Standard 5

Standard 5: Faculty Qualifications, Performances, and Development:

Faculty are qualified and model best professional practices in scholarship, service, and teaching, including the assessment of their own effectiveness as related to candidate performance; they also collaborate with colleagues in the disciplines and schools.  The unit systematically evaluates faculty performance and facilitates professional development.

5.1 How does the unit ensure that its professional education faculty contributes to the preparation of effective educators?

The faculty of the School of Education at Newman University is comprised of teacher/scholars who embody the mission of the Unit – to educate and inspire students to become competent, caring, reflective practitioners who are intellectually and spiritually motivated to transform self, schools, and society.

Faculty members are highly qualified in specific academic areas.  Data regarding faculty members indicate that nine members hold terminal degrees, and four members have master’s degrees.  Two of the members of the unit are currently in tenured positions.

Faculty members without terminal degrees are selected through a rigorous hiring process; credentials are reviewed and evaluation of professional knowledge and expertise are verified.  Most faculty members have held, or continue to hold, licensure in their professional field.  Adjunct faculty members are hired because of their experiences and their specialized knowledge and skills that support and enhance the practitioner aspect of the program. Adjunct faculty member are usually currently licensed and practicing professional educators with lengthy classroom experience.

The P-12 educators who serve as the Unit’s cooperating teachers for student interns are selected because of their credentials, professional experience, and commitment to assisting Newman University with the preparation of future teachers.  Each cooperating teacher must be fully licensed, have a minimum of three years classroom experience, and preference is given to matching interns with teachers to meet the highly qualified definition. The School of Education has developed close relationships with a variety of cooperating teachers and ensures they know the expectations by providing support materials such as a Cooperating Teacher Handbook [Exhibit S5.1] and by holding orientation meetings with intern, cooperating teacher and university supervisor.

Each of the School of Education faculty members responsible for developing skills in methods and techniques of instruction have experience working with students in the appropriate field and at the appropriate levels. They stay current by collaborating with teachers in P-12 classrooms, attending local, regional and national workshops and conferences and through membership in professional organizations.

At this time, several of the unit faculty members are working on a book about science and English as a Second Language in the elementary school. Two faculty members have updated earlier texts with second editions including a text on brain compatible learning and a recently released handbook for technology coordinators. Another faculty member was a contributing author to a book about leadership development through coaching conversations in our schools that was just published in 2012.

One of the faculty members from the initial program is working on a sequel to a math resource book that will match the common core standards for math instruction.  There are also two members of the faculty who are KSDE Common Core trainers and provide training for schools in the area. One professor is a credentialed coach with the International Coach Federation, and also serves as an Implementation Coach with the Kansas Learning Network.

5b. Modeling Best Professional Practices in Teaching.

Newman University was originally founded by teachers.  Excellence in teaching is a primary focus of the university. An orientation program for new faculty provides training for those just joining the Newman academic community. This training is intended to ensure the faculty member is aware of procedures intended to maximize student success, is familiar with resources and tools for teaching, has knowledge of effective student advising techniques, is assigned an experience faculty mentor for support, understands the requirements when developing course syllabi, and is knowledgeable in utilizing classroom and other technology resources for learning.

Faculty members at Newman University School of Education utilize a variety of instructional strategies and assessment techniques designed to meet the varied needs and learning styles of individuals.  Strategies include: (direct instruction, discussion, demonstrations, inquiry and Kagan structures). Various courses within the program make use of interactive distance learning, individualized assignments, case studies, online learning activities, small group projects, role playing and guest speakers.

All students are encouraged to provide structured instructor feedback and commentary on their classroom experiences each semester using the survey tool developed and approved by the faculty and the Provost/VPAA. [Exhibit S5.2 Student Evaluation Survey Results sample] The University collects data on the effectiveness of class facilitators to ensure the competence and intellectual vitality of faculty.  There is a systematic review and analysis of program data, performance appraisals, student evaluations and student feedback. After reviewing the results of student evaluation, faculty uses the information provided to make changes and enhance personal effectiveness, improve instruction, support curricular revision and in general, better meet the needs of pre-service education candidates.

