Diversity

4.1 Diversity

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?

 

The EPP Unit’s mission rests upon the belief in the power of education to create a diverse, democratic and socially responsible society in which all students are valued. The belief is operationalized in the EPP Unit’s conceptual framework in Proficiency 1 and Dispositions 1 and 2 (I.5.c.2).

 

Diversity is at the core of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) standards for teacher education. In Program Assessment Reports (PAR) submitted to the CTC, each approved licensing program delineates how its coursework and fieldwork creates a sequential experience to help candidates to acquire and demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions necessary to help all students learn (4.4.b.1). For example, in the Single Subject Program, three pre-requisite courses focus on teaching diverse learners. In EDTE 302 Access and Equity, candidates examine principles of educational equity, diversity and cultural/linguistic responsiveness in prerequisite course. In SPED 343 Overview of Special Education, candidates learn about the educational needs of special populations, the context in which special education occurs, and characteristics of effective programs. In ENGL 471 Intensive Theory and Practice: Second Language Acquisition, candidates have opportunities to acquire knowledge of linguistic development and first and second language acquisition. During the program, content methods courses, an academic literacy course, and field placements in diverse classrooms ensure that candidates learn to apply appropriate, research-based pedagogical practices that provide access and lead to high achievement. Field observations address California Teaching Performance Expectations such as TPE 8: Learning about Students, which focuses candidates on the importance of using methods that build on the strengths and address the needs of learners.

 

For advanced programs not accredited in California, candidates have opportunities for in-depth studies of diversity. One of the MA in Education’s five themes is “The Role of Education in a Democracy.” For example, in EDMA 600 Critical Perspectives in Education candidates in the MA in Ed program examine current and historical issues related to supporting the important connections between social justice and democracy in public education and society.  Candidates explore, research and discuss past and current socio/political issues and trends in education, with particular focus on diverse student populations in our schools and the democratic professional practices that best serve our educational communities. Candidates complete a study of a school and community, including demographics overview, equity survey, school handbook analysis, community map, and an interview with a community based agency or organization.  Across initial and advanced programs, candidates have many rich opportunities for curricular experiences designed to engage them in reflection about their own backgrounds and the diverse perspective that each student brings to school (4.4.b.2).

 

As part of the unit’s Continuous Improvement System, proficiencies and dispositions related to diversity are measured across initial and advanced programs (4.4.a.1; 4.4.a.2). Assessments indicate that candidates effectively demonstrate and apply proficiencies and dispositions related to diversity. In initial programs, on field evaluations of Teacher Performance Expectations (TPEs) and PACT, candidates are particularly strong in the area of making content accessible for all learners, designing developmentally appropriate lessons, learning about their students, and scaffolding for language needs (4.4.a.1). Year-out survey data from supervisors and finishers generally aligns with the CSU average for both teaching English learners and teaching students with special needs. These two areas have been and will continue to be the focus of program improvements. Diversity dispositions consistently are high, confirming that CSU Chico graduates value diversity and believe that all students can learn.  Initial programs, including those for teachers and other school professionals, show consistently high scores across diversity proficiency and disposition measures (4.4.a.1). 

 

Candidates in all programs have an opportunity to work with faculty who represent diverse backgrounds and bring a substantial amount of knowledge and experience related to preparing candidates to work with diverse student populations. Although 86% of faculty represent one ethnic group (4.4.d), over 40% of faculty have a working knowledge of languages other than English, 32% have lived outside of the US, and 21% have taught abroad. Faculty have advanced levels of knowledge of and experience with students who have special needs, students who are English learners, and students who are socioeconomically disadvantaged. Over 45% of faculty in the unit have an advanced degree or specialization in a field related to students with special needs (4.4.L).

 

Administrators and faculty are committed to hiring diverse faculty. The personnel document of the School of Education reads: “There will be a systematic effort to encourage recruitment of a diverse pool of candidates of members of underrepresented groups including women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and others with the goal of obtaining an employee composition that reflects the representation of these groups in the professional education labor markets from which the university draws.” (4.4.g.1, p. 6).  Two searches in 2014-2015 (4.4.g.2 and 3) will include good-faith efforts to increase the pool of diverse faculty, in particular from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds (4.4.g.3, p. 7).

 

Faculty and administrators in the unit continually seek ways to increase candidates’ experiences with diverse faculty and professional educators.  For the past 24 years, faculty have collaborated with the Office of International Studies to bring international educators to CSU Chico. In spring of 2014, 20 educators from 19 countries visited classes for interaction and exchange with candidates and faculty.

 

The candidate population in the unit’s programs currently reflects the diversity of the region (4.4.e). The unit is committed to increasing the pool of candidates from diverse socioeconomic and ethnic/racial groups (4.4.h.1). Grant funded programs, such as the Northeastern California Preparation of Indian Education (NorCAL PRIE), are focused on purposeful recruiting from diverse populations. These programs provide financial and mentoring support for individuals as they pursue a teaching credential (4.4.h.2).  Coursework in the unit is highly collaborative, promoting interaction between candidates from different backgrounds who bring various perspectives to their work as educators. For example, candidates in the second semester of the Pupil Personnel Services Program participate in a Saturday seminar with social service majors from across campus.  They work in interdisciplinary teams to design a service plan for a hypothetical case, with professionals from a dozen local agencies available for consultation.

 

Candidates have an opportunity to work in school settings with diverse P-12 students (4.4.f.1). In initial programs, the Placement Director uses demographic data to give candidates broad experiences with students from various backgrounds. Candidates have at least one placement in a school with over 10% English learners and at least one placement in a school in which over half of students are socioeconomically disadvantaged as defined by the percentage of students receiving free or reduced lunch. This guideline aligns with the needs of our school partners and program requirements, in consideration of the demographic context of our service area  (4.4.f.2).

 

In advanced programs with a designated field or clinical component, coordinators ensure that candidates have an opportunity to engage in practica with students who are from a broad range of diverse groups. For example, in CMSD, all students work with clients of significant diversity (e.g., race, gender, culture, socioeconomic status). Candidates, clinical instructors, site supervisors and faculty use CMSD’s newly launched web-based data management system to electronically record clinical contact hours and specific hours working with diverse populations.

 

Advanced programs without licensure include field-embedded course assignments that ensure diverse experiences with P-12 students. For example, in AGED 610 Assessment in Agricultural Education, candidates earning an MS in Agricultural Education (also practicing teachers) plan and implement assessments in their classrooms, differentiating the assessment based upon their students’ needs. The final project is to create a unit assessment that includes alternative assessments, conduct the assessment, analyze data, and document how the results inform practice.

 

These course and field experiences are augmented with opportunities to engage with P-12 students at community events. For example, in the CMSD Program, under the direction of a supervising faculty member, first and second year candidates design, organize, and implement an annual Speech and Hearing Fair that provides free speech, language, and hearing screenings to individuals of all ages in the university and local communities. Other events focused on engaging with diverse P-12 students are described in Education Matters, the School of Education biannual newsletter (4.4.n1 and 2).