NCATE Accreditation

Moving Toward Target

5.2.a    Standard on which the unit is moving to the target level

Describe areas of the standard at which the unit is currently performing at the target level for each element of the standard.  Summarize activities and their impact on candidate performance and program quality that have led to target level performance.  Discuss plans and timelines for attaining and/or sustaining target level performance as articulated in this standard.

5a. Qualified Faculty is an area where the unit is moving toward target.

Although existing T-TT faculty are qualified, the ratio of temporary faculty to T-TT faculty exceeds the university average. After years of budget cuts resulting in few T-TT hires, all departments in the unit have been granted at least two T-TT hires for 2014-15 academic year. Rather than focus on the replacement of retired faculty, the plan for new unit hires is based on growth needs and future directions. For example, the SOE five-year hiring plan is centered on its mission to create a diverse, democratic, socially responsible society in which every student is valued. In order to accomplish this mission, faculty agreed that the teaching pipeline from undergraduate programs through graduate work would need to be diversified. Additionally, future hires would need to possess deep pedagogical and content expertise, along with the dispositions to collaborate across general and special education and be able to leverage technologies in the service of access and inclusion. The resulting hires are two highly qualified faculty prepared to further the mission-driven organization through their discipline specific lenses, their strong backgrounds working with diverse populations, and their commitment to collaboration across the unit. The unit plans to include continue to aggressively recruit and hire talented T-TT and part-time faculty to meet increasing student demand. 

5b. Modeling Best Professional Practices in Teaching is an area of strength where the unit is performing at target.

First, as a community of effective, reflective, and engaged teacher scholars, faculty continuously critique, inquire and research best instructional practices. The ability to exhibit intellectual vitality in their sensitivity to critical issues has been a hallmark of unit faculty, particularly given the implementation challenges that educational initiatives and mandates create for the unit and our P-12 partners. Most recently, with the onset of new frameworks and standards, faculty sought ways to gain expertise, collaborate with P-12 partners and academic disciplines across campus, and revise teacher preparation courses and programs. They learned about Common Core State Standards (CCSS) implementation timelines of local districts and schools. They created assignments for candidates using the new standards to guide their instructional planning. In one case, when a science educator invited local administrators and P-12 science teachers to his classroom to view teacher candidates presenting Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) lessons, he learned more about teachers’ range of reactions to the standards than he anticipated. Subsequently, he presented to the local school board about implementation needs. Plans for 2014-2015 include joint CCSS professional development sessions.

Internal and external validation are other indicators that the unit is performing at target in the area of modeling best practices in teaching. Many professional education faculty are recognized as outstanding teachers by candidates, colleagues in the institution, and beyond (5.4.j). EPP faculty have been recipients of prestigious institutional awards including CSU, Chico’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award (twice); CSU, Chico Exemplary Online Instruction Awards (six times); CSU system awards for Quality Online Learning and Teaching (QOLT) and the CA Campus Compact Carnegie Foundation Service-Learning for Political Engagement Program. As such, they are looked to as instructional leaders by their colleagues in the unit, on campus, and with P-12 partners. They present regularly for CELT (Center for Learning and Teaching) workshops for the campus and beyond where are recognized for the quality of their instructional leadership. Recently, CELT recognized a unit faculty member in the first cohort of Learning Catalyst Fellows, for her ability to “catalyze”—stimulate, promote, motivate, encourage—student learning and be willing to talk about how she does it. Unit faculty also demonstrate their ability to present quality professional development opportunities to colleagues at workshops focused on identified unit goals, such as supporting English Learners (4.4.m). Comments on the quality of the presentation and the presenters serve as an example of how faculty are held in high regard by their colleagues as expert instructors (5.4.g.4).

Faculty also demonstrate target performance by incorporating appropriate assessments and instructional adjustments to enhance candidate learning. Faculty reflect deeply about their instructional decisions (5.4.o). They use data from SETs and other informal sources, such as self-developed short evaluative questionnaires using BlackBoard Learn or SurveyMonkey, typically using a combination of data over time to inform their practice and make adjustments (5.4.k). Since the unit adopted PACT, faculty teaching in each initial program have adjusted course content and field experiences to prepare candidates for the assessment (5.4.m) and provided additional support where needed, based upon assessment results. In addition, all initial programs have developed and adopted agreed-upon PACT policies to support struggling students, including the number of repeated attempts, opportunities for support during remediation, and timelines to accomplish the task. At advanced levels, when writing scores showed MA in Ed faculty that candidates were struggling with research writing and APA style, they developed a course to support candidates’ academic writing. Additionally, course instructors strengthened their assignments focused on research writing components. 

5c. Modeling Best Professional Practices in Scholarship is an area where the unit is performing at target level.

Unit faculty are teacher scholars who engage in research characterized by scholarship that is original, integrated, applied, and systematic. Unit faculty bring to bear their expertise in a variety of areas in the service of teaching and learning (5.4.a, and faculty vitas). The mission-driven nature of their scholarly work informs and supports teachers in the North State. Many EPP unit faculty engage in collaborative and cross-disciplinary efforts (5.4.a). Unit faculty are experts in professional development whose well-designed and evaluated projects reflect best practices. They incorporate practices such as grade-level teams, lesson study, and video-based reflections. Together with their partners, they work to create powerful and positive school communities by building effective administrators and teacher leaders and utilizing professional learning communities that focus on student learning, continuous teacher learning through successful collaborations. Currently, the ORG office manages 10 projects that serve PreK-12 students, help to recruit and support teacher from underrepresented populations, and provide professional development to the North State and beyond (5.4.e.1). Faculty have secured over 4 million dollars in external funding for the 2013-2014 academic year and 15 million since 2008.