All full-time and half-time faculty members of the university complete the Faculty Professional Activity Inventory and Self-Evaluation (FPAISE) form [Exhibit S5.3] each spring semester. Faculty members submit a completed self-evaluation document to the school director along with yearly goals. There are yearly conferences for faculty and staff with the Director of the School of Education.

Full-time and half-time faculty members complete a Faculty Development Plan [Exhibit S5.4] during the spring semester.  Plans for sustaining strengths, addressing development and professional development for the next twelve months are provided.

Most of faculty members in the School of Education (11 of 12) were classroom teachers at some point in their career. These faculty members had earned state licensure in their field of specialization and fully understand the demanding work of the classroom. They are well qualified to work with teacher candidates and prepare them for a career as a classroom teacher. Many of the faculty members (7 of 12) maintain current status with their licensure in the state of Kansas. A summary of current Faculty Teaching Credentials provides details about the areas of licensure and current status of licensure held by NU School of Education faculty [Exhibit S5.5].

Newman School of Education Faculty designed an action plan to attract and retain a diverse group of candidates whom we will prepare to become highly qualified educators capable of meeting the challenges of the 21st. century.  In order to reach our goal, we are committed to a) engaging in rigorous recruitment efforts, b) creating variety in our course schedule, c) utilizing technology in outcomes based flexible delivery models, d) being caring and ethical educators, and e) providing high quality in instruction to meet the needs of our students learners. [Exhibit S5.6 SOE Action Plan]

5c. Modeling Best Professional Practices in Scholarship

School of Education faculty members have been active in scholarship, both in writing and presenting, as indicated in the document Faculty Qualification and Experiences [Exhibit S5.7] Unit members have an ongoing interest in furthering knowledge of their respective disciplines.  Several members of the faculty have participated in grant projects such as the Using Mathematical Practices to Understand Content (UMPUC) project which funded by a Title IIB Math and Science Partnership grant to aid students with math and science skills. This grant was originally written by a Newman math professor and the project involved two members of the School of Education faculty. The grant is designed to assist third through sixth grade teachers build understanding of the Standards for Mathematical Practice and the Standards for Mathematical Content.More information about the grant can be found at https://sites.google.com/site/umpucgrant/home.

Another School of Education faculty member received a grant from the Kansas Health Foundation to address bullying in the classroom. Three Newman faculty members along with Wichita USD 259 administrators and 5th grade classroom teachers participated in the Wichita Teacher Inquiry Group as part of a 16 month program titled “Lessening Bullying through Cultural Competence and Transformative Teaching and Learning.” The project was designed build teachers cultural awareness and explores issues of social justice to help students address bullying in nonviolent and productive ways.

Other faculty members have taken part in a wide variety of professional development experiences in related to the P-12 area schools.  Below is a partial list of P-12 opportunities led or attended by Newman faculty.

  • Worked with Middle Level Science teachers differentiating teaching science for diverse populations
  • Worked with early childhood education teachers and children for The Opportunity Project Early Learning Center
  • Presented local and regional workshops on classroom management, children’s literature and mathematics
  • Presentations at National Council of Teachers of Mathematics regional and national conferences
  • Kansas Association of School Boards – Summer Academy for Legislative information
  • Participation in Differentiated Assessment and Grading Conference in Wichita
  • I-pad in-service training and distribution for an area middle school
  • Attended a local in-service on Project Based Learning
  • Presented Common Core State Standards for Language Arts and Math in-services
  • Kansas Association for the Education of Young Children conference presentations

5d. Modeling Best Professional Practices in Service

Unit faculty members are engaged in service activities at the university, in local the education community and in schools in the surrounding area.  There have been opportunities for the faculty members to present regionally as well at the state and national levels.  Members of the unit serve on a variety of university committees.  Examples of service include curriculum, assessment, Academic Council, Faculty Evaluation Committee, Core Curriculum, Graduate Council, Instructional Technology Committee, and Salary and Benefits committee.

