Summary of Evidence of Diversity Integration
In compliance with the WTAMU Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Action Plan Mission Statement, the EPP seeks to: “develop and sustain an increasingly diverse and inclusive community of learners necessary to accomplish the institution’s academic mission and position the University as a leader in diversity and inclusion”; and “develop an appreciation for and understanding of the benefits of diverse, inclusive, and cross-cultural perspectives.” Therefore, the EPP serves to “provide the infrastructure needed to support diversity in all its forms within and among the teaching, learning, research, scholarly, creative, and service environments that define our campus” [WTAMU Strategic Plan].
Diversity is a pervasive characteristic of our EPP that crosscuts every level of all programs. As articulated in our shared vision/conceptual framework of our Program Educational Outcomes (PEOs), a primary focus of our EPP is to prepare our candidates as “Advocates for Diverse Learners” who “appreciate, promote, and model the values of diversity” [1.1.1]. Through recruitment and retention of diverse candidates and new faculty [3.1.1], embedded and required diversity standards and content [1.1.1], and extracurricular programs that affirm and celebrate diversity [3.1.1; and 5.5.1], both the University’s and the EPP’s established inclusive culture indicates our ongoing commitment to diversity integration so that candidates and completers are well prepared to meet the learning needs of all P-12 students. Our EPP ensures that candidates develop proficiencies in specific aspects of diversity and embeds diversity issues throughout all aspects of preparation coursework, field, and clinical experiences [1.1.1; 1.2.1; 1.3.1; 1.4.1; 2.3; 3.6; and 5.5.1].
With embedded and required diversity standards and content, candidate diversity proficiencies are developed through 1) the incorporation of multiple perspectives to the discussion of content that includes attention to learners’ personal, family, and community experiences and cultural norms; 2) a commitment to deepening awareness and understanding of the strengths and needs of diverse learners through field and clinical experiences; 3) verbal and nonverbal communication skills that demonstrate respect and cultural responsiveness to the differing perspectives of learners and their families; 4) the ability to interpret and share assessment data with families to support student learning in all learning environments; and 5) an understanding of their own frames of reference or self-knowledge that includes culture, gender, language, abilities, ways of knowing, and any cultural bias [1.1.1; 2.1.1; 2.1.2; 2.1.3; 2.2.1; and 2.3.1]. In relation to candidates’ ability to differentiate instruction based on student learning and cultural needs, our shared vision/conceptual framework reflects our EPP’s commitment to the continuous improvement of diversity integration.
Our EPP affirms and celebrates diversity through the extracurricular Go Global and Study Abroad programs, and culminates in our annual Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) community celebration with over one hundred ofrendas, a silent art auction, and Dia de los Muertos Gala, our primary fund-raising events for education scholarships [5.5.1]. Hundreds of students, teachers, and visitors from our service area schools participate and attend this community-wide celebration of diversity on our campus.
With the increasingly diverse public school student population in Texas, all standards-based programs of our EPP are designed to develop effective teaching competencies so our candidates are prepared to meet the needs of all P-12 learners through differentiated instruction, including students with learning disabilities, English language learners, students of varying ethno-racial and cultural identities, and students who are identified as gifted and/or exceptional learners [1.1.1].
