Standard 4. Diversity
Standard 4: Diversity
As stated in the Conceptual Framework for Teacher Education and Educational Specialists, the Unit focuses on serving the needs of PA by working to develop curricula, field experiences and clinical practices to promote candidates’ knowledge, skills, and dispositions. The Unit recognizes students in P-12 come from unique backgrounds, diversity takes many forms, and all students can learn regardless of their background. Principle #2 of the Conceptual Framework states that our candidates must “understand the theories of child development, and how to adapt their practices to meet the needs of diverse populations.” [Conceptual Framework Content 2B Rationale see Standard 4.4.a]
Thus, candidates learn to conceptualize teaching and to challenge all students including English language learners and students with exceptionalities. These abilities and dispositions are continuously addressed and assessed at the initial and advanced level through course work, field experiences, and portfolio reviews. To see how diversity is addressed throughout CalU programs please see examples of course syllabi. Initial certification courses that address diversity include the topics of exceptionalities (ESP 210, 311, 407, 412, and 413), multicultural issues (EDU 310), and linguistic diversity (EDU 350). Advanced certification courses that address diversity include the topics of exceptionalities (ESP 607, 610, 612, 613 & 701) and linguistic diversity (EDU 650). [Course Descriptions and Syllabi see Standard 4.4.b]
Several other initial and advances courses contain components that address the needs of students from diverse backgrounds. [General Education Menu see Standard 4.4.b & Course Syllabi in Conceptual Framework Standard I.5.b] Candidates are assessed in relation to meeting diversity proficiencies in multiple ways. Some candidates may complete counseling experiences with diverse populations. Others may teach reading or other content materials to students from high poverty areas during the summer. While others will work on helping student behaviors; so that they may become successful in the educational setting. [Key Assessments see Standard 1.4.c] Candidates working at the undergraduate level towards initial certifications and degrees have a variety of culturally based choices from which to choose. Diversity courses focus on topics related to gender, race, ethnicity, religion, language and/ or global perspectives that provide deeper knowledge and understand of cultural diversity.
Advanced programs graduating other school professionals include a Master of Education: School Counseling. This Masters assists graduate candidates in developing the competencies necessary for a position as a counselor in school settings. The program is structured to enable candidates to develop personal awareness of self as a counselor, knowledge of counseling and educational concepts, and skills in counseling students at various age levels. Graduates in this program are required to take a selection of diversity courses to in order to broaden their experiences with diverse populations as well as cultures. [School Counseling Program see Standard 4.4.b]
CalU and the Unit are fully committed to recruiting and supporting diverse faculty. The University’s Strategic Plan emphasizes the recruitment of diverse and qualified faculty and staff from underrepresented groups. CalU is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer with a goal to ‘continue to enhance diversity, as broadly defined per the University Strategic Plan. The tagline for recruitment ads informs applicants that “Cal U encourages applicants who are minorities, women, veterans, have disabilities and that the University is an affirmative action/equal employment opportunity institution”. [Recruitment & Retaining Diverse Faculty see Standard 4.4.g] The Unit has a lower percentage of minority faculty than the university as a whole, but a higher percentage of female faculty than the university. Twelve point two percent of Cal U’s faculty during 2012 identified as ethnically or racially diverse in comparison to the Unit at 12%. [Faculty Demographics see Standard 4.4.d] Our programs increase the diversity of leaders impacting candidates by inviting professionals from diverse backgrounds as guest lecturers/panelists. Many clinical experience classes in our P12 schools draw on the expertise of faculty and administrators who are from under-represented groups. Faculty in the Unit are active in introducing diversity concepts in methods’ courses as well as exposure to diversity in field experiences. Faculty members are routinely assigned to supervise candidates in settings in the rural and urban community schools that reflect significant learner diversity. [School District Demographics see Standard 4.4.f] Cal U also financially supports a number of programs promoting equity and diversity where faculty and candidates are often engaged in myriad activities to support and celebrate diversity. A Multicultural Center, Women’s Studies Programs, the President’s Commission for the Status of Women, Fredrick Douglass Institute: Black History Month, Women’s History Month, LGBTQIA Programming, Cal U Men United, and Diversity Month are all supported by the Unit. Cal U also hosts Upward Bound programs and partnership programs. Potential students are brought to campus and given information at Academic Open Houses.
