CONTEXT AND UNIQUE CHARACTERISTICS
The University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) is a comprehensive, degree-granting university started as a satellite campus of the University of Colorado system. As with many universities in the early 1960s, there was a strong demand for educator preparation programs that offered recertification coursework, classes for transfer students from outside Colorado, and programs for undergraduate students aspiring to be teachers. Originally, courses were largely taught by faculty from the University of Colorado Boulder campus, the Air Force Academy, and "honorarium faculty." By 1966, demand required the creation of a stand-alone UCCS School of Education. At first, there were only three full-time faculty assigned to the School. By 1971 that number had doubled. This group of faculty created (according to one of the founders) a "radical, highly student-directed program that was flexible, integrated, and continuously evolving" and was heavily influenced by John Dewey, Jean Piaget, Abraham Maslow, and Carl Rogers (Brown, 1975, p. 9). Strong elements of a responsive, student-centered approach remain central to today's program, as does the faculty's commitment to innovative, inquiry-based learning.
The University of Colorado (CU) is a comprehensive, degree-granting research university system in the state of Colorado. The University of Colorado is governed by a nine-member Board of Regents elected by popular vote in the State's general elections. The University comprises the system offices and the following four accredited campuses, each with a unique mission: The University of Colorado Boulder, the University of Colorado Denver, the Anschutz Medical Campus, and the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS). To accomplish its mission, CU's 4,500 instructional and research faculty serve more than 58,000 students through nearly 400 degree programs ("CU Facts and Figures").
The University of Colorado's presence in Colorado Springs dates back to 1925, when extension courses from the Boulder campus began, a tradition that continued for the next forty years at various downtown locations in the community. By the early 1960s, the University of Colorado extension campus at Colorado Springs consisted of 63 instructors, 190 courses, and more than 1,200 students. This core group, as well as community leaders, led the effort for removal of requirements that extension students spend at least two years in residence on the Boulder campus. They argued that the people of Southern Colorado should be able to earn a University of Colorado degree in Colorado Springs. Their efforts were boosted by support from local business leaders, including Pueblo native David Packard, who told state and community leaders that a Hewlett-Packard manufacturing facility in Colorado Springs would be possible only if additional educational offerings, including a College of Engineering, were available in the community for the plant's employees and their dependents.
UCCS now offers sixty-one degrees and aims to become the premier comprehensive regional research university in the nation with 10,000 to 12,000 students. In recent years, U.S. News and World Report named UCCS a top Western public university.
In the first few years of its existence, curriculum and course offerings were closely regulated by the Boulder campus; it wasn't until the mid-1970s that UCCS came into its own. By the end of fall 2013, 10,619 students were enrolled at UCCS--a record high enrollment and an increase of 8.4% from the previous year--making UCCS one of the fastest growing universities in Colorado and the nation. UCCS offers 37 bachelor's degrees, 19 master's degrees, and five doctoral programs through six academic units: The College of Business; the College of Education; the College of Engineering and Applied Science; the School of Public Affairs; the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences; and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. The current annual budget for UCCS is $187 million, with campus expenditures contributing $310 million per year to the local economy. (Office of the Vice President for Budget and Finance & Institutional Research, 2014)
The College of Education consists of four distinct departments that educate undergraduate and graduate students and prepare professionals to be successful in schools and communities. The organizational structure of the College includes the Dean, the Associate Dean, four departments, the Student Resource Office, the Assessment and Operations Specialist, and the Technology Coordinator. Personnel-wise, each department has a chair, the Teacher Education and Licensure Program has a director, as does the Bachelor of Innovation in Inclusive Early Childhood Education. UCCS Teach has two co-directors who report to both the College of Education and the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences.
The COE student body consists of undergraduate and graduate students pursuing advanced degrees, initial and advanced licenses, and additional endorsements. For fall 2013, 1,063 students were enrolled for 5,513 credit hours across four departments. The majority of the COE undergraduate students complete the Teacher Education Licensure Program (TELP). The Special Education Licensure Program (SELP) offers undergraduate and graduate licensure in Special Education Generalist and a master's in Special Education.
The Departments of Counseling and Human Services and Leadership, Research, and Foundations consist entirely of students who are completing one of the following programs: MA in Counseling and Human Services (CACREP accredited School and Clinical Mental Health programs), MA in Counseling and Human Services with an emphasis in Counseling and Leadership, a new minor in Human Services, licensure coursework for School Counseling, MA in Leadership, coursework for principal or superintendent's license, or a PhD in Educational Leadership, Research, and Policy.
For nearly half a century, the field of education has been instrumental not only in fulfilling the campus mission, but also in meeting the needs of a growing region. The College's programs prepare educators and school personnel for districts within El Paso County as well as the southern region of the state. Additionally, the Counseling program helps address community clinical mental health needs and delivers a partnership program with the United States Air Force Academy's (USAFA) to prepare Air Force Officers for Air Officer Commanding positions.. Through this program, Counseling and Leadership candidates are trained to command cadet squadrons at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
The Department of Curriculum and Instruction (C&I) serves undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, and graduate students. The largest program is the Teacher Education and Licensure Program (TELP) that leads to recommendation for teacher licensure for elementary grades (K-6) or secondary grades (7-12) in the content areas of English Language Arts, Social Studies, and Foreign Language. Central features of the TELP include the following: (a) a requirement for teacher candidates to complete 90 hours of field experience in three diverse school settings prior to the professional year; (b) methods courses integrated with field experiences during the professional year; (c) a cohort school model; (d) a professional resident year (approximately 1000 internship hours) of co-teaching with increasing levels of responsibility, and on-site coaching from a clinical teacher, a site coordinator, and a site professor for an entire academic year.
Another licensure option is the Alternative Licensure Program (ALP) which allows candidates to meet state licensure requirements for secondary education (English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Foreign Language) during their initial year of teaching. ALP candidates are coached for an entire year with a university supervisor and assigned an on-site mentor. All methods courses for ALP are delivered online. With an additional two classes, the resident teachers in ALP can obtain a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction. The Department of C&I also houses graduate programs that include master's degrees, add-on endorsements, and certificates. Master of Arts degrees can be completed in general Curriculum and Instruction, Literacy, Science Education/Space Studies, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), and Gifted and Talented.
The teacher preparation for secondary math and science implements the UTeach model from the University of Texas Austin under the title of UCCSTeach. This innovative, collaborative, and inquiry-based model prepares candidates to better meet the demands of science and math education in the 21st century. The program serves both undergraduate, degree seeking students (UCCSTeach undergraduates can major in Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Mathematics; degrees are conferred through the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences) as well as post baccalaureate students seeking secondary teaching licensure.
The Department of Leadership, Research, and Foundations includes the master's degree in Educational Leadership (P-12) and the Principal Licensure programs, which are offered on campus, online, hybrid, or as a cohort model within school districts across the state of Colorado, depending on district demand. The department also includes a master's degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education, an Administrator Certificate program, and a PhD program in Leadership, Research, and Policy.
The Department of Counseling and Human Services (CHS) is comprised of graduate programs in School Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Counseling and Leadership (partnership program with the United States Air Force Academy) and an undergraduate Human Services minor. The School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health program are both accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The most recent CACREP accreditation visit in 2009 resulted in full approval, with every standard scoring proficient or higher.
The Department of Special Education has a Special Education Licensure Program (SELP). In this program, graduate and undergraduate students may earn a license as a Generalist Special Education teacher (K-12) in the state of Colorado. Candidates at the undergraduate level must major in a content area while earning a teaching license. Candidates at the graduate level may choose to earn an initial license, an initial license with a master's degree, or a master's degree only. Most graduate students choose the license plus master's degree option. Finally, candidates who already have an initial teaching license in general education may pursue an additional endorsement option in Special Education.
A newly implemented, cross-departmental and cross-campus degree offering was added to the College in 2013. This exciting program is the Bachelor of Innovation in Inclusive Early Childhood Education, which is collaboratively offered through the Departments of Special Education and Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Applied Science, and the College of Business. This degree is designed to prepare educators to teach all children, and students who complete the program will be eligible for dual certification in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education. In light of the new inclusive bachelor's degrees created by the Departments of Curriculum and Instruction and Special Education, there is consideration of combining the two departments within the next year.
The Colorado Springs campus of the University of Colorado shall be a comprehensive baccalaureate university with selective admission standards. The Colorado Springs campus shall offer liberal arts and sciences, business, engineering, health sciences, and teacher preparation undergraduate degree programs, and a selected number of master's and doctoral degree programs.
