Standard 5. Faculty Qualifications, Performance, and Development
Standard 5. Faculty Qualifications, Performance, and Development
The Educational Unit faculty includes members with expertise across all elements of teacher education including human growth and development, diversity, instructional and assistive technology, assessment, effective instruction, applied behavior analysis, and educational research. These faculty members are housed in the Departments of Early, Middle and Special Education, and Secondary Education and Administrative Leadership, Technology Education, and School Psychology. [Tenure Track Faculty Information see Standard 5.4.a]
As described in the university mission statement, faculty is committed to focusing its efforts on three goals: student achievement and success, institutional excellence, and community service. Faculty members model the elements of the Teacher Education Conceptual Framework in their own teaching, research, and service. As of Spring 2012, the unit employed 85 faculty, 40 full time in professional education (92.5% with terminal degrees), and 45 part time at the university and the unit. All 85 are licensed in the fields in which they teach or supervise and taught successfully in the grade levels for which they are licensed. The 45 adjunct faculty members who are part time in the unit often teach methods courses and supervise clinical experiences and possess the academic training and experience to contribute to the preparation of effective educators. Temporary faculty qualifications include doctoral degrees or exceptional expertise as evidenced by National Board certification (Cathy Hayden). The adjunct faculty members are very loyal to the program and tend to continue in their roles for many years and/or participate in multiple roles in the unit to include serving on curriculum committees. This provides stability and a shared understanding of the beliefs outlined in the Conceptual Framework. [Adjunct Faculty Information see Standard 5.4.a] School faculty members who serve as cooperating teachers are licensed in the fields they teach or supervise [Clinical Faculty Information see Standard 5.4.b] Also, our higher education clinical faculty members who supervise field experiences or student teaching have contemporary professional experiences [Clinical Faculty Policies & Practices see Standard 5.4.c].
The Unit considers its faculty to be its greatest strength as reflected in their success and accomplishments in scholarship, teaching and outreach. The strength of our teaching is indicated by an exceptionally high college mean on student evaluations of teaching with low variability. The questions that received the highest scores in rank order were: (1) treated with respect by the instructor; (2) a syllabus including a clear statement of learning objectives, assignments, attendance policy, and grading procedures was provided and explained; (3) instructor was prepared for classes and well informed on the material presented; (4) instructor was responsive to the legitimate academic needs and concerns of the student; (4) instructor was approachable and available for consultation apart from formal class times Particular strengths of faculty include the ability to exemplify appropriate teaching strategies, the integration of technology in instruction, and increased attention to meeting the needs of students in high risk groups.
Scholarly activity is defined in the CBA and annually reviewed according to the procedure. Scholarly activity is mostly measured by publications in peer-reviewed journals, chapters, and books; presentations at professional conferences; and internal/external grant writing. Over the past three years, 29 faculty members report publications of books, chapters, peer reviewed articles and presentations. Faculty have been awarded more than $4 million in federal funding and more than $750,000 in Foundation funding. This funding has permitted faculty to collaborate extensively with school districts, improve and enhance programming, conduct research, develop education software, and provide innovative educational experiences to a wide range of community members. [Faculty Scholarly Activities see Standard 5.4.d]
Faculty service has been clearly documented in the department through the yearly compilation of service activities. A significant majority of faculty is involved in service at department, college and university level. They provide services as members of department, college and university committees. Faculty is committed to serving as role models for their students and often embeds service learning activities as part of their course requirements. As noted in Standard 3, our faculty is dedicated to service to schools and districts and are involved in multiple partnerships and initiatives. Funding from the Trees Foundation has equipped a mobile technology lab at Washington School District. A preservice training improvement grant, HQ-TEEMS, has allowed faculty to offer professional development on collaborative grant writing along with co-teaching by special education and science and math faculty in the school district.
Faculty is supported in ongoing self-assessment and professional development through the annual review and tenure and promotion processes of the University and the COEHS. This includes comprehensive reviews of the faculty’s teaching, scholarship, service and collaboration with the professional community. The system is driven by the Collective Bargaining Agreement) between the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculty and the State System of Higher Education. Guidelines for Performance Review and Evaluation of Faculty are specified in Article 12. Tenure and Promotion guidelines are provided in Articles 15 and 16 respectively. Teaching, scholarship, and service are important elements of each of these articles of the CBA . [Faculty Evaluation see Standard 5.5.f]
Unit faculty members who are part of the COEHS and Human Services proceed through the yearly or five year review process with an evaluation by peers, their Department Chairs and the COEHS Dean. During the past three years, 20 of 26 tenure line faculty who are full time in COEHS have undergone reviews. Eighteen of 20 were successful in meeting requirements for teaching, service, and scholarship while receiving written feedback on any improvements needed. Tenure track faculty members have probationary status for five years. Performance reviews in the first four years contain recommendations concerning renewal of appointments and specifications of improvements needed if any. A department evaluation committee, the Department Chair, and the Dean are involved in the review process, each making a recommendation to the Provost for renewal or non-renewal. Recommendations made by the peers, Chair and/or Dean are reviewed at the next cycle (yearly or every five years depending on tenure status) to check for continued improvement. Improvements are noted, again in writing, and any further recommendations made. Procedures for granting tenure include reviews by a department committee and the Chair. The recommendations are submitted to a University-wide tenure committee consisting of elected tenured faculty members. This body submits its recommendations to the President of the University.
