Education Unit Head:
Dr. Janet Smith
Dr. Jean Dockers
Phone: (620) 235-4489
Fax: (620) 235-4421
What are the institution's historical context and unique characteristics?Founded in 1903, Pittsburg State University (PSU) is a fully-accredited, regional university located in southeast Kansas. PSU offers more than 100 bachelor's and master's level academic programs in education, technology, business, and arts and sciences. 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 with cohesive relationships 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. To ensure continuous improvement, teams of college, community, and school representatives meet to design, monitor and revise the Teacher Education Program. A culture of excellence and continual improvement began with early leaders in Teacher Education. Milestones include adoption of selected admissions in the late 1940's and full-semester student teaching in fall of 1951. With the closing of the campus lab school in 1971, partnerships with K-12 schools expanded. In the 1980's field experiences were increased in education classes prior to the Professional Semester. In the mid 1990's a grant funded Professional Development School (PDS) program was initiated, which has evolved into a voluntary internship program offering candidates a yearlong field experience. In the 2000's, elementary education continued to enhance field experiences in the methods classes, and secondary programs added field experiences to their techniques classes. In conjunction with University Supervisors, full-time secondary methods teachers now observe and evaluate candidates in their content area. The COE Conceptual Framework (CF) supports the mission for the teacher preparation program with its three goals: to prepare Competent, Committed, Caring Professionals; to provide service to the various communities of which we are a part; and to expand the body of knowledge through research and dissemination activities.
What is the institution's mission?Pittsburg State University provides undergraduate and graduate programs and services to the people of Southeast Kansas and beyond. This is accomplished by a 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 post-secondary 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.
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?The primary focus of the university is excellence in teaching, and the primary focus of the College of Education is preparing Competent, Committed, Caring Professionals, who possess the knowledge, skills and dispositions to meet the needs of all students. The College of Education houses the professional education unit at PSU, which is comprised of the departments of Curriculum and Instruction; Health, Human Performance and Recreation; Psychology and Counseling; Special Services and Leadership Studies; 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 Secondary Education Coordinating Committee, and the Undergraduate Knowledge Base Committee.
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. (CF.3) The undergraduate and graduate 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 the 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.
Since the last NCATE visit, ongoing committees, which are comprised of college, community, and PK-12 teachers and administrators, review current best practices and data from both undergraduate and graduate programs for program improvement. The Initial Knowledge Base, which included 68 indicators divided into 6 categories (Professional Characteristics, Relationships with Students, Instructional Planning, Instruction, Classroom Management, and Evaluation), has been used to assess candidate performance from their initial field experience through the Professional Semester. In 2008-2009, the Undergraduate Knowledge Base Committee recommended retention of the 6 categories of the knowledge base with revision of the indicators and reduction to 60 indicators. The committee also identified and labeled the dispositions, diversity, and technology indicators to focus on candidates' knowledge and skills to meet the needs of all students. Likewise, the Graduate Knowledge Base Committee created a new framework of 38 indicators divided into 7 categories (Professionalism, Communication, Leadership, Instruction and Assessment, Diversity, Technology, and Research). The committee recommended that the knowledge base, including 17 dispositions, be assessed to determine candidate progress in course work and field experiences. Recommendations from these committees were submitted for input and approval by each department in the College of Education, the Secondary Education Coordinating Committee, and the COE Council for Teacher Education. Following adoption of the knowledge bases of the CF, the Undergraduate Assessment Committee reviewed the evaluation instrument that has been used and, finding it to be valid, agreed to continue using the same assessment tool. The Graduate Assessment Committee developed an evaluation instrument to assess its knowledge base. Recommendations from these two committees were reviewed and approved by each COE department, the Secondary Education Coordinating Committee, and the COE Council for Teacher Education. The revised knowledge bases of the CF were implemented in the spring semester of 2009.