UCCS will provide unsurpassed, student-centered teaching and learning, and outstanding research and creative work that serve our community, state, and nation, and result in our recognition as the premier comprehensive, regional research university in the United States.
In 2012 the campus revised its strategic plan. As part of that initiative, values were agreed upon by the members of the campus community. The UCCS community subscribes to these core values:
Excellence: We will attract, develop and retain outstanding faculty, staff, and students, and focus on those programs and services that we can offer at an exemplary level.
Student Success: We will help traditional and nontraditional students succeed in their academic endeavors by assuring a stimulating, supportive, and safe environment in a naturally beautiful setting. We will encourage students to recognize their responsibility to participate fully in their own educational success and to contribute to the quality of all aspects of campus life.
Community Interactions: We will make known our vision, values, and goals and provide a demonstrated return on investment to the citizens of Colorado. We will link the university more closely to the communities we serve. We will communicate the value of the university to the citizens and elected leaders of our state, alumni, and potential students everywhere.
Enriching Environments: We will aggressively seek the development of a multicultural campus environment in which each person contributes unique talents to make the university a better place. In turn, each person will be fully valued and supported. We will reaffirm the tradition of shared governance and encourage all members of our campus community to join together in creating a positive working environment where all enjoy respect, fair treatment, and a voice in campus decisions.
Quality Teaching: We will promote and reward teaching excellence. We will strive to maintain predominantly small classes taught by dedicated and accessible faculty.
Research and Creative Work: We will promote and reward research and creative work that advances knowledge; that makes a valuable contribution; that enhances our teaching and service missions; and that encourages collaboration between students, both graduate and undergraduate, and faculty.
Service: We will attract and reward members of the campus community who place a high value on service and who are committed to contributing their expertise to the university and the public good.
Staff Contributions: We will value the vital role that staff play in supporting and enhancing the mission of the university.
Innovation and Change: We believe that universities both preserve the past and help create the future. We will encourage innovation in teaching, research, and service and prepare our students to succeed in a rapidly changing global and technologically advancing environment.
Lifelong Learning: We will commit to serving the educational needs of members of our community at many points along life's path-as K-12 students, as university students, as they enter the work force, as they retrain for new careers, and as they continue to learn and grow throughout their lives.
During the 2009-2010 academic year, a team of COE administrators, faculty, and staff began drafting a revised conceptual framework to capture the evolution of the college. Due to a change in administration (i.e., both the Dean and Associate Dean of the College left the university in the spring of 2010), the assignment of an interim dean, and a national search for a new dean, this work was put on hold until the new leadership in the College was established. Beginning in November of 2011, the College of Education began a series of "Conversations" envisioned to bring faculty and staff together to discuss the College's direction, goals, and priorities while giving participants the opportunity to learn more about their colleagues and the College.
From this beginning, the College spent the next several meetings determining goals, priorities, actions, timelines, and ownership for supporting the new direction. Sustained conversation over the next several months led to the establishment of a new mission statement: We prepare teachers, leaders, and counselors who embrace equity, innovation, and inquiry. This, in turn, served as the impetus for re-visioning our philosophical and pedagogical underpinnings. Working from recommendations of the College of Education faculty and staff, a writing group of eight faculty representing all four departments met during the summer of 2012 to draft a revised framework. The framework is based on the three elements referenced in the mission statement: Equity, Inquiry, and Innovation. Through the COE Conversations, faculty meetings, departmental discussions, and research by faculty writing teams, conducted during 2012, the College established its vision, mission and goals:
We endeavor to be the foremost regional College of Education, fostering a just and inclusive global society.
We prepare teachers, leaders, and counselors who embrace equity, inquiry, and innovation.
Faculty in the College of Education:
- Embrace equity, diversity, and social justice
- Ensure high quality preparation of education and counseling professionals
- Engage in research-based inquiry and practice
- Provide continual professional growth opportunities
- Infuse and enhance the use of technology
- Collaborate with campus and community partners to effect change
- Work across college and university to optimize efficiency and effectiveness
The College has chosen to use a Möbius Band for its logo, as it represents the iterative nature of education, where equity informs inquiry, which in turn feeds innovation, which leads us back to equity.
As part of the College's work on defining its Vision, Mission, and Goals, faculty were also involved in creating candidate expectations to correlate with the three elements of its mission. Faculty have defined each of the Unit Candidate Learning Outcomes in terms of Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions.
Skills: Candidates will respect, value, and engage in ethical and inclusive practices for all individuals and their families and work collaboratively with colleagues in the broader community to advocate for social justice in a diverse society.
Disposition: Candidates will be self-aware and mindful of their worldview and how both impact the way in which they are able to demonstrate an ethic of care.
Knowledge: Candidates will demonstrate knowledge of current research and technology related to evidence-based practices in subject matter; human development; and theories of learning, leadership, and counseling.
Skills: Candidates will connect previous knowledge to new concepts; critically question, examine and construct new knowledge; and apply this knowledge to innovative designs and practices.
Disposition: Candidates will demonstrate curiosity, intellectual vitality, persistence, and a commitment to an inquiry stance in all professional practices.
Knowledge: Candidates will demonstrate knowledge of the dynamics and theories of change at the individual and system levels and the relationship to innovative designs and effective practices.
Skills: Candidates will demonstrate the skills to systematically determine needs, plan, develop and implement change, and evaluate the impact.
Disposition: Candidates will demonstrate resilience, personal, professional and social responsibility, and openness to change.
The Department of Counseling and Human Services subscribes to the Unit Candidate Learning Outcomes; yet, because of their unique accreditation standards and student learning objectives, they also have three candidate learning outcomes which are unique to their academic programs. Therefore, the department created CLOs specific to counselors, establishing three overarching goals for graduates of the Clinical Mental Health and School Counseling programs. Both programs are CACREP Accredited:
CLO 1. Graduates of the Department of Counseling and Human Services will have a mastery of the foundational body of professional knowledge that comprises the profession of counseling and that is necessary to ethically and effectively serve those seeking counseling services.
CLO 2. Graduates of the Department of Counseling and Human Services will have a mastery of the specific counseling skills and techniques necessary to serve as ethical and effective professional counselors.
CLO 3. Graduates of the Department of Counseling and Human Services will have examined their own personalities and motives for becoming counselors; gained self- awareness of their personality style, interpersonal strengths, and limitations; and developed the interpersonal flexibility and adaptability necessary to maximize their strengths and overcome their weaknesses in their work with clients.
In creating the College of Education's revised model, faculty examined the research supporting the COE mission, vision, and goals. Each of the following sections provides research evidence and professional support for the tenets inherent in our mission, vision, and goals. This research foundation forms the knowledge base for our efforts and also frames the work of the College of Education in larger professional communities of teachers, educational leaders, and school and clinical mental health counselors. The table below summarizes the theorists, researchers, and practitioners that informed the knowledge base.
Promoting and actively working toward equity and social justice are core values in the College of Education at UCCS. Our goal is to develop "equity-minded" practitioners (Bensimon, 2006) who actively engage in the difficult work of trying to ensure equity and equal access for all individuals. In order to provide clarity and context for our faculty and candidates, we have adopted the definitions put forth by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) for diversity, inclusion, equity, and equity-mindedness as listed below:
We have embraced the definition of diversity as "individual differences (e.g., personality, learning styles, and life experiences) and group/social differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, and ability as well as cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations)." We conceptualize inclusion as "the active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity--in people, in the curriculum, in the co-curriculum and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical) with which individuals might connect" with one another. Our accepted understanding of equity is "the creation of opportunities for historically underrepresented populations to have equal access to and participate in educational programs" (AACU). And our goal for equity-mindedness is "a demonstrated awareness of and willingness to address equity issues among institutional leaders and staff" (Center for Urban Education, University of Southern California, 2012).
The College of Education faculty members believe that effective educational professionals advocate for equity by creating inclusive educational environments and actively engaging in the ongoing process of learning about and applying culturally responsive, competent pedagogy and practices. Teachers, educational leaders, and counselors must become aware of their own worldviews, understand how they impact others and develop and/or maintain an ethic of care toward others. Additionally, COE candidates must have the foundational knowledge about the history, experiences, values, and lifestyles of diverse socio-demographic groups, particularly marginalized groups, in American society (Garcia, 2001). A focus on the impact of power, oppression, and privilege and on the sociopolitical underpinnings of the U.S. educational system is also necessary (Sue & Sue, 2012). To this end, our candidates will demonstrate knowledge of the historical, foundational, and current contexts of the intersection of inclusiveness and diversity.
