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Standard 4 Report

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4.1 How does the unit prepare candidates to work effectively with all students, including individuals of different ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, gender, exceptionalities, language, religion, sexual orientation, and/or geographical area?

Edinboro University demonstrates a strong commitment to creating an "inclusive environment" in which students from a multiplicity of cultures, backgrounds, abilities and experiences are successful (University Mission). The NCATE Unit’s Conceptual Framework, Effective Facilitators of Learning, reveals a strong commitment to preparing all candidates to work effectively with all students. Evidence such as our vision statement, “an understanding of our diverse and global society” and the first belief statement of our Conceptual Framework, “accept the requirement to build a civil society that focuses on respect and embraces diversity” reveals this commitment and informs curricular and experiential program decisions. Further evidence resides in the adoption of the Diversity proficiencies to be integrated into each program and met by all candidates.

All Unit programs design curriculum and provide “experiences for candidates to acquire and demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions necessary to help all students learn” (NCATE, 2008, p. 34). This statement is evidenced by the fact that all programs adhere to national diversity standards set forth by their Specialized Professional Associations [SPAs] or by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). In each program area, carefully designed curricular experiences are required so as to promote candidates’ abilities to “contextualize teaching and draw effectively on representations from the students’ own experiences and cultures” (p. 34). In the following subsections, specific curricular experiences related to diversity are detailed (diversity course matrix and syllabi).

Initial Certification candidates engage in a wide range of curricular experiences related to diversity. Edinboro's general education Core requires that all candidates in undergraduate and teacher certification programs take a course related to cultural diversity and social pluralism. The objective of this requirement is to promote “knowledge of diverse ways of living and thinking that are rooted in cultural, ethnic, racial, gender and social differences” (UG Catalog, p. 50).  The undergraduate core also requires that students take courses in the following categories: Artistic Expression, World Civilizations, American Civilizations, Human Behavior, Natural Science, and Ethics. These courses contribute to students’ understanding of and appreciation for human diversity (UG Catalog, p.48).

Since the Unit’s last NCATE visit, the SOE has made curriculum changes that now require additional coursework related to diversity. Specifically, Special Education Competencies must be embedded into all programs. To address this specific diversity issue as well as to meet state expectations, the Unit created two new courses, SPED 210 Introduction to Exceptionalities and SPED 370 Adaptations and Accommodations in Inclusive Classrooms. At least one of these two new courses is now required for all teacher preparation programs. Initial certification candidates are further required to take an additional education course specific to diversity, SEDU 271 Multiculturalism in American Schools, which includes at least 60 hours of content related to English Language Learners (course outline for SEDU 271).  Within these as well as other professional education courses, candidates become aware of different learning styles and practice adapting instruction for the success of all students. Courses including the topic of diversity have been implemented into every initial certification program (diversity course matrix).

Two key examples of program design and implementation focusing on diversity include the Early Childhood/Special Education program and the Health and Physical Education program.

Post Baccalaureate Teacher Certification Programs

The NCATE Standards, SPA standards, and the NBPTS form the foundation for the Unit’s post baccalaureate teacher certification programs which include the Early Childhood Education Program, Middle Level Program, and Secondary Education Program. All standards include curricular requirements related to teaching diverse student populations.

Advanced Programs in Teacher Education

Advanced Programs in Early Childhood Education, Special Education, and Middle/Secondary Instruction all require candidates to take SPED 710 Seminar in Exceptionalities and SEDU 702 Teaching in the Contemporary Multicultural Classroom where they learn content related to children with special needs and diverse backgrounds. State and national standards were used as a guide to develop curricular experiences that promote candidates’ understanding of and ability to work effectively with diverse learners. Curricular experiences are aligned with major assignments embedded in the courses (Key assessments).

Related Professional Graduate Programs

All advanced programs expose candidates to diversity content in both traditional face-to-face courses, and online courses. On-line courses bring together candidates from geographically diverse areas, helping to create a learning environment characterized by rich discussions about issues of diversity due to the perceived anonymity of online discussions (Curtin & Dixon, 2010). Additionally, these advanced programs use national SPA and Pennsylvania Department of Education standards to inform the design, implementation, and evaluation of curriculum. Two examples that detail how specific programs provide curricular experiences for graduate candidates to acquire and demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions necessary to help all students learn come from the Graduate Reading Program and Educational Leadership.

