Professional Dispositions for Teacher Education Candidates Policy

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College Policies

The procedures described herein pertain only to a candidate's status within the Professional Education Unit and are not meant to supplant existing college-wide policies or procedures. Candidates are still subject to all college-wide policies and procedures.

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Professional Dispositions for Teacher Education Candidates Policy

The Professional Education Unit is the academic unit on campus devoted to the preparation of education professionals. Any full- or part-time student enrolled in an education program in one of the following departments, shall be considered an education candidate of the Professional Education Unit:

  • Education and Human Development (initial and advanced teacher preparation programs)
  • Counselor Education (school counseling)
  • Educational Administration (school building leader and school district leader)
  • Public Health and Health Education (advanced teacher preparation programs)
  • Kinesiology, Sport Studies, and Physical Education (initial and advanced teacher preparation programs)
  • Select Departments from the School of Arts and Sciences (content areas for initial and advanced preparation programs)

Professional dispositions are the professional attitudes, values, and beliefs demonstrated through both verbal and non-verbal behaviors as educators interact with students, families, colleagues and communities. These positive behaviors support student learning and development

Professional Dispositions

The Professional Education Unit has adopted six professional dispositions to which all candidates (both undergraduate and graduate) must adhere to.

Positive Outlook

  • Demonstrate genuine enthusiasm and optimism
  • Foster a positive climate for learning
  • Act on the premise that all children can learn
  • Provide positive, authentic feedback
  • Focus on possibilities rather than obstacles
  • Respond to challenges
  • Treat all forms of diversity as learning opportunities

Integrity

  • Foster trust among students, colleagues, school-based teacher educators (SBTEs), and professors 
  • Demonstrate sound moral character, honesty, fairness, and sincerity, adhering to relevant code of ethics
  • Commit to and models academic honesty
  • Apply knowledge of how diverse backgrounds affect interactions with others
  • Act on the value of inclusiveness

Respect

  • Adhere to program and school expectations
  • Commit to understanding diverse cultures and communities
  • Collaborate with school staff and faculty, professors, colleagues, students, and parents
  • Respectfully self-advocate and engage in self-care
  • Show compassion and empathy for others

Self-Awareness

  • Interact and work well with people who have characteristics different from self
  • Exhibit an awareness of how their communication affects others by using objective and inclusive language that creates a shared understanding
  • Recognize their own strengths and gaps in knowledge, skills, and experiences
  • Make an effort to understand multiple perspectives or opposing viewpoints

Dedication

  • Engage in ongoing learning
  • Consistently solve problems by drawing on their internal knowledge and external resources
  • Independently develop, adopt, and use a wide range of professional resources
  • Persist with tasks through completion at a high level of competency
  • Commit to increasing understanding of their frame of reference (e.g. culture, gender, language, abilities, and ways of knowing)

Professionalism

  • Adhere to College and host school expectations and policies regarding punctuality, attendance, dress, and proper use of electronic devices
  • Engage in positive and respectful interactions with students, colleagues, SBTEs, and families
  • Demonstrate a high level of reliability
  • Exemplify the characteristics of a good colleague

Programs within the PEU are free to add to the PEU's list of dispositions at their discretion and with the approval of the Professional Education Council. Candidates should become familiar with any additional dispositions associated with their program of study.

Please note: Consistent with the intent of professional dispositions and consistent with the intent of Part 83 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, any information indicating that a candidate pursuing a teaching, counseling, or administrative certificate has been accused or convicted of a crime, or has committed an act which raises a reasonable question as to the individual's moral character, is considered under this policy.

Policy Procedures

Scheduling of Dispositions Assessments

Professional dispositions are assessed regularly as candidates complete phases of the program. In addition, dispositions may be assessed and reported on when candidates have engaged in specific instances of unprofessional behavior. Dispositions are assessed according to the following methodology.

Assessment Methodology

Regularly Scheduled Assessments of Dispositions

The assessment of a candidate's status on professional dispositions focuses on value-driven conduct (i.e., observable behaviors) deemed essential to the teaching function; attitudes per se are not assessed (except to the extent they drive conduct). Each of the Unit's six dispositions (and any program additions) is assessed via an instrument with a rubric scale and with opportunities for comments and/or reflections.