In pursuing a career steeped in equity, educational professionals must have a foundation in both the humanities and the social sciences to develop historical consciousness; recognize the democratic relationship of individuals, schools, and society; and understand critical educational phenomena. It is the charge of the COE faculty to educate candidates on the historical connection between schools and societies, including consideration of the ways schools have reflected the pervasive inequalities characteristic of American society. In addition to historical and foundational knowledge, teachers, educational leaders, and counselors must demonstrate an understanding of present social and cultural developments, issues, research, and influences in the field of education. This knowledge base provides a deeper understanding of the human condition within and across particular contexts of time, place, and culture.
Educators must understand how schools have shaped the American character by serving as the progressive spirit of American society. Throughout history, schools have responded to the needs and demands of society, providing leadership during important periods of change and innovation (Rury, 2012). Today, the relationship between individuals, schools, and society continues to be dynamic and reciprocal. Schools of the 21st century pursue the balance of inculcating individuals with the morality and utility goals of education by promoting socialization, social justice, human capital, standards-based achievement, and global excellence. Understanding this democratic relationship is paramount for success in educating the most diverse population in the world and for providing equal opportunity and outcomes in an unequal society.
In addition, teachers, leaders, and counselors must recognize the importance of dismantling the social structures that work to privilege some while limiting opportunity to others (Sapon-Shevin, 2007; Theoharis & Brooks, 2012). The multiple subjectivities and social relations of race, ethnicity, language, class, ability, gender, and sexuality as they are related to schooling must be examined to pursue the transformative capacities of education, particularly with regard to social, political, and economic issues. It is therefore imperative that COE candidates learn what it means to be educated, the social impact of education on systems of privilege and oppression, and the prospects for social justice reform.
To put equity principles into practice and develop equity-mindedness, candidates must respect, value, and engage in ethical and inclusive practices for all individuals and their families and work collaboratively with colleagues in the broader community to advocate for social justice in a diverse society. We must ensure that our graduates are not only culturally competent and sensitive to the perspectives of their students and clients, but also committed to social justice. To be culturally competent requires that individuals accept people for who they are and work to understand ideas, thoughts, practices, and beliefs from external perspectives. Educators who are culturally competent employ practices that are responsive to the culture, background, experiences, and beliefs of the families and communities they serve (Leistyna, 2002). King and Goodwin (2002) state, "We label this kind of involvement culturally responsive because it acknowledges that families have varied backgrounds, beliefs, and values. It recognizes that definitions of family are evolving and complex and that parents want and need to be involved in their children's schools" (p. 5). Schools today are increasingly diverse (Proctor & Dalaker, 2003), and efforts to work toward student success will have to also be culturally responsive in design (Reese, 2002; Nieto, 2002).
Another critical skill in the application of equity principles is the ability to develop community and family relationships. A recent brief examining the literature on parent and community involvement concluded that "both parents and community members can have a positive impact on student success" (Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, 2010, p. 4). We embrace the tenet that equity-minded professionals must also foster strong community and family partnerships. A requirement of these partnerships is to go beyond simple interactions to meaningful exchanges of information around both curricular and social goals for students that result in transformational change at both the individual and institutional levels (Henderson & Mapp, 2002; Jeynes, 2005, 2007; Marzano, 2003).
The faculty further understand the important role parents and families play in students' education, and we recognize the benefits of building strong, genuine relationships. Blue-Banning, Summers, Frankland, Nelson, and Beegle (2004) conducted research and developed guidelines for collaboration between family and school. According to Blue-Banning et al. (2004), professional behavior that facilitates effective partnerships must include communication, commitment, equality, skills, trust, and respect. Further, BlueBanning et al. (2004) report that "common sense and ordinary human decency are at the heart of positive partnerships between families and professionals" (p. 181). When school personnel implement practices that show that they value the input of families and are working to communicate with respect, while learning from and utilizing family ideas, strong relationships are a possibility (Esquivel, Ryan, & Bonner, 2008; Soodak & Erwin, 2000).
Furthermore, faculty members recognize that research indicates that individual teacher communication with parents and guardians results in stronger active involvement of caretakers in their children's education and their overall collaboration with schools (Patrikakou & Weissberg, 2000). These researchers reported findings that show the more teachers communicate about the classroom, the individual child's successes and challenges, and academics, the more family members reported feeling involved and engaged in their children's education. Specific guidelines from this research suggest that teacher outreach to families plays an important role in family-school collaboration.
Candidates will be self-aware and mindful of their worldview and how both impact the way in which they are able to demonstrate an ethic of care. Equity and social justice--as well as building community and family relationships--are possible when candidate beliefs and behaviors are consistent with an ethic of care. We value multiple viewpoints when solving problems and making decisions, and an ethic of caring is at the center of our work with students, faculty, and the community because we consider it to be the foundation of all successful education (Noddings, 2011). The goal of the College of Education is to promote, model, teach, emphasize, and reinforce an ethic of care toward self and others. An ethic of care is both an ethical and moral commitment to value and invest in every student.
Theoretically, an ethic of care is grounded in Gilligan's work on moral development and moral reasoning (1982). Gilligan believes that most moral dilemmas and decisions are relationally based and that people reason from three different vantage points: caring for the self (self-focused, protective of self), caring for others (other-focused, may ignore care of self), and caring for self and others (cares for self, which fosters resilience and effective boundaries and cares for others through effective empathy and perspective taking). Students who experience an ethic of care from teachers, educational leaders and counselors are more likely to be academically motivated, learn more in class, and develop a sense of belonging to school (Rice, 2001; Finn 1998).
Operationalizing an ethic of care in school emphasizes relationships (student to adult, adult to adult, student to school, adult to school) and a "pedagogy of listening." Dahlberg and Moss (2005) describe this as interpersonal and institutional practices that emphasize every child's right to be valued and accepted, and to learn and belong. In a 1998 research study on teacher's level of care, specific caring practices are discussed which can be modeled and taught by College of Education faculty and practiced by College of Education candidates and graduates. These practices include engaging students through eye contact, employing attentive body language, calling students by name, greeting them when they enter the classroom and listening, developing a classroom community that is mindful of emotional, psychological and physical safety, and teaching students at their ability levels. These ways are possible and authentic when teacher candidates possess an ethic of care toward their students. We strive, therefore, to be caring professionals who model an ethic of care for our candidates and cultivate a sense of community that leads to a transformed practice of teaching and learning (Starratt, 2012). The College has created a table detailing examples of its operationalization of each of the three elements of Equity, Inquiry, and Innovation that appears at the end of the Overview.
The second leg of the elements triad is Inquiry, which the College of Education defines as the knowledge of current research and the use of related tools in promoting evidence-based practices in subject matter, human development, and theories of learning, leadership, and counseling. Educational inquiry has several facets, including reflection on one's practices, an instructional strategy or process for one's students' learning, inquiry as its related to the body of research related to one's field, and inquiry as a vehicle for a community of learners to examine institutional practices (collaborative philosophical inquiry), thus providing a process for implementation of systemic change for the greater good. The faculty recognize that reflection, research, questioning, reasoning, analyzing, problem solving, and inquiry are all aspects of what Cochran-Smith and Lytle (2001) calls "living an inquiry stance toward teaching" an approach to teaching and learning that encompasses the philosophies of giants like Socrates, Montessori, Pestalozzi, Vygotsky, Bloom, Freire, and of course, Dewey (page number for quote?). Inquiry refers both to the process of seeking knowledge and new understanding as well as to a method of teaching grounded in this process (Justice, Rice, Warry, Inglis, Miller, & Sammon, 2006). The inquiry process is about discovery and systematically moving from one level of understanding to another, higher level.
As teachers, counselors, and leaders our goal is to connect previous knowledge to new concepts; critically question, examine and construct new knowledge; and apply this knowledge to innovative designs and practices. The College's belief parallels that of Falk (2004), "that teachers do not have to be technicians, consumers, receivers, transmitters, and implementers of other people's knowledge, but instead, can be generators of knowledge and agents of change" (p. 74). It is especially important that candidates are confident in their inquiry skills so that they are able to replicate inquiry-based learning in their classrooms, and as they grow as educators, practice collaborative inquiry. In order to gain that confidence, candidates must have exposure and experience with coursework and activities steeped with elements of inquiry practices. According to Darling-Hammond (2006), effective teacher education programs utilize pedagogies that help pre- and in-service teachers merge theory and practice through case studies, performance assessments, close analyses of learning and teaching, and portfolios. Darling-Hammond (2006) writes:
All the programs require that teachers engage in inquiries or research about teaching. These range from modest investigations of specific problems of practice to more ambitious research studies that may serve as a capstone project. Advocates of practitioner research suggest such efforts help student teachers learn critical dispositions and skills that undergird reflective practice, including a commitment to search for answers to problems of practice and the skills of careful observation, data collection, and reasoned analysis. (p. 107)
The goal of all teacher preparation programs within the College is to shape educators who manifest the beliefs and behaviors of reflective practitioners. The expectation is that candidates will demonstrate intellectual vitality, persistence, and a commitment to an inquiry stance in all professional practices. While we can ensure that our candidates are provided opportunities to learn content and pedagogy, the difference between a good teacher and a great one results from the disposition of having an inquiry stance: "The disposition toward reflective, inquiry-based and analytic thinking... is one element of developing adaptive expertise, or the ability to continue to learn productively by guiding one's own problem solving" (Darling-Hammond, 2006, p. 107-108).
