In 1998, the “Education Department” of Bellarmine College was dedicated as a “School of Education” with Dr. Doris Tegart as its founding dean (Dr. Tegart is currently Provost of Bellarmine University). The School of Education was named the Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education (AFTSE) on October 31, 2001, after adding a Master of Arts in Education program and a Master of Arts in Teaching program. The AFTSE is one of six (6) schools within the university, including the College of Arts and Sciences, and has the primary authority and responsibility for delivering and operating all initial and advanced professional education programs. The university acknowledges that the preparation of educators is a shared responsibility among all schools, as appropriate, with the College of Arts and Sciences as the primary collaborative partner in teacher training. The AFTSE currently offers 20 programs in educator preparation, including a doctoral program in Education and Social Change as of Summer, 2011.
The AFTSE continues its mission of preparing caring, effective educators in the Catholic liberal arts tradition of Bellarmine University to teach and lead in diverse settings. This mission is further illuminated by the theme of the AFTSE, Educator as Reflective Learner, is the outgrowth of more than ten years of reading, discussing, and reflecting on the philosophy of the unit and its conceptual framework. The AFTSE reaffirmed this theme (May, 2011) based on its recognized consistency with the mission of the institution and with the philosophy of the education faculty and community partners, as well as with the various programs for candidates. The theme, based on Linda Valli’s (1997) five types of reflection (technical, reflection in-and-on action, personalistic, deliberative, and critical) captures the essence of the conceptual framework in that effective educators are called to reflect consistently and systematically on their own practice, as well as mentor and collaborate with their colleagues in reflective practice, in order to advance successful professional learning communities within schools and the broader community.