Field Experiences

Carefully designed field experiences ensure that our candidates have opportunities to extend and apply proficiencies related to diversity. These experiences allow candidates to apply their knowledge and skills regarding how to teach all students by differentiating instruction in a variety of settings.  Each initial candidate is placed in at least one school setting that has a diverse student population and most offer placement opportunities for the candidates to become involved in the community.  These experiences allow for the growth of each candidate's professional dispositions (Diverse settings policy).

Undergraduate and Teacher Certification Programs and Post Baccalaureate Teacher Certification Programs

Every teacher candidate and field student is required to be placed in a school that has been designated as having a significant population of children of poverty, exceptionalities, and/or diverse ethnicity for at least one of their field experiences. Through an ongoing demographic study in which our student teachers are trained, the schools are ranked according to socioeconomic levels, numbers of children with exceptionalities, and ethnic diversity (Appendix C).

PDS partnerships have remained strong since the last NCATE visit, and the Unit is continuing to expand the experiences related to urban learners for candidates by developing relationships with an expectation of formal partnerships using the PDS model. PDS District Liaisons (PDS report 2010-2011) have played an integral role in developing a model that reflects the PDS nine essential elements. District teachers and representatives visit EU’s campus to share insights about teaching in an urban setting, and district teachers have served on panels, as guest lecturers, and provided input in curriculum planning. The superintendent and teachers from the Erie School District have been invited guests at the Student Teaching Practicum during the mid-point of the student teaching experience and these informal sessions entitled “Poverty and the Urban Learner” have been extremely well received by our candidates, serving to further strengthen the reciprocal relationship between the University and District partners.

In addition to required experiences, candidates have the opportunity to attend the Philadelphia Urban Seminar, a two-week residential urban studies program in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This seminar provides an opportunity for students to immerse themselves in an urban setting through teaching, working with students in small groups, focused observations, journaling, and a day-long community service project. Written reflections reveal that students find them to be high impact experiences and influential in changing their perspectives in relation to teaching in an urban district.

In Summer 2012, an Erie Urban Seminar was designed to replicate the Philadelphia Urban experience and to make a positive connection with a local urban district. This is the first step in developing a program that will introduce students to an urban setting early in their college experience, with the hope that they will be better prepared for field experiences and student teaching. Plans also include an urban track which will include an increased number of urban field experiences as well as specialized curriculum to address the needs of learners in an urban setting.

Related Professional Graduate Programs:
Two examples of advanced program, diverse field experiences are the Reading Clinic and Educational Leadership Intern Program.

Graduate Reading. In the Graduate Reading Program, every candidate is required to take READ 712: Reading Clinic. In this capstone course, candidates work one-on-one with children from local schools or community organizations that cater to an economically, geographically, or linguistically diverse population. (list of partnering school districts). One community partner is the PDE’s Migrant Education Program, a recipient of a 2011 Excellence in Summer Learning Award. Through this program and in connection with READ 712, candidates have the opportunity to work with and learn from the children of migratory farm workers. In 2012, the program increased the number of Summer Reading Clinics that are offered through PDE’s Migrant Education Program and it is expected that involvement with this community partner will continue to expand in future years.

Educational Leadership. An important aspect of the required Educational Leadership Program Internship is the focus project on student achievement. Advanced candidates disaggregate student achievement data by gender, race, ethnicity, economic status, students with special needs, and English Language Learners. Data are analyzed and candidates develop plans to address any achievement gaps noted. Field experiences and internships provide a rich setting in which to apply course content reflected in this plan. Candidates in the building or district level leadership program have experience in conducting a sociological inventory of a diverse community. Candidates in the Educational Leadership program conduct summaries, evaluations, and reflections for every course, with ongoing attention to providing leadership that promotes the success of all students.

Within the requirements of SCHA 731 School and Community Relations, a required course in all educational leadership programs, candidates conduct a sociological inventory in a diverse setting (SCHA 731 rubric) included are the topics that educational leaders should understand and be able to analyze customs and traditions, populations’ characteristics, existing communication channels, community groups, leadership, economic conditions, political structure, social tensions, and previous community efforts.