We live in a world in which the frontiers of knowledge are expanding at break-neck speed, with innovation knowledge, skills, and dispositions being on the leading edge of educational inquiry and practice. Innovation is the transformation of ideas into impact; it is a change product that is created, developed, and implemented into the next advanced practice (Kirkeiby & Christensen, 2010; Morris, 2006). Despite the fertile ground for innovation in education, "the impact of discoveries, inventions and creative developments... apparent in practically all spheres of life... play an ambiguous role in education" (Black & Atkin, 1996, Foreword). In fact, it is these developments, in conjunction with ongoing issues of inequity, that make it imperative for helping and education professionals to acquire innovative kinds of knowledge, new ways of thinking, new practical interventions, and a readiness to continue learning, or risk losing their effectiveness. Caine and Caine (1997) argue that, because knowledge is "much more fluid, less predictable and far more interconnected than previously thought" the roles and functions, the theories and approaches of teachers, school leaders, and counselors must be rethought (quote page number?). As such, the College of Education has made promoting, modeling, and developing innovative, research-based practices central to its mission.
Innovative practices in the field of education cannot occur without intersecting with the dynamic nature of change and its influence on the very nature of the innovation. Thus, College of Education candidates will demonstrate knowledge of the dynamics and theories of change at the individual and systems levels and the relationship to innovative designs and effective practices." Poole and Van de Ven (2004) summarized the research on change into categories that are considered theories of change (continuous, incremental, continuous, and first order) and theories of changing (episodic, radical, discontinuous, and second order). Yet, according to Cheng and Van De Ven (1996), chaos provides its own set of variables in relation to change and innovation that is not evident in these theories of change and changing. A system can fluctuate between order (ordered regime), chaos (chaos regime), or a transition phase between order and chaos (complexity regime) (Boal and Schultz, 2007).
Cheng and Van de Ven (1996) writes, "Transitions between chaotic and periodic patterns of learning while innovating can be explained by the fact that our dynamic system is a dissipative structure" (p. 609). Russian physicist Ilya Prigogine constructed the theory of dissipative structures in 1977 to describe the interactive nature of structures and the flow and changes of all elements of complex systems: "All systems are conceived as dissipative structures and the greater their degree of uncertainty, the greater their creative potential (Gordon, 2003, p. 104).
As cited by Poole and Van de Ven (2004), and Van de Ven and Poole (1995), the authors presented four theories or models that integrate the constructs of change and innovation. The theories are described as the (1) life cycle model; (2) teleological model; (3) dialectical model; and (4) evolutionary model. The life cycle and evolutionary models are considered to be prescribed modalities in that the changes that precipitate innovation are institutionally regulated and repetitive, while the teleological and dialectical models are constructive in nature, implying social construction and the potentiality of consensus that may or may not have been initiated through conflicting ideologies. Regardless of the model or theory that underlies change and innovation, "environmental change is a strong driver for organizational innovation" (Damanpour and Gopalakrishnan, 1998, p. 2).
Key variables that provide a framework for the study and analysis of change and innovation are the relationship of people (human agency), space, and time and their impact on the nature of the change and/or the innovation (Child, 1972). Grossberg (1993) argued that time has been a focal point of research, especially in the study of cultural phenomena in terms of dissecting the historical context of diversity issues. The author proposes a more concentrated effort toward understanding the notion of power and its relationship to the spatial separations that perpetuate the intended or unintended assimilation of power, privilege, and influence. Perhaps this perspective of research may be considered an innovative approach to deconstructing the challenges still facing schools regarding the achievement gap, and the disproportional representation of culturally and linguistically diverse students receiving special education services and dropping out of school at alarming and unacceptable rates. According to Zaltman, Duncan, and Holbert (1973) as cited by Poole and Van de Ven (2004), the evidence of a performance gap will often initiate radical change and provide the groundwork for the potentiality of innovation.
As the COE desires to be at the forefront of educational innovation and a force for transformational change in teaching, leadership, and counseling, COE faculty expect that candidates will demonstrate the skills to systematically determine needs, plan, develop, and implement change and evaluate its impact." To do this, candidates must understand the process of innovation and change to sustain systemic reforms that empirically make a difference in and improve the educational experiences of students. COE candidates must learn to continually assess, evaluate, and reflect on the efficacy of their actions and methods in promoting equitable success of all students. Assessing innovation ensures accountability. As well, it serves as a tool for learning and sustainability. COE faculty believe that combining research and assessment data provides a foundation for informing policymaking and developing meaningful, learning-centered innovative programming. At the center of these efforts, data-informed decision making must be in place to improve schools and communities by linking individual data with learning outcomes if COE candidates are going to create and master innovative practices (Mandihach & Honey, 2008). Innovation plans should be designed as a continuous loop of monitoring, feedback, and improvement to measure reaction, learning, behavior, and results (Kirkpatrick, 2006). To become proficient at evaluating the context, implementation process, and outcome results, COE candidates must be steeped in social science research procedures. Therefore, quantitative and qualitative research methods should be a focus of COE student learning, with emphasis on improving their practices through needs, implementation, utilization, and outcomes-based assessment.
Rogers (2003) writes, "Getting a new idea adopted, even when it has obvious advantages, is difficult. Many innovations require a lengthy period of many years from the time when they become available to the time when they are widely adopted" (p. 1). To facilitate implementation of innovations, the College of Education candidates will need to demonstrate resilience, personal, professional and social responsibility, and openness to change. Resilience is considered an individual's or system's ability to adjust positively to adverse circumstances or "bounce back" (Herrman, Steward, Diaz-Granados, Berger, Jackson, & Yuen, 2011; Mansfield, Beltman, Price, & McConney, 2012; Price, Mansfield, & McConney, 2012; Yonezawa, Jones, & Singer, 2011). Resilience is a combination of traits, including a clear vision of purpose and responsibility, motivation, self-efficacy, optimism, openness, intellectual flexibility, persistence, communication skills, and environmental factors such as positive peer support, caring relationships, and community membership (Herrman et al., 2011; Muller, Gorrow, & Fiala, 2011; Yonezawa et al., 2011). Beyond the ability to "bounce back," resilience involves individuals and organizations using adversity to increase professional competence and improve work conditions (Muller et al., 2011; Price et al., 2012). Shaw (2012) describes resilience as "a dynamic process of 'bouncing forward' which provides for the adaptation and constant reinvention needed to innovate and to do new things" (p. 309). To be effective in implementing and evaluating change, innovators must have the ability to envision the future, generate new ideas, develop networking relationships, maintain organizational loyalty, stretch their minds, remain task-focused, and hold an aptitude for decision-making (Waychal, Mohanty, & Verma, 2011). Developing resilience in our candidates will empower them to lead educational innovations.
Equity, Inquiry, and Innovation-the three interrelated elements discussed and exemplified as the College's themes-have evolved from rich faculty-based discussions around who we are as a College of Education and the work that we do to prepare counselors, teachers, and leaders. In the joint endeavor to update our vision, not only have we have articulated what we as a college value in education professionals, but we also have had the opportunity to examine our classroom- and field-based practices to identify concrete examples of how we model and facilitate development of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions we desire in our candidates. As we continue our work with one another and our candidates, we recognize the need for a document like this to be dynamic and responsive to changes both in our college and in society, but with balance that values what exists and what is important to maintain. We will continue to review and reconsider our vision as our unit grows and changes with the tenets of equity, inquiry, and innovation guiding our efforts.
The College of Education is transitioning from NCATE to CAEP, and while some of the processes, standards, and language are new, our shared and ongoing commitment to quality educator preparation remains constant. Our vision for the college is knowledge-based, articulated, coherent, and linked to the university's vision and mission. It establishes a shared vision for preparing educators and other school personnel to work in public schools and other educational settings. In addition, the framework is tied to the beliefs, values, and practices of professionals responsible for design, implementation, and evaluation of the college's initial and advanced preparation programs. Its components are complementary and provide direction in the preparation of qualified educators, as well as for faculty scholarship and professional service, and unit accountability. Individual candidate's learning experiences may differ, but they receive a consistent body of knowledge and experiences related to teaching and learning processes as well as instruction in effective practices specific to their fields of emphasis.
