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Standard 4


4a. Design, Implementation, and Evaluation of Curriculum and Experiences

Proficiencies related to diversity. Diversity plays an important role at Southeastern Louisiana University.  Using G. Pritchy Smith’s Common Sense about Uncommon Knowledge: The Knowledge Bases for Diversity, the diversity committee comprised of faculty members from the COEHD and partner colleges set forth four main proficiencies.  (Exhibit 4a.1) aligns those skills to INTASC, NPBTS, and ELCC standards, as well as to the standards of the newly established doctoral program. 

Course Projects.  All instructors acknowledge the importance of diversity as evidenced by their inclusion of activities and assignments that promote an awareness of diversity and give rise to the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to adapt instruction with diverse populations in mind.  Exhibit 4a.2 provides a list of specific assignments of education classes, as well as the requirements for a minor in African-American Ethnic studies in AHSS.  Secondary social studies majors can elect to take these courses, designed to promote better understanding of African-American issues in candidates and for the students they will eventually teach.  A diversity course is mandatory for all education majors; initial candidates must take EDUC 211, and T&L advanced candidates must complete EDUC 660 with a required Cultural Plunge Activity (Exhibit 4a.).  Specific to the EDL advanced programs, diversity is integrated in a number of courses.  For example, master’s level candidates address diversity, culture, and climate in all seminars (Exhibit 1e.7).  An environmental scan is completed in EDL 811 by doctoral candidates (Exhibit 1e.10). Candidates in the special education initial program (SPED 363) develop a Start-Up Plan where they must identify how the classroom can be organized to meet the diverse needs of students with respect to ethnicity, race, language, SES, gender, and exceptionalities (Exhibit 4a.2). Candidates in the special education advanced program (SPED 663) instruct students in classrooms that are different from their own teaching assignments (e.g., rural/urban, high SES/low SES, primarily African-American/primarily Caucasian) (Exhibit 4a.2). 

The Task Force worked with the Center for Educational Services and Research (CEDSAR), which allowed for the International Graduate Fellow (IGF) to provide information on the components of diversity from a global perspective to initial teacher education candidates enrolled in the required multicultural course.  Each semester, IGF developed and offered a presentation of cultural aspects of different countries to each EDUC 211 section.  The presentations developed over the course of several semesters were saved to DVDs and are available for future use and interactions among candidates and faculty.  The series of “Conversations on Diversity,” Black History Month speakers, Women’s History Month speakers, and various other guest speakers provide topics of interest to make candidates aware of diversity issues (Exhibit 4c.1).  Since the guidelines for portfolios and many education classes require professional development activities, candidates selectively attend these functions to complete that part of the requirement. 

Assessments and data.  Several assessment instruments in initial programs measure proficiencies related to diversity, including the lesson planning rubric, the LCET, the Professional Attribute Scale, the Classroom Management Plan Rubric, and the Assessment Plan Rubric (Exhibit 4a.3). Of special interest are the instruments specifically created to measure proficiencies at the initial and advanced levels.  In reviewing data from these instruments (Exhibit 4a.4), we can clearly see that candidates increase in their ability to design instruction and select approaches for the diverse population, assess services and resources for them, and create equitable learning communities. 

4b. Experiences Working with Diverse Faculty

Diversity of faculty.  Data in Table 7, entitled “Faculty Demographics,” indicate that 14% of the professional education faculty in initial teacher preparation programs and 8% of faculty for the advanced programs are Black, non-Hispanic.  These percentages doubled from the 2002 NCATE visit.  Initial program faculty representation is 10% higher than the Black, non-Hispanic representation in the entire institution, and advanced program faculty representation of diversity is double that of the institution.  Black, non-Hispanic school-based faculty represents 9% of the total reported race/ethnicity.  With U.S. Census Bureau estimated average percentage of African American population in Tangipahoa, Livingston, and St. Tammany Parishes, greatest service areas, being 13%, professional education faculty numbers are comparable, and clinical faculty approaches that percentage with 8.8%.  Female faculty for initial and advanced programs are 82% and 80%, respectively.  School-based faculty is composed of 92% female teachers.  The institution employs 55% female faculty (Exhibit 4b.1). 

