The planning process for the Strategic Plan for the College of Education can be summarized as four phases of development and review. Each phase is described below.

            Phase One (December 19, 2019, to March 16, 2020). Faculty and staff were nominated by department heads in late fall 2019 to serve on the Strategic Planning Committee (SPC). The SPC met for the first time on December 19, 2019, and received the charge from Dean Kimberly Lawless. Professors Edward Fuller and Jonna Kulikowich accepted roles of co-chairs of the committee and an initial meeting schedule was outlined by members for spring semester 2020. Regular bi-weekly meetings were scheduled starting with the first meeting on January 13 through February 24, 2020. The primary committee agenda items were to identify societal concerns and issues that could inform the mission, vision, values, and themes of the plan for the College of Education. Surveys were created and administered to invite alumni, educators, faculty, staff, and students to assist with identification of the societal concerns and issues. SPC meeting agenda items focused on review of the survey responses. An initial set of eight themes was identified, described, and presented in program and faculty meetings of the departments of the College of Education.

            Phase Two (April 27 to August 19, 2020). The SPC did not meet during March 2020 and early April 2020 given the need to move all in-person meetings and classes to remote scheduling as a result of health concerns pertaining to the coronavirus pandemic. In late April 2020 through August 2020, the SPC resumed a regular schedule of online meetings to focus on the components listed and described in the Penn State Template guide from the Office of Planning, Assessment, and Institutional Research (OPAIR). Along with the draft of the mission and vision for the College of Education, the Committee reduced its original set of 8 themes to 3 and identified a final set of 4 goals areas to direct writing of objectives, action items, and implementation tasks. Breakout sessions were scheduled during SPC meetings for goal subcommittees to draft objectives, action items, and implementation tasks.  The Executive Committee (EC) also scheduled regular meetings to review drafts prepared by the goal subcommittees. A final set of goal descriptions, action items, and implementation tasks was prepared for review by late August 2020.

            Phase Three (September 1, 2020 through December 7, 2020). The primary task completed during Phase Three of the planning process was comprehensive review of the initial draft of the strategic plan by College of Education stakeholders. Department Heads and Professors-in-Charge welcomed presentations by SPC members to introduce the draft of the plan, conduct question-and-answer sessions, and invite feedback for revision. Concurrently, a second wave of surveys was administered to alumni, educators, faculty, staff, and students that included quantitative and qualitative items about the goals and objectives of the plan. Additionally, the Faculty Council of the College of Education scheduled a meeting on November 19, 2020 for review and feedback on the first draft of the plan. In early December 2020, the EC and SPC reviewed all feedback and recommendations provided and made changes accordingly. Specifically, more emphasis on social justice and anti-racism, teaching and learning in disciplinary areas across the lifespan, and global understanding and awareness in education was included. Definitions of key terms were also added to facilitate understanding of the importance of plan components. After final review and approval of the first draft of the plan by the SPC, Dean Lawless submitted the plan to OPAIR on December 15, 2020.

            Phase Four (January 11, 2021 to March 15, 2021). The EPC and SPC scheduled regular meetings to add final components of the plan based on the PSU Template Guide. These components included: key performance indicators; action item metrics; start dates and end dates; identification of who is responsible for implementation of plan components; and, supporting documents to describe the planning process (e.g., meeting agendas, minutes, surveys). A College of Education Townhall was held on January 15, 2021 to invite final feedback and recommendations about the revised and updated plan. Revisions to the plan were also made based on feedback provided by OPAIR. The final draft of the plan was reviewed and approved by SPC on March 17, 2021 and submitted by Dean Lawless on March 18, 2021.


*Voting Members

Executive Committee

Staff Representative


Curriculum and Instruction

Education Policy Studies

Learning and Performance Systems

Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education

Ex Officio

Strategic Planning Committee

December 19, 2019 – Official Charge

January 13, 2020

January 27, 2020

February 10, 2020

February 24, 2020

(March & Early April Meetings canceled)

April 27, 2020

May 19, 2020

June 16, 2020

July 9, 2020

July 20, 2020

August 3, 2020

August 17, 2020

August 19, 2020

November 6, 2020

December 7, 2020


Executive Committee

January 15, 2020

April 2, 2020

June 1, 2020

June 17, 2020

June 30, 2020

July 6, 2020

July 17, 2020

July 31, 2020

August 10, 2020

September 1, 2020

September 2, 2020

October 5, 2020

October 8, 2020

October 15, 2020

October 22, 2020

October 29, 2020

November 9, 2020

November 19, 2020 - (presentation to Faculty Council)

November 24, 2020

December 3, 2020

January 11, 2021

January 19, 2021

January 25, 2021

February 8, 2021

March 8, 2021


Brief Overview of Our College Foundational Commitments


The Penn State College of Education is committed to improving the lives of learners, educators, and community members at the regional, state, national, and global levels. We are committed to creating more equitable educational opportunities and outcomes for learners across their lifespan, ensuring all learners acquire critical 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: 1) Community Enhancement and Development; 2) Transforming Educational Professionals; 3) Research Addressing Social Issues; and, 4) Outreach, Dissemination, and Partnerships. Ultimately, we endeavor to change our education systems to educate for change in order to create a more equitable society for all.


