School of Education - Accreditation Self-Study Report

Standard 5: Modeling Best Professional Practices in Teaching

The faculty members in the teacher education unit are scholars with in-depth understanding of the fields in which they teach. We embrace the notion of life-long learning and have revised our conceptual framework to incorporate our commitments to excellence in teaching, accountability that improves teaching and co-learning.

A random sample of 20 syllabi were reviewed to analyze the instructional strategies used by faculty, finding that faculty in the unit use a wide range of strategies (Exhibit 5.4.a.2). Instructional strategies employed most often by our faculty include readings and discussions, designing activities/lessons, cooperative activities and presentations, journaling, and self-reflection. Unit faculty utilize instructional methods that are varied within each course in order to meet the specific learning objectives. In this sample, faculty employed anywhere from 2 to 10 strategies.

In addition to course content, faculty members are committed to incorporating formal and informal instruction in professional dispositions, diversity proficiencies, assessment, and use of instructional technology to enhance the learning process. The unit dispositions are aligned with the conceptual framework, professional standards, and unit evaluation tools and included in the transition points of programs. Dispositions tend to be systematically assessed through direct observation of candidates by faculty members in courses or clinical and field experiences and through self-assessment and reflection. Diversity proficiencies are also embedded in a number of courses throughout each program, and are aligned with the Minnesota Standards of Effective Practice (Exhibit 5.4.a.3; 5.4.a.4).

The Education building is well-equipped, with all classrooms technology enabled. There are also three classrooms with stationary smart boards and two mobile smart boards that can be deployed anywhere in the building. The unit was the recipient of grant funding from the Morgan Family Foundation to develop an Instructional Technology Discovery Lab (ITDL), where students and faculty could learn about emerging technologies and their application to teaching and learning. There have been numerous learning opportunities offered through the unit’s Curriculum and Technology Center and the ITDL, on a wide variety of topics – from geocaching to flipping classrooms (Exhibit 5.4.g.3).