Opportunities for interaction.  The Unit makes a concerted effort to afford candidates many opportunities to interact with diverse speakers on diverse topics.  Since 2005, the COEHD has continued to implement the Dean’s lecture series, “Conversations on Diversity,” featuring both internal faculty and guest speakers to address topics of cultural diversity.  The series instills efficacy and achievement while also promoting multicultural awareness and understanding.  Since these lectures are offered during the day and in the evening, both initial and advanced candidates can attend.  As well, professors of individual classes have invited ethnically diverse guest speakers to their classes to broach such topics as ELLs and the investigation of cultures of other countries.  Exhibit 4b.2 provides evidence of opportunities for candidates to relate to speakers from diverse groups and to further their understanding of these minority groups. 

Candidates also work with diverse clinical faculty.  Form A completed by cooperating teachers of FXs allows the Director of Field Experiences to assign a candidate to schools of differing levels of faculty diversity (Exhibit 4d.1).  Candidates have opportunities to study abroad with Southeastern faculty who are familiar with a particular country and with local professors of that country.  These classes in music, foreign languages, history, and literature foster that sought-after global perspective (Exhibit 4b.2).  The IGF position provides candidates opportunities to interact with an international educator. 

The promotion of diversity is extremely important in the overall mission of Southeastern.  Through the variety of faculty recruitment efforts and exposure of candidates to diverse thought, cultures, and ways of looking at the world, Southeastern continues its commitment to promote and foster diversity as a cornerstone of the University. 

Knowledge and experiences of faculty.  Project Impact allows faculty members to expand their knowledge of the English language learner (ELL).  This training extends to teacher candidates and FX sites, as reported in the Project Impact Administrative Summary in Exhibit 4b.3.  Also included in the exhibit are faculty articles and grants pertaining to diversity issues, which indicate expertise and interest of faculty (Exhibit 4b.3).  While guest lecturers often provide opportunities for candidates to interact with underrepresented professionals, Southeastern faculty contribute very capably to the success of the lectures series (Exhibit 4b.2).  Instruction reflects knowledge and experiences of faculty as detailed in Standard 5. 

Recruitment and retention of faculty.  The Faculty Handbook makes clear that the University “shall not engage in unlawful discrimination in employment against any person because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, or veteran status.”  Southeastern also takes affirmative action to employ underrepresented groups.  

The commitment to a diverse faculty includes good faith efforts to recruit and retain diverse faculty in COEHD, as well as in the partner colleges.  Each college works diligently using a variety of strategies.  Efforts to increase minority representation allowed for two recent African-American additions to COEHD faculty.  COEHD employs minority doctoral candidates from other universities as instructors in an effort to retain them after degree completion.  It advertises vacant positions in various media in an effort to attract candidates from diverse backgrounds.  In addition to advertising in state, local, and community newspapers, the College advertises in national journals such as the Chronicle of Higher Education.  Specific to the recruitment of qualified minority candidates, the College advertises open jobs quarterly in Black Issues in Higher Education and Hispanic Outlook.  The College also attempt to attract faculty through various listserves and uses specific language in recruitment materials and job descriptions intended to entice underrepresented professionals.  In addition, departments channel vacancy notices to historically Black universities.  The faculty is proactive in recruiting by communicating via e-mail and informal conversation with faculty from doctoral universities who may be aware of recent minority graduates searching for an available faculty position. 