College of Education Strategic Plan


OUR MISSION:  We contribute to creating equitable, just education systems through progressive research and education for societal change and well-being. We improve 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 address their holistic needs, prepare the next generation of educators, integrate cutting-edge technologies that contribute to our mission, and develop collaborative active engagement with families and communities. We are deeply committed to progressive social change by bridging research to practice and developing partnerships with a wide array of individuals, communities, and organizations. We focus on equity and access, anti-racism orientations and practices, critical literacies, and the mental health and well-being of all individuals across the lifespan. Our mission is nothing less than being a leader in the creation of more equitable and just education systems for the people of Pennsylvania, the nation, and the world.


OUR VISION:  The Penn State College of Education will serve as an agent of progressive social change for an equitable society in which all children, families, schools, and communities thrive.


University Values:


INTEGRITY - We act with integrity in accordance with the highest academic, professional, and ethical standards.

RESPECT - We respect and honor the dignity of each person, embrace civil discourse, and foster a diverse, inclusive, and safe community.

RESPONSIBILITY - We act responsibly and hold ourselves accountable for our decisions, actions, and their consequences.

DISCOVERY - Through advanced research and scholarship, we seek and create new knowledge and understanding, and foster creativity and innovation, for society's benefit.

EXCELLENCE - We strive for excellence in all of our endeavors as individuals, an institution, and a leader in higher education and research.

COMMUNITY - We work together for the betterment of our University, the communities we serve, and the world.


College of Education 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.

TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE We are committed to changing education in order to educate for change such that our society is equitable for all.

LEARNING ACROSS THE LIFESPANWe 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 promote social justice, critical literacies, and mental health and well-being in changing education to educate for change.

College of Education Goals, Objectives, and Action Items


Goal 1: Community Enhancement and Development

Goal Description: Engage in intentional practices to develop an inclusive college of education that derives strength from a plurality of identities and lived experiences and mirrors the representation of individuals in our society.


Objective 1.1:  Societal Representation

Objective Description:  Increase the diversity of the students, faculty, and staff of the College of Education to reflect our national and global society more fully.


Action Item 1.1.1:  Recruit, support, and retain faculty and staff from historically under-represented groups, particularly people of color.


Action Item 1.1.2:  Recruit, support, and retain students from historically under-represented groups, including students of color, students from families living in poverty, rural students, students with disabilities, male students in elementary teaching areas, and other identified students at all levels.


Objective 1.2:  Inclusivity and Belongingness

Objective Description:  Increase the sense of inclusion and belonging of all members of the College of Education community particularly for individuals from historically under-represented populations.

Action Item 1.2.1:  Develop an inclusive culture that focuses on creating a sense of belonging for all members of the College of Education.

Action Item 1.2.2:  Adopt, design, and evaluate, innovative ways of working effectively at all stakeholder levels to promote an inclusive culture and sense of belonging within the College of Education.


Goal 2: Transforming Educational Professionals

Goal Description: Develop educational professionals who are active change agents and ensure they have the necessary knowledge, skills, and dispositions for improving and transforming education for all learners with a particular focus on racial justice and anti-racism.


Objective 2.1:  Curricular Assessment

Objective Description:  Assess how well our programs prepare educational professionals to act as change agents focused on the future of the education systems while being mindful of the past.


Action Item 2.1.1:  Conduct a thorough set of formative reviews of existing program curricula and pedagogy.


Objective 2.2:  Strategically Balance Curricular Offerings

Objective Description: Engage in the process of revising and developing our curricular offerings to prepare our students to understand and serve the needs of all learners including: a) those residing in urban and rural settings and poverty contexts; b) those with disabilities; c) English language learners; d) multilingual students; e) people of color; f) LGBTQ+ individuals; and, g) linguistically and culturally diverse populations with specific attention on addressing systemic inequities, critical literacies, mental health and well-being.


Action Item 2.2.1:  Expand the bandwidth with our existing complement of faculty to facilitate curricular innovation and enrollment growth.


Action Item 2.2.2:  Incorporate racial justice and anti-racism, mental health and well-being, as well as critical literacies across all programs with attention to the intersection of these three areas.


Action Item 2.2.3:  Expand the contexts within which our curricular offerings are implemented to increase the diversity of experiences for our students.


Objective 2.3:  Innovative Pathways and Programs

Objective Description:  Transform existing programs and create new programs to capture the interest of students seeking to act as meaningful agents of change through education with a particular focus on high needs areas (e.g., Special Education, STEM, ESL).


