Understanding our strategic plan: Mission, vision, values and more

Kimberly A. Lawless
September 14, 2021

Brief overview of 0ur college foundational commitments

The Penn State College of Education is committed to reimagining education to improve the lives of learners, educators and community members at the regional, state, national and global levels. Through our work, we will contribute to the creation of more equitable educational opportunities and outcomes for learners across their lifespan, ensuring all learners acquire essential literacies, and supporting the mental health and well-being of all learners and educators. Our commitment to these areas will be supported by our actions in four areas: Community Enhancement and Development; Transforming Educational Professionals; Research Addressing Social Issues; and Outreach, Dissemination and Partnerships. Ultimately, we endeavor to change our education systems to educate for change to create a more equitable society for all.

Our mission

We reimagine the existing EC-12 and adult education systems, including the College of Education, by identifying and addressing the systemic inequities that impede many individuals from realizing their full potential. We improve student outcomes; conduct research; develop effective policies and strategies; create new experiences for existing educators and students that are community-based and globally minded in preparing the next generation of educators; integrate innovative technologies that contribute to our mission; and actively engage with families and in communities within and beyond our borders. We are deeply committed to progressive social change by bridging research to practice and developing partnerships with a wide array of individuals and organizations. We focus on equity and access, anti-racism orientations and practices, essential literacies, and the mental health and well-being of all individuals across the lifespan. We embrace the challenge of preparing a new generation of education professionals with the skills and dispositions needed to create powerful learning experiences for all learners, across the lifespan. Our mission is nothing less than being a leader in the creation of a more equitable and just education system for the people of Pennsylvania, the nation, and the world.

Our vision

The Penn State College of Education will work collaboratively to transform education systems to promote progressive social change that leads to an equitable society and world, in which all learners, families, schools, workplaces and communities thrive.


The College of Education shares the University's values of Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Discovery, Excellence and Community. In addition to those values, the College of Education strongly identifies with these values:

  • ANTI-RACISM/RACIAL JUSTICE: We strive to actively identify, describe, counter and dismantle individual, interpersonal, institutional and structural racism in all components of our work.
  • TRANSFORMING EDUCATION: We are committed to changing education to promote and practice equity in collaboration with international, national and community-based partners to ensure an equitable and just world.
  • LEARNING ACROSS THE LIFESPAN: We are committed to cultivating purposeful learning for individuals and communities throughout development, transitions and contexts.
  • SYSTEMIC UNDERSTANDING AND AWARENESS: We embrace the synergy among efforts to mitigate climate change, and to promote social justice, essential literacies grounded in deep and integrated disciplinary knowledge, mental health and well-being in changing education for healthy communities and the world.
  • GLOBAL UNDERSTANDING AND INCLUSIVITY: We are committed to supporting the exchange of knowledge and furthering research that includes perspectives from, and addresses issues pertinent to, the attainment of education for all around the globe.

Definitions of key terms

As you read through our strategic plan you will come across certain key terms. Below are those terms and how we are defining them in the context of this plan.

  • DIVERSITY: The College of Education advocates for the inclusion of and support for individuals from underrepresented backgrounds, including gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, ability, religious affiliation, veteran status, socio-economic status, nationality and geography.
  • SOCIAL JUSTICE: The College of Education believes in creating a fair and equal society centered on improving the lives of groups historically marginalized based on race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, age, religion and disability.
  • ESSENTIAL LITERACIES: The College of Education views a wide array of knowledge and skills as important. However, the college views some specific literacies as critical. These include the traditional subject matter areas as well as global citizenship, climate change, social justice, understanding of systemic racism, democratic participation, civics education, mental health and well-being, and inclusivity.
  • EDUCATORS/EDUCATION PROFESSIONALS: The College of Education represents and includes anyone who positively impacts the human condition through teaching, assessment, research, clinical practice or professional development.

Coming up

The next Initiatives column will include a look at the first strategic plan goal, Community Enhancement and Development.


Kim Lawless

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated September 22, 2021