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Educators are professionals. Professionals are intrinsically motivated to do outstanding work, and they continuously seek out feedback to improve their performance. We expect everyone at Deans for Impact to do the same, both individually and organizationally. We believe honesty and humility are key to fostering professional growth. We model our professionalism by designing experiences for future teachers that we hope they will one day create for their students.
Be good stewards
Good stewards tend to that which they care about. At Deans for Impact, we care deeply about our culture, and we expect everyone to positively nurture its growth and evolution. A big part of our culture is caring about our colleagues, and assuming the best of them (and others we collaborate with). Similarly, we are always mindful of how our actions affect others, and we recognize that work is just one facet of life.
Practice good pedagogy
We have a reverent respect for the art – and science – of good pedagogy. In our work with educators, we try to model the sort of pedagogical practices we hope to see flourish in classrooms everywhere. This includes creating learning environments where all voices are heard; gathering evidence to inform our decisions; and designing activities with the end in mind.
Always seek solutions
Constraint drives creativity. The work we do is complex – but we see that complexity as an opportunity rather than as an obstacle. We use a phrase around the office – “everything is a prototype” – that describes our nimble approach to developing solutions to problems, testing them, and then iterating based on what we’ve learned. We are doubtful that the same solution will work everywhere – context matters.
Design for inclusivity
Fighting racist ideas and policies, including those that have been embedded in the U.S. education system, requires bringing together diverse actors to work together in collective and inclusive fashion. This won’t just happen by accident – it requires intentionality. At Deans for Impact, we take deliberate steps to foster inclusivity in everything we do, from hiring to program design to identifying leaders to collaborate with. While we value this across a number of dimensions, we are particularly attentive to the history of white supremacy in the U.S. and its ongoing impact on particular races and ethnicities, including black Americans, Native Americans, and immigrants. Living this value is a work in progress for us – we are striving to get better.
Transform the system
Our mission is ambitious, and to achieve it will require more than incremental fixes. So we take risks to create transformative change, and we’re not afraid to fail. Ambiguity doesn’t frighten us – we try to understand problems from every angle, and often find multiple solutions to the same problem. Transforming this nation’s educator-preparation system is a generational effort – to work here requires taking the long view.