III. Standard 6: Unit Governance and Resources
Unit Leadership and Authority
The leadership of the MSUM Teacher Education Unit is located in the College of Education and Human Services (CEHS) (CEHS Organizational Chart). Different levels of committees throughout the university oversee the operation of the Unit, such as College Committees, Programmatic Committees, and University Committees. Since the 1996 BOT/NCATE visit, there have been a number of changes within the Unit. To begin, the University, finding itself under the duress of financial difficulties, retrenched the Secondary Education Department in 1996. In addition, two interim deans have led the College during the past four years. Following three national searches, Dr. Edward Mills assumed responsibility as Dean of Education and Human Services July 2001. In the spring of 2000, the Foundations/Secondary program, housed among other departments, was reinstated and placed in the Counseling, Educational Leadership, Foundations, and Field Experiences Department (CELFFE), balancing the other education departments in size. Also, the Director of Teacher Education accepted a position elsewhere; three individuals--a part-time NCATE Coordinator, a part-time Minnesota Board of Teaching (BOT) Coordinator, and the newly created position of half-time Associate Dean--assumed those responsibilities. The CEHS now houses the following teacher preparation departments/programs:
Thirteen secondary/K-12 programs reside outside the College, as do two additional graduate programs, School Psychology and Speech Language Pathology.
The University provides direction to the Unit through the work of the Strategic Planning Committee, which reviews issues and creates initiatives deemed critical to the University's mission. The Strategic Planning Committee scrutinizes the following areas:
The College's mission and goals emanate from members of the College and serve as a source of guidance in developing program goals and objectives. Departments within the college have their own yearly goals to guide faculty work (Department Goals). A CEHS Strategic Planning group assembled in June 2001 to review the annual goals of individual programs within the College and to develop long-range planning related to emerging needs of the Unit. At that time, the CEHS held a strategic planning session at the Group Decision-Making Center on the campus of North Dakota State University. (This facility allows dialogue and debate among participants through simultaneous technological networking.) The major objective of this work session was to identify college priorities for the next five years. The planning group collectively identified strengths and concerns of programs, and followed this with a focus on four areas that cut across all departments:
The group brainstormed future actions for the College within these four broad areas. A 57-page report resulted from this work (CEHS Strategic Planning Report Summary). As a follow-up in December of 2001, a reconfigured and reconvened Strategic Planning Committee met to continue next steps in this process. The committee will continue to meet in the future.
The CEHS holds primary responsibility for programs offering initial and continuing preparation of teachers and other professional school personnel. The Foundations program director coordinates the BOT Standards of Effective Practice courses for all licensure programs and advises the 13 Secondary and K-12 licensure program candidates on teacher education requirements. The Field Experiences Office monitors transition points including Selective Admission and Retention to Teacher Education (Transition Points) and assessment of clinical experiences for all teacher education candidates. A faculty member, appointed in Fall 1997, disseminates pertinent information and updates, offers workshops and assists faculty responsible in addressing the Minnesota Graduation Standards in all of the licensure programs.
Initially, the former Director of Teacher Education guided the Minnesota Board of Teaching revisions to licensure programs. After his resignation, the MSUM BOT Coordinator became the overseer of this effort. Faculty from all teacher preparation programs participated in the development of core courses comprising the BOT Standards of Effective Practice (BOT Standards of Effective Practice Matrix). In 2001-2002, candidates will take the PRAXIS II battery of tests along with the PRAXIS I. The BOT Coordinator has been instrumental in assuring that all candidates become aware of the new PRAXIS II requirements.
The University Faculty Development Committee co-chairs, both of whom are teacher education faculty, plan and coordinate regular presentations on teaching open to the entire university faculty (Faculty Development Projects). In 2000-2001 they initiated a faculty mentoring program, "Talking about Teaching," which provided opportunities for faculty to visit each other's classes and to meet to discuss concerns. In addition, the Dean of CEHS uses various funding sources to bring education leaders to campus who make presentations to the larger community, visit classes, and participate in brown bag exchanges with small groups of faculty (List of Speakers).