Coinciding with faculty recruitment challenges, both the University and the Unit experience difficulty recruiting and retaining diverse candidates. The entire region of southwestern Pennsylvania lacks ethnic and racial diversity. However, through the Unit’s diversity initiatives, candidates participate in field and clinical experiences in inner city schools in the Pittsburgh, Washington, and Uniontown School Districts. Within the Unit, the diversity of candidates of color comprises approximately 5% of initial candidates and 3% of advanced candidates. Approximately 77% of candidates are female. The university has made significant efforts to recruit and retain more diverse candidate populations. This initiative is supported by the Admissions Office (AO). The AO staff conducts regularly scheduled visits to high schools in geographic regions, with special attention given to urban areas (Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Erie) with higher density population of minority students. The attraction and retention of diverse students at Cal U continues to be a major priority. [Recruitment & Retaining Diverse Candidates see Standard 4.4.h]
All candidates have field experience (FE) and clinical experiences at 95 school districts and centers. Most of the districts are located in five county footprint surrounding CalU. [CalU Demographic Footprint see Standard 4.4.e] Placements are monitored by the Field Experience Coordinator and the Director of Student Teaching to ensure candidates have experiences with diverse student populations when possible. In each of the initial teacher education programs, an introductory course with a requirement of field experience opportunities is mandated. Each of these courses has specific conditions for field work, including diverse settings. These settings include a high percentage of economically disadvantaged families, an ethically / racially diverse student population, or students with exceptionalities. Additionally, the emergence of Professional Development Schools (PDS) allow for more field and clinical placements in stable and diverse settings. [School District Demographics see Standard 4.4.f]
The Educational Unit continues to focus on the diversity of its faculty, its candidates, and the P-12 students that are impacted by the candidates. This focus has created several significant improvements. These improvements include creation of early field experience placements and hiring of a designated field coordinator, creation of ESL endorsement, development of the new endorsement in autism spectrum disorders, revision of program courses to include emphasis on diversity, an accentuated University focus on diversity in the Affirmative Action Plan, University’s Strategic Plan, and Policy Statements and Compliance Procedures on Equal Education and Employment Opportunity and Social Equity, and a continued commitment to the hiring of diverse faculty members.
Field Placements. In an effort to create cohesive field and clinical experiences, the Unit has hired a field experience coordinator who places candidates in designated school districts. With changes in most programs, candidates enter field placements earlier in their academic careers. The earliest field placement occurs during the students second semester for PK-4 / Special Education PK-8 majors. Faculty and candidates feel this allows a better understand of future responsibilities and a great chance at providing exposure to diverse population groups. In conjunction with methods courses, all aspects of pedagogy as well as classroom climate provide candidates with a more seamless, reflective practitioner experience. Candidates have opportunities to student teach abroad and to do field experiences in urban settings. The Urban Field Experience, conducted in the summer in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, allows the candidate to work in one assigned classroom during which they observe, assist, and implement lessons to the students. As mentioned earlier in the prior section, candidates are exposed to different experiences and placements are made in a variety of the school districts in our five county footprint. [School District Demographics see Standard 4.4.f].
ESL Certification Program. In 2012, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) made additions to its policies that permitted development of an ESL Specialist Certification program. All PA institutions offering ESL Specialist Certificate programs were required to structure their program to adhere to the new competencies and to apply with PDE for approval to offer the program. In addition to demonstrating competencies in four areas: linguistics, assessment/support, instructional materials/program design, and cultural diversity, CalU developed the program and was approved by PDE as a training provider in 2012. [ESL Certification Program see Standard 4.4.c]
ASD Endorsement.The Pennsylvania Department of Education recently established a graduate endorsement in Autism Spectrum Disorders, an add-on to a Level I or Level II teaching certificate that recognizes competence in working with this special population. CalU has been approved to award the ASD endorsement to certified special education teachers who complete the 12-credit online program. The 12-hour ASD program in a traditional format has been offered at Cal U since 2007. It is now expanded to two tracks. The first track is as an add-on endorsement for certified special education teachers, while the second track is a Letter of Completion for candidates who simply are interested in learning more about students who have Autism Spectrum Disorder. This program demonstrates the Unit’s continued dedication to teaching all students regardless of their ability. [ASD Certification Program see Standard 4.4.c]
