In developing its teacher education program, RTEC was guided by research on exemplary licensure programs, and RTEC faculty experience with education programs at Mary Baldwin and the University of Virginia. Among the researchers whose work helped shape its program are Linda Darling-Hammond and John Bransford (2005), J. H. Stronge (2007), and Arthur Levine (2006). In particular, RTEC has focused on qualities identified by Arthur Levine in his 2006 report, Educating School Teachers. Levine states that strong teacher education programs:
- develop excellent teachers based on a clearly defined, shared, and authentic mission that leads to action
- work at building the conditions that make it possible to implement a shared mission
- provide a coherent and innovative up-to-date curriculum
- offer courses that meet high academic standards
- provide structured field experiences from the beginning of the student's entrance into teacher education to the point that they enter the profession; and,
- build a close partnership with the local community of schools represented by a spirit of service and hands-on, collaborative co-learning.
In addition, the ten principles for teacher education and licensure established by the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) and the work of Charlotte Danielson, Enhancing Professional Practice: A framework for teaching (2007), directly influenced the objectives and content of all RTEC education courses. Ultimately, RTEC aligned its mission components, fieldwork, and student teaching with the INTASC principles, the requirements of the Virginia Department of Education and the principles set by Charlotte Danielson (2007).
The mission of the Rockbridge Teacher Education Consortium was formulated to capitalize on the strengths of its member institutions. Therefore, RTEC's mission is to prepare teachers who are intelligent, compassionate, honorable, and dynamic leaders in their classrooms, schools, and communities. RTEC's mission rests on the four core components of leadership, rigor, service and diversity.
The four components that shape RTEC are both attributes to be developed in RTEC's teacher candidates and values that characterize the overall program.
Those components are: