4.2. b Continuous Improvement
- Summarize activities and changes based on data that have led to continuous improvement of candidate performance and program quality.
- Discuss plans for sustaining and enhancing performance through continuous improvement as articulated in unit Standard 4.
Design, Implementation, and Evaluation of Curriculum and Experiences
Since the last NCATE visit, the unit has identified diversity proficiencies from the Kentucky Teacher Standards (KTS) and incorporated them into initial and advanced course syllabi. Each course includes a variety of activities and assessments designed to illustrate the identified diversity proficiencies specific to that course. Some examples of changes include the following: 1) To reflect the expanding definition of diversity, ED 325 (originally The Exceptional Child) was renamed Teaching Diverse Learners; 2) To expand the ED 325 curriculum, candidates are required to interview a diverse student (e.g. ethnicity, exceptionality, socioeconomic, English Language Learner) on campus; 3) In IECE 360 Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in Early Childhood Education, candidates investigate issues of English Language Learners by interviewing their parents and teacher followed by a research of community resources to assist the family and the identified student; 4) in SED 601 Prescriptive and Instructional Strategies candidates develop a unit of instruction and assessments that includes strategies for differentiating for a student with a learning disability, English Language Learner and gifted and talented student. A matrix is provided that gives additional examples. The unit has implemented field hour experiences in each course that require candidates to participate in diverse settings. The type of diversity is documented on the Field Experience Summary form for each field experience. The candidates also write a reflection discussing the diversity observed in the classroom, such as instructional strategies, displayed student work, and technology practices.
Since the last visit, three new programs have been added to impact the diversity of programs offered. Candidates may prepare to serve a diverse society by utilizing the new Spanish P-12 certification major (approved by EPSB spring 2012) or adding an English as a Second Language endorsement option for initial and advanced candidates. In addition to these, an undergraduate special education degree (P-12) was approved spring 2012 and will begin course offerings fall 2012.
Each year an International Fair is conducted on the CU campus where the international students dress in their native costumes, perform native dances and cook their local cuisines. As of the 2012 Diversity Plan revision, all of the P-12 candidates will be required to participate in this fair or another comparable international event as part of their foundational course requirements. This will be monitored in either ED 325 or IECE 360.
Experiences Working with Diverse Faculty
Each year, the unit Diversity/Minority Recruitment Plan has an annual goal of hiring minority faculty members as positions become available. As a result of these plans, the SOE has hired two minority faculty members within the last two years. Candidates in the initial and advanced programs have the opportunity to take classes with African American and white/non-Hispanic professors. Candidates have the opportunity to take classes from both male, female and/or professors with disabilities. (Faculty Diversity Demographics Chart)
Several full-time faculty bring varied experiences to classrooms as a result of working in P-12 school settings. These school settings include an American Indian reservation, ethnically and culturally diverse student populations, urban settings and special needs students. Several of the faculty in these P-12 settings had daily contact with students and families with exceptionalities. Faculty work with socioeconomically disadvantaged populations as well.
Candidates are required to attend 30 hours of Pre-Professional Development (PPD). Each year they have an opportunity to attend PPDs related to diversity. The PPDs are presented by diverse faculty and guest presenters from the field. The following are recent examples of PPDs with diverse themes: “Navajo Experience & Culturally Responsive Instruction” presented by Dr. Carol Garrison, “Teaching in the Department of Defense Schools” presented by Dr. Priscilla Brame, “Learning Styles” presented by Marilyn Goodwin, “Multicultural Education” presented by Dr. Bill Stout, and “Accommodations and Modifications for Diverse Learners” presented by Norma Wheat.
Candidates are required to take general education classes where eight percent of the faculty population is racially/ethnically diverse. Males represent 49 percent of the total faculty population. Within the faculty, visiting professors come from other countries. Currently, we have a professor from the Ukraine who is working with our ESL program. The value of diversity is affirmed through good-faith efforts to increase or maintain faculty diversity.
Experiences Working with Diverse Candidates
Since the 2006 NCATE review, the initial and advanced candidate populations have become more diverse. In the 2006 initial certification program, only the white/non-Hispanic ethnic group was represented. From this zero percent in 2006, the unit has increased the minority initial candidate population to 10 percent. (Candidate Demographic Chart) In an effort to increase diversity among candidates, the University provides a minority scholarship annually for teacher education candidates. Another initiative is a campus-wide program, Dialogue on Race, focusing on diversity featuring speakers from the state, region, and community. Further, the unit conducts a diversity survey at program admission to collect data on all initial and advanced candidates. This effort provides faculty meaningful data which are reviewed annually at faculty retreats. The revised 2012 Diversity/Minority Recruitment Plan includes two action steps designed to increase candidates’ experiences working with diverse candidates. The first is to invite speakers with experiences in diverse settings (e.g. mission trips, international travel, and P-12 schools) to present to classes, conduct Pre-Professional Development (PPD) seminars, etc. The second is to continue working with the admissions office to visit and recruit candidates from highly diverse schools.
Experiences Working with Diverse Students in P-12 Schools
Beginning with the first education course(s) (ED 102, ECE 111 and SED 503), candidates are involved in field experiences with students in public schools and other alternative settings. Each course in the preparation program has planned field experiences during which candidates observe, tutor, assist with instruction, conduct simple classroom research and teach individuals, groups, and whole classes. Candidates plan and implement instruction, thereby combining theory and practice. The capstone clinical experience occurs during student teaching when candidates spend sixteen weeks working with students in designated classes, documenting their work in the portfolio. In addition, field/clinical experiences are designed to insure candidates work with students representing all types of diversity. Candidates acquire more direct experiences with racially and ethnically diverse student populations in various settings, including field trips to metropolitan school districts.
The 2011-2016 SOE Strategic Plan states that candidates will expand their base of diverse settings by participating in a field experience to an inner city or highly diverse school, arranged during the ED 300 course. In addition, other classes offer opportunities for students to work with diverse P-12 students. For example in ED 102, all students take a field trip to the Campbellsville Independent School District that has a minority population of approximately 20 percent. Also, ED 325 travels to the Taylor County School District to observe students with exceptionalities.
The unit hosts an annual regional Future Educators of America (FEA) Conference and invites schools with diverse populations to attend. At this conference, CU candidates have the opportunity to interact with P-12 students. The topic in the 2011-2012 program was “Celebrate Diversity: Change Our World One Person at a Time.” The keynote speaker and many of the activities extend the theme into the content of their presentations.
Initial and advanced level candidates learn how factors related to diverse individuals, families, and community values influence student learning. They consider students' levels of development, learning styles, strengths, and needs, while utilizing teaching approaches based on prior experiences of students. Examples of course-based experiences include personal biographies, examination of personal beliefs, readings, journaling, discussions, case studies, simulations, videos and accompanying dialog. Other examples of specific experiences in diversity include: (a) utilizing diverse speakers to provide PPD seminars to candidates; (b) partnering with ESL students on campus; (c) through more intentional field experiences, candidates visit schools in the region with diverse student populations; (d) seeking out opportunities to volunteer with families/children from diverse backgrounds as community service projects and (e) designing and teaching a lesson for a child with special needs. These experiences address instructional and communication issues related to diverse student populations.
In summary, the unit provides candidates opportunities to participate in experiences designed to increase their skills in working with diverse student populations that empower them with competency and confidence to impact student learning in diverse populations.