to help them increase their ability to help student writers at all grade levels and in all disciplines.
The Virginia Institute for School Leadership involves mid-level administrators from more than a dozen school divisions in year-long professional development opportunities to examine factors that affect children in urban school settings.
The School-University Research Network was created to improve teaching and learning for all learners through collaborative field-based research that informs the delivery of educational services.
The Virginia Homeless Education Program of the Virginia State Department of Education coordinates funding for sixteen localities in Virginia providing services for homeless children and youth, including tutoring, and before- and after-school programs.
The Training and Technical Assistance Center (T/TAC) provides a variety of request-based support services and assistance to educational professionals serving school-aged students with mild and moderate disabilities or transition needs in Eastern Virginia.
Graduate Education Association (GEA)
The purpose of the Graduate Education Association is two-fold: to serve as both a visible and transparent governing body as well as a graduate student-led resource for all graduate students at William and Mary's School of Education. The GEA works to foster social, academic, and professional interaction among the graduate education students, faculty and administration; to provide accessible and inclusive opportunities for the exchange of ideas, to the academic and local community across all School of Education programs; to provide opportunities for community service within the surrounding community; to represent the graduate students of the School of Education at official functions and on committees of The College of William and Mary; and to govern in matters of School of Education discipline and honor code violations. All graduate students in the School of Education who have been admitted to a program and/or are enrolled in one or more classes are members. For more information visit the GEA's website or follow us on Facebook. If you have any further questions, concerns, or comments, please e-mail the GEA exec.
Chi Sigma Iota
Established in 1985, Chi Sigma Iota is the international honor society for professional counseling. The Omega Mu Chapter at the College of William and Mary strives to provide a professional and supportive atmosphere for both practicing and future counselors who are working towards their Master of Education in Counseling and their Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education.
Chi Sigma Iota Counseling and Professional Honor Society are dedicated to promoting and recognizing excellence in scholarship, research, teaching, and the practice of counseling. The organization seeks out professionals and professionals-in-training who are dedicated to such excellence. Members become part of a network of professionals who ascribe to high standards of scholarship and practice.
Inquiries about the honor society should be forwarded to the chapter advisor, Dr. Shannon Trice-Black at (757) 221-2419.
Kappa Delta Pi, Alpha Xi Chapter
Kappa Delta Pi, an international honor society in education, was first organized in 1911, and the Alpha Xi Chapter at The College of William and Mary was chartered in 1927. The purpose of Kappa Delta Pi is to encourage high professional intellectual and personal standards and to recognize graduates of the College for their outstanding contributions to education. To this end, the organization invites to membership persons who exhibit commendable personal qualities, worthy educational ideals, and sound scholarship.
The organization endeavors to maintain a high degree of professional fellowship among its members and to quicken professional growth by honoring achievement in educational work. Both men and women are eligible for membership. To be considered for membership, undergraduates must have completed at least one semester of work in the School of Education and have an overall GPA of 3.25 or higher for all coursework completed. Graduate students must have completed 9 credits at the College of William & Mary with an overall GPA of 3.75 or higher for all graduate courses completed.
For more information visit the School of Education's website at education.wm.edu.
The William and Mary Educational Review (WMER)
The purpose of The William and Mary Educational Review is to create a student publication for those enrolled in the School of Education at The College of William and Mary. It will provide a venue for School of Education students to publish their original work; give students the opportunity to be a part of the process of publishing works in a peer-reviewed journal; and share with the community the work being done to enhance education and scholarship at The College of William and Mary School of Education.
All students enrolled in the School of Education, including full-time, part-time, graduate, undergraduate, and unclassified (post-baccalaureate) students, are eligible to participate in The William and Mary Educational Review.
For more information, please visit the WMER website at and follow us on Facebook.
If you have any questions, please email us.