Collaboration with members of the professional community is a high priority as the Unit strives to have a positive effect on learning in P-12 settings. A recently instituted key collaboration is the Superintendent's Advisory Committee. Members are the Superintendents of Schools in West Fargo and Fargo, ND, and Moorhead, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, and Hawley, MN. The purpose of this group is to give ongoing feedback to the Dean of the College and to provide opportunities for collaboration in concurrent renewal efforts in education. The Superintendents' Advisory Committee meets twice yearly. Its membership will continue to grow as additional members are invited from western Minnesota.
The Unit values contributions from the P-12 community and works with schools to keep lines of communication open. The Unit meets with classroom teachers and administrators regularly to get their insights on how best to assure candidates multiple and varied field experiences (Administrator/Teacher Meetings). These consultations guided the development of clinical experiences under the new licensures. In 1999, the Dean appointed a school liaison position for the Reaching Out to Teachers Program. The liaison traveled to area schools to meet with P-12 teachers to assess concerns and to collect information on professional development needs. Sections of ED 205, Introduction to Education and Technology, meet in area schools. Teachers from those school supervise the Early Field Experience (ED 205E). Teachers also lead the accompanying seminar (Building Coordinators). Practitioners from the schools and Unit faculty are members of search committees, BOT/NCATE committees, and the Teacher Preparation Committee. The latter also includes members from disciplines outside the College. The Teacher Preparation Committee, whose role is to recommend programmatic changes and improvements, plays a major role in program development. The Early Education Center, an on-campus childcare center, is a site for student observations and child studies. The center staff members frequently serve as guest lecturers in early childhood classes and lead the seminar accompanying the early childhood student teaching experience. As the Unit moves toward implementation of the assessment plan, increasing collaborative efforts such as these will be a key factor in the Unit's future success in developing a more systematic plan for feedback.
The majority of personnel policies and faculty assignments are governed by the IFO/MnSCU Master Agreement, Article 10 which requires faculty workload to include efforts in teaching, professional development, scholarly activities, service to students (advising), and service to the university and community. All faculty members carry a 12-credit per semester load, comprised of teaching, supervision, and reassigned time (Vitae). To assist programs that have heavy advising responsibilities, the University has provided additional assistance through advising assistants. The Elementary and Early Childhood Education Department has two part-time advisors who meet with prospective students, coordinate assignments, and serve as a liaison between programs and the Advising Support Center. The IFO/MnSCU Master Agreement clearly outlines the amount of reassigned time allocated for department chairs and directors. Additional reassigned time is allocated for other opportunities, including program coordination, research, and special projects (Reassigned Time).
The Unit encourages tenure track faculty to participate in the supervision of candidates during field experiences and clinical practice. Teaching schedules are adjusted so that this can happen. Recent new allocations for positions in the Field Experiences Office and Elementary and Early Childhood Education Department have freed faculty to spend more time in supervision and have decreased the need to depend on adjunct faculty. While the Unit still needs some adjunct faculty for supervision, university supervisors are experienced P-12 practitioners who bring insight into the process and essential connections with the schools. Clinical personnel serve on BOT/NCATE committees and make an important contribution to the self-study for the Unit's accreditation review.
Every program has adequate service personnel including an administrative secretary and numerous student assistants. Additional clerical support assistance serves departments, such as the Field Experiences Office, during high activity periods. Some programs such as Special Education have graduate assistants available to faculty to help with research. They also provide some clerical services to the departments. The MSUM Instructional Technology Office makes student technology teams available to all faculty for assistance in developing web pages, class technology assignments, and other projects. Faculty have access to a host of ongoing training sessions to upgrade their technology skills as well (Lead Faculty). The position of the Information Technology Specialist in the College was developed and funded in the fall of 2000. This position oversees the Teacher Education Technology Lab in Lommen Hall, assists students with technology assignments, and provides technological assistance to faculty. The position also participates in grant writing and assists in teaching the technology workshops for ED 205, Introduction to Education and Technology.
