Standard Five Report
F.1. How does the unit ensure its professional education faculty contributes to the preparation of effective educators?
The unit contributes to the preparation of effective educators by employing outstanding faculty members who model best practices in teaching, service, and scholarship.
Unit faculty members at the University of West Georgia are diverse, highly qualified, and model best professional practices. Faculty qualifications for 2009-10 are summarized in Exhibit 1, but below are a few key facts about which we are especially proud:
- All administrators (including Department Chairs, Associate Deans, Deans, the Provost, and the President) teach at least one course per year, and many teach every semester.
- 83.4% of UWG’s courses are taught by full-time faculty. This is the highest percentage for all 13 regional universities in the state and is the 3rd highest of all public institutions in the state.
- Of the 199 faculty members who teach in the unit there are:
--140 tenured or tenure-track professors, all with doctorates in their respective fields;
--9 assistant professors, non-tenure track, all with terminal degrees in their respective fields;
--13 instructors or lecturers, all with doctorates in their field;
--38 instructors or lecturers, all with master’s or education specialist’s degrees.
Instructors and lecturers without terminal degrees are determined to be qualified through a hiring process that includes submission of a formal application, curriculum vitae, letters of recommendation, and transcripts. Applicants are interviewed and their materials reviewed, particularly related to their teaching expertise and background in P-12 environments. Instructors and lecturers typically serve as supervisors for field and clinical experiences and teach methods courses.
Modeling Best Practices in Teaching
Faculty align their course objectives with state standards, SPA standards, and the conceptual framework and align teaching strategies, activities, assessments, and field experiences with these course objectives. Course syllabi contain the conceptual framework and clear expectations for outcomes related to knowledge, skills, and dispositions. Course assignments and grading policies are also clearly articulated, along with contact information for the instructor, including office hours.
Effective teaching is expected by the unit, including activities that promote learning among candidates with different learning styles and provide all candidates with multiple opportunities to analyze situational information, identify available options, consider their values as professionals, and make conscious choices regarding appropriate actions.
An analysis of syllabi provide evidence that faculty use instructional strategies that enhance candidates’ learning and model a variety of approaches that help prepare candidates for teaching roles. A random sample of 25 syllabi of professional education courses yielded 15 separate instructional methods. Also, illustrated is the fact that 25 of 25 faculty members (100%) used cooperative learning in their courses. Twenty of the 25 syllabi had assignments that asked candidates to reflect on either their own performance or to examine data, reflect on the findings, and develop an appropriate course of action based on this analysis. Fifteen of the syllabi had diversity objectives and corresponding activities to promote candidates’ readiness to adapt teaching for diverse students. See also Standard 4, Exhibit 2.
Further, 100% incorporate technology into their instructional strategies, evidence of faculty commitment to enhancing student learning and engagement. Outstanding technical support in the unit and across the institution has resulted in tremendous explosion of technological approaches, including live chats, Skype, and Wimba classrooms. Class sessions on campus typically feature the use of PowerPoint, video cameras, interactive white boards, flip cameras, digital media production software, presentation software programs, video analysis tools, and Internet research. In fact, these have become core components in many courses. Many faculty members are integrating the above approaches using CourseDen tools (WebCT) for teaching courses either fully or partially online. In Fall semester 2009, COE faculty taught 306 courses designated as more than 50% online, and 36% of all courses taught in the unit that semester were identified as majority online courses. In summer 2009, 67% of COE courses were majority online.
Faculty members are committed to using multiple forms of assessment in evaluating candidates’ knowledge, skills, and dispositions. Data culled from the same sample of 25 syllabi indicate a wide range of assessment strategies, including clickers for immediate checks of candidate understanding, class discussions, examinations, and rubrics associated with group and individual performances, presentations, writing assignments, and portfolios. Formal evaluation instruments are also used for assessing knowledge, skills, and dispositions during field and clinical experiences.
Modeling Best Practices In Scholarship
The foundation of tenure-track faculty expectations and evaluations at the University of West Georgia are teaching, service, and professional development, which includes scholarship. Scholarship at UWG is broadly defined to include applied research and the scholarship of engagement. Professional education faculty members in the unit are productive scholars who create and disseminate knowledge at the state, regional, national, and international levels. For consideration for promotion and tenure, faculty members are expected to publish in refereed journals, write books, and/or seek competitively-funding external grants. (See Exhibit 5.) Many of our non-tenure track faculty members also are engaged in scholarly activity, including grant writing and co-authoring professional papers and peer-reviewed articles, although this is not required or expected of these positions.
Faculty members in the COE have an impressive record of scholarship. Over the past three years they have published 14 books, 27 book chapters, and 191 articles in refereed journals. They have made 246 presentations at professional conferences. Faculty members in the unit also have made significant contributions to the University’s external grants and contracts. Over the same three year period, external awards total over $2,000,000. Additional information on the scholarly work of faculty members is provided in Exhibit 1 and Exhibit 3, part 2. Samples of scholarly work are in the NCATE Virtual Evidence Room, under Standard 5, Exhibit 3.