  • Dispositions are routinely assessed with the instrument through:
  • Confidential self-evaluation in selected classes identified by the program 
  • Faculty evaluation in selected classes identified by the program 
  • Evaluations submitted by school-based teacher educators (SBTEs) in all field experiences (including student teaching) and by college supervisors in student teaching 
  • Confidential self-evaluation before and after student teaching

Rubrics assigned by faculty, SBTEs, and College supervisors for each of the dispositions become part of the candidate's record which is maintained in the candidate's home department (the confidential self-evaluations are used only for program evaluation). While the faculty and staff of the Unit hope all candidates will aspire to exemplary behavior, proficient and developing behaviors are considered acceptable for the purposes of completing the teacher certification program. Professionally unacceptable behavior, however, may jeopardize either the candidate's progress in, or completion of, the teacher certification program. Faculty and College supervisors must inform the Department Chair (or his/her designee) of any instance of professionally unacceptable behavior observed either by themselves or by school-based professionals with whom they work.

Additional Dispositions Reports: Episodes of Unprofessional Behavior

In addition to the scheduled assessments, any faculty member, member of the professional staff within the Unit, or school-based professional must submit a written dispositional report to the Department Chair (or designee) when he or she becomes aware of any candidate who engages in professionally unacceptable behavior relative to any disposition at any time. This report must include a description of the circumstances and the candidate's behavior and refer to the Three Levels of Professionally Unacceptable Behavior described below.

Three Levels of Professionally Unacceptable Behavior

Any instance of professionally unacceptable behavior, through either faculty evaluation, SBTE or College supervisor evaluation, or dispositional report, will be referred by the Chair (or designee) to a departmental committee for consideration. The department Chair (or designee) must notify the candidate in writing that he or she has received either an evaluation or dispositional report indicative of professionally unacceptable behavior relative to Unit (and/or program) dispositions and that the candidate must meet with the departmental committee. The committee must follow-up with the individual who submitted the evaluation (or who submitted the report) to explore the rationale for the evaluation (or report) and must provide the candidate with the opportunity to respond to the evaluation (or report) and/or to explain his/her behavior. If the committee determines that the candidate's behavior was not professionally unacceptable, the committee will recommend to the Chair (or designee) that the evaluation from a regularly scheduled assessment be modified, or in the case of a dispositional report, the committee will recommend the report be dismissed. The Chair (or designee) will assure the candidate's record will be amended in accordance with the committee's recommendation. If the committee determines that the candidate's behavior was professionally unacceptable, it must then consider the severity of the behavior and the candidate's previous history of professionally unacceptable behavior (if any) in determining a course of action.

The course of action is a function of the "level" of professionally unacceptable behavior as follows: 

Level 1

Ordinarily a first-time and less serious dispositional transgression): The candidate meets with the departmental committee and discussion focuses on:

  • The behavior that was observed
  • Reasons why the behavior is cause for concern and why it is considered professionally unacceptable
  • Possible alternative behavioral responses in the future (if applicable)
  • A review of Unit and program dispositions
  • A review of the Unit's policy on dispositions

Level 2

Ordinarily a second-time or more serious dispositional transgression: The candidate meets with the departmental committee and the committee reviews the candidate's behavior and, if appropriate, the candidate's prior dispositional history; at their discretion, the committee may prescribe some type of remedial activity (e.g., counseling, additional coursework, additional field work, a volunteer experience, etc.) designed to improve the candidate's professional disposition(s); it is possible the prescribed activity may cause delays in the candidate's normal progress through the program; the Unit's policy on dispositions also will be reviewed at this meeting.

Level 3

Ordinarily a third-time or very serious dispositional transgression resulting in program dismissal: The candidate meets with the departmental committee; the candidate's behavior and prior dispositional history are reviewed, and the candidate is provided with an opportunity to explain the behavior.

The intent of the Unit's policy on the assessment of professional dispositions is that instances of professionally unacceptable behavior will be addressed incrementally and educationally. In cases where the professionally unacceptable behavior is deemed to be more egregious, however, (including, but not limited to, behaviors that place the physical or psychological health and safety of children or adolescents at risk; behaviors that violate existing policies of the College or the field-based placement; and/or behaviors which are illegal) candidates with first-time transgressions may be assigned directly to Level 2 or Level 3 and candidates with second-time transgressions may be assigned directly to Level 3.

Appeal of Departmental Committee Decisions

If the departmental committee finds a level 1 or 2 disposition transgression, the candidate will be required to complete a remediation plan with designated follow up and consequences for failure to adhere to this plan. The candidate may appeal the finding in writing within 5 business days to the department Chair (or designee). If the Chair (or designee) upholds the appeal, the candidate's record will be amended accordingly. If the Chair (or designee) denies the appeal, that decision is final and no further appeal of a Level 1 or Level 2 transgression to the chair (or designee) is possible. Under either circumstance, the candidate is notified in writing of the Chair's decision. The candidate may then make a written appeal to the PEU Director who will make a final decision regarding candidate status and notify candidate and Department Chair (or designee).