Faculty are also demonstrated scholars of excellence, having won CSU Chico Professional Achievement Honors (twice), CSU Professor of the Year, and CSU Outstanding Project Director of the Year (three times). The unit plans to continue to engage in collaborative teaching, research and service and systematically share faculty expertise across programs and departments. To do so, we plan to build on the success of our rural residency program by introducing co-teaching pilots across all initial programs, starting in fall 2014. Unit faculty will also begin to co-teach across departments to model integrated services. Other plans for interdisciplinary collaborations include a series of college-wide thematic talks by faculty called VECTORS for 2014-2015. Each VECTOR session will focus on a cross-cutting theme such as “access and equity” and provide multiple perspectives from faculty across disciplines in the unit.

5d. The unit is also performing at target level in the area of Modeling Best Professional Practices in Service.

For service to be meaningful in our region, we work with school partners to determine needs. Faculty include recognized experts in service-learning, such as a member of the Board of Directors of the International Center for Service Learning in Teacher Education, who assists faculty and candidates in the development of community-based service-learning projects that impact local partner schools (5.4.p). Additionally, faculty initiate, organize and sustain participation in projects that serve students of all ages and their families, such as the “Packing Hope” project, in which faculty worked with the Student California Teachers Association to provide school supplies for children in need (5.4.n.1, p. 12-13).

The grant activity previously described is testament to myriad of ways that the unit models best practices in service for the region through providing professional development and scholarships for prospective candidates from underrepresented populations (5.4.e.1). EPP Unit faculty are known as leaders of professional development in the region. Recent efforts include Teachers’ Professional Development for Inland California (Teachers’ PD INC) that offers California K-12 teachers grants to design their own professional development to address a particular question or problem directly related to their practice and aimed at making a significant educational reform in their classrooms and schools. Teachers’ PD INC is currently supporting sustained professional development for 52 teams of teachers from San Bernardino to Weed, CA and is serving approximately 250 teachers (5.4.g.6). Other summer institutes for school partners focus on science and English learners (Collaborative Professional Development In Rural Schools Grant) and co-teaching. The co-teaching workshop, held each summer, grew out of one program but is now being planned for all initial program clinical supervisors and mentor teachers engaged in co-teaching pilots throughout all programs. Plans include seeking additional mission-driven external funding through the CSU Bechtel initiative and a Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant that furthers our work in co-teaching and STEM related disciplines.

5e. Unit Evaluation of Professional Education Faculty Performance is another area of target performance.

The unit’s systematic and comprehensive evaluation system, based on FPPP and CBA, aligns with the mission and vision of each department, sets the foundation for the evaluation policy, and provides specific expectations for faculty performance relative to the discipline. For example, the SOE PPP was developed by faculty, in preparation for the merge into a single-unit, and was designed to reflect its mission-driven values and education as a profession. Each area of evaluation in the document reflects the collaborative nature of the profession and the democratic foundations of SOE programs (5.4.f.3). Standards developed by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards form a basis for the evaluation of teaching. Under the area of scholarly achievement, types of mission-driven evidence include research and publications related to diversity, civic engagement, and service-learning.

Other activities that have led to target level performance include improvements to the regular and comprehensive reviews of professional education faculty. Beginning spring 2014, pursuant to a new CBA mandate, SETs are to be administered in all courses each semester. Previously, SETs were conducted for a minimum of two courses annually. More opportunities for SETs to be conducted means more opportunities for appraising the quality of teaching performance of faculty, helping faculty to improve their teaching, if needed, and assist in their general professional development. As of 2014-2015 additional improvements to the SOE PPP include the addition, as per university approval, of the department’s own SET instrument. The instrument includes questions specific to the demands of preparing educators, such as whether or not the instructor prepares students to work with diverse populations. Other policy changes in evaluation involve clinical faculty. Until spring 2014, supervisor evaluations occurred in spring only and were conducted either by candidates or their cooperating teachers. Now, each semester, both initial program candidates and cooperating teachers use an online survey to evaluate university supervisors. In addition, all candidates in initial credential programs now complete a Classroom Environment Survey each semester. The survey provides information about the quality of their field experience placements. The instrument was jointly developed with advisory board members. Upcoming plans include comparing and aligning RTP documents across the unit, so that each department can benefit from the most effective policies and procedures developed across the unit.

5f. Unit facilitation of professional development is moving toward target as the unit strengthens policies and practices that encourage all professional education faculty to be continuous learners.

For the 2014-2015 AY the university has pledged to increase fiscal resources and support for faculty professional development, particularly for new faculty. New faculty mentoring programs are providing workload release and support to enhance new faculty success, retention, and professional development. In the SOE New Faculty Checklist was recently developed to guide mentors in their role (5.4.g.7). In fall 2014 the plans to explore a cross-departmental mentoring program will begin.

Since 2011, the SOE has taken advantage of academic workdays prior to and at the end of each semester to hold start-up workshops and year-end retreats for professional development and continuous improvement around unit goals and program needs. All EPP partners are invited to attend. Depending on needs, the workshops feature local faculty experts or nationally and internationally renowned specialists in field in areas such as: assistive technology, teaching English learners, co-teaching, and strength-based curriculum (5.4.g.3). Professional development opportunities are need-based and strategically planned. Grant project directors within the unit discuss their needs and plans regarding professional development.  They calendar events throughout the academic year and leverage grant funding to bring professional development opportunities to public school partners and university faculty.