Professional Education Unit's Professional Dispositions Policy For MAT and MEd Students and Faculty


In education, professional dispositions are the agreed upon and expected attitudes, values and behaviors of teachers and other educators.  Universities develop their professional dispositions for consistency with their conceptual frameworks, and to guide the professional education of their candidates.  Demonstration of these dispositions is essential for the effective education of K-12 students.

The Department of Education has a public responsibility for ensuring that its graduates demonstrate these behaviors.  This responsibility is enacted, for example, each time. UMUC graduates MAT or MEd students and then recommends this student for state teacher certification or to work in the schools in another capacity.

UMUC's professional dispositions are organized in three important areas of professional relationships: with Students through Curriculum and Instruction; with Students, Parents, and other Stakeholders through Effective Communication; and with the University.

Professional Dispositions

Within the Unit's programs, professional dispositions are expressed through interaction of candidates within the online environment and in the field, through candidates' participation in and analyses of curricular instruction, effective communication, and ongoing reflection and behavioral responses to the professional and local community.

Dispositions include both a way of seeing the world and a particular way of acting within it. The following definition encompasses the Unit's understanding of disposition:

"Dispositions are habits of mind including both cognitive and affective attributes that filter one's knowledge, skills, and beliefs and impact the action one takes in classroom or professional settings. They are manifested within relationships as meaning-making occurs with others, and they are evidenced through interactions in the form of discourse. (Thornton, 2006, p. 62)"

Community, the School Community, and the Profession

In each area, dispositions identify concrete and expected behaviors, which are observable and measureable.

The Department presents these professional dispositions, as listed below, with two important assumptions in mind:

    1. Together the listed items constitute a guiding framework for professional educators' development and self-review, and
    2. Performance that departs from the listed items may be the basis of stages of corrective intervention.

Importantly, the professional dispositions play an essential constructive role in candidates' professional development throughout their UMUC program.  Candidates interact with these dispositions regularly, through private self-assessment, course assignments, and class discussions.  All required assessments are submitted to the Department through Tk20.

The dispositions were created with attention to diversity and technology and are aligned with the expectations in professional, state, and institutional standards. A separate document details indicators for each disposition, which ground the dispositions in concrete, authentic educational practice within each of three categories:

Category #1: Relationship with Students through the Curriculum and Instruction

  • Demonstrates teaching to enable all students to learn at high levels
  • Displays respect for diversity as an essential curricular component
  • Demonstrates that important academic learning can be promoted through group work
  • Demonstrates the ability to respond to individual differences in learning
  • Demonstrates the importance of adaptability and innovativeness

Category #2: Relationship with Students, Parents, and Other Stakeholders through Effective Communication

  • Displays caring and trust-worthiness
  • Communicates professionally, respectfully, and effectively

Category #3: Relationship with the University Community, the School Community and the Profession

  • Contributes to the broad school community, including online professional networks
  • Demonstrates professional responsibility
  • Demonstrates professional growth

The Faculty and Student Professional Disposition documents are linked below.  These documents consists of three parts: 

    1. The list of dispositions by category setting forth the Department of Education's specific expectations with bulleted indicators.
    2. The Faculty Implementation Procedures outlining training content provided by program directors. 
    3. The Stages of Intervention when Candidate Performance Requires Corrective Action specifying the Department of Education's policy for handling candidate cases of significant departure from these dispositions.

Candidates unable to meet the dispositions may be subject to actions up to removal from the program, when eligibility for state certification is associated with program completion.