4.2.b  Continuous Improvement: Summarize activities and changes based on data that have led to continuous improvement of candidate performance and program quality.    

A major continuous improvement effort began in the Spring of 2011 with a discussion of Diversity Proficiencies. The proficiencies were established by theI Diversity Continuous Improvement Committee (CIC) and presented to the unit at the Fall 2012 Unit meeting. The CIC invited feedback which they brought to the next committee meeting. After a review of the feedback, the CIC adopted the proficiencies and presented them to the unit. The committee also directed each program to ensure that these proficiencies were meaningfully integrated into the coursework and field experiences and that they were assessed. One such assessment would be the Conceptual Framework reflection. Discussion about best practices was discussed at the Fall 2012 CI Diversity CIC meeting and will continue in the Spring 2013 meeting. Many suggestions were offered, but the committee feels strongly that the decisions on integration should be at the program level (minutes from CI Diversity).

In an attempt to assess candidates' knowledge, skills, and dispositions related to diversity, all candidates in the Unit were required to take the Cultural Diversity Awareness Inventory [CDAI]. The Diversity CIC examined and analyzed data from this survey and researched other instruments that might be better suited to assessing candidates’ awareness in relation to diversity proficiencies. The CIC recognized that one Graduate program faculty in particular had concerns about the relevance of the CDAI to their candidates and programs. In an attempt to explore other surveys which might provide more meaningful data, the committee spearheaded a pilot of the Multicultural Awareness Knowledge Skills Survey [MAKSS] adapted for teaching in Spring and Summer 2010 semesters. Graduate programs in Educational Leadership, and Art Education participated in the pilot (pilot survey data).

Data from the MAKSS pilot and CDAI data were shared with departments at a Unit retreat (Fall 2011) with the directive to examine how the results might impact program decisions. The resulting discussion suggested that undergraduate programs would like to pilot the MAKSS-T as an alternate diversity assessment survey. Each program undertook a careful review of their course sequence and program requirements for the purpose of determining the most appropriate times at which to administer the MAKSS-T. Based on these discussions, some programs chose to administer the assessment at an entry and exit point (so as to measure change over time in relation to a specific program learning experience) while others chose to administer it at an exit point only (to ensure that candidates demonstrate appropriate proficiencies). This new model was piloted in the Fall 2012 semester (Minutes from  Diversity Committee).

In alignment with state expectations, additional hours related to special education were implemented. In addition to the curricular changes noted above, SPED 210 Introduction to Exceptionalities and SPED 370 Adaptations and Accommodations in Inclusive Classrooms are now required courses for all teacher preparation programs. Stage 1 and Stage 2 field experiences are required in these two courses. Field experiences include observations, followed by reflection through writing and class discussions.

Results of the Teacher Candidate Performance Profile (TCPP) and diversity survey data reveal that there is growth in the area of dispositions related to diversity. When the Diversity CIC reviewed specific data related to diversity, they discovered that most candidates score in at least the acceptable range. Each department has a dispositions policy should a candidate not display dispositions appropriate for the profession or working with diverse student populations. These disposition policies are aligned with the Unit dispositions policy.

One other item of note is that EU has made good faith efforts to recruit faculty with expertise related to diverse student populations (Exhibit 4.3.g and 4.3.h).

Experiences working with diverse faculty

As a Unit committed to continuous improvement, the SOE's plan to increase candidate experiences in working with diverse faculty include a focused and intentional recruitment effort including attendance at conferences where recent graduates are seeking positions, participation in a system wide effort to work with specific doctoral programs at HBCs and other institutions, collaboration with the campus University Diversity Council to increase the number of diverse faculty members at the university, and the establishment of connections through professional organizations. The University Diversity Council has also offered to be available during the search process for potential candidates to meet faculty of color on campus. Additionally, the Diversity CIC will prepare a plan to recruit diverse faculty members in the School of Education. We view this as a university issue as well as a School of Education area of concern, thus coordinated efforts are viewed as the strongest approach.

