Education Unit Head:
Dr. Janet Smith
Dr. Jean Dockers
Phone: (620) 235-4489
Fax: (620) 235-4421
The unit designs, implements, and evaluates curriculum and provides experiences for candidates to acquire and demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions necessary to help all students learn. Assessments indicate that candidates can demonstrate and apply proficiencies related to diversity. Experiences provided for candidates include working with diverse populations, including higher education and P-12 school faculty, candidates, and students in P-12 schools.
The Conceptual Framework of the College of Education (COE) at PSU focuses on preparing Competent, Committed, Caring Professionals who possess the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to help all students learn. The unit works to meet the challenges of attracting a diverse faculty, recruiting and retaining candidates, modifying curricula, and providing clinical and field experiences that increase opportunities for candidates to work with a diverse population. The COE Strategic Planning Committee, which evaluated its goals and objectives in 2009, expanded activity in the area of diversity by including specific steps in the COE Action Plan. (4.0) The plan specifically supports and guides the work of the COE Diversity Committee, which is comprised of representatives from COE, Arts and Sciences, Admissions, and the Office of Student Diversity. Annually the committee assesses progress toward meeting diversity goals and creates mechanisms and strategies for improvement. The Faculty Senate Diversity Committee, the Tilford Group, the Office of Student Diversity, and the PSU Diversity Taskforce demonstrate the campus-wide initiative to increase diverse faculty, students, and experiences.
4a. Design, Implementation, and Evaluation of Curriculum and Experiences The unit is committed to providing a dynamic learning environment fostering diversity as it relates to culture, gender, race, language, exceptionality, religion, and socioeconomic background. During 2008-2009, both the Undergraduate Knowledge Base Committee and the Graduate Knowledge Base Committee reviewed the Conceptual Framework. The committees revised the knowledge base (4.1a) and identified specific indicators addressing diversity to ensure that candidates develop knowledge, skills, and dispositions to create a fair learning environment. (4.1b) The indicators are integrated throughout the curriculum to ensure that all candidates develop an understanding and appreciation of diversity and are continually assessed to determine the effectiveness of the Unit's efforts to help candidates effectively teach all learners in all settings. Each of the indicators is assessed throughout the program from the initial field experiences to the end of the professional semester. Beginning with CURIN 261 Explorations in Education, the entry level course for all elementary and secondary candidates, assignments focusing on the context of the school they visit provide the foundation for experiences throughout the program. (4.3e, 4.3f) Both elementary and secondary education majors gain field experience in SSLS 510 Overview of Education for Exceptional Students by tutoring students. Also, all elementary majors are required to take CURIN 511 Diversity in the Classroom; whereas, secondary majors complete required assignments that assess diversity knowledge, skills, and dispositions in their Techniques 479 course.
During the professional semester, all candidates are assessed and monitored on the diversity indicators of the Conceptual Framework and attend a diversity day with sessions focusing on working with a diverse student body including English language learners, students with exceptionalities, and students from poverty. Candidates also complete a Teacher Work Sample in which they adapt their lesson to meet the needs of all students, including those with special needs and/or English Language Learners. Diversity indicator ratings from the professional semester show candidate proficiency. (4.3a, 4.3b, 4.3c, 4.3d, 4.3k) A curriculum map of courses addressing diversity shows the variety of learning experiences throughout the program. (4.2) In its review of the CF, the Graduate Knowledge Base Committee created a new framework of 7 categories, one of which is Diversity. The indicators that assess candidate knowledge, skills and dispositions to provide a learning environment in which all students can learn are taught throughout the curriculum of each of the nine programs. (4.1c) The Diversity Curriculum Map identifies courses in which components of diversity are studied and assessed in the advanced programs. (4.2) Beginning in the Spring of 2009, diversity indicators are also assessed during each field experience using assessments specifically designed by each program. (4.3g, 4.3h, 4.3i, 4.3j)
The Unit offers additional programs focusing on diversity. The ESOL licensure program is offered at both the initial and advanced levels. The initial program includes six courses that focus on culture, language acquisition, methodology, linguistics, and assessment, including a ninety-hour practicum specifically designed to meet the needs of the ELL. Also a minor in Special Education is available to students seeking a Bachelor of Science in Education degree leading to a provisional special education endorsement in conjunction with completion of their BSEd.
Another goal of the Strategic Plan for the College of Education (4.0) "promotes opportunities for faculty and students to experience and learn from diverse cultures and people." Action steps include expanding opportunities for candidates to learn in diverse settings in the United States and abroad, to support efforts for faculty to study abroad including the Kansas-Paraguay partnership, and highlighting international programs and opportunities on department and college websites.
