2003 English Department External Review Self-Study


English Education - Communication Arts and Literature 1998-2002

(Please refer to the black plastic container marked Communication Arts and Literature for detailed documentation)

1. Program Quality

  1. Program Evolution:
    Our English BS Program underwent many changes in the past five years. In the fall of 1998, we changed from quarters to semesters. This resulted in a reduction of American literature from three required quarter courses to two semester courses. British Literature was reduced from four required quarter courses to three semester courses and Linguistics went from two quarter courses to one required semester course.

    As large a change as that was, major program modifications occurred in 2000 when the Minnesota Board of Teaching (BOT) changed the BS requirements. The 5 th -12 th grade licensure program, now called Communication Arts and Literature, basically combines an English major of 42 credits with a Communication Studies minor of 18 credits. Professional Education requirements add another 39 credits to complete the program. Our required program is available on-line at SCSU's academic site: www.stcloudstate.edu . Within most of the required categories of our program, we encourage student choice. In that manner, we meet BOT(state) and National Council of Teachers of English (national) standards, yet give students choice. Our newly accredited program passed NCATE/BOT review in March of 2000. A large three-ring folder entitled BOT Program Approval for Communication Arts and Literature is available for your perusal. On-line documentation of the NCATE Review is available at http://www.stcloudstate.edu/coe/accreditation

  2. Quality of the Program:
    The Communication Arts and Literature Program addresses all six areas of competency described in the Board of Teaching's requirements: literature, reading, writing, speaking, listening, and media literacy. These areas are guided by 31 Board of Teaching standards and 55 National Council of Teachers of English standards which dovetail. We placed standards in appropriate courses with existing evidence of measuring these standards. The documents entitled BOT Program Approval for Communication Arts and Literature and The NCTE/NCATE Folio in English Language Arts chart standards placement and ways in which students demonstrate such learning (writing samples, exams, presentations, teaching demos, units, reflections, etc.).

    Comprehensive assessment follows BS candidates throughout the program especially within pedagogy courses. When a potential BS candidate makes application to the program, a check of general education classes is done, GPA must be 2.5 or above, the PRCA-24 test is given, and an interview is conducted. As candidates progress through the program, they are tracked in English 351 for specific ability to plan lessons, construct a teaching portfolio, and develop a reflective teaching essay. In English 451 candidates meet a research writing requirement, develop a teaching unit, engage in reflective dialogue journal conversation, and analyze micro and macro-teaching assignments. In CMST 452, the portfolio continues with communication resource additions, a curriculum unit, and micro/macro teaching demonstrations. Students also take the post-PRCA-24 test. In connection with COE education courses, our BS candidates take the PRAXIS I and II. Both must be passed for licensure. Prior to student teaching, each BS candidate schedules an exit interview with two of the three English/CMST pedagogy faculty members. (Refer to three-ring folder entitled Programmatic Assessment Plan - Communication Arts and Literature - BS )

  3. Quality of Faculty
    All faculty who teach courses in the BS program hold terminal degrees. CVs documenting teaching, research, publications, presentations, contributions to student growth, and university service are available. Raymond Philippot and Chris Gordon share responsibility for the department's Communication Arts and Literature BS program. Both hold PhDs from the University of Minnesota and have prior high school and junior high teaching experience. Both are regular presenters at MCTE and NCTE, are liaisons to the Teacher Development Advisory Committee, and have received programmatic assessment grants. (Refer to BS Assessment and Programmatic Assessment Plan - each in three-ring folder)

  4. Department Decision Making
    The Communications Arts and Literature BS Program meshes well with the English department goals (see Undergraduate Bulletin 2002-2004 ), especially, as stated, "English students at SCSU, then, are nurturing essential skills both for living and for making a living" (96).

    Curriculum change requires an established process of departmental review, FAH committee review, University Curriculum Committee scrutiny, and finally approval (or return of proposal) by the provost. While this is a slow process, it seems to work effectively and allows for input by other departments.

    The Scheduling Committee allows Philippot and Gordon to schedule pedagogy courses in the evening so that these courses do not conflict with field experiences. This creates a connective synergy among English, Communications Studies, and Education courses.

  5. Building Bridges
    Our Communication Arts and Literature Program exemplifies interdisciplinary teaching/learning. The degree combines English, Communication Studies, and Education so that professors plan together and track BS candidates in an integrated manner.