The work of determining if and how programs within the College of Education meet CAEP standards began in earnest in April of 2013 with the assignment of faculty and staff to the five Standards Committees. College personnel were assigned to standards based on their interest and expertise. The committees contained a balance of representatives from all departments within the College and every committee had representatives with some prior accreditation experience (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education or NCATE and/or Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs or CACREP). Committees were asked to discuss the evidence that their programs were meeting each of the specific elements of the standards. Thirty-seven of the College's forty-two employees participated on at least one standards committee with the goal of having the entire College thinking and talking about CAEP and how COE proves its effectiveness. The evidence-based practices and procedures for the four departments of the College of Education are documented by multiple means, according to the specific programmatic needs and those of their specialized professional associations.
The provider ensures that candidates develop a deep understanding of the critical concepts and principles of their discipline and, by completion, are able to use discipline-specific practices flexibly to advance the learning of all students toward attainment of college- and career-readiness standards.
Colorado Academic & Common Core Standards It is important to provide context for Standard 1 as Colorado has a unique history regarding InTASC and Common Core standards. In 2009, the Colorado Department of Education was developing the Colorado Academic Standards (CAS) as required by state legislation. About the same time, the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governor's Association began working on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) initiative. Because Colorado was already developing its own college- and career-ready standards, it was among six states that provided early feedback on the CCSS drafts. The Colorado State Board of Education ultimately adopted the Common Core State Standards in mathematics and English language arts on August 2, 2010. However, the state believed there were significant gaps and inconsistencies between CCSS and CAS. This was resolved by integrating the Common Core State Standards into the Colorado standards.
Around the same time, Colorado's State Council for Educator Effectiveness, a state committee tasked with creating new standards, compared Performance-Based Standards for Colorado Teachers; Charlotte Danielson's Framework for Teaching; the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) InTASC Standards; Teacher Standards for North Carolina; and Delaware's Teaching Standards before determining new guidelines. In 2011 the committee issued the Colorado Teacher Quality Standards (CTQS).
The six "Quality Standards" listed in CTQS include:
- Teachers demonstrate mastery of and pedagogical expertise in the content they teach.
- Teachers establish a safe, inclusive, and respectful learning environment for a diverse population of students.
- Teachers plan and deliver effective instruction and create an environment that facilitates learning for their students.
- Teachers reflect on their practice.
- Teachers demonstrate leadership.
- Teachers take responsibility for student academic growth.
The quality standards incorporate the four general categories listed in the InTASC Core Teaching Standards (ICTS): The Learner and Learning (ICTS 1,2,3) (CTQS 2,3); Content (ICTS 4,5) (CTQS 1); Instructional Practice (ICTS 6,7,8) (CTQS 1,2,3,4,6); and Professional Responsibility (ICTS 9,10) (CTQS 2,5,6). Teacher preparation programs still fall under the 1991 Educator Licensing Act and the Performance Based Standards for Colorado Teachers (PBSCT). Since we want to prepare our teacher candidates for the standards for which they will be evaluated, in consultation with CDE and CDHE, a decision was made to adopt the new Colorado Teacher Quality Standards and crosswalk them with the PBSCT to ensure that our candidates meet both sets of standards. As the evidence will show, COE candidates are well-versed in CTQS (InTASC) and C/A (Common Core) Standards.
Content and pedagogical knowledge are demonstrated through a variety of means; the first specific artifact chosen to demonstrate candidate success in Standard 1 is the College's SPA reports. Details are provided in Standard 1 in the Electronic Exhibits.
PLACE and Praxis Further externally validated evidence of content knowledge is demonstrated by candidates' scores on Praxis or PLACE (Colorado's licensing exam). As Table 1.1 shows, UCCS candidates' scores indicate that program completers meet or exceed the cut score established by the state for PLACE.
Fewer candidates complete PRAXIS; however, those individuals generally have a history of doing well, except in those subject areas when few candidates take the exam. The scores for mathematics reflect those of candidates who underwent math preparation before the UCCSTeach program was implemented.
Portfolios were chosen as an artifact of evidence for Standard 1 and are detailed in the Electronic Exhibit. Other than the CACREP-accredited counseling programs, all initial preparation and advanced programs use the portfolio as a mechanism to collect and assess student achievement.
Just as a portfolio is a collection of artifacts, the programs' portfolio processes represent a collection of assessments with varying levels of cohesiveness and quality. The table indicates that all programs use an electronic repository, issue handbooks and rubrics, and ensure candidates are introduced to the portfolio requirements through an orientation process. The one element that shows the greatest need for improvement is the feedback process. School Counseling students contribute to their School Counseling portfolios throughout their coursework. School Counseling faculty review candidate portfolios during the internship courses (fall and spring of final year) and identify collective areas of strengths and weaknesses for the students. This feedback is then used to make modifications to School Counseling coursework.
The other programs are aware of the need to create a system of using the data collected to inform program decisions and are all working to strengthen or standardize the feedback process.
Portfolios serve as evidence of candidates' content and pedagogical knowledge, technological skills, experience with K-12 assessments, lesson and unit planning, dispositional assessments, writing ability, progress reports, goal statements, and other necessary skills and understanding. Since all educator preparation candidates, including those in principal and superintendent programs, must meet Colorado standards, candidates are prepared to address the needs of diverse populations (Colorado Quality Principal Standards: #3 Cultural and Equity Leadership; Colorado Teacher Quality Standards: #2 Safe, Inclusive and Respectful Learning Environment; Colorado Standards for Administrators: 6.10 Ethnic, cultural, gender, economic, and human diversity). Technology is specifically addressed in CQPS: 2.3 (integration of technology and formative assessment to increase student engagement and learning) and CTQS: 3.d (integrate and utilize appropriate available technology in their instruction to maximize student learning). Colorado Standards for Administrators address technology through 6.12: Communications, including the use of computers and telecommunications. Table 1.4 provides a summary of sample content required by the programs.
Three years ago, the Assessment and Accreditation Committee assumed a more holistic approach to assessment and created a series of documents noting the information collected across the college, as well as the reports required by the university, various accreditation and regulatory agencies, and conceptualized a college-wide assessment process.
The COE Conversations have provided a vehicle for sharing programmatic information related to CAEP standards. For example, the March 15, 2013 meeting included discussion on CAEP and furthering work on the College's assessment system, while the January 21, 2014 meeting featured time for standards chairs to share lessons learned on the work with their standards committees. The involvement of the majority of the faculty on CAEP Standards Committees (begun April of 2013) also heightened awareness of effective practices within the College that need to be replicated and expanded across the unit.
SPA work, especially those components that were completed collaboratively, has also increased our understanding of where programs have deficiencies that need to be addressed, particularly along the broad themes of alignment, measurement, data relevance, and reflection based on data.
The leadership of the department chairs, the work of the Assessment and Accreditation Committee, faculty initiatives related to SPA and CACREP reports, and the support of the Assessment and Operations Specialist have combined to provide the momentum necessary to ensure a robust, iterative, and relevant assessment system.
Through portfolios involving multiple measures, candidates demonstrate content and pedagogical knowledge aligned to standards. This internally validated measure addresses both the art and science of the profession. Externally developed tests (PLACE, Praxis) support this evidence of candidate content knowledge. The College has a solid foundation in utilizing the feedback loop to candidates, and programs are systematically strengthening their use of aggregate data to improve their effectiveness.
Recognizing the need for a shared understanding of the roles and responsibilities of COE and the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences in preparing educator candidates, the two faculties met to share CAEP and content (SPA) standards, aggregate PLACE/Praxis results for specific content fields, and propose changes that will impact LAS programs.
The provider ensures that effective partnerships and high-quality clinical practice are central to preparation so that candidates develop the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions necessary to demonstrate positive impact on all P-12 students' learning and development
In 2010, the State of Colorado enacted Senate Bill 191, legislation mandating that the State Council for Educator Effectiveness create a framework for a system to evaluate all licensed school personnel (see rubric here). For teachers, up to 50% of their "effectiveness" can be determined by K-12 student outcome measures, oftentimes standardized tests and other summative measures. The results of this legislation represent a fundamental change in the landscape of school accountability in Colorado.