4b. Experiences Working with Diverse FacultyCandidates in the COE interact with professional education faculty, faculty from other units, and/or school faculty from diverse backgrounds. Concerted efforts to increase the number of diverse faculty and the variety of learning opportunities produced positive results. Faculty demographics (4.4a) show that candidates in initial programs work with diverse faculty. As noted, when combining both adjunct and part time faculty to COE faculty, the percentage of faculty diversity exceeds that of all PSU faculty members. In the initial program, all elementary candidates take a required course, Primary Reading, from a full-time Black professor who has had experience teaching in a large urban school district. Both elementary and secondary education majors interact with faculty from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds in their general education courses. Also, most departments in Arts and Sciences with education majors have diverse faculty. During the professional semester, candidates have the opportunity to interact with a minority university supervisor and with diverse faculty from the Kansas City Fellows Program, who return to campus for the Diversity Experience Day.
Advanced candidates interact with faculty who teach in the advanced programs as well as faculty who teach in additional areas, thus increasing their potential contact with diverse faculty. All faculty members, for both initial and advanced programs, bring to PSU a rich background of experiences that allows them to prepare candidates for working with diverse populations. This includes years spent in diverse settings in PK-12 schools as teachers, counselors, and administrators. (5.1) To expand opportunities for candidates to interact with diverse faculty during their advanced program, the Graduate Council recently adopted a resolution to expand opportunities for interaction with faculty with varied backgrounds. (4.4b)
Since our last NCATE review, we have added three Black faculty members: one full time assistant professor, one full time supervisor, and one adjunct. The Professional Education Unit and the COE employ several strategies to diversify faculty such as advertising faculty vacancies through professional organization meetings, advertisements in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Listserv announcements, targeted direct mailings to identified diverse candidates, and periodicals that have a diverse readership. To ensure a diverse applicant pool for each search, a number of good faith strategies have been implemented including personal contact to elicit recommendations for female and minority positions. The University Equal Opportunity Officer provides leadership in advising all search committees on correct and acceptable employment practices and procedures in hiring, especially in interacting with diverse candidates. (4.5, 4.7a, 4.7b) The Unit and University employ a number of techniques to enhance the retention of diverse faculty and staff including assignment of a mentor within departments, a week of in-service sessions for new faculty hires before classes begin and a year-long new faculty induction program, and attempts to cooperate with other University departments to provide employment for spouses and partners. The COE Strategic Action plan emphasizes the importance of salary and benefits in attracting and retaining a diverse faculty.
4c. Experiences Working with Diverse CandidatesCandidates are expected to interact and work with other candidates from different socioeconomic groups, at least two ethnic/racial groups, and with English language learners and students with exceptionalities in both their general and professional education courses and campus activities. Such participation in diverse cultural backgrounds and experiences is valued in classes and field experiences. To that end, Pittsburg State University Office of Admission collaborates with COE to recruit and retain domestic minority students. In addition to traditional recruiting practices, PSU offers approximately eighty renewable Grant-in-Aid scholarships to diverse incoming freshmen and transfer students and assists students to meet educational goals with academic and social resources. (4.7b)
The COE Strategic plan supports such efforts in its Action Plan which includes the following steps: advocating for support systems for diverse students, exploring the possibility to offer a program for students with intellectual disabilities, interacting with the diverse community for advice and counsel, providing scholarships, and actively recruiting diverse students. One strategy initiated by the COE Diversity Committee is an annual recruiting event sponsored by the COE and held at PSU. Diverse students from area schools are invited to campus for a day during which COE representatives describe program opportunities and financial aid information, conduct a tour of the campus including the Office of Student Diversity and provide opportunity for interaction with faculty and PSU candidates.
The COE carefully analyzes diversity among candidates to ensure that interaction with diverse candidates occurs in both the general education and education courses. Data show that the enrollment of diverse students fluctuated during the past four years, and through analysis we identified focus areas for improvement. These areas include increasing the number of diverse declared majors who complete the program, increasing the number of minority females in elementary education, and increasing the number of males in elementary education. (4.6b) Diversity of all PSU students mirrors the geographical area served by our institution. (4.6a)
The PSU international community on campus offers rich daily interaction as well as opportunities to celebrate diversity at numerous activities throughout the year. Finally, diverse candidates in the MAT program at the KC Metro Center interact with candidates on campus by visiting in methods classes and participating in workshops during the professional semester.
4d. Experiences Working with Diverse Students in P-12 SchoolsThe COE Action Plan encourages expansion of "opportunities to learn in diverse settings." Candidates are expected to develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to facilitate the learning of all students. In field experiences, an intentional effort is made by the Director of Teacher Education to select diverse field experiences for all candidates. To accomplish this, she tracks each field experience, making sure that each candidate has the opportunity to work with a diverse student body through interaction with diverse students in the PK-12 setting. The PSU COE partners with schools with diverse populations in southwestern Missouri, northeastern Oklahoma, southeast Kansas, and the Kansas City Metro area. (4.8a, 4.8b, 4.8c) Demographics from partner schools in each of those states indicate the diversity of the schools. A high percentage of economically disadvantaged families reside in each state; in addition, the number of Hispanic students is increasing in some communities in the three states, providing the opportunity to work with English Language Learners. Also notable is the number of students with American Indian origin who attend Oklahoma schools. As shown on the Kansas report, most schools have at least a 10% population of students with exceptionalities.