Modeling Best Practices In Service
Service is a priority for faculty members in the unit. As stipulated in college and university guidelines for tenure and promotion, faculty must engage in successful, collegial service on department, college, university or system committees. Because of the emphasis on service at UWG across all units, education faculty are members of and provide leadership for virtually every committee, council, or board at the University of West Georgia. Further, many have served on committees, executive boards, and in leadership roles of some of the most prestigious national, regional, and state organizations in the field. Faculty are also engaged actively in service endeavors in school districts throughout Georgia and in the community at large. Please see Exhibit 4.
Assessing Teaching Effectiveness
The UWG Faculty Handbook (103.06) notes that faculty evaluation of teaching should be ongoing and identifies three specific modes of evaluation: student evaluation, evaluation by the Department Chair, and self-evaluation. Peer evaluation is another evidentiary source appropriate to document teaching achievements for Promotion and Tenure purposes.
Faculty are required to use the UWG Student Evaluation of Instruction (SEI) instrument to collect course evaluation data from students at the end of the semester. The SEI includes multiple choice and open-ended items. Courses taught in a face to face setting use a printed Scantron instrument; online courses use an equivalent online form. Results of the SEIs are tabulated by the Information Technology office and provided to faculty and Department Chairs at the beginning of the following semester. Faculty review all data and complete a Course Evaluation Summary form for each course, summarizing data from the objective questions, listing strengths and areas needing improvement, and describing changes they will make to address concerns. These forms are submitted to the Department Chair each year as part of the faculty member’s annual report and become part of the Promotion & Tenure dossier. SEI data are provided in Exhibit 6.
Faculty are also required to submit a Self-evaluation of Teaching Methods and Effectiveness as part of Promotion and Tenure review in order to assess their efforts to 1) increase teaching effectiveness; 2) ensure course content is current and comprehensive; 3) effectively plan, design, and/or redesign courses; (4) increase student interest and participation; (5) evaluate instructional effectiveness and bring student performance to standards; and (6) reflect on the results of instructional efforts.
Many faculty members in the College also ask peers to evaluate their teaching. In 2006, the COE Faculty Development, Mentoring and Retention Committee suggested a peer-review model for faculty to use for process. The model encourages faculty to meet with their peer evaluator before an observation to identify specific goals for the observation, as well as engage in follow-up meetings after the observation to discuss observed strengths, weakness, and suggestions for improvement.
Evaluation of faculty performance is regular, systematic, and comprehensive. The process includes annual review, pre-tenure [third-year] review, tenure and promotion, and post-tenure review. Each fall, faculty members develop reflective goals in the areas of teaching, service, and professional growth and development. At a spring conference with the Department Chair, faculty review progress on the specific goals as well as their progress toward promotion and tenure. This annual mentoring opportunity ensures that each faculty member receives assistance in meeting expectations for the job and guidance for continual growth in teaching, scholarship and service. Department Chairs look for areas where faculty members may be over-committed and help them prioritize their time and efforts most productively. Based on these conference and year-long interaction, Chairs write annual assessments of all faculty members in their respective departments.
During their third year, tenure-track faculty members undergo pre-tenure review in which an advisory committee comprehensively reviews the individual’s achievements and performance to determine progress toward promotion and tenure. Faculty members have the opportunity to apply for promotion and tenure during their fifth or sixth year of service. This process begins with dossier review and a vote by the department’s promotion and tenure committee and then progresses to the Department Chair, Dean, University Promotion and Tenure Committee, Provost, and President. If tenure is awarded, faculty members undergo post-tenure review every five years. The purpose of post-tenure review at UWG is to support high achievement and promote continued professional development.
Departments review the performance of adjunct and part-time faculty through extensive review of student evaluations and conferences with the faculty member. The Department Chair receives the evaluations and discusses any issues of concern and commendation with the faculty member. Part-time faculty members also receive one-on-one orientation about unit and university expectations. New for 2010 is an adjunct orientation session, designed to ensure all adjuncts receive comprehensive information about their role, including the conceptual framework, syllabi requirements, academic standards, key assessments, and grading policies and procedures. These sessions are also designed to foster good will, facilitate open communication, and answer questions.
In an effort to encourage professional productivity, for the past 5 years the Faculty Development, Mentoring, and Retention (FDMR) Committee has coordinated a series of sessions (generally 3 or 4 per year) for faculty for the scholarly exchange of ideas. Since the 2005-2006 academic year, faculty have received professional development in the areas of (a) grant writing, (b) new faculty orientation, (c) developing a dossier of evidentiary sources for promotion and tenure, (d) preparing for pre- and post tenure reviews, (e) technology integration and distance education, and (f) mentoring skills.
To support professional development, faculty are encouraged to attend and present at conferences in their discipline, and funds for professional travel are available for each faculty member—$1000/year for tenure track faculty and $500/year for faculty who are not in a tenure-track line. Additional information on professional development opportunities within the unit and across campus is provided in Exhibit 7.