In an era of high-stakes testing and even higher-stakes educator accountability, it is a strong tribute to the quality of the program completers from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs' COE that teacher education, leadership, and counselor candidates remain in high demand for internships. Peer institutions throughout the state have noticed a decrease in the number of schools and districts willing to assume intern agreements, as classroom teachers fear having an intern will negatively impact student performance on state exams, and consequently their own "effectiveness" ratings.
It is a combination of a strong district rapport, faculty involvement, quality preparation, responsiveness to concerns, and a robust admissions selection process that ensures that UCCS interns meet district demands of interns and graduates during the more complex evaluation climate facing today's schools.
The quality of the COE's clinical partnerships and practices are measured through a combination of internally and externally validated instruments along with expert observations
While Colorado requires 800 hours of practicum experience, students in TELP complete a year-long internship and fulfill a requirement of nearly 1,000 hours of field experience. A detailed handbook outlines the requirements and expectations for candidates as they progress through the initial preparation program. A strong field experience includes many of the components recommended in the 2010 NCATE report Transforming Teacher Education through Clinical Practice: A National Strategy to Prepare Effective Teachers, including an emphasis on co-teaching during the candidate's first semester of internship. This can take the form of parallel teaching, tag team teaching, coaching, and re-teaching. During the second semester, candidates are required to complete a minimum of three weeks of solo teaching. The internship experience is further strengthened by weekly on-site seminars and monthly university seminars. Candidate quality is measured by successful completion of diverse placements and demonstration of the knowledge and skills articulated in CTQS. Those are documented through portfolio and edTPA submissions which, in turn, inform decisions related to program completion and licensure.
Candidates complete surveys about the effectiveness of the placement site, the site professor, the site coordinators, and their clinical teachers at program's end. Individuals in a supervisory capacity also provide feedback to the program director on the site quality. Survey data is housed in TaskStream and used to inform future placement decisions.
The Alternative Licensure Program (ALP) provides a pathway to prepare educators with professional experience and content knowledge to teach English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and World Languages (Spanish). Candidates must acquire a Statement of Eligibility from the Colorado Department of Education and have a full-time, year-long teaching position in an accredited school to enroll in ALP. The resident teacher (candidate) is supported by the school administrator, a mentor teacher, and a university supervisor. The RT generally meets with the mentor teacher weekly, although the RT is evaluated and supervised by the local school administrator using the same protocols that are used for all district teachers. The university supervisor observes the RT at least three times a semester. Like TELP, RTs are evaluated on the Colorado Teacher Quality Standards and the Colorado Academic Standards and on their dispositions, which specifically addresses appropriate use of technology in instruction. All programs maintain electronic portfolios which require candidates to submit artifacts in a variety of applications (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, among others). The introduction of edTPA is requiring a whole new level of technological expertise as candidates (and faculty) learn to create and submit videos for collection and review.
The newly developed Special Education Generalist program for initial licensure requires its candidates to complete 840 total hours of field experience. This program was designed as a cohort model with early, embedded field experiences and specific evaluation points for all candidates to help monitor and improve candidate outcomes in the final practicum experiences and in the field. The program has three experiences (spring semester, with 100 hours; summer, with 100 hours; and spring, with 640 hours). All of the field experiences are in inclusive settings serving students from age 5-21 have disabilities represented in the 13 qualifying categories as defined in IDEA. Candidates work with special and general education teachers to create modifications and accommodations and implement services in the classroom. Special Education has a handbook for the internship and is developing handbooks for each of the other two field experiences. Special Education candidates also must meet the Colorado Teacher Quality Standards. The program is piloting the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) with its candidates during the spring 2014 semester. CLASS is an observational tool that provides a common language and focus on the critical elements of effective teaching. The system focuses on three domains: Emotional Support, Classroom Organization, and Instructional Support.
UCCSTeach, a UTeach replication site, has a highly-structured, tightly-sequenced field experience design modeled after UTeach requirements. Candidates get early exposure to classroom experience, and each practicum has clearly defined expectations for candidate responsibilities at that level. The program uses step designations for the first two practica. These are defined as Step 1, which has 15 contact hours at an elementary school and includes three on-site teaching demonstrations by candidates; and Step 2, with 20 contact hours at a middle school with three on-site teaching demonstrations. Following a successful UCCSTeach Program Interview, candidates move into the third practicum, Classroom Interactions, which entails 50 contact hours at a high school along with three on-site teaching demonstrations. The fourth experience is Project-Based Instruction, which requires 75 contact hours at a middle or high school and five on-site teaching demonstrations in small teams (two to three students). Candidates must complete all UCCSTeach coursework and pass PLACE or Praxis before moving to the final field experience, which is Apprentice Teaching and includes 640 contact hours at a middle or high school and a minimum of four weeks of solo teaching experience.
Like TELP, UCCSTeach uses the CTQS observation form; however, the program is also using CLASS. The CLASS domains are introduced early in the program and reiterated throughout. UCCSTeach uses an exit interview with its program completers.
Practica requirements for Principal Licensure and Administrator Licensure candidates are introduced in the first class of the program. Course syllabi outline requirements for logging hours, finding an appropriate mentor, and maintaining a reflective journal. Candidates in both programs are required to log 300 hours of field experience. Coaching sessions and leadership planning meetings are scheduled throughout the program. Mentors complete a mid-term and final evaluation for each candidate. The mid-term evaluation provides formative data to the university faculty, and the final evaluation is scored as part of the portfolio.
As with the other programs, School Counseling candidates are informed of the requirements and expectations for their practicum and internship through the department handbook and new student orientation. Consistent with CACREP fieldwork requirements, all students must successfully complete a 100 hour practicum and a 600 hour internship in order to be recommended for graduation. Practicum is completed in the first year in the program after successful completion of core course work. Students must have a successful faculty review of the Developmental Assessment Matrix competencies (which articulates appropriate dispositional levels each semester) to be released for practicum. Internship is a two semester requirement typically completed in the second year in the program. Both Practicum and Internship experiences are based on CACREP standards. Practicum students meet weekly with their site supervisor for individual supervision (1 hour) and university supervisor for group supervision (2 ½ hours). The site supervisor provides periodic performance evaluations and a final written evaluation of the practicum student. The practicum student also completes an evaluation of the practicum site and the practicum experience at the completion of the field work experience. Students complete 300 hours of experience during each of the two semesters of internship.. Counseling faculty typically make at least one visit per semester to meet with the site supervisor and intern. The evaluation process for interns is similar to that of practicum students.
All programs emphasize placements that include diverse populations. In TELP, one or more of the three credits of the core course TED 3010 (taken over a minimum of two semesters) has to be in a low SES school. The program provides students with a list of schools that qualify for that designation based on the requirement that it must be a public school that has greater than 50% Free/Reduced lunch for elementary and greater than 35% Free/Reduced lunch for secondary. Additionally,
- For each 3010 credit, students must complete 30 hours of observation/participation within a single classroom;
- students must complete TED 3010 credits in a minimum of two schools;
- elementary teacher candidates are encouraged to volunteer in one primary (K - 2) and one intermediate (3 - 5) grade classroom;
- secondary teacher candidates are encouraged to volunteer within their content area and in one middle school placement and one high school placement
The diversity of the geographic region extends beyond the immediate metrics of race/ethnicity and SES. Within the typical placement range are widely different district sizes, management philosophies, achievement levels, and urbanicity. The region is also host to a wide variety of state and district charter schools. While more detail will be provided in the supporting data, Table 2.1 displays the range of diversity in El Paso County's districts, where the majority of our candidates serve internships.
Candidates' understanding of diversity and variety of needs is also included as part of the TELP interview, which is scored by two faculty. Candidates often cite their experience in TED 3010 during interviews and that feedback is recorded by interviewers. The Counseling program also addresses diversity in its individual and group interview processes.
El Paso County contains 18 school districts, ranging in enrollment size from 185-29,000. As noted on Map 2.1, districts also represent diversity of population and territory. Districts range from highly urban to very rural, creating opportunities for our students to work with very different populations and cultures.
Programmatic and College-level advisory boards and site-professor meetings provide feedback on COE candidates and recommend areas that need attention. One indicator of the College's success is its employment record. For 2013, over 80% of initial teacher preparation candidates were hired by districts following completion of internship. One of the positive impacts of SB 191 is that the state is developing a tracking system that will be able to link program completers with their employment record, thus providing universities with better data related to number of graduates hired, employers, retention, district choices, mobility, and other relevant career data.
The College of Education has built a variety of strong, successful partnerships over the years. The readiness of faculty to address community demands has led to a positive impression with stakeholders and a strong willingness to accept interns. All programs have clearly defined placement processes, candidate expectations, and supervisory roles. Programs are intentional about practicum placements, ensuring that there is a documentable process verifying that each candidate is experiencing placements within diverse sites.
