Design, Implementation, and Evaluation of Curriculum and Experiences
St. Cloud State University demonstrates its deep commitment to the diversity of its enrolled population, to those who teach and serve its learners, and to all its constituencies. The commitment to diversity is reflected in the mission documents but also in the breadth and depth of programs and resources that are woven into the fabric of university life.
The university adopted an official Diversity Statement in 2001 to reflect its commitment to developing and supporting a diverse community of learners and scholars.
St. Cloud State University will provide equal education and employment opportunities to all persons regardless of race, color, creed, sex, age, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, national origin, mental or physical disability, status with regard to public assistance or physical disability, or any other group or class against which discrimination is prohibited by state or federal law. The university will not tolerate any activity that constitutes illegal discrimination against any person or group. Consistent with its academic mission, the university also seeks to provide an environment that acknowledges and values diversity of all kinds, including but not limited to race, religion, and ethnicity, amongst faculty, staff, and students.
The unit is committed to ensuring that candidates acquire the knowledge, skills, and dispositions related to diversity to ensure that candidates can teach all students. This commitment to diversity involves the development of curriculum and field and clinical practices that enable candidates to develop appropriate skills and abilities over time within their program. The unit has developed diversity proficiencies based on the INTASC Principles and the conceptual framework that have been adopted at the initial and advanced levels. Candidates are expected to demonstrate these proficiencies and are evaluated through key assessments at the program and unit levels.
In terms of curricular experiences, the General Education requirements at St. Cloud State University mandate that candidates complete three courses (9 credits) designated as “diversity” including Multicultural, Gender, and Minority Studies. Candidates may take no more than one course from any one department in the completion of their diversity requirement; at least one of the courses must be an approved racial issues course taken during the freshman or sophomore year at SCSU. The University also requires any student who takes a minimum of six credits to attend a workshop focusing on sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexism, anti-Semitism, racism, homophobia, and ableism. All new faculty members, including adjunct hires, must also complete anti-racism training to acquire knowledge and skills that they can apply when working with candidates.
Within the unit, candidates are required to take HURL 497/597 – Human Relations for Teachers I; most programs also require HURL 498/598 – Human Relations for Teachers II. These courses provide a strong foundation for our candidates to understand the complexities of oppression and the impact of oppression on teaching and student learning. Because the course is focused on pre-service and in-service teachers, a strong focus on classroom pedagogy and curriculum development is provided.
The unit’s diversity proficiencies, which include both awareness and the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to adapt instruction and services for diverse populations, have been infused within the curriculum and aligned with courses within programs to ensure that candidates have the opportunity to gain knowledge and develop skills and dispositions related to diversity. The diversity proficiencies are assessed through key assessments including course-based measures, performance-based assessments, follow-up studies, and cooperating teacher and employer surveys. The data clearly indicate that candidates have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to be successful. An analysis of data related to diversity proficiencies reveals that diversity has consistently been the highest rated component within the INTASC Principles over the past decade. The Diversity Report provides a comprehensive summary analysis of data related to diversity from self-report and cooperating teacher feedback.
An analysis of data from off-campus programs related to diversity proficiencies was conducted to determine the proficiencies of candidates and to determine if any differences existed between off-campus and on-campus candidates. Four items that addressed either diversity or equity issues, tested for internal consistency reliability, formed a moderately internally consistent composite. The scores on the diversity preparation composite proved to be 3.29 (on a 4-point scale) for the off-campus cohort (SD=.49) and 3.20 (SD=.61) for the on-campus cohort. The slight mean difference (favoring off-campus candidates) was not significantly different. Hence, there does not appear to be a difference between the off-campus and on-campus cohorts related to preparation and diversity proficiencies.
Advanced Candidates and Other School Professionals
At the advanced level, the diversity proficiencies are embedded within the curriculum and are aligned with course outcomes. Some programs also require specific courses related to diversity and multicultural education. For example, school counseling requires all candidates to take CEEP 658- Multicultural Counseling; all teacher licensure programs require HURL 597, 598 – Human Relations for Teachers. Candidates are expected to demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions related to diversity through course activities and projects as well as field and clinical experiences. Given the current trend toward increased cultural and linguistic diversity within the U.S. population, curricular content and candidate assessment have been changing to address these complexities.
As part of the CACREP accreditation, school counseling candidates must demonstrate a specified level of multicultural competence/diversity proficiencies in order to graduate and be endorsed for licensure. Such proficiencies are assessed in a number of ways. First, candidates are evaluated on various knowledge-based assignments involving multicultural content knowledge. Second, candidates are evaluated in a multicultural counseling course on their ability to demonstrate knowledge and dispositional behaviors indicative of multicultural competence. Third, candidates are evaluated on their ability to provide effective multicultural individual and group counseling services in their clinical work. Finally, candidates are evaluated during their school counseling internships on multicultural competencies by both field and faculty supervisors.
Candidates in the Educational Administration and Leadership Program complete portfolios as mandated by the State to demonstrate professional proficiencies. New administrative licensure competencies (2008) for the State of Minnesota contain a specific set of 13 core competencies, one of which is devoted to diversity. Candidates now demonstrate their proficiency through course activities, portfolio development, and the summative evaluation conference whereby candidates are required to respond to a case study related to diversity.
Other examples of curricular activities related to diversity include a project in the School Library Media Specialist Program where candidates are expected to develop a comprehensive selection process and plan to meet the curricular needs of all students including a bibliography of multicultural selection tools. Candidates completing the Master’s Program in Curriculum and Instruction complete reaction papers, position papers, and a teacher identity paper to address how research related to diversity and multicultural perspectives informs practice. Candidates in special education are required to complete a research paper that addresses cultural and linguistic diversity related to a course topic and must provide documentation of diversity proficiencies in their portfolio.
A review of data related to diversity proficiencies at the advanced level provides evidence that candidates have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to teach all students and create learning environments that support and nurture students from diverse backgrounds.
Summary: The unit has developed diversity proficiencies based on the INTASC Principles, the NBPTS Propositions, and the conceptual framework that are infused within the curriculum and field and clinical experiences. Data from key assessments support the fact that candidates do have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions related to diversity to have a positive impact on student learning. Faculty members are committed to staying current in their professional field and infusing the diversity proficiencies within the curriculum. Evidence of this fact is the number of state and national presentations related to diversity.