6.2. 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 6.
Data relating to unit growth, program quality, and service to candidates’ continuous improvement made the need for more space apparent. As indicated in the previous institutional report, plans to address all of the unit’s space issues were underway in the form of constructing a new building. Those plans have resulted in a unit facility where substantial improvement has been made. At the time of the previous visit, unit faculty offices were housed in multiple buildings and on different floors of the same building, making contact and communication difficult. Classes were taught in various buildings, and available technology varied from classroom to classroom. There was no conference room. There were no rooms sufficient in size to hold large meetings. Consistent with planning, a new building was completed in 2010. The building houses all faculty offices, all School of Education classrooms that are technology equipped, has a large technology equipped conference room, a faculty workroom, a student learning center, a room for large meetings, and adequate parking. Continuous improvement in facilities contributes to continuous improvement of candidate performance.
At the time of the last visit, the unit had nine full-time and two part-time faculty. Both internal data and external data have revealed needs for additional programs and consequent additional faculty. The unit has grown to seventeen full-time faculty and one part-time (full-time to the university) faculty. More candidates in the special education and early childhood area have made the increases necessary. The number of support personnel has also grown accordingly. Competent support personnel are adequate to insure coherence in the unit and to maintain data entry work necessary for the candidate assessment system.
The unit now offers programs at off-campus sites. Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education (IECE) courses were approved by the Kentucky EPSB in 2009 to be offered at three offsite locations:
1. The Louisville Education Center (LEC) has expanded to include a second building. The buildings are now designated as an Academic Building and an Administration Building (August, 2011). Both buildings have classroom and office space. are held in the Academic Building. The building contains a computer laboratory, a small library and casual study space. All classrooms are equipped with computers and mounted projectors as well as white boards. Instruction is supported with student response system (clicker) and other required technology comparable to main campus including video cameras that may be checked out by candidates. One full-time unit faculty is available at the Louisville site on a daily basis; also a director and several support staff provide a variety of services to students (financial aid, admissions, etc.). Special Education has a campus-based course that uses this space as well.
2. IECE courses are offered on campus at Somerset Community College. Two full-time unit faculty travel to Somerset twice per week to offer instruction and advising to IECE candidates. Additional support is provided by two CU staff members who have offices in Somerset. CU has acquired a new facility in Somerset (2011) to accommodate the growing number of IECE program candidates and criminal justice students. The facility is still under construction.
3. Courses are also offered in Elizabethtown at Severns Valley Baptist Church. One full-time and two part-time faculty provide instruction and advising at this site weekly with access to technology comparable to the main CU campus (multi-media computers, overhead projector, DVD/CD player).
Unit faculty are lifelong learners pursuing excellence in pedagogical knowledge and current best practice. Since the last NCATE visit, all unit faculty have engaged in pertinent, relevant professional development that have contributed to unit and candidate growth (faculty vitae). With the development and implementation of more programs (program documents), more space, resources, expertise and faculty have resulted. The unit continues to foster a vision of cutting-edge approaches to field/clinical experiences, assessment procedures and candidate success that ultimately leads to P-12 student learning. New technologies such as the adoption of LiveText for e-portfolios has enhanced the assessment system and provides candidates and faculty with a means by which to stay connected and provide convenient access to candidate artifacts. The unit continues to target needs in the community, such as offering more online courses (Rank 1 program) and more practical instruction for advanced candidates addressing change in public school mandates at the state and national levels.
In summary, evidence has been provided that indicates the unit has the leadership and authority, budget, personnel, facilities, and resources (including information technology resources) for preparation of candidates to meet institutional, state and professional standards.