Programs have kept survey data indicating candidates' perceptions of the site and their clinical teachers or supervisors. Results are generally analyzed by program coordinators to determine if placements will continue at that site or with a particular clinical supervisor. As with other assessments done programmatically, the next step of creating a report-out system for the department has not always occurred, but there is awareness that this particular feedback loop needs to be closed and initiatives are well underway to do so. For example, with TELP and SELP, there are regular discussions of the sites and placements and whether a school/teacher continues with the program in the site-professor meetings. UCCSTeach will follow this practice as they build the volume of program completers. The quality of the placements is monitored through site and mentor teacher surveys, while candidate performance is measured multiple times through observations, surveys, portfolio assignments, and dispositional data.
While there is an increased effort to ensure students experience placements with diverse populations, there have also been meaningful discussions about what diversity means, with a goal of determining a broader and more meaningful definition.
The provider demonstrates that the quality of candidates is a continuing and purposeful part of its responsibility from recruitment, at admission, through the progression of courses and clinical experiences, and to decisions that completers are prepared to teach effectively and are recommended for certification. The provider demonstrates that development of candidate quality is the goal of educator preparation in all phases of the program. This process is ultimately determined by a program's meeting of Standard 4.
In 2012, department chairs across the College worked collaboratively to establish common admissions standards for its initial and advanced programs in order to improve candidate quality and selectivity. The specifics of the admissions standards and transition points are detailed in the Electronic Exhibits for Standard 3.
When NCATE introduced "'dispositions" as an area in which candidates needed to demonstrate competency, long-time educators recognized that the introduction was long overdue. A teacher's disposition is frequently the indicator of his or her success in working with students, parents, and colleagues. There was also a silent groan, as it is the hardest quality of effective teaching to define and quantify.
Educator preparation programs have made significant progress in incorporating the assessment of candidate dispositions in the past dozen years and both the assessment instruments and processes are measurably better. Local and national attitudes about assessment of dispositions among teacher preparation faculty continue to evolve, and some programs have invested substantial time and effort into grappling with the issues this topic is capable of proliferating.
The Department of Counseling and Human Service's School Counseling program makes the most comprehensive and systematic use of dispositional data. The department developed the Developmental Assessment Matrix (DAM) which is introduced early in the program and candidate assent is required for program participation. The matrix is designed to assess "appropriate and healthy involvement and expressions of affect, flexibility, awareness of impact on others." Faculty use the matrix to longitudinally track individual candidate progress through the program, and includes a strong faculty advisor component. Each semester has clearly appropriate levels of disposition articulated and -as explained in the DCHS Handbook-candidates may not progress to the next level of coursework or fieldwork unless their cumulative score is consistent with the target semester's indicators. Requirements include "Faculty score students each semester and meet individually with students about their progress." The faculty advisor shares the score and specific feedback including any candidate concerns presented at faculty meetings scheduled around transition points. When student concerns arise as a result of DAM assessments, a range of faculty responses are used to provide support and guidance to students. Examples include instituting bimonthly advisor meetings, meeting with the entire faculty, development of a remediation/success plan, transitioning a student to a three year program to provide additional time for personal and professional development, asking a student to participating in counseling support services, requiring a student to sit out for a semester. In the most severe circumstances, students have been asked to leave their graduate program (i.e. gatekeeping). In the past academic year (2013-2104), three students have met with the entire faculty, two students have been asked to move to a three year program, two students are required to meet with their faculty advisor on a bimonthly basis and one student has been removed from the program (n = 52). While the counseling dispositions assessed in the DAM may not be completely appropriate for classroom educators, there are many elements that could be assessed and included in both the initial and advanced teacher preparation programs, such as "openness to learning and experience," "flexibility," "acting in a professional manner," or "receiving feedback in an appropriate manner"
Dispositions are assessed in every program, and UCCS faculty have engaged in numerous discussions at the departmental and college levels about what our expectations are for candidates' professional dispositions. Dispositions are also written into the College's Candidate Learning Outcomes (CLOs). UCCSTeach uses a "Fitness to Teach" model, adapted from UTeach that includes specific dispositional benchmarks, including Personal and Professional Requirements, Cultural and Social Attitudes and Behavior, and Emotional Dispositions. ALP, TELP, and SELP use a traditional evaluation form for dispositions with five attributes: Responsibility, Collaboration, Diversity, Professional Behavior, and Personal Well-Being. The form is administered several times throughout the programs by COE faculty, clinical teachers, and university and site supervisors, and candidates also use it for self-assessment. The Assessment and Accreditation Committee has had several discussions revolving around the differences between attitudinal versus professional behaviors, and consequently, programs are looking at other assessment models that capture the attitudinal focus of dispositions, recognizing that candidates who experience problems at the internship level often do so because of their relationships with others as well as their work habits. The Department of Special Education is actively engaged in discussion with the Department of Counseling and Human Services on adapting DAM for Special Education programs. All initial teacher preparation programs have a sound process for documenting candidate concerns.
The various programmatic approaches to assessing dispositions have led to engaging and insightful discussions in the College. It is anticipated that these conversations will continue to evolve as programs strive to find the best fit for dispositional assessment. While some programs are investigating the use of DAM, they may discover there are better instruments available. However, there is deep value in identifying and exploring the construct and its measurement.
The UCCS COE has several recruitment strategies in place to continue its efforts to diversify its candidate base. It is important to note that the university is also seeking to diversify its student body and those initiatives have positively impacted the College's efforts.
The university offers several scholarships that target specific student groups, including first-generation college, minorities, women, and low SES students. UCCS, which serves the southern half of the state, has partnerships with Pikes Peak, Pueblo, Trinidad State, Lamar, and Otero--junior/community colleges that enroll the state's poorest and most disadvantaged populations. The campus strives to be the four-year institution of first choice for transfer students in the southern region.
The university also requires a freshmen experience, and several COE faculty lead those classes. One of the offerings, Head of the Class, serves as a recruitment initiative that provides students new to campus opportunities to visit area schools, volunteer and deliver lesson plans.
Faculty in the College have been involved in establishing support for GLBTQ students and employees on campus and a COE faculty member served as the original sponsor and committee chair of PRIDE, a GLBTQ group. The College promotes Culturally Responsive Teaching, Leadership and Counseling through faculty initiatives and a community-level Diversity Summit. In 2014, the College is co-sponsoring the Multicultural Literacy Festival in collaboration with the Pikes Peak Region's Black Educators Network.
The College is also actively engaged in creating general education courses in the university's new Compass Curriculum. The courses will be open to non-education majors and provide education-focused electives in the focus areas of Advanced Core, Writing Intensive, Explore, and Sustainability. COE faculty hope to introduce programs to a student audience who would otherwise not have an awareness of their offerings. Three of four departments have had courses approved by a university committee for inclusion in the Compass Curriculum.
While there is always work to do at the college level to improve recruitment efforts with diverse populations, all programs have effective recruitment initiatives in place. TELP and Special Education have been collaborating for years with Colorado Springs District 11, the largest school district in the Pikes Peak region and encompassing a wide range of diverse populations, on career pathways opportunities, including a teacher cadet program that brings high school students interested in teaching to campus, and cadets are allowed to take Educational Psychology during their senior year of high school. D11 also offers a program that encourages high school students to become paraprofessionals after graduation, enabling them to work in that field while pursuing a teaching degree. Special Education is working closely with parent groups and the childcare community with its new Bachelor of Innovation in Inclusive Early Childhood Education degree. and ALP attracts non-traditional students in its alternative certification program.
The principal and superintendent licensing programs in Leadership, Research, and Foundations enroll candidates from across the state. In an effort to increase access and to better meet the specific needs of partner school districts, the College is offering principal preparation cohorts in District 20 (Colorado Springs) and to a consortium of several small, rural schools on the far western side of the state.
The Department of Counseling and Human Services partners with the United States Air Force Academy's (USAFA) Counseling and Leadership program for Air Officer Commanding candidates.). Through this program, Counseling and Leadership candidates are trained to command cadet squadrons at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. While this is not a school counseling program, the College does attract graduate students from the Academy as a result of this partnership. The department also participates in an annual recruiting effort with Colorado State University Pueblo which includes DCHS faculty visiting the university to present on the counseling programs and address questions posed by individual students. This has resulted in attracting diverse students (especially socio-economic diversity).
One of the central goals of the UCCSTeach program is to target students interested in teaching math and science, particularly members of groups that have been underrepresented in those critical areas. Starting in the fall of 2014, the program will pilot recruitment of students from the social science field to become Math educators.