Diverse Teaching and Learning Experiences. Many faculty members in the Educational Unit have extensive experience when working with diverse population groups. From ethnic and cultural diversity to exceptionalities, Cal U faculty members are proactive in creating diverse learning experiences for the candidates. Many of the faculty members have a variety of outlets for disseminating information to others who may find it useful. Some elect to conduct presentations, while others generate manuscripts, and still others participate in short-term teaching abroad experiences. Dr. Kevin Lordon is a Fulbright participant who taught educators most recently at Heibei University, near Beijing, China. Dr. Taunya Tinsley, Dr. Caryl Sheffield, and Dr. Debra Farrer provided workshops in counseling / sports performance at Pretoria University in Pretoria, South Africa in 2010. Additionally, Drs. Burton, Kight, Kossar, Mitchem, and Seman have significant experience in working with those individuals with exceptionalities. Many presentations and programs are maintained and shared due to their expertise. The Department of Early, Middle, and Special Education (EMS) recently hosted a Frederick Douglass Visiting Scholar. Dr. Torregano continues teaching courses and participating in the department and University-wide activities as an adjunct faculty member. [Faculty Information Guides see Standard 5.4.e]
Focus on Diversity at the University Level. The University Policy Statements and Compliance Procedures on Equal Education and Employment Opportunity and Social Equity maintain that CalU is an academic community dedicated to the ideas of justice, fairness, and equal opportunity for all. The Strategic Plan assists the University in advancing its ultimate mission of building character as well as the careers of students. The goals of the Strategic Plan have two specific to the area of diversity: Goal Three: To continue to enhance diversity, as broadly defined, at CalU and Goal Six: To continue to serve the region, the Commonwealth, and the Nation. The methods of these specific goals include such opportunities as studying abroad, guest lectures, a campus wide climate survey, continuous efforts to hire diverse faculty, development and implementation of a plan for recruitment of black and Hispanic students. [Policy on EEEO, Title XI, and Strategic Plan see Standard 4.4.g] In addition, the Unit provides core undergraduate and advanced level courses with components that address multiculturalism in education. All courses need to be approved by both the General Education Committee and the University Curriculum Committee. The curriculum is designed to enhance candidates’ awareness of their own values, beliefs, and biases surrounding issues of diversity and culture. It is the intention that the courses will provide a framework for candidates to create a more inclusive learning environment in their classrooms. All programs have worked to increase preparation for working with students from diverse populations with particular attention to preparing candidates to work with African-American students, English language learners, and students with exceptionalities. Initiatives have included new courses with focus on cultural diversity and supporting students with exceptionalities. As can be seen from the materials included, it is difficult for a teacher education candidate to completely avoid the numerous opportunities and requirements which expose the candidate to other from different population groups. [Diversity Courses, Descriptions, Syllabi see Standard 4.4.b]
Diverse Faculty. The University and the Educational Unit strive to hire and retain a more diverse faculty. The Unit works closely with the Office of Social Equity to offer faculty various workshops and participate in orientation sessions to address equal opportunities and diversity issues. Regular professional development opportunities for faculty often relate to diversity issues including faculty presentations, round table discussions. The Director and Assistant Director of the Office of Social Equity are available to conduct diversity education sessions to students and staff, clubs, organizations and other on-campus and community groups. These sessions are offered to assist the participants in understanding and appreciating the importance of cultural diversity; assisting individuals in gaining new insights and outlooks regarding culture; to explore prejudices and stereotypes; and to recognize that cultural diversity awareness contributes to an environment that maximizes our strengths and differences in values all individuals.
The aforementioned plan of action will continue while the Unit continues to improve the faculty, candidates, and students’ ability to work with individuals from different populations groups. The following areas continue to be areas for continued talk and program development. First, the Unit will continue to provide opportunities for candidate experience. These experiences can be measured by future Standard assessments as found in the candidates’ LiveText portfolio review that is conducted prior to Student Teaching. In this area, candidates will provide evidence that they have achieved the 13 competencies of pre-service candidates as described by the Cal U Conceptual Framework, as well as those set by their areas of certification. The Livetext Portfolio interview provides candidates with the opportunity to synthesize their learning from course assignments and other experiences and provides faculty the opportunity to assess the candidates’ knowledge, skills, and dispositions at different checkpoints. Included in this review is the performance principle of ‘Diversity’. Next, CalU is continuing its mission to recruit and retain diverse candidate populations. Given the geographic footprint, it is not always possible to have an extensively racially / ethnically diverse campus. As a result, CalU will also focus on recruiting candidates from lower socioeconomic areas, from diverse regional cultural groups, and from differing ability groups. The Unit also plants to continue its relationship with the Office of Social Equity to identify and recruit qualified faculty candidates from underrepresented groups. Again, if the campus cannot adequately recruit and retain those professional from diverse racial / ethnic backgrounds, it is suggested that they look for faculty who bring a different view to their program.
