Education Unit Head:
Dr. Howard Smith
Dr. Jean Dockers
Phone: (620) 235-4489
Fax: (620) 235-4421
What are the institution’s historical context and unique characteristics? Pittsburg State University (PSU) is a fully-accredited, regional university located in southeast Kansas. PSU began in 1903 as the Auxiliary Manual Training Normal School under the State Normal School of Emporia. The institution became a four-year college in 1913 and became known as Kansas State Teachers College (KSTC). During the KSTC era, the graduate studies program and the Master of Science and Specialist in Education degrees were established. By 1959, the year that KSTC became known as Kansas State College of Pittsburg, the college had an enrollment of 2,800. As KSCP, the college continued to expand its undergraduate and graduate offerings, and in 1966, the current structure of four schools and the graduate division was organized. By the fall of 1976, the college enrollment grew to 5,200. On April 21, 1977, Kansas State College was granted university status and was renamed Pittsburg State University. Enrollments have continued to increase and in 2008 surpassed 7,000 full-time students for the first time in the University’s history.
PSU offers more than 100 bachelor’s and master’s level academic programs. PSU’s highly regarded academic programs meet the rigorous accrediting standards of a variety of national and international accrediting bodies and the university is a pioneer in the Higher Learning Commission effort to assess student learning and educational quality. The historical and prevailing focus of PSU and the College of Education (COE) is excellence in teaching. PSU creates a learning environment that supports candidates throughout their program and teaching profession by providing undergraduate and graduate programs and services to the people of Southeast Kansas and beyond. Teacher Education at PSU embraces a dynamic, progressive approach to preparing professionals who possess the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to meet the needs of all students and PK-12 schools as educational research, school curriculum, and social realities change.
What is the institution’s mission? Pittsburg State University, a comprehensive regional university, provides undergraduate and graduate programs and services to the people of southeast Kansas, but also to others who seek the benefits offered. This is accomplished by the unique combination of academic programs in the four colleges of the University: Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, and Technology. The university is equally committed to fulfilling its statewide mission in technology and economic development by facilitating partnerships with secondary and postsecondary educational institutions, businesses and industries.
The university supports an organizational and interpersonal structure that actively encourages individuals to achieve their potential. The university provides programs and services that create opportunities for students and other individuals to develop intellectually, ethically, aesthetically, emotionally, socially and physically. The university provides intellectual leadership and multicultural experiences that contribute to the preservation of the heritage of the region and the enhancement of its inhabitants. Finally, the university recognizes the world as interdependent and, thus, seeks to promote a broad and interactive international perspective.
The university fulfills the traditional academic missions of teaching, scholarship and service. Excellence in teaching is the primary focus of the university. The university recognizes that active scholarship and creativity add vitality to teaching, expand and refine the knowledge base and are instrumental to the professional development of the faculty and staff. Programs of professional and community service promote and strengthen university endeavors. Pittsburg State University fosters a campus culture of assessment and accountability that supports strategic planning and the continuous improvement of its academic programs and administrative processes (University Catalog p.201).
What is the professional education unit at your institution and what is its relationship to other units at the institution that are involved in the preparation of professional educators, and what are the significant changes since the last NCATE review?The College of Education (COE) houses the professional education unit at PSU, which is comprised of the departments of Teaching and Leadership; Health, Human Performance and Recreation; Psychology and Counseling; and academic programs in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Technology. This unique combination of academic programs in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education, and Technology encourages collaboration by facilitating partnerships with secondary and post-secondary educational institutions and the community. The College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Technology are involved in all aspects of the Teacher Education Program as active participants in the development and assessment of the Teacher Education Program through representation on education committees including the Council for Teacher Education, the COE Assessment Committee and the Secondary Education Coordinating Committee.
Major changes in the Educational Unit since the last NCATE review include reorganization (C.F.4) within the COE. This allows for better collaboration across the unit for both initial and advanced programs. The process of the reorganization study allowed representatives from all departments to focus on the unit to determine the most effective configuration to ensure continued improvement. The most dramatic outcome of the reorganization was the merging of two departments, Curriculum and Instruction and Special Services and Leadership Studies, creating the largest department on campus the Department of Teaching and Leadership (TCHL). Within this large department, coordinators for each program have been identified. Program coordinators serve on the coordinating councils, this enhances collaboration across the unit, streamlines data collection and allows identification of common challenges and improvements (see committee meeting minutes). Another major change is the centralization of data collection for the unit through the Office of Teacher Education (OTE). All data flow through the OTE where it is aggregated and analyzed. Results are then made available to programs, committees and faculty through Live Text (Pass Code C8D97170 Click “Exhibit Center” tab). The OTE also coordinates the administration of follow up surveys for the Unit. All follow-up surveys have been revised since the last visit. Common data points were added to all advanced program surveys.
Since the last visit, two new coordinating committees have been formed: Elementary Education Coordinating Committee and Advanced Programs Coordinating Committee. These Committees were created to better align programs and facilitate communication within and across the unit. The Elementary Education Coordinating Committee is made up of representatives from the Early/Late Childhood K-6 program, Early Childhood Unified program, Special Education and elementary student teacher supervisors. The Advanced Programs Coordinating Committee is made up of representatives from each advanced program area across the unit. The members of these two Committees are directly involved in Unit program alignment and continuous improvement efforts (see committee meeting minutes).
Since the last NCATE visit, ongoing committees, which are comprised of college, community, and PK-12 teachers and administrators, have reviewed data from both initial and graduate programs for program improvement. The COE reorganized its external advisory boards breaking up the single large board into smaller, program specific groups. The small groups meet to discuss issues and concerns specific to the program area. All small groups are brought together annually, in the spring, to report changes and efforts to the large group.
Also since the last visit, the delivery method of two programs in the COE, the Special Education emphases of both the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and the Master of Science (MS) in teaching, has moved from face to face/hybrid programs to completely online. The COE has revised the Special Education minor and created a new Inclusive Classroom minor. The COE has also partnered with Minnesota State University, Mankato, to create an opportunity for student teachers to complete a small portion of their student teaching experience in Australia.
What are the basic tenets of the conceptual framework and how has the conceptual framework changed since the previous visit?The mission of the COE is to prepare Competent, Committed, Caring Professionals, provide service to the various communities of which we are a part, and expand the body of knowledge through research and dissemination activities. COE core beliefs provide the mainstay for the Conceptual Framework, creating our vision of teaching for both faculty and candidates. The Competent Professional has acquired the content knowledge and pedagogical instructional strategies necessary to effectively teach all students. The Committed Professional practices reflection and professional development for continuous improvement of teaching and learning. The Caring Professional possesses the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to identify, evaluate and address the needs of all students and families when designing and presenting lessons.
The basic tenets guide our mission, vision, goals and form the foundation for the Initial and Advanced Knowledge Base of the Conceptual Framework. The initial and advanced knowledge bases, created to evaluate implementation of the Conceptual Framework, identify and assess essential knowledge, skills and behaviors including dispositions, diversity, and technology, which guide candidates from their initial field experience through the professional semester. Varied field experiences with support and continuing evaluation by University Supervisors, Academic Supervisors, and Cooperating Teachers in the field ensure candidate progress in meeting designated indicators of the knowledge base and, ultimately, their success as an educator who meets the varying needs of all students.