School of Education - Accreditation Self-Study Report

Standard 6: Continuous Improvement

The Teacher Education Unit has engaged in a number of activities and changes based on data that have led to continuous improvement in facilities, resources and governance.

Governance. Based on the research and recommendations of faculty engaged in the work of Teacher Preparation Imitative, three major changes have been implemented in our structure and governance.

  • The Teacher Education Unit (TEU) was recently reaffirmed by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. This reaffirmation serves to clarify the interdisciplinary nature of educator preparation at SCSU and make space for a Coordinator of K-12 and Secondary Education to embody our efforts to strengthen relationships between education and content faculty (Exhibit 6.4.b.4).
  • The Teacher Education Advisory Council (TEAC) was developed to deliberate on all matters relating to teacher education including integration of P-12 representation in decision making, review of curriculum proposals related to teacher education and developing recommendations regarding revisions to the conceptual framework (Exhibit 6.4.b.6). TEAC membership includes education unit faculty and staff, teacher candidates and P-12 educators.
  • The Executive Teacher Education Advisory Council (ETEC), reviews recommendations from TEAC, seeks and provides appropriate resources to support teacher education at SCSU and provides support for initiatives to transform teacher education programs (Exhibit 6.4.b.7). ETEC membership includes the deans of all colleges and schools involved in the preparation of education professionals and three area superintendents.

Recruitment & Admissions. Unit admission criteria were modified during in 2013, to reflect changes based on concerns about the ability of candidates in our programs to successfully complete all requirements for professional licensure. The required cumulative grade point average for admission to teacher education was raised from 2.5 to 2.75 and candidates were required to attain a minimum score on the Minnesota Teacher Licensure Basic Skills tests (Exhibit 6.4.d.4). (New legislation has since been passed that is pending clarification for implementation. The admission criteria for our teacher education programs will be modified again, if necessary, based on the new legislation; Exhibit 6.4.d.5). In addition, the Recruit Working Group has developed a comprehensive recommendation for the recruitment of underrepresented persons in education programs (Exhibit 6.4.d.1). This group also developed an ad that ran in Seventeen Magazine (Exhibit 6.4.e.7).

Student Services and Support. The institutional restructuring and reorganization that SCSU went through in 2011 allowed the School of Education to reconsider priorities and needs. As a result of that exercise and in an effort to put greater emphasis on our services to students, a full-time Student Relations Coordinator position was created. In addition to monitoring candidate progress, providing academic, social and emotional support and overseeing recruiting and orientation activities, the Student Relations Coordinator handles all student complaints and concerns in accordance with institutional policy and procedure (Exhibit 6.4.c.1; 6.4.c.3). The Student Relations Coordinator works closely with other Student Relations Coordinators on campus and serves as the School’s representative to numerous campus-wide committees, including the Behavior Intervention Team, Academic Intervention Team, Advisor’s Council and Transfer Workgroup of the Steering Committee for Student Success.

Professional Improvement. In addition to the contractual ways in which the professional development needs of faculty and staff are met, the Teacher Preparation Initiative has created a means by which to provide equity in compensating university and P-12 faculty and staff for their participation in teacher education reform efforts. TPI Development Funds are “earned” through active participation in working groups, advisory groups or consulting groups and may be used to support professional development activities (Exhibit 6.4.f.2).

Facilities. In 2008, one of our alumae, Vera Russell, gifted the School of Education with property valued at over $1 million. Her gift funded renovation of the Curriculum and Technology Center, several classrooms and established the Vera Russell Art Gallery in the School of Education (Exhibit 6.4.f.3). The renovations in the Curriculum and Technology Center have resulted in a pleasant, relaxing environment in which education students can study, find teaching materials, get assistance from graduate assistants and explore children’s literature selections (Exhibit 6.4.f.4). The renovations to classroom spaces include a literacy classroom, science methods classroom and special education classroom. The art Gallery is a collaborative project with the St. Cloud School District and features artwork from P-12 students throughout the building (Exhibit 6.4.f.5).

Resources. With the legislative action in 2010 that changed licensure requirements in our state from the Praxis examinations to Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examinations (MTLE), our Praxis Center also needed updating. New reference materials were purchased for students to check out in preparation for their examinations. In addition, vouchers were purchased to provide our students with access to online resources. Additional resources were devoted to providing remediation in the form of individual and group tutoring and workshops, for students struggling to pass the new basic skills examinations.