Description of the Analysis and Use of Evidence of Diversity:
The EPP determines annual enrollment targets based upon trend data from the Office of Institutional Research. Working with our partners, the Office of Admissions and Recruiting and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the EPP actively seeks opportunities to recruit, retain, and enhance the diversity of our candidate population. After receiving additional funding from the Office of Academic Affairs in 2015, the EPP sent faculty to a variety of job fairs, conferences, and highly diverse areas of the state with a newly published brochure to recruit targeted populations. Program and school-based faculty assess candidates on embedded diversity standards in course KEI assignments, projects, and presentations, and designated field and clinical experiences. The Director of the Office of Teacher Preparation and Advising ensures candidates have multiple opportunities to interact with a diverse P-12 population in all field and clinical experiences [2.1.2]. After being selected and trained, school-based cooperating teachers and university field supervisors assess candidates during field and clinical experiences with formative and summative assessments using the Professional Development Appraisal System (PDAS) document, the same statewide appraisal document used to assess all in-service Texas educators [1.1.11]. Texas teaching standards that include the English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) and required state curriculum serve as the central foci for our EPP in the preparation of teacher candidates who have deep understanding of diverse learners and how to appropriately develop and deliver multiple representations of content through differentiated lesson plans in a climate and culture of diversity. The EPP analyzes candidate performance data from these assessments to determine diversity efficacy with P-12 students and for continuous EPP improvement [4.2.1]. Trend data of the Student/Clinical Teacher Exit Surveys demonstrate the levels of candidate preparedness as pre-service teachers in working with diverse student populations [4.2.1; and 5.2.1]. The state’s Principal Surveys indicate the levels of employer satisfaction with our completers as in-service teachers in working with diversity and diverse student populations [4.3.1; and 5.4.1]. Recent surveys indicated our candidates and completers felt well prepared and/or prepared to meet the needs of diverse learners and principals or employers were very satisfied with the EPP’s preparation of our completers to teach diverse P-12 student populations [5.4.1]. Comprehensive diversity enrichment experiences that affirm diversity are provided in the Go Global! and Study Abroad Initiatives and the annual Dia de los Muertos Community Celebration [5.5.1].
As a result of the findings using these multiple sources for analysis, the EPP will continue to take a data-driven and deliberate approach to more fully address the growing areas of diversity through specific recruitment and retention efforts and program activities that include diverse coursework, and field and clinical experiences in diverse settings [5.1.1; and 5.3.1].
Summary of Evidence of Technology Integration
In alignment with standards and state legal requirements [1.1.1], our EPP believes that technology integration and digital learning is at the heart of a 21st century and beyond educator preparation program. The mission of our EPP is to prepare educators who are confident, skilled, and reflective professionals who demonstrate that they are “users of technology” [1.1.1]. As “users of technology,” candidates are prepared to “seamlessly integrate multimedia in learning environments as instructional and management tools to enhance learning” for all P-12 students. With embedded technology standards and content, candidate technology proficiencies are integrated to 1) develop candidates’ skills and dispositions for accessing online research databases, digital media, and tools, and to identify research-based practices that can improve P-12 student learning, engagement, and outcomes [1.2; 1.5.1]; 2) know why and how to help students access and assess critically the quality and relevance of digital academic content [1.2; 1.5.1]; 3) demonstrate their abilities to design and facilitate digital, or connected, learning, mentoring, and collaboration [1.5.1; 2.1; 2.2]; 4) encourage use of social networks as resources [1.5.1; 2.3]; 5) help identify digital content and technology tools for P-12 student learning [1.5.1; 2.2]; and 6) help their students gain access to what technology has to offer [1.5.1; 3.4].
The EPP integrates technology in content and pedagogical coursework as a critical part of teaching and learning processes and supplemental experiences to enhance the comprehensive preparation of our candidates. With increasing numbers of our districts that employ 1 to 1 initiatives within their schools, the EPP features Smart technologies, “clickers,” iPads, social networking tools and media, and Google Apps within our classrooms. Candidates have opportunities to experience digital learning that is embedded in coursework, field and clinical experiences, and in online asynchronous and blended courses so they can develop technology-rich lesson plans, practice technology skills in productivity and presentation, and more to help candidates become technology-savvy teachers who are ready to flexibly embed digital learning in their content and classrooms. Our EPP embraces the dynamic challenges of limited funding for increased access to innovative technologies and training in higher education through budget requests, research grant monies, partnerships with districts and private donors, and other revenue streams to provide meaningful technology integration for our candidates. [3.4].