Budget, Unit Facilities and Resources
The Teacher Education Unit produces the largest number of majors on campus (Teacher Education Undergraduate/Graduate Programs) and the University has supported these efforts with increased budgetary support. The University has allocated significant resources to additional faculty positions in teacher education, improved facilities, additional technology support, and self study. In the past year, the University provided two new positions in the Unit that included up to 25 percent reassigned time for outreach to diverse and underserved populations. In addition to direct funding to the Unit, the University provides outstanding support facilities, including:
Livingston Lord Library provides support to the Teacher Education Unit in order to graduate candidates who are knowledgeable and effective practitioners. Teacher Education faculty and candidates have easy access to the wealth of resources provided by the Library through the computers in the library or other computers on and off campus via the Library's web site. The Curriculum Materials Center librarian works closely with Unit faculty to select materials that support the teacher education curriculum. Requests from the faculty proceed though liaisons in the Teacher Education departments to the Collection Management Librarian (Library Assets).
The MSUM Regional Science Center, located along the Buffalo River, 15 miles east of campus, extends its services to faculty, candidates, area P-12 practitioners and students, and the community at large. Its Eyes on Wildlife Project and the Moorhead Third Grade Prairie Project are models of excellence that demonstrate the extent of its services. The Regional Science Center, along with the Library, provides easy access to information though technology well beyond the university setting.
MSUM candidates who struggle to meet the standards set forth by the Unit have numerous resources available to them. Support for candidates is available through the Write Site, the newly instituted Math Learning Center, and resources in Student Support Services. In addition, the Early Education Center provides a nationally accredited childcare service for student parents, faculty, and staff, as well as serving as a model laboratory for candidates.
A highlight for the Unit was the recent use of state Higher Education Asset Preservation and Renewal (HEAPR) funds to remodel the second floor and basement of Lommen Hall, home to most of the education classrooms and faculty offices. The remodeling project added offices and renovated classrooms and hallways of Lommen, one of the older buildings on campus (Lommen Remodeling).
The University has made technology resources a high priority, funding technology staff who serve as resources to departments, individual faculty, and candidates. All education classrooms have been wired for internet use, providing faculty members with access to technology for instructional purposes. In addition, classrooms contain the usual VCR, overhead projector, and white board. A MnSCU $3M Teacher Education Technology Grant resulted in a Macintosh lab especially designed for teacher education, including remodeling, hardware and software. This well-equipped instructional lab (Technology Resources) serves as both a classroom and an individual lab site for MSUM students. A Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers to Use Technology Grant (PT3) was used to purchase software and for technical training of faculty and staff. The University approved a new permanent Information Technology Specialist position for the Teacher Education Unit (the position was initially funded by grant funds). For the past four years, MSUM has funded a group of lead faculty to provide support for academic computing needs on campus. The annual budget was initially $21,000 but has increased in the past two years to $28,000.
The Unit has been successful in securing additional funds to promote special projects (Grants). Some especially notable projects are the "Teaching and Learning with Technology" certificate program developed in 1999 by the Director of Instructional Technology and available at both undergraduate and graduate levels (Technology Certificate). In January 2000, the Director of Instructional Technology also received funding from the E-Learning Initiative to pursue a graduate program in Education Technology with Bemidji State University. An EECE faculty member successfully acquired grant funding, from three sources--$438/Professional Improvement Grant, $2,500/Alumni and Foundation Award, and $23,208/Otto Bremer Foundation Award, to develop curriculum for middle school students struggling with reading. The Regional Science Center has been highly successful in accessing funding for numerous projects that reach out to the P-12 schools. The University offers opportunities for funding through its Strategic Planning Initiative Grants, Lead Faculty Technology Grants, and Professional Improvement Grants. The Alumni and Foundation Office is also supportive of special projects not funded in other ways.
In the next four years, the Unit is committed to the successful implementation of its assessment plan. Implementation of this plan will involve changes within the Unit and will require significant time and resources. A Director of Teacher Education has been appointed, effective January 2002, to direct these efforts. Continual support for special projects that build collaboration between the Unit and P-12 schools will be encouraged as well.