Areas for Improvement Cited in the Action Report from the Previous Accreditation Report (AFI).
All programs have worked to increase preparation for working with students from diverse populations with particular attention to preparing candidates to work with African-American students, English language learners, and students with exceptionalities. Initiatives have included new courses with foci on cultural diversity and supporting students with exceptionalities. The Unit provides numerous opportunities for candidates to work with students from diverse settings. Introductory courses begin placing candidates in schools early in their academic careers. While introductory and methods courses have a field component embedded in them to support and reinforce pedagogy and experiential learning within diverse settings. The Field Experience Coordinator and Director of Student Teaching assists with field and clinical placements that are more conducive to diverse learning and teaching settings. Newly established Professional Development Collaboratives provide additional field settings and diverse placements. Syllabi revision and along with significantly numbers of new courses have been prepared and are being presented to candidates to offer more attention to diversity in the classroom, home, and community. Knowledge, skills, and dispositions related to diversity are assessed through lesson plans developed in course work, field experiences, and through clinical forms that incorporate components of meeting the needs of diverse learners. [Diversity Courses, Descriptions, Syllabi & PDE 430 Manual see Standard 4.4.b]
The second areas for improvement, the area of diverse faculty interactions are being addressed campus-wide as well as within the Unit. Candidates now have opportunities with technological advances of engaging with those across the country and in some cases, across the globe with global online initiatives and programs. CalU continues to address efforts to attract and maintain a diverse faculty. The requirements of the faculty search committee indicate that members of the search committee aggressively search for diverse applicants. Both initial and advanced programs require some type of clinical or administrative internship thus providing candidates with diverse personnel in these types of experiences. Efforts continue to build a large list of diverse clinical experiences. Regular professional development opportunities for faculty often related to diversity issues including faculty presentations, round table discussions. The Unit follows guidelines including affirmative action representatives on search committees, position announcements in venues that reach a diverse readership, and recruitment at national conferences. The Director and Assistant Director of the Office of Social Equity are available to conduct diversity education sessions to students and staff, clubs, organizations and other on-campus and community groups. These sessions are offered to assist the participants in understanding and appreciating the importance of cultural diversity; assisting individuals in gaining new insights and outlooks regarding culture; to explore prejudices and stereotypes; and to recognize that cultural diversity awareness contributes to an environment that maximizes our strengths and differences in values all individuals. [Recruiting & Retaining Diverse Faculty see Standard 4.4.g]
The third AFI is being addressed but remains a concern to the CalU community at large. The University and the Educational Unit has always supported the recruitment and retention of a diverse population both financially and professionally. CalU’s Office of Admissions extensively seeks recruitment of minority students, in urban settings, college day and night fairs and campus visitations. CalU also hosts Upward Bound programs and partnership programs where potential students are brought to campus for learning and enrichment programs. The Office of Student Retention and Success has programs for those students who do attend CalU and need additional assistance with programs. Programs in this area include first-year seminar, academic scheduling center, math support lab, reading and writing labs, four-year graduation plans, student success facilitators, student support services, the University Multicultural center, and the Center for Urban Education are all means to assist students from diverse backgrounds to feel comfortable and connected to the CalU family. [Recruiting & Retaining Diverse Candidates see Standard 4.4.h]
Standard 4.4.a Candidate Work with P-12 Students
Standard 4.4.b Curriculum Components and Experiences
School Counseling Program
ESL Certification Program
ASD Certification Program
Standard 4.4.c Assessment Materials
Reference Standard 1.4.c Artifacts
Reference Standard 1.4.d Artifacts
Reference Standard 1.4.e Artifacts
Reference Standard 1.4.f Artifacts
Reference Standard 3.4.g Artifacts
Standard 4.4.d Faculty Demographics
Standard 4.4.e Candidate Demographics
Standard 4.4.f School District Demographics
Standard 4.4.g Recruitment & Retaining Diverse Faculty
Policy on Equal Education and Employment Opportunity
Social Equity Title IX Policy
Strategic Plan: Goal Three - Enhance Diversity
Standard 4.4.h Recruitment & Retaining Diverse Candidates
Standard 4.4.i Working with P-12 Students from Diverse Groups