If the departmental committee determines that a Level 3 transgression has occurred, the candidate is notified in writing by the committee chair of the recommendation for dismissal from the program. The candidate must respond in writing within 5 business days to the PEU Director who determines if there may be appropriate appeal grounds (discrepancies in facts, findings, sanction level or due process). If so, the PEU Director then appoints a Dispositions Review Committee to examine facts, findings, sanction level or due process. The candidate is provided with an opportunity to meet with the Dispositions Review Committee. At the discretion of the Committee, the candidate has the opportunity to bring pertinent witnesses and/or advocate to the meeting. After reviewing the facts, findings, sanction level or due process, the Dispositions Review Committee notifies the PEU Director of their recommendation in writing. The PEU Director makes the final decision regarding candidate status and notifies the candidate and Department Chair (or designee) in writing. Records are maintained in the Department and the PEU.

A candidate whose behavior has been found to be professionally unacceptable by the departmental committee and the Dispositions Review Committee at Level 3 and who has received a letter from the PEU Director indicating that the candidate has been dismissed from the PEU education program will have 5 business days to appeal the decision in writing to the PEU Director. The PEU Director has broad discretion in considering the appeal and may:

  • Convene an independent panel to review the case and provide recommendations to the PEU Director,
  • Simply review the findings of the two previous committees to arrive at a decision, or
  • Employ other strategies (including interactions with committee members, witnesses, and/or the candidate) to weigh the merit of the appeal.

Under any circumstance, the PEU Director's decision is final (although the Provost retains discretion to review appeals). If the PEU Director rules against the appeal, the departmental and Dispositions Review Committee recommendations (including the candidate's dismissal from the program) are upheld. If the PEU Director rules in favor of the appeal, the transgression may be either dismissed or downgraded to a lower level, but in either case the candidate is restored to the program and the candidate's record is amended. Regardless of the outcome of the appeal, the candidate and Chair (or designee) are notified in writing of the PEU Director's decision.

Candidate Rights

Candidates have the following rights pertaining to the determination of professionally unacceptable behavior relative to professional dispositions.

  • The candidate must be notified by the instructor in writing within 5 business days if he or she has received an evaluation of professionally unacceptable behavior on any professional disposition during a regularly scheduled assessment OR if a dispositional report has been submitted to the department Chair (or designee) relative to the candidate's behavior.
  • The candidate must have the opportunity to respond to instructor in writing within 5 business days of date of initial letter of correspondence to the evaluation or report and the opportunity to explain his/her behavior to a departmental committee.
  • The departmental committee must notify the candidate in writing within 5 business days of the findings of its review, including, as appropriate, the level of professionally unacceptable behavior.
  • The candidate has the right to appeal the findings of the departmental committee in writing within 5 business days of date of departmental committee findings to the Chair (or designee) of the home department for Level 1 and 2 transgressions.
  • For Level 1 and 2 transgressions, the candidate has the right to appeal the findings of the departmental Chair (or designee) in writing. This must be done within 5 business days of date of the Chair's (or designee's) findings and be addressed to the PEU Director.
  • For Level 3 transgressions, the candidate has the right to appeal the findings of the Departmental and Unit's Dispositions Review Committees in writing. This must be done within 5 business days of date of the written communiqué and be addressed to the PEU Director.
  • The PEU Director makes the final decision regarding the charge of a Level 3 transgression and must notify the candidate and Department Chair (or designee) in writing within 5 business days of date of departmental/Dispositions Review Committee findings.
  • The candidate may bring witnesses and/or an advocate to the meeting with the Dispositions Review Committee for Level 3 appeals (however, only members of the College community may serve as advocates and advocates may only address the committee when answering questions directed to them by committee members).
  • The candidate may continue to participate in any campus-based classes in which he/she is enrolled during the committee's review. If the committee determines that the dispositional transgression is a Level 3, the candidate must immediately stop attending all classes and field experiences as recommended by the committee. The candidate has the right to ask for special permission to continue to attend classes and complete course related assignments if he/she plans to appeal the committee’s decision. The Director of the PEU will consult with the Department Chair regarding the candidate’s request. If the finding of a Level 3 is overturned following an appeal, the candidate will not be penalized for his/her time out of class.
  • Provided no other College policies have been violated, candidates who are dismissed from a PEU education program due to dispositional transgressions may pursue completion of another academic program on campus. It should be recognized, however, that some professionally unacceptable behaviors in the field of education might be unacceptable in other professional programs outside the PEU.
  • A candidate who has been dismissed from a PEU teacher education program, Counselor Education program, or School Building and District Leader program is no longer eligible to apply to any other PEU education program.   In such instances, the dismissed student is encouraged to meet with his/her advisor to determine a plan.  The student is similarly encouraged to apprise any other pertinent campus office, such as Financial Aid, of changes to his/her status.

Last Updated 10/27/20

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