Action Item 2.3.1:  Develop innovative new courses and programs that broaden the reach and impact of education beyond our traditional student population.


Action Item 2.3.2:  Expand collaborations to better meet needs and develop synergistic relationships.


Goal 3:  Research Addressing Social Issues

Goal Description: Prioritize and support research that addresses key societal issues and prepares educators to become leaders of social change. More specifically, through our research, we will address key societal issues, including cultural and racial equities, mental health across ages and locations, technology in schools and workplaces, and disability in order to better the lives of those in the Commonwealth and beyond.


Objective 3.1:  Focused Research Contributions

Objective Description:  Enhance existing and develop new research programs that will focus on the generation of educational professionals, including teachers, counselors, school psychologists, principals, administrators, future faculty, and policy makers to become leaders for societal change.


Action Item 3.1.1:  Establish our College as a leader in the field of education for the study of our own efforts to prepare educators for change.


Action Item 3.1.2:  Build research programs focused on teaching, learning, and policy, with a focus on social justice, critical literacies, and mental health and well-being.


Objective 3.2:  Professional Development in Research

Objective Description:  Enhance our efforts to provide all members of the College access to educational and professional development opportunities focused on current and emerging research methods and approaches.


Action Item 3.2.1:  Enhance mentorship and funding to support undergraduate and graduate students with respect to current and emerging research topics, methods, and approaches.


Action Item 3.2.2:  Deliver and enhance faculty learning opportunities in the areas of current and emerging research topics, methods, and approaches (e.g., workshops, seminars, and speaker series).


Objective 3.3:  Research, Culture, and Partnerships

Objective Description:  Coordinate investments to better support a culture of research through the enhancement of professional learning opportunities, recruitment of faculty and students, recognition, and support for developing and sustaining impactful collaborations, particularly research-practitioner partnerships.


Action Item 3.3.1:  Continue to enhance the local culture of research and scholarship.


Action Item 3.3.2:  Value and support new pathways for research and creative accomplishments in annual evaluations as well as promotion and tenure.


Action Item 3.3.3:  Develop and Support Research-Practitioner Partnerships (e.g., museums, non-governmental organizations, school districts).


Action Item 3.3.4:  Support collaborative, multidisciplinary research projects within the College, University, and beyond.


Objective 3.4:  Supporting Research for Change

Objective Description:  Better utilize our existing resources and build additional support mechanisms to increase our capacity to procure external funding for research activities.


Action Item 3.4.1:  Leverage internal resources to increase strength of external funding proposals.


Action Item 3.4.2:  Enhance support for the submission of external grant proposals.


Action Item 3.4.3:  Better leverage our College and University resources to better support faculty research.



GOAL 4:  Outreach, Dissemination, and Partnerships

Goal Description:  The College of Education will engage and partner with families, community members, educators, and policymakers in our region, state, nation, and world and work collaboratively with these individuals and entities to change education systems and society. Our research, programs, materials, and interventions must be easily accessible and shared widely. To do so, we will adopt new strategies for outreach to individuals and communities, create more effective strategies to disseminate our work, and expand our partnerships.


Objective 4.1:  Partnerships with Community Organizations

Objective Description:  Become a leader within the state and nation in fostering and developing reciprocal partnerships with families, schools, and community organizations to collaboratively address pressing social issues, including poverty, racism, mental health and well-being, critical literacies, and climate change, among others, at the regional, state, national and global levels. 


Action Item 4.1.1:  Make equity, inclusion, anti-racism, critical literacies, and mental health and well-being the foci of the College of Education’s partnership work such that the College is seen as a leader within the state and nation in these areas.


Action Item 4.1.2:  Create new internal structures to facilitate connections with educator preparation program graduates and their employers to better support career transitions, help ensure our programs are aligned with the needs of communities with educational disparities, and inform programmatic priorities.


Objective 4.2:  Outreach and Dissemination

Objective Description: Ensure the College of Education is recognized widely as a leader throughout the state and nation, the work of the members of the College of Education will be shared widely through a variety of accessible modes to the public, educators, and policymakers across all levels of education at the regional, state, national, and international levels.


Action Item 4.2.1:  Improve access to and visibility of the work of the College of Education.


Action Item 4.2.2:  Facilitate the publication of practitioner and policy briefs, particularly those focused on social justice, critical literacies, and mental health and well-being, by members of the College of Education.


Action Item 4.2.3:  Provide consultation, mentoring, and/or professional development to recent College of Education graduates employed as EC-12 educators on how to address issues of equity and diversity, mental health and well-being and critical literacies in the classrooms and in our schools.


Action Item 4.2.4:  Disseminate findings of research partnerships.



Previous iterations of the College of Education strategic plan are available upon request to [email protected].