2. Program need

According to the US Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook 2002-2003 , "Excellent job opportunities will stem from the large number of teachers expected to retire over the next ten years, particularly at the secondary school level." ( www.bls.gov/ada/ocoso69.htm )

Distinctiveness of Program: Communication Arts and Literature is distinctive because:

  • the program allows for student choice in English
  • the program requires two field experiences prior to student teaching
  • the program integrates English, Communication Studies, and Education
  • the program includes all aspects of language arts: writing, literature, reading, media literacy, technology, speaking, listening
  • the program equally blends theory and practice
  • the program offers student teaching experiences in rural, urban, and/or international locations
  • the program is accredited

3. Appropriateness and Contribution of the Program

Fit with institutional mission and college goals:

SCSU has a 100 year reputation as a "teacher institution." Communication Arts and Literature, with its emphasis on teaching and learning meshes well with the institutional goals listed on page eight of the Undergraduate Bulletin 2002-2004 . Collaborative working relationships are also noted in the goals. In keeping with this goal, our program combines three departments (two within FAH, one in COE) and students with a variety of backgrounds, both traditional and nontraditional.

The English department mission statement notes our dedication to "teaching English studies as understood in the richest sense, including the study of English education.. . ."



1998-99 1999-00 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03

These are the numbers of students graduated in the past five years. 2000-01 represents a "push" to complete the old licensure, thus 01-02 represents fewer students. The average number of BS students graduated per year is 25, a number consistent for some years. Of the eleven graduating in 01-02, the five new license people were hired within a month of commencement. As soon as new candidates file for the major, we add their names to an on-going list of CAL BS majors. (Refer to the file marked Majors for a complete list of 52 new candidates).

Contributions to students:

This BS program offers consistent advising by three faculty members who work in agreement and keep abreast of general education changes, double counting, and transfer agreements. The program offers summer workshops for both in-service teachers and pre-service candidates who wish to further their expertise in a given area such as teaching young adult literature, multicultural literature, writing assessment.

MCTE and NCTE involvement are encouraged and special MCTE workshop rates are available for candidates who wish to attend.

Our BS is also unique in that Philippot and Gordon keep in email contact with many of the graduates. These former students are invited to Q/A sessions in both 351 and 451. Panel discussions with recent graduates focus on the questions of current BS candidates.

Contributions to the community:

As noted earlier, workshops for English language arts teachers are offered during summer sessions. This summer a two-week course for teachers is offered in Alnwick , England . Last summer, our department offered two, two-week formatted writing workshops.

Faculty members Philippot and Gordon provide area consultations with English departments when requested (example is Big Lake K-12 workshop in January of 2001).

Additionally, Philippot, who received a grant from Seward Learning Systems to study the effects of scaffolded reading experiences on ninth grade students, works in collaboration with a former SCSU BS student, Renae Ward in the Eden Valley-Watkins school district.

4. Cost and Fiscal management of the Program

Perhaps "concerns" rather than facts dominate this category. While the BS has been the backbone of the English department, we have concerns about faculty being required to teach 191 courses instead of major courses. We also have an overriding need for technologically equipped classrooms in Riverview, but due to the uncertain timeframe of renovation and our move to Centennial, this is not possible. Library holdings consist of numerous English education texts and minimum journal holdings of NCTE publications, ALA publications, and literature necessary to our teaching. Computer data bases seem richer every year. However, all these resources require funding that seems to be in a never-ending cycle of cuts.

5. Future Directions

Strengths of the Communication Arts and Literature Program have been noted throughout this self-study . Our future direction is growth of the program if our department, college, and university continue to support growth of majors. We would like, at some point, to discuss team-taught English and Communication Studies pedagogy courses.

The BS in Communication Arts and Literature is so new that our future includes further development of programmatic assessment and follow-up of our majors (Refer to three-ring folder entitled Programmatic Assessment Plan - Communication Arts and Literature - BS )

Because one overarching BS program goal is to provide candidates with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to teach communications and literature in the ever changing environment, we must constantly be aware of changing graduation standards, Children, Families, and Learning Department changes, and expectations by employers.

While our department has always supported the BS, we worry that increased demands for teaching general education courses will take away faculty from teaching courses in the major, thus, a goal is continued support of our Communication Arts and Literature Program.

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