Partner colleges also make cultural diversity a goal in the hiring of faculty.  Within the NHS, the Department of Kinesiology and Health Studies advertises all positions in the Chronicle of Higher Education and on higheredjobs.com.  The call specifically indicates that Southeastern is an AA/ADA/EEO employer.  AHSS utilizes several vehicles for attracting minority faculty.  University personnel visit selected doctoral institutions that historically have drawn their enrollment predominately from minority groups with the goal of encouraging graduate students to consider applying to Southeastern upon completion of their graduate programs.  Departments groom successful undergraduate and master’s level minority candidates at Southeastern to apply for positions here after completing a doctoral program.  Such candidates work as instructors.  The departments are ever mindful of affirmative action guidelines when searching to fill vacancies.  S&T visits Jackson State (Mississippi), a traditionally Black University, to recruit candidates for the master’s program. 

In regards to retention, the New Faculty Forum provides support to minority faculty.  Regularly scheduled activities involving minority faculty in non-academic settings promote inclusion in the University community.  Exit interviews are conducted with minority faculty who choose to leave as part of the Human Resources exit process. An ad hoc committee made up of faculty committed to faculty diversity functions by developing the “Conversations on Diversity” series each semester which promotes discussion among diverse faculty members. Other programs that the Diversity Committee has outlined as future goals include making efforts to endow a chair for a minority faculty member and participating in a faculty exchange program with historically Black and Hispanic universities.   

4c. Experiences Working with Diverse Candidates

Diversity of candidates.  Table 8, Candidate Demographics, reveals that most candidates at Southeastern are White, non-Hispanic (83%), 12% Black, non-Hispanic, 2 % Hispanic, and less than 1% each of American Indian/Alaskan Native and Asian/Pacific Islander.  These percentages coincide closely to the demographics of the geographical area served by the University.  This is not the case for gender.  Females dominate teaching, especially in the elementary school setting.  The same is true in the teacher education program with 15% of the candidates being male.  

Opportunities for interaction.  Southeastern offers several opportunities for interaction with diverse candidates in an academic and socially diverse environment.  At the University level, Multicultural and International Student Affairs helps to create a campus environment that welcomes diversity.  This program is in collaboration with academic departments, student-led organizations, and a wide range of programs and services located on campus.  Sponsors and candidates design activities to assist all candidates in academic achievement as well as promoting personal, group, and self-direction with an emphasis on celebrating new cultures and developing a diverse way of thinking.  Some of the activities incorporated with this program include Project Pull Mentor Program, Let’s Get Acquainted, Minority Seminar, and leadership conferences. 

Candidates may also participate in student organizations and Greek life programs.  These programs are an integral part of campus life and constitute one of the best opportunities for candidates to integrate knowledge from the classroom with everyday experiences of living and working in a society with people of varied interests, ideas, and values.  These organizations include Black Student Union, International Student Association, and Italian Club, as well as others.  The Student Government Association (SGA) is available to all students in order to promote fairness, diversity and the University mission for excellence.

In NHS, PETE (Physical Education Teacher Education Club) had 27 members for the 2006-07 year.  Members included 13 males (5 African American 8 White) and 14 females (1 African American, 13 white) who met twice monthly and participated in activities such as Hoops for Heart to raise money for the American Heart Association, an on-campus Youth Fitness Day, and the Iron Lion Challenge.  Approximately 12 PETE members attended the Louisiana Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Conference this year.  Candidates attended sessions that promoted diversity.

In T&L, candidates can join service organizations as well as honor societies.  Kappa Delta Pi and Students Education Association (SEAS) are open to candidates in education and the Student Council for Exceptional Children (SCEC) is open to all academic majors.  Each of these organizations allows candidates to interact with other individuals from diverse backgrounds with a common interest to serve students in education (Exhibit 4c.1). 

Lecture series for Black History Month and Women’s History Month bring together speakers who expertly deal with issues in Black history and politics and in women’s issues.  Presentations share valuable insights, and many of the speakers belong to minority groups.  These lectures provide occasions for candidates of all races, ethnicities, and genders to come together for a single purpose (Exhibit 4c.1). 