Candidate field experiences are deliberately made to ensure interaction with a wide array of students. Candidates are not assigned to the high school from which they graduated. Both the first and second pre-labs are tracked, and candidates complete their professional semester in a different school. The Director of Teacher Education considers the placement of each candidate to allow candidates to work with a diverse student population in diverse school settings to develop knowledge, skills, and dispositions to effectively teach all students. (4.9a, 4.9c, 4.9d)
In advanced level programs, candidates usually complete their internships in their own schools. The population of many of these schools is diverse; however, realizing the challenge for some candidates who do not work in diverse surroundings, the Graduate Council adopted a Diversity Plan for Graduate Programs in the Spring of 2010. (4.4b) If the candidate's home school does not have a diverse population, candidates will be required to spend time in other settings to meet the expectation that they will work with male and female PK-12 students from different socioeconomic groups, at least two ethnic/racial groups, and with English language learners and students with disabilities.
Several significant improvements have been made in the past few years to enhance the Unit's focus on diversity. The first and possibly most notable is the employment of three Black faculty members. One is an assistant professor of reading, another is an instructor who supervises student teachers, and the third is an adjunct instructor who works at the Kansas City Metro Center. In addition, a new Advanced Knowledge Base was developed and approved by the faculty which includes specific indicators related to diversity which are being assessed on each advanced program candidate.
Another significant improvement at the university level was the establishment in 2008 of the Office of Student Diversity. The Director is responsible for minority student organizations which include the Black Student Association, Hispanics of Today, and Native American Student Association. Most domestic minority diversity events are planned and implemented in the Office of Student Diversity. One of the programs created by the Office of Student Diversity is the Black Student Alumni Reunion. When Pittsburg State University was founded in 1906, it was one of only a few public universities that admitted all students regardless of ethnicity. This reunion was historic being the first minority alumni group recognized by Pittsburg State University. More than 250 Black Alumni members gathered and donated scholarship funds to the Black Student Association. This reunion has led to the formation of a group of African American alumni who are committed to helping the College of Education at Pittsburg State University recruit African American students. Currently the Office of Student Diversity is organizing the first Hispanic Student Alumni Reunion.
The Office of Student Diversity has increased opportunities for College of Education candidates to participate in cultural events. Hispanic Heritage Month consisted of events that included presentations, movies, art shows, panel discussion, and a Latin American music presentation during halftime of a football game. Black History Month events included guest speakers, movies, a gospel choir, dance performances, poetry and games to test students' knowledge about black history events.
The focus on diversity in the College of Education Strategic Plan and the university's program agreement with the Kansas Board of Regents has energized the college's Diversity Committee. Since 2007, the College of Education Diversity Committee has been committed to hosting a recruitment day for diverse students from the Southeast Kansas area. High school juniors and seniors come to the campus for an informational session in the fall. The College of Education, The Office of Admissions, and Office of Student Diversity then hosts an event during the spring semester specifically targeting high school seniors.
Further, the College of Education is directly involved with the Kauffman Foundation Scholars program, which is dedicated to assisting students from urban areas make the most of their potential to become successful adults. Pittsburg State University hosts the Kauffman College Residential Institute co-op session. Faculty members submit a proposal and teach a two-to-four hour course for eighth and ninth- grade students from the Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas areas. Classes are offered through the Math Department, Curriculum and Instruction, Psychology and Counseling, Chemistry and Family and Consumer Sciences. Approximately, 60 students are in attendance each year.
Many of the areas served by Pittsburg State University are economically disadvantaged. In fact, over 80% of the students at Pittsburg State University are receiving financial aid. In response, the College of Education through the leadership of a department chair and a donor developed the Center for the Study of Poverty and Student Achievement in 2007 to help area districts better understand how to "level the playing field" to ensure that all children have an opportunity to learn regardless of the economic conditions that surround them. Projects thus far have included direct services to area districts and research on a national project to help elementary students learn math through a hands-on project. One of the benefits of this initiative for our candidates has been the incorporation of selected successful instructional strategies in the Elementary Math Methods course.
The Curriculum and Instruction Department recently developed the Urban Suburban Experience (USE) which has been submitted for approval. The USE minor will enable Pittsburg State University College of Education graduates to be effective teachers in urban and suburban school districts throughout the United States. The geographical location of PSU requires additional experiences to prepare teacher candidates who desire to teach in large and diverse urban and metropolitan school districts in the United States. The minor will require teacher candidates to have a field experience in urban and suburban schools. Teacher candidates will take courses focusing on social, cultural and family issues as well as race and ethnicity. This minor will also increase marketability and broaden experiences of teacher candidates at PSU. The Urban and Suburban Experience minor is available to students seeking a Bachelor of Science in Education. This program consists of seven undergraduate courses for a total of 18 credit hours. The primary goal of the USE minor is to provide students with the opportunity to become Competent, Committed, and Caring Professionals who will have the knowledge and ability to teach and serve the needs of students in diverse urban and suburban districts and to provide support to urban and suburban students' families, schools, and communities.