Members of the faculty also spend considerable time working directly with public and private schools in the area.  Faculty members present professional development workshops at area schools. They provide in-service training for math, language arts, early childhood and English as a second language. Faculty members also provide services in coaching leadership, curriculum alignment, and working with priority schools through the Kansas Learning Network.

Aside from the various civic, school and church related activities in which faculty are engaged, the community has come to expect volunteerism from Newman faculty and depend on their professional expertise for many activities.  These activities involve group work, reading to children, science fair judging, math contests, spelling bees and consultant work.  One faculty member has been a member of a local school board serving in capacities of leadership.

The faculty maintained memberships in a variety of professional organization associated with areas of expertise.  Examples of professional service activities over the past three years at the local, state, and national level are provided the summary of Professional Education Faculty Qualifications and Experiences [Exhibit S5.7].

5.2b What are the most significant changes related to Standard 5 that have led to continuous improvement?

Changes in personnel have been one of the most significant changes over the past few years. The unit has replaced several faculty members due to retirements or personnel changes. The entire teaching staff of the Western Kansas Center in Dodge City has changed due to retirements. New hires have allowed us to focus resources in new directions. One of the new hires in the initial program (Bequette) was selected specifically because of a background and skills in early childhood education and is now directing that program. Another hire in the advanced program (Marx) was selected because of a specialty in online learning. This specialty has led to new options for course offerings, and Dr. Marx is now directing the advanced program in advance of another potential retirement.

Another change for the School of Education has been an increased emphasis on professional development for the faculty. While all faculty members are expected to participate in a variety of professional development activities on an annual basis, this particular effort was intended to create a common purpose among the faculty and to help establish common goals and purpose. These efforts were intended to create a professional learning community through which the faculty members would develop a shared understanding of the priorities of the university and the school, and a common plan for how to achieve these priorities.

One of the ways in which this professional learning was facilitated each year was through the establishment of an annual retreat. This day long faculty retreat, attended by all of full or half time faculty members, is held on an annual basis, usually at the beginning of the academic year. The retreat is held at an off-campus location to free attendees from the distractions and demands of the campus. The day long format provides the time necessary to devote to a range of activities. The most recent retreat scheduled time for goal setting, team building activities, professional learning time based on planned readings, planning accreditation and academic review, skill building. This retreat provides the faculty with the opportunity to discuss issues, share information, and refine plans for achieving shared goals. The complete schedule for the 2012 retreat can be found in Exhibit S5.8.

Faculty professional development has been an area of focus and has been enhanced is through regular shared book study [Exhibit S5.9]. Over the past three years, the faculty as a group has read, created and shared presentations about, and discussed in detail the ideas in three books: 21st Century Skills edited by J. Bellanca and R. Brandt, The Five Dysfunctions of Teams by P. Lencioni, and Switch by C. Heath and D. Heath. One meeting each month is set aside for professional development discussions of the shared readings. The reading and study of these books has provided a forum for discussing the various ideas and issues presented by the authors of these texts. These discussion sessions have created opportunities for faculty members to share ideas and consider how the issues presented relate to the issues and challenges facing the members of the School of Education faculty.

Enhancing the availability and opportunity to use technology and other resources as part of instruction has also been a focus for the School of Education. Following the death of a longtime faculty member, a memorial classroom was created which contained a variety of technology resources. The Sr. Susan Reeves memorial classroom was created with smart classroom capabilities including a teacher control unit, document camera, electronic whiteboard, and dual projectors for Mimeo technology and computer/video display. The room also contains cameras and recorders for recording of lessons and classroom presentations. The School of Education faculty members have worked with vendor consultants and technology facilitators from a local school district to gain skills and techniques for using technology resources in classroom presentations. As part of these efforts to increase the use of technology in classroom presentations and lesson planning, a computer, electronic whiteboard, and projector were installed in the Evie Hufford Resource Lab for student use. Students can now use this equipment to develop lesson components which make use of electronic whiteboard capabilities.

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