Education is not simply the acquisition of knowledge but the development of the art of evaluating and using acquired knowledge and wisdom. Education sets students and teachers on the path to discover freedom and to use this freedom to pursue democracy and uplift human dignity. People cannot think of anything that their minds are not free and prepared to consider. Education provides for all people this freedom to think.

The Education Department at Cornell College offers students a unique opportunity to prepare for a career in elementary and secondary school teaching. Building upon a student's strong academic major or concentration, the department offers a carefully designed program of courses concentrating on the historical, philosophical, ethical, legal, psychological, and pedagogical dimensions of education. In keeping with the mission statement of the college, the Education Department is genuinely committed to promoting and defending liberal learning and democratic values.

All aspiring teacher candidates are expected to think carefully about their work, to engage their minds in the process of evaluating their teaching and their approach to it, and to develop a genuine sense of creativity and inquiry to guide their personal and professional lives.

The goals of the Cornell Teacher Education Program are communication, critical thinking, life long learning, respect, and humanistic dispositions as underlying skills and knowledge that form a strong theory to practice foundation for pre-service teachers. The skill of critical thinking grows as students progress through the required education courses. Respect is experienced and practiced as students work with peers, professors, public school students and personnel. Life long learning is demonstrated through an attitude of enthusiastic goal setting and reflection on personal and academic development. The education faculty and the college at large expects Cornell teacher candidates to exhibit the following humanistic dispositions and habits of mind.

Humanistic Dispositions:

  • Value knowledge for its own sake as well as its practical application;
  • Believe all children can learn and are naturally intelligent, artistic, and inquisitive;
  • Value and respect each student, to respect human diversity, and to show a genuine affection for all students;
  • Value attitudes and behaviors which elevate respect for and promote the advancement of effective teaching and the teaching profession.

Habits of Mind:

  • Ability to write analytically, clearly, and with correct grammar and mechanics;
  • Ability to speak clearly, thoughtfully, and with sensitivity to audience;
  • Ability to read emphatically and critically to both understand an author and engage in a questioning conversation with the author
  • Ability and willingness to take intellectual risks, to test out and explore new ideas;
  • Ability to see matters through multiple perspectives.

The program goals have been aligned with the mission statement of Cornell College, the Interstate New Teacher Assessment Support Consortium Standards and Iowa Department of Education State Core Requirements.