School of Education - Accreditation Self-Study Report

Standard 4: Design, Implementation, and Evaluation of Curriculum and Experiences

SCSU has a deep commitment to the diversity of all aspects of our campus community. This commitment is reflected in the mission, vision and learning commitments of the institution, but also in the everyday experiences of our students and colleagues. SCSU is one of only two Minnesota institutions to receive the 2013 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award (Exhibit 4.4.j.1).

In his 2008 convocation speech, President Earl H. Potter III called for the creation of a Diversity Task Force to develop a comprehensive diversity plan, “starting with the examination of every aspect of our (SCSU) culture and character to find better ways of making ours a welcoming, safe community that values our diversity.” The task force spent three years studying, visioning and developing the comprehensive plan, which was released in early 2012 (Exhibit 4.4.j.2). The resulting recommendations included: campus climate; student recruitment, retention and success; scholarship, teaching and learning; out-of-classroom learning; workforce development and composition; and building community relationships.

Design, implementation and evaluation of curriculum and experiences

SCSU requires all undergraduate students to complete at least three diversity courses in their liberal education curriculum, which must include at least one racial issues course (Exhibit 4.4.b.3). Learning outcomes for racial issues courses focus on understanding, education, awareness and student growth (Exhibit 4.4.j.3). Candidates for teacher licensure are required to take HURL 497/597, Human Relations for Teachers (Exhibit 4.4.b.4). Many programs also required the companion course, Human Relations for Teachers II, (HURL 498/598). Both courses provide a strong foundation for candidates to understand, recognize and analyze individual and institutional racism, sexism, immigration issues, and other forms of oppression in the school environment, and the impact of oppression on teaching and learning. These courses provide a strong focus on inclusive classroom pedagogy and curriculum development. The unit is committed to ensuring that our candidates are able to teach so that all students learn and create safe and respectful learning environments in which P-12 learners not only value, but thrive on diversity.

The diversity proficiencies assessed for teacher candidates seeking initial licensure are derived from the Minnesota Standards of Effective Practices and are aligned with our conceptual framework (Exhibit 4.4.a.1). They are rooted in professional standards, embedded in the curriculum and evaluated through key assessments including course-based measures, performance based assessments, follow up studies and cooperating teacher surveys (Exhibit 4.4.b.1; 4.4.b.2). Employer surveys are designed to assess diversity proficiencies as well, but due to low response rates provide data that cannot be generalized. Data from the initial licensure programs demonstrates that the unit has made gains in candidate ratings on diversity measures from 2011-2014 (Exhibit 4.4.a.2). In looking at specific questions that have been added to the Exit Survey with our common metrics initiative, however, it is appears that SCSU candidates may lack confidence in their ability to differentiate instruction for various diverse student populations (Exhibit 4.4.c.3). This data is new for us, and will be studied and analyzed in the coming academic year.

At the advanced level, diversity proficiencies are embedded in the curriculum and aligned with course outcomes as well. Our Teaching English as a Second Language program requires candidates to take ENGL 463 (ESL and Culture), which prepares them for the multicultural experience of the ESL classroom, and ED 457 (Issues in Bilingual/Bicultural Education), which examines current issues that affect the bilingual/bicultural student. Advanced level diversity data (Exhibit 4.4.a.3) demonstrates that our candidates have the knowledge, skills and dispositions to teach all students and create learning environments that respect, support and nurture students from diverse backgrounds.

Diversity proficiencies for other school professionals come from CACREP standards and MN Competencies for School Administrators. These proficiencies encompass the knowledge, skills and dispositions necessary to meet the academic, social and emotional needs of all learners and have been purposefully aligned and embedded within specific courses in each program, to ensure that candidates gain the diversity competencies necessary for success in today’s educational settings (Exhibit 4.4.a.3).