While the School of Education has made a good faith effort to recruit faculty of diverse professional backgrounds and qualifications, geographic areas, ethnicities, gender, and physical abilities, our efforts have not been as successful as we would like in the areas of race and ethnicity (faculty demographics table). Offers were made to two diverse candidates in the Spring 2012 semester; however they took other positions. The Dean’s Office remains committed to increasing faculty diversity and has communicated that this is a priority in the next search process. The Dean has also established a quicker timeline so that we are in line to offer positions to the most highly qualified candidates before other offers are made. Please see the Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action and Nondiscrimination Policy No. G005   for the university’s plan for good faith effort in the area of recruitment and retention of faculty of color.

In an effort to encourage multiple perspectives, we have developed a session at the student teacher practicum whereby professionals from urban settings lead a conversation about culturally responsive teaching and management. This is well received and includes teachers of color from public schools in the area. We also participate in the Philadelphia Urban Seminar where candidates who attend are introduced to diverse speakers and diverse public school faculty and administrators. Students are also encouraged to attend activities on campus which address issues of diversity and are often led by panels including faculty of color.

Experience working with diverse candidates

The Diversity CIC has adopted as its priority for the next year a focus on recruitment and retention of candidates of color to EU's teacher preparation programs (candidate demographic table). This initiative has grown out of an awareness of the importance of a diverse teacher workforce for all P-12 students, the changing demographics of Pennsylvania, the critical conversations about culturally responsive pedagogy and management, and the success of every student.  A diverse faculty benefits the P-12 student, the university candidates, the school community, and the local community (notes from fall 2012 CI meeting).

The University is also committed to increasing access and success (graduation) for under-represented minorities and Pell Grant recipients. Edinboro University has recently become a lead school in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education’s (PASSHE) Access to Success (A2S) initiative.  This initiative is a data driven project that focuses on recruiting, retaining, and graduating underrepresented minorities. The SOE's Associate Dean serves as co-chair of this initiative and she is joined  on the team by the SOE Dean and faculty from the EMSE Department.

The Undergraduate Admissions Office has also been participating in and completing many goals and objectives related to the recruitment and retention strategies for diverse candidates. This office hosts an Annual Education Night  (Admissions Conversion Event) in support of  School of Education focused recruitment. Examples of additional practices related ot the recruitment of diverse candidates include the following:  2012 Erie County High School Visitation Day (March 7, 2012) – event designed to recruit a diverse population of students from Erie County; diversity mailing from the Admissions Office sent to all underrepresented applicants and a mailing from the Multicultural Affairs Office to all underrepresented admits; timely review of PASSHE Board of Governors Tuition Waiver (Full or Half Tuition) recipients; participation in national diversity college fairs; participation in higher education diversity conferences/workshops; participation on the NCATE Diversity Committee; participation on the A2S/Center for Urban Education Equity Scorecard Team(s); and participation on the University Diversity Council.

Experience working with P-12 students from diverse groups

As noted above, to ensure that all candidates gain experience working with P-12 students from diverse groups, every teacher candidate and field student is required to be placed in a school that has been designated as having a significant population of children of poverty, exceptionalities, and/or diverse ethnicity for at least one of their field experiences (data table diverse demographics for P-12 schools). Through an ongoing demographic study of the schools in which our student teachers are trained, the schools are ranked according to socioeconomic levels, numbers of children with exceptionalities, and ethnic diversity (Appendix C).

Students have multiple opportunities to conduct observations and academic activities in different schools throughout their four stages of field experience in the undergraduate programs and throughout field experiences and practicum experiences in advanced programs. The new inclusion requirements and the creation of the Special Education courses offer opportunities for students to observe and/or participate in activities with students with special needs or accommodation requirements. Our collaboration with the PDS schools also provides high poverty and diverse settings for field experiences, student teaching, and internships.

Throughout the coursework, candidates are required to provide adaptations in lesson planning for students whose other language is English, those with special needs or IEP requirements, students with physical or mental disabilities, students with emotional disorders, students with learning disabilities, and students with cultural characteristics that may require adaptations.

Discussions are in place to prioritize providing experiences for candidates to work with P-12 students from diverse groups within and across departments. In the spirit of continuous improvement we are committed to moving forward with this goal in creative ways to enhance our candidates' ability to maximize learning for every student or client.