Continuous Improvement

6.2.b. Continuous Improvement

Summarize activities and changes based on data that have led to continuous improvement of candidate performance and program quality.


1. Organization.

During our 2007 initial accreditation visit, the majority of programs in the unit were housed in two separate departments within the College of Communication and Education. In fall of 2011, with approval from the academic senate, these two departments merged into a single-unit called the School of Education (SOE). Faculty created and adopted a new organizational structure and ratified governing policies and practices, including a new constitution and RTP document called the SOE PPP. The single-unit streamlined communication about programs and allowed for a centralization system of data collection, assessment, and collaboration across programs.


2. Leadership Positions.

A new dean of the college was hired in January 2014. The unit has added additional leadership positions: a .4 Associate Dean of Teacher Education, a .6 elected Director of the School of Education, a .2 elected Assistant Director, and an appointed faculty Director of Assessment and Accreditation with variable release, according to demand. Future plans include increasing the time-base of key leadership positions in the unit. Currently, the role of School of Education Director (.6) and Associate Dean of Teacher Education (.4) are performed by the same individual. There is a second associate dean of the college (.6). An increase in the Associate Dean of Teacher Education position would allow for greater university-wide EPP Unit advocacy and regional and state networking.


3. Staff Positions.

Additional staff positions were added.  Staff support positions have all been centralized to improve communication across the unit and with our school site partners and best serve the needs of candidates in programs across the unit. These new positions allow for streamlined data management and consistency of practices.


  •  An Assessment Coordinator manages all data submitted by clinical supervisors and faculty, primarily through an electronic platform called STEPS. Data collected includes key assessment results, Teaching Performance Expectations and Disposition scores from fieldwork, and PACT scores. The assessment coordinator monitors all aspects of PACT. 


  • A Credential Analyst Trainee assists the credential analyst with the high volume of credentials that need to be processed.


  • A Field Placement Coordinator assigns field placements for initial credential candidates across all SOE programs. The Field Placement Coordinator works in consultation with program coordinators to identify quality placements for all candidates, develops and maintains a master placement database and matrix, and has developed new systems of communication with school site partners. All processes for communication with candidates, supervisors, and school site partners are now electronic. For example, a classroom environment survey is distributed each semester to all candidates for the purpose of ongoing placement evaluation.


  • The Pre-program Advisor meets with all prospective candidates prior to admission. One improvement to the application process is that a database of possible equivalencies has been created and a system for equivalency approval-granting has been developed. Plans include increasing visibility for recruitment at local schools, community colleges, and on campus and revising and updating program brochures in 2014-2015.


  • The Grants Office Coordinator, Project Assistants (5) and Recruiters (2) in the CME Office of Outreach, Research, and Grants. The ORG office was established in 2011 to provide support to CME administrators and faculty across the EPP Unit who are interested in seeking external grant and contract funding opportunities.


  • Two full-time technology support staff support all faculty in their use of technology and help to maintain equipment and labs.


4) Restructure of Physical Space.

Previously, the Credential Analyst’s office was housed in another building on campus.  Occupying the same building as the SOE has led to better collaboration. The Credential Analyst regularly attends all governance meetings and meets with initial credential support staff to streamline candidate admission practices and procedures. For example, application intake processes for initial credential candidates have been streamlined to include one initial payment for all fees. Another new facility is the CME ORG, which is housed in offices that have been repurposed for the new addition of the grant support office.


Upcoming plans for facilities include the creation of a new college-wide state-of-the-art computer classroom of the future by converting two former side-by-side classroom spaces into a shared high-tech lab space for all students and faculty to access. Technologies featured will include wall-mounted dual screens, learning pod configurations, and Cloud technology. The unit also plans to continue to secure academic facilities that feature two-way interactive video capability to provide distance learners access to instruction. Currently we use two technology-supported classrooms that are shared by all units on campus and augment the limited access to those settings with portable technology such as Swvl Cams. We are finding the Swvl Cams purchased to use in our own classrooms to be effective but have limitations.


