Webster University School of Education receives Frank Murray Award

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The Webster University School of Education was recently acknowledged for excellence with a 2022 Frank Murray Award from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

The award was given to the Department of Teacher Education for continuous improvement. Webster’s Educator Preparedness Program was the only college in Missouri to be recognized.

Stephanie Mahfood, interim dean of the School of Education, said she was grateful for such recognition and affirmed the program’s quality.

“We are always looking at how we set up our assessment systems to think very purposefully about student learning in order to continually make improvements to our programs,” Mahfood said. “The school’s goal is to prepare educators to be creative advocates and change agents for students that they serve.”

Basiyr Rodney, professor and chairperson at the Department of Teacher Education, confirms the outstanding creativity and student-centered approach. Rodney is an expert on the role technology plays in supporting the educators of tomorrow. To him, the pandemic was a much needed push to develop technology for education.

The School of Education is driven by the idea of empowering students as effective educators, creating strong advocates for the students they will serve. Their goal is to ensure that every student receives the tools they need to be successful.

With the use of technology, the school has designed innovative programs so students can learn how to collaborate in order to model the best guidance for effective teachers. They also carry out a special education program. This was done with a creative vision in mind for students to practice new approaches built on practical technology.

“Part of our DNA is always thinking about ‘how do we differentiate and how do we support the needs of other learners that may not be mainstream but that also belong in our learning environment?’” Rodney said. “We try to build with those things in mind. We have flexible class scheduling and other resources that we do in order to meet students’ needs.”

In a world with a growing demand for innovation, it is important that future educators have access to new technology. The tools available to students are constructed to provide a hands-on learning experience that ensures authentic practices are suitable for the contemporary classrooms.

“Education is one of the key ways in which we change the world,” Rodney said. “It is important for educators or people who are studying education to understand that what you are doing has an impact. You need to be intentional about that impact. Once you recognize that, ask yourself what kind of impact you should have. It ought to be positive, and it ought to be equity centered. With the problems we have in the world, we should really put our mind to solving problems. So I try to get students to think and act that way.”

Webster University’s Department of Teacher Education is a supportive and inclusive community of educator-scholars committed to providing students with transformative experiences that impact lifelong learning. Their programs develop and evaluate professional conduct and character in terms of academic integrity, respect for others, commitment to study, established professional etiquette and communication skills.

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Cris Vasconcelos
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