The university provides a technology-rich environment with a high-speed wireless, broad-banned network of leading edge learning spaces, Web 2.0 technology tools, hardware/software support, and instructional technology support. Candidates have access to onsite computer labs in each campus building in addition to open lab space with both Windows and Mac computers in our Hastings Electronic Learning Center (HELC) and the Cornette Library Electronic and Digital Libraries. Additional Instructional Technology (IT) resources such as iPads/tablets and student response systems (clickers) that are available for checkout and in-house use, SmartBoard and “ClassTech” technologies in every campus classroom equipped with LCD projectors, screens, computers, “Top Hat” and “Lecture Capture,” or audio and recording capabilities, and conferencing/meeting rooms across the campus to enhance and enable technology integration for all programs within the EPP. Faculty and candidate access to these technology tools continually improves both online and in-class instruction through formative assessment in classes and practice use as future teachers. These resources provide our candidates with endless collaboration, productivity, and presentation technology tools. Our candidates graduate prepared to integrate technology and to keep abreast of changing technologies [1.5; and 3.4].
Description of the Analysis and Use of Evidence of Technology
In 2015, WTAMU switched platforms and the EPP moved all of our course offerings from Angel to Blackboard in WTClass for easier candidate accessibility and usage. Our IT program provides ongoing trainings and technical support for both candidates and faculty. All candidates, faculty, and instructors were required to have extensive training in the use of the new platform. To inform our decision-making based upon multiple sources of data, our EPP continues to update the technology access in our classrooms and strives to keep technologies relevant for learning in a technology-rich environment. Recent surveys of clinical teachers and employers of completers have identified technology as one of our strengths [1.2; 1.5.1; 2.3; and 4.3.1]. Yet, the EPP believes the challenges for sustainability and of remaining current in the preparation of candidates to teach effectively with innovative technologies in the 21st century and beyond requires additional improvement. As a result, to strengthen our technology integration, the EPP has planned, created, and developed a new course in Education Technology with a new faculty position [3.4]. A search committee has recently narrowed the search to fill this position and will begin offering the course in Fall 2016 to better equip our candidates in the use of educational and instructional technologies.
To address candidate technology proficiencies, our EPP has designed sequentially planned instruction and application experiences for our candidates to enable them as professionals to use technology effectively and successfully as an integrated tool for instruction. For our EPP, there is no separation between quality instruction with the effective integration of technology and quality teaching. Our candidates are prepared to design developmentally appropriate learning experiences for their P-12 students that apply technology-enhanced instructional and pedagogical strategies to support the diverse needs of all learners. Throughout the progression of the EPP beginning at admission, during development, and upon completion of candidate preparation, the core courses and content that are required of all candidates are developed, monitored, and revised by the core courses faculty and our partners in the annual Teacher Education Unit (TEU) and bi-annual Education Preparation Program (EPP) Advisory Council Meetings [2.1.1]. Technology integration serves as an impetus for continuous improvement of the EPP and across our university. As evidenced by course syllabi, candidates as “users of technology” serve as part of a framework for additional technology experiences that guide their digital learning [1.1.13]. Some of these experiences include co-taught project examples of digital storytelling, inverted learning or “flipped” classrooms, using social media, children’s and adolescent literature and technology connections, SmartBoard/interactive whiteboard lesson plan development, and social media integration. In coursework, field, and clinical experiences throughout the EPP, candidates create a KEI assignment, project, or presentation using a technology tool to demonstrate their learning and to scaffold and spiral technology integration throughout and across their specific content and curriculum [1.5.1; 3.4]. Recent surveys and trend data from Student/Clinical Teacher Exit Surveys and state Principal Surveys of employer satisfaction of our completers demonstrate that our candidates and completers feel well prepared and/or prepared to teach with technology and employers are very satisfied and/or satisfied with teachers preparation to teach with technology in their classrooms. As an integral component of our EPP, technology resides as the pinnacle of preparation for our service area. Our shared vision/conceptual framework outlines our focus in preparing candidates with content-specific strategies that includes technology integration that continually evolves and engages in current and ever-changing technologies.
Evidence for the CAEP Diversity and Technology Crosscuts are located in the Table of Evidence.