Tenured faculty members receive a performance review evaluation in the fifth year of appointment and every fifth year thereafter. Faculty members use the feedback from colleagues, Chair and Dean to shape their agenda in teaching, service and scholarship for the next five years. When faculty members apply for promotion, a departmental committee and the Chair review the applications. Their recommendations, along with the Dean’s, are submitted to a University-wide promotion committee consisting of faculty members elected to serve on this body. The committee has the right to consult with the department committee, Department Chairperson or the applicants. Applicants have the right to appear before the committee. The committee sends its recommendations to the President of the University or designee, who is the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs and Student Services in this case.
Numerous support and professional development opportunities for faculty are available through the departments, College, and University, Faculty Professional Development Center, and the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research. Although tight budgets have made supporting faculty travel challenging, the FPDC sponsored travel grants along with some support from departments and the college has provided support for faculty participation in national conferences with the highest priority given to non-tenured, tenure track faculty members. In addition, the Dean of COEHS provides support to faculty for professional development. Over the last three years, he has provided almost $53,000 to support full-time and part-time faculty travel to present at conferences.
Perhaps most significantly, the university supports a faculty mentoring program and departments assign faculty mentors to all new faculty to support them in establishing their university careers and provide on-going general support as they transition to a new living and learning community. At the university level opportunities for professional development are through the Teaching and Learning Center which has Tech Tuesdays, online tutorials, as well as appointments for specific individualized training. The Office of Sponsored Programs and Research offer Quality Circle reviews with trained faculty providing feedback on colleagues’ proposals. The various committees of the Faculty Professional Development Center sponsors a wide range of face to face and online professional development to include workshops on promotion, tenure, various instructional technologies, grant writing, and research brown bag luncheons.
Cal U seeks to hire the most qualified professional education faculty to teach and supervise candidates in the teacher education program. Faculty information sheets indicate faculty qualifications including degrees and certifications, professional experiences, membership and participation in professional associations, workload assignments, scholarly activities and teaching innovations, and service to the profession, college, and community. All faculty members have many years of teaching experience in P-12 and/or higher education. Faculty selected for tenure line faculty positions must have a terminal degree to be hired. Part time temporary faculty are selected from a pool of applicants based on their approval by the temporary faculty search committee to teach specific courses in the department given only to those with at least a Master’s degree and certification in the subject to be taught. Temporary faculty members are provided syllabi, course shells, and content developed by tenure line faculty for all courses taught. [Adjunct Faculty Information see Standard 5.4.a]
The University and the unit hold and express high expectations for faculty and candidate performance. In order to provide high quality instruction, faculty members continue to be evaluated on continuous growth in teaching, scholarship, and service. Areas of strength and areas needing improvement are detailed through a process that is well-defined and understood. If recommendations for improvement exist, there must be evidence of achievement prior to the next review. Promotion is decided at the University level and the process is very competitive. Faculty in this unit continues to be successful in this area and is able to meet these standards. Meeting the high standards will continue to be our goal.
Since the last visit, the special education program has received a preservice training improvement grant which has provided exciting opportunities for students as well as meaningful collaboration with content specialists with faculty in the College of Science and Technology that has led to science and math faculty co-teaching with special education faculty at the university and at our partner public schools. Feedback from all stakeholders with regards to this experience has been extremely positive and the Dean plans to expand this project to other programs. In addition, teachers and administrators from Washington and Connellsville School Districts participate thorough an Advisory Board in developing, evaluating, and revising our candidates’ clinical field experience. Candidates are now placed in pairs with a mentor cooperating teacher and complete academic and behavior change projects with public school students in collaboration with the mentor cooperating teacher. Data collected from benchmark and annual achievement testing has shown significant improvement in performance of pupils assigned to unit candidates in comparison to those who were not assigned to candidates.