Recruitment and retention of candidates.  The Unit strives to recruit and retain minority candidates.  Departments work with programs across campus to attract and retain candidates from diverse backgrounds.  Informally, faculty members identify qualified minority candidates within the initial programs and inform them of the availability of advanced programs with the College.  The Minority Affairs Advisory Committee’s first goal is to recruit minority candidates.  The committee also develops programs that will address problems that any candidate may encounter, plus those that are unique to minorities, in an effort to assist them in completing a successful course of study. 

A major effort in retaining all candidates is the Professional Development Program.  Instructors recommend candidates for remedial help in many areas.  Also, the program provides workshops on a variety of subjects that help candidates attain the required professional development hours.  Many of these workshops deal with PRAXIS preparation (Exhibit 4c.1).  Programs such as these offer support and aid in the retention of minority candidates. 

4d. Experiences Working with Diverse Students in PK-12 Schools Diversity of PK-12 students.   Table 9, Demographics on Clinical Sites for Initial and Advanced Programs, indicates that racial composition differs in each parish with the highest percentage of minority students being 95.4% and the lowest concentration being 6.9%.  Because of the vast differences in distribution, we ensure candidates have experiences in different environments (Exhibit 4b.1). 

Field experiences.  Southeastern is committed to the belief that to be prepared to meet the many challenges in today’s ever-changing world; candidates must experience working with as many diverse groups as possible.  Prior to being approved to work with candidates during FX’s, clinical faculty must complete and submit Form A (Exhibit 4d.1).  The data on Form A allows the COEHD to select a diverse group of clinical faculty to work with candidates.  Additionally, cooperating teachers must complete Form B (Exhibit 4d.1).  Forms B and C (Exhibit 4d.1) list demographics of the class.  Using this data, Southeastern instructors can ensure that candidates have experience working with students from diverse racial and linguistic backgrounds, among others. 

Knowledge, skills, and dispositions.  To ensure that candidates have the basis to develop and practice knowledge, skills, and dispositions related to diversity during their FX’s and clinical practices, candidates must include these elements in lesson plans during their two methods courses.  Instructors teach candidates to plan their lessons according to LCET, which includes several areas of diversity.  Candidates must submit lesson plans to instructors during FX’s.  Instructors evaluating the progress of a candidate must reflect on the plans submitted by candidates, stating how the plan includes diversity elements and how the candidate can improve.  Comparing the assessment of lesson plans submitted in the first methods course to the assessment of lesson plans submitted in the second methods course, one can see significant improvement in all 10 areas (Exhibit 4a.3). 

Following the second methods course, the director places candidates in student teaching positions.  Daily lesson plans are reviewed and assessed by supervising teachers, supervising school administrators, and university supervisors.  Skills are assessed and data reveal candidate competency in addressing diversity proficiencies (Exhibit 1c.1). 

Feedback from peers and supervisors.  To ensure that candidates are reflecting on and incorporating recommendations to improve their skills in working with students from diverse groups, COEHD does the following:

  • Methods courses require peer evaluations and peer debriefing sessions for lessons candidates teach in diverse field settings.

  • Form C: Class instructors review Form C submitted by candidates during FX’s, make suggestions if needed, and follow-up to determine if candidates implemented any suggestions during subsequent visits.

  • Lesson Plans: Methods instructors, university supervisors, and supervising teachers review lesson plans and give suggestions for improvement.  They look for implementation of these suggestions in subsequent lessons.

  • Seminars:  University supervisors hold two seminars with candidates during their clinical experiences.  Diversity dominates part of the discussion as supervisor and candidates share ideas for working with a diverse population.

  • Supervising Teacher Journal:  In a journal, supervising teachers note candidates’ strengths, weaknesses, and ways to improve.  These sometimes include issues concerning working with diverse students.  Candidates reflect on the entries and may suggest other ways to improve.




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