Finally, the College of Education has twice yearly faculty meetings, which really serve as professional development opportunities related to the conceptual framework, assessment, technology, accreditation, and future directions of the College. These half or full-day meetings feature presentations, break-out discussions, and feedback loops (using WIKIs). They are designed to ensure ongoing improvement and faculty development through good communication and transparent decision-making.
F.2b Briefly summarize the most significant changes related to Standard 5 that have led to continuous improvement.
The unit has focused on two interrelated foci related to faculty performance and development.
Increased Emphasis on Applied Research and Sponsored Projects
Over the past three years the College has had an increased emphasis on faculty engagement in applied research and sponsored projects. These efforts have emerged from our conceptual framework, which makes public our commitments to professional excellence, field-based inquiry, and the betterment of society. Living these commitments requires faculty members to be actively engaged in scholarly activities, for we know that outstanding scholarship also enhances teaching and informs service.
The Dean of College, along with the Administrative Council (AC) view faculty support as the key to successfully increasing applied research and sponsored projects. The College protected professional development resources, despite budget curtailments, and added an Associate Dean for Assessment and Research, which has helped increase grant production. In previous years external grants typically totaled $300,000 - $400,000, but in 2009-2010, external funding totaled $1,317,182. This is due, in part, to increases in projects such as Improving Teacher Quality Grants, Science IMPACT Grants, and contracted research studies. (See Standard 6, Exhibit 13.)
The Faculty Development, Mentoring, and Retention Committee has also played a large role in supporting faculty grant and research initiatives. In addition to professional development sessions, they have sponsored SEED grants of up to $7,500 per project to individual faculty members or small groups of faculty who are beginning significant new projects. Although tenure-track faculty members at all levels (assistant, associate, and full) from the College of Education are eligible for the grants, preference has been given to applicants who are untenured.
Seed Grants are competitively awarded and must be directed toward significant projects that will establish a line of inquiry or begin long term engagement in an aspect of teaching, service, or scholarship. Funds may be used for the following:
- Materials, supplies or equipment
- Travel for research or presentation(s) related to the project
- Stipends for undergraduate or graduate candidates
- Faculty teaching replacement costs
This annual award has helped many junior faculty members establish a research agenda related to their teaching and service and has re-energized tenured faculty members around new scholarly endeavors.
Increased Statewide and National Visibility
The College is also emphasizing increased visibility at the state and national level as a way of showcasing the talents of our faculty and contributing to educational policy-making. Highlighted below are a few examples of these efforts.
Education Policy Fellows – The Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education sponsors the Educational Policy Fellow Program, which provides potential leaders with the knowledge and networks to advance the core issues of education policy. Each year 20 emerging leaders from a variety of businesses and non-profit institutions are chosen through a competitive process, and the COE has had representatives for the past two years. This year’s class, for example, includes a representative from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Georgia Power, Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Future Foundation, and an assistant professor from UWG.
State Task Forces – The Dean of the College is a member of Georgia’s Race to the Top Task Force that articulated the state’s educational reform agenda and was awarded $400 million for education innovation and reform, including raising achievement in Georgia’s lowest-performing schools. Twenty-three school districts, representing 41% of the state’s student population, are partnering with the state to implement the plan. Carrollton City schools is one of the partnering districts.
The Associate Dean for Professional Programs serves on the Academic Advisory Committee for the University System of Georgia. Currently re-examining Area F of the Core Curriculum, this group has academic representation from every university is the System.
The Coordinator of Secondary Education serves on the state project to evaluate and implement Class Keys, which is a Teacher Evaluation System designed to evaluate teacher performance,
promote professional growth, and positively affect student learning through standards. UWG is currently piloting and conducting a validity study on this instrument.
Nationally Accredited Programs – Two COE programs, Speech-Language Pathology and School Counseling, have recently undergone review to continue their national accreditation through ASHA and CACREP, respectively. Both were approved with no areas of improvement indicated. Also in the unit, programs in both Art and Music in the College of Arts and Sciences hold national accreditation.
The College of Education also has a Pre-K program on site, which was designated in 2009 as a state demonstration site, part of a partnership between Bright From the Start and the UWG College of Education. Bright From the Start sends staff members from Georgia lottery-funded Pre-K programs in the region to our campus for professional development. As part of the partnership with Bright from the Start, two of our instructors were trained and are part of the Parent Infant Toddler Care (PITC) Network, whose goal is to support the improved quality of early child care in Georgia. Our Pre-K is also in the process of applying for NAEYC accreditation (National Association for the Education of Young Children) and has secured a grant through the Georgia division to assist in attaining this accreditation. The $5,000 grant will be used for developmentally appropriate materials and a technical consultant. These efforts will support our Birth Through Five academic programs by providing the types of field placements we want for our potential B-5 candidates.
Board of Visitors (BOV) – The College has a new Board of Visitors, whose function it is to help keep us well-informed about the future of our disciplines and policies that affect them, challenge us to continually improve, and help us expand our influence in the preparation of education professionals. The creation of the BOV reflects commitment to achieving our vision of preparing exemplary practitioners for a professional world that is changing with ever greater speed. More about the BOV is discussed in Standard 6.
The above examples are just a snapshot of the efforts to involve faculty members in state and national initiatives to improve education.