In his annual reviews of faculty achievements in 2009 and 2010, the Dean noticed that scholarship was not particularly strong as evidenced by the data the faculty presented for their reviews in part because of the heavy teaching load faculty carry as well as the expectation to provide timely, thoughtful, and informative feedback to candidates. Based on these findings, the Dean began a research initiative to identify the most effective and efficient methods of providing feedback to candidates in online classes. Faculty members from several departments across the unit continue to participate in this research study and are using the process and findings to inform both their instructional practices as well as their research capabilities. In addition, the Dean encourages all faculty to request evaluations each semester regardless of where they are in the review cycle. [Tenure Track Scholarly Activities see Standard 5.4.d]
Currently, the University-Wide Promotion Committee is working with APSCUF, CalU administrators, and faculty to revise the University Promotion Guidelines so that scholarly activities including grant writing receive more recognition and value in terms of the rubric for evaluation. It is believed that this effort coupled with efforts in the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research to support and reward faculty for grant writing will further enhance scholarly productivity and faculty professional development.
Service is an area of strength in our program. Faculty members remain committed to service on all levels (department, college and university). Currently, faculty are reviewing and revising department syllabi with the goal of developing central data bank for service projects and activities integral to specialized professional areas. The college and three school districts have joined to together to form Professional Development Schools. This endeavor continues to grow and flourish. Each school district works in concert with our University coordinator to develop resources that are beneficial to the university and school district personnel. In addition, faculty member sponsor and advise in a number of student professional organizations. [Faculty Service & Collaboration see Standard 5.4.e]
In the Units previous review by NCATE three areas were cited as needing improvement. The initial area was the lack of monitoring system to ensure that cooperating teachers meet the criteria for service. The second area of concern involved the limited number of scholarly activities by faculty members within the unit. The final area to be addressed is the lack of changes based on faculty evaluations.
There is no system to assure cooperating teachers meet the criteria for service
Criteria for school faculty, including mentor (MT) and cooperating teachers (CT), are included in the appropriate handbook and are shared with school faculty, candidates, and instructors. Credentials for Cooperating Teachers are reviewed by the Director of Student Teaching. Cooperating Teachers must be certified in the area where they teach, have three years successful teaching experience, and be recommended by district administration. Individuals who want to become Cooperating Teachers for the Unit must also attend a training session offered each summer. [Cooperating Teacher Workshop Flyer, Maters, & Manual see Standard 5.4.c] Mentor teachers are those professionals who sponsor candidates who are participating in field experiences prior to student teaching. Credentials for Mentor Teachers are reviewed by the Director of Field Experiences. In order to become a Mentor Teacher, the professional must hold certification for the appropriate area, have a minimum of three years of successful teaching, be recommended by their school administration. It is preferred that each Mentor Teacher have an advanced degree. [Field Experience Handbook see Standard 5.4.c]
Faculty involvement in scholarly activities is limited. Because of the specific teaching requirement as agreed upon in the CBA, a majority of the faculty members’ time is spent teaching in the college classroom setting. However, some of the faculty have started to increase their level of scholarly endeavors. While some have written large federal grants, others have written smaller university sponsored grants. Some are generating texts and book chapters, while others are conducting research that leads to profession presentations. To simply say that scholarship is the generation of manuscripts would severely undermine the work that the faculty have accomplished. Also, the FPDC organization has a program where faulty can improve their skills in many different areas from teaching, to scholarship, and services. [Professional Development see Standrd 5.4.g]
Evaluations are not used to improve teaching, scholarship, or service or to guide professional development. Department evaluations are conducted by committee and these evaluations are reviewed by the department chair who also conducts her own evaluation. If recommendations for improvement are noted, the department chair meets with the faculty member to discuss these as well as providing a detailed list of suggestions for improvement and offering support as needed. Also, the current trend for promoting faculty has seen a drastic increase in the selectivity of those who are granted advancement. Therefore, it is no longer acceptable to simply receive good student evaluations, additional accomplishments are necessary in order to advance to the next level.
The frequency of evaluations of tenured faculty is inadequate to improve teaching, scholarly, and creative activities and service within the unit.
Given the current CBA between the state and the faculty, changes in the current evaluation structure are not permitted. However, faculty are encouraged to have their classes evaluated every semester once they are granted tenured and not just for the 5 year review. It is believed that many tenured faculty request regular reviews while others are hesitant to deviate from the established system.
Standard 5.4.a Professional Education Faculty Qualifications
Standard 5.4.b Clinical & Field Experience faculty Qualifications
Standard 5.4.c Clinical Faculty Policies & Practices
Standard 5.4.d Faculty Scholarly Activities
Standard 5.4.e Faculty Service & Collaborative Activities
Standard 5.4.f Faculty Evaluation
Standard 5.4.g Professional Development