5) Shared Governance.

Before the newly formed School of Education, each education department held separate meetings monthly and a joint credential programs committee met once monthly. Currently, the SOE and the EPP Unit meet as a body once a month, and the governance council and pathway coordinators meet together a minimum of twice monthly and more, if needed. Pathways continue to meet regularly.


6) Policies.

The unit developed and approved its first governing constitution and RTP document (SOE PPP). Since 2011 more policy documents have been developed and approved, including professional travel guidelines and a new Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET) instrument.  All program handbooks for initial programs in the School of Education have been revised to reflect SOE shared policy.


7) Assessment Committee.

The Assessment Committee, in addition to its other duties, now vets all surveys distributed by the unit. It also assists in the development of survey instruments and rubrics. Several new instruments have been developed and approved, including a TPE rubric that now reflects CCSS, a Classroom Environment Survey, and a Graduate Exit Survey. All surveys are distributed electronically.


8) Advisory Boards.

All departments in the EPP Unit continually inform and seek feedback from their advisory boards. The Kinesiology Advisory Board meets twice a year and lists their advisory board on their webpage. The PPS advisory board meets annually. The School of Education Advisory Board includes representatives from the EPP unit and meets twice a year. This advisory board informs the organization as a whole and involves representatives from all levels of the unit and all stakeholders from school partners and the public sector. Individual pathways and programs in the unit, the Education Specialist Program have additional specialized boards that meet regularly, as required by external funders. The Kinesiology Advisory Board meets twice a year and lists their advisory board on their webpage.


9) Webpages.

All department webpages are continually updated. For example, SOE application materials have all been standardized across initial credential programs and include easy-to-use embedded links for applicants to submit equivalencies or access screen shorts of materials required for submission and are easily accessible on the SOE web page. Information is continually updated to reflect accurate and centralized advising information such as admission requirements, programs of study, and scholarship opportunities for initial candidates. Additional advising has been made readily available for advanced candidates.


10) Recruiting.

Education programs have begun to participate in more university-wide recruitment opportunities, such as the “Choose Chico” event with the goal of further diversifying the teacher pipeline.  Brochures designed to attract incoming freshman have been developed. Grants that further this mission provide scholarships and stipends that as incentives for teacher candidates from underrepresented populations to pursue and obtain teaching credentials (4.4.h.2).Plans for recruitment include continuing to seek external funding for collaborative and interdisciplinary grants that will build upon existing projects and create new partnerships. For example,  CMSD and Kinesiology have drafted a proposal for an Interdisciplinary Center on Disability Education (ICODE) and are seeking funding.


11) Advisement.

As part of the university’s graduation initiative, all university departments have developed Student Success Maps to assist with advising. The maps are one-page documents that include essential information in areas such as taking the right classes, connecting with peers, and preparation for life after graduation. In addition to comprehensive and updated web pages for each initial and advanced program, CME has developed advising cards for each department. In SOE the centralized pre-program advisor helps prospective teacher candidates best meet their career goals by providing accurate and specific information about all programs in one easy-to-find location. Additionally, a new degree audit program is being specially designed for credential candidates to monitor their progress. In fall 2014 the program will be piloted for Single Subject and Multiple Subject Program candidates.


12) Electronic Updates.

The university has created a Proof of Concept Department Chair Data Dashboard that allows all department chairs to see metrics at a glance, access frequently used reports, view financial reports and important upcoming dates.  CMSD has created a data dashboard for all supervisors and candidates. New electronic systems of communication with school site partners have been developed. For example, a Classroom Environment Survey is distributed each semester to all candidates for the purpose of ongoing placement evaluation. Plans for 2014-2015 include the development of a faculty workload database that will allow queries for workload, entitlements, and area of expertise. Along with the EPP Unit Committee and Governance Council, faculty in the unit will be researching new electronic data management systems that will better support our ever-evolving data needs.