Unit Leadership and Authority
The unit is highly effective in the organization, planning, and delivery of all programs that prepare teacher candidates or other school professionals. Consisting of 116 faculty members from four colleges - Education, Fine Arts and Humanities, Science and Engineering, and Social Sciences - the unit has developed an infrastructure that supports ongoing communication and collaboration. The Dean of the College of Education serves as the unit head and has the authority to make decisions within the unit. The unit head works effectively with deans, department chairs, and faculty members of colleges across campus to resolve issues related to the preparation of educators and other school professionals. The College of Education also has an associate dean, part-time development director, and full-time assessment director. An organizational chart provides an overview of the structure within the college including the seven departments, one center, and six support offices or resource centers. The Dean of Graduate Studies also works closely with the unit to support programs at the advanced level.
Within the unit, several offices exist to support programs, faculty, staff, and candidates. The Office of Clinical Experiences (OCE) is responsible for making over 1000 field and clinical placements each semester in over 240 schools. The Office of Cultural Diversity is responsible for activities related to recruitment and retention of candidates of color and also provides outreach activities to our school partners related to leadership development of middle and high school students. The Special Projects and Applied Research Center (SPARC) provides support for faculty members pursuing grant funding, plans and organizes professional development activities, organizes and supports scholarship efforts, and manages other outreach initiatives such as global education. The Praxis Center, staffed by graduate students who are licensed teachers, provides support for candidates needing assistance in preparing for Praxis exams. The Curriculum and Technology Center (CTC), a curriculum library within the Education Building, was recently remodeled as a result of a generous gift from a donor and provides curricular materials and technological resources for teacher candidates.
The committee structure within the unit forms a strong base of support for the institution’s commitment to best practice and accountability. The Dean’s Advisory Council (DAC), considered the leadership team within the college, consists of department chairs, directors, the associate dean, and assessment director. The Assessment Committee consists of the assessment director, associate dean, and faculty members from each department elected to serve as a representative. The Graduate Council consists of the dean, assessment director, School of Graduate Studies representative, and program coordinators for all graduate programs. The Teacher Education Council consists of the secondary professional education faculty members, a faculty representative from elementary education, special education, and early childhood, as well as representatives from all content areas across campus. The assessment director serves as the liaison between the Teacher Education Council and the Assessment Committee. The unit also has an Office of Clinical Experiences Liaison Committee with representatives from elementary, K-12 and secondary education, early childhood, and special education. Curriculum committees exist in each of the five colleges, ensuring that curriculum proposals and changes reflect best practice and standards related to assessment and accountability. The NCATE Steering Committee provides ongoing work and focus on standards of accreditation and best practice. The Global Education Committee works to enhance our opportunities for faculty, staff, and candidates to study abroad or work with international initiatives on campus. Finally, the Space and Technology Committee, consisting of department representatives, provides guidance and support with issues related to the learning environment, technology upgrades, and web development.
The unit also has Undergraduate and Graduate Student Advisory Committees that meet with the dean and associate dean each semester to receive direct feedback and suggestions for improving the teaching and learning process, including program design, implementation, and assessment issues. A report is developed after each meeting, discussed at the Dean’s Advisory Council, and disseminated to the members.
The unit is committed to ensuring that the professional community participates in the design, implementation, and evaluation of programs and candidates and has created formal and informal structures to ensure ongoing participation. As required by the Minnesota Board of Teaching, each program has an active external advisory board that meets on a systematic basis. Typically the advisory board consists of cooperating teachers, school counselors, or administrators who work very closely with our candidates in field and clinical experiences. The unit also sends out a survey to all cooperating teachers each semester to assess the quality of teacher candidates from St. Cloud State University. Employers are mailed surveys on a systematic basis based on the dissemination schedule within the Unit’s Assessment System.
The unit is also committed to working with our school partners to share professional development opportunities as a way to strengthen our programs. Each summer, the unit sponsors a professional development conference for cooperating teachers based on an online needs assessment conducted annually. Each fall the school counseling program collaborates with the Central Minnesota School Counselors Association (CMCA) to hold the annual CMCA Conference / Willis Dugan Symposium.This highly successful conference regularly hosts over 100 area school counselors and provides education, networking, and collaboration opportunities to support and celebrate the important work of school counselors in Minnesota. Finally, for the past six years, the unit has sponsored a “teacher in residence”; whereby a public school teacher spends three years as a faculty member within the Department of Teacher Development. The teacher in residence provides opportunities for our candidates and faculty members to work closely with a teacher from our one of our schools.
The unit is committed to ensuring that candidates have access to student services at the department, college, and institutional levels. For example, at the institutional level, some of the services available include:
- Academic Learning Center: provides study and reading assistance to students to help them become more efficient and effective learners.
- Advising Center: serves all students who have not declared a major and offers assistance with general education and pre-major advising.
- Career Services: provides guidance for students as they explore career options as well as assistance in securing employment as they move toward graduation within their professional field.
- Counseling and Psychological Services: provides a variety of services to students ranging from conflict resolution, eating disorders, sexual orientation, to academic success.
- Math Skills Center: provides two three-credit courses for students who need further preparation for college level mathematics. Peer tutoring is also available and the Mathematics Placement Test is offered through the Center.
- Multicultural Student Services: provides comprehensive services to students of color by giving academic assistance, encouraging personal development, and offering multicultural programming.
- Student Disability Services: provides services for students with physical, cognitive, or mental/emotional disabilities allowing facility and programmatic access through reasonable accommodations that enable students with disabilities an equal opportunity for academic success.
- Write Place: provides support services for students to improve their writing skills and achieve academic success. Individual and group tutoring and workshops are offered each semester.
At the unit level, the Praxis Center was developed to provide support for teacher candidates who need assistance in passing the required Praxis series of exams. The unit also recently renovated the Curriculum and Technology Center (CTC), which provides candidates with teaching materials, children’s literature, professional education materials, and technological resources for instructional planning. Advising within the unit is conducted by faculty members with the specific organization and structure defined by each department. For example, some departments offer supplemental group advising sessions, individual advising, or faculty members who specialize in graduate advising.
The unit works with the Office of the Provost and University Communications to ensure that academic calendars, catalogues, publications, grading policies and advertising are accurate and current. Unit policies and institutional policies are updated on a regular basis and are clearly defined in university catalogues as well as department handbooks.
Summary: The unit provides the leadership and effective coordination of all programs that prepare teachers and other school professionals to work in schools. An infrastructure is in place to involve school partners and the professional community in program design, implementation, and evaluation of the unit and its programs. The unit works to ensure that policies, procedures, and publications are updated and reflect current practice. During the 2007-2008 academic year, the unit worked to develop a strategic plan titled Strategic Opportunities to guide their planning efforts during the next three to five years.