While there is not a recruitment plan separate from the University at this time, this is something the College will be addressing. As the unit's financial state continues to improve, based on increased enrollments and improved efficiencies, the College will be able to do more in terms of scholarships, recruitment events, and related community initiatives.
The Developmental Assessment Matrix also signals a shift in how the College thinks about dispositions and the intensity of follow-up needed to ensure candidates stay on track in meeting program expectations in an arena that is difficult to assess. Even if the other departments do not adopt DAM, the instrument has certainly generated valuable discussion about how programs assess the traits they expect their candidates to exhibit.
The College has benefitted from the university's efforts to recruit students from underserved populations. We are at a place where we need to create a recruitment plan specific to the College's needs that incorporates the excellent initiatives that currently exist.
The provider demonstrates the impact of its completers on P-12 student learning and development, classroom instruction, and schools, and the satisfaction of its completers with the relevance and effectiveness of their preparation.
As with most EPPs, impact on P-12 learning has been an ongoing focus of assessment development. Certain programs have been able to assess the impact of students on classroom instruction through observable measures such as student engagement and productivity The initial preparation programs house assignments and candidate assessments within portfolio requirements, while measuring program impact within other programs, such as principal preparation, are more technically challenging. University faculty are also including more content related to assessment into coursework and expecting that candidates are able to demonstrate that student learning has occurred with methods such as pre- and post-testing, case studies, and projects.
Candidate, mentor teacher, university supervisor, and employer surveys have been administered for years, but not in a systematic way or on a regular basis across the College. While some programs have been able to collect responses and use the data to inform program quality, it is more common that the data are used by a program coordinator or director to make specific placement decisions. The College is determining how to utilize surveys to inform the broader programmatic and College-level decision-making process in a systematic, intentional manner. Standard 4 artifacts include a summary of Teacher Work Sample results for the Teacher Education and Alternative Licensure Programs; abridged details on the new, externally validated assessments related to candidate impact COE is piloting; and survey results regarding program satisfaction. Data and details are housed in the Electronic Exhibits.
The College has been proactive in addressing program impact. This spring (2014), three of the programs are piloting edTPA. The other two programs (Special Education and the Bachelor of Innovation in Inclusive Early Childhood Education) will analyze the results of this year's participants before deciding if edTPA will be required for their candidates next year.
The College is working with the Colorado Legacy Foundation, Tripod Project and Gates Foundation in implementing the newly developed Student perception Survey (SPS). That initiative will be piloted during the 2014-2015 academic year.
Finally, the College has held a number of conversations with the Colorado Department of Education on the state's collection of SB 191 data, including how that information will inform EPPs, timeline, data flow, etc.
A criticism long leveled against teacher education programs is that we resisted external validation and argued for the quality of our own self assessments. That era is gone, and we must now allow our candidates to be held to standards beyond our own conclusions. As with so many other assessment reforms, the central challenge is often the cultural shift rather than technical requirements. The College is engaged in remarkable discussions about where we need to go to develop assessments and processes that document the impact our candidates have on P-12 learning. In 2013 COE hired an Assessment Operations Specialist and this year created an Office of Assessment and Accreditation, both of which will contribute to the systematic administration of an assessment agenda.
Although there is a shift in the College toward using externally validated assessments, this does not signify COE relinquishment of how candidate quality is determined. The College has over a dozen faculty trained in the use of CLASS and is participating with Teachstone in a "train the trainers" model that will allow further preparation for COE faculty and site supervisors. Programs piloting the instrument have engaged in planning and implementation strategies, including projecting results and determining score interpretation.
For edTPA, faculty have completed the scoring training and will be involved in facilitating the local scoring process. Since edTPA is a relatively new instrument, local scoring will be a valuable exercise for faculty in determining how candidate quality is measured, both qualitatively and quantitatively. Like many other states, Colorado is considering adopting edTPA as a requirement for licensure. Nationally, initial scores are relatively low. Knowing that, and by engaging in the process early, programs can help shape results by adjusting course content, assignments, assessments, and programmatic practices to help subsequent cohorts be increasingly successful.
The collaborative effort to gather exit data and survey program completers one to five years out will also provide the College with comparative data from across institutions. Whether we continue with the Novice Teacher's Core Competencies or move to another model, faculty already see the value of having an externally validated assessment of their programs.
In summary, the College seeks to emphasize the evolution of the use of data for internal consumption with localized standards of quality to a broader based and more complex system of assessment that provides programs and stakeholders nationally normed, externally evaluated feedback on the quality of our program completers and their programs. This transformation is multifaceted and incorporates technical, procedural, and cultural changes. Notable among them: are expanded technical capabilities on the part of faculty and staff in the use of assessment tools and data reporting; the implementation of multiple measures, replacing siloed program data with multiple, integrated software packages; development of routine data reporting cycles to internal and external users; and increased use of multiple measures of candidate outcomes within programs to form conclusions about candidate quality and program health.
Together these changes are designed to ensure excellent preparation of educators and continuous improvement of program elements well into the future. The increased scrutiny of EPPs both on the state and national level, in addition to dynamic changes in the teacher labor market will require the College to remain vigilant in assessing the quality of its programs in order to achieve its goal of recognized completer quality.
The provider maintains a quality assurance system comprised of valid data from multiple measures, including evidence of candidates' and completers' positive impact on P-12 student learning and development. The provider supports continuous improvement that is sustained and evidence-based, and that evaluates the effectiveness of its completers. The provider uses the results of inquiry and data collection to establish priorities, enhance program elements and capacity, and test innovations to improve completers' impact on P-12 student learning and development. The two sources of evidence used to document that the unit meets Standard 5 are Cherwell and the COE Assessment Timeline (addressed in narrative).
The College 2008 visit resulted in an area for improvement related to NCATE Standard 2: Assessment System and Unit Evaluation. The AFIs relevant to CAEP Standard 1 are
- The unit has not fully implemented its assessment system.
- The unit has not implemented procedures to ensure fairness, accuracy, and consistency in the assessment of candidate performance.
In response to the 2008 report, departments began strengthening assessments, requiring or enhancing candidate portfolio requirements, revising Teacher Work Sample (initial teacher preparation), and building or bolstering scoring rubrics for many of the assignments. Although both the quality and quantity of assessments improved, there still was not a College-wide, systemic approach to collecting or analyzing them. The SPA reports reinforce what faculty have already recognized, that programs have developed good assessments, but an assessment system is only in its nascent phase and will serve as the primary focus for the College's Continuous Improvement Plan. The Assessment and Accreditation Committee has made considerable progress in identifying the need for common collection tools and processes, comparisons across programs, uniform standards and transition points, and implementing changes.
While not an excuse, the flux referenced in the Overview within the Dean's office, a complete turnover of department chairs, and the hiring of 40% of our faculty since the last accreditation visit meant that there was no one ensuring that a system was created, or that a culture of systemic assessment practices became the norm for the College. One program that has a history of aligning standards to artifacts to assessments is School Counseling. The Department of Counseling and Human Services, which is CACREP accredited, collects and systematically uses candidate data to inform and improve its programs. CACREP requires policies and practices that have facilitated the development of a data assessment system that effectively serves the counseling programs.
Three years ago, the Assessment and Accreditation Committee was enlarged and strengthened through the addition of the department chairs and other strategic members. Under the committee's guidance, the College stepped up its efforts to create a focused, strategic, and sustainable plan for infusing assessment as a pervasive element of the culture.
The Assessment and Accreditation Committee's increased focus on assessment was not meant to undermine the quality of the artifacts that were being collected before this effort began. The faculty in every program were thoughtful and deliberate in determining what assignments and assessments would be collected, especially as they were utilized in portfolios; creating rubrics to ensure fairness and consistency; included multiple scorers to improve reliability; and reviewed results frequently to inform their programs, making adjustments based on findings. However, this assessment history is important to understand, as it signifies a shift from data collection to inform programs about candidate quality to a focus on using data for a broader audience (internal departments and external stakeholders), purpose (candidate impact on P-12 students, programmatic changes needed), and degree (value added emphasis). COE's efforts coincided with Colorado's implementation of Senate Bill 191 and the state's efforts to tie K-12 student achievement data to teachers and teachers to their EPPs as well as the assessment evolution we are experiencing at the national level.
A strategic shift in data collection resulted in a difference in what was collected, for whom, and how. This shift initiated a greater emphasis on the process of assessment and less focus on the stand-alone artifacts. The power of an assessment system is in its use of common assessments, when logical, that allow for data comparisons across programs and departments and the ability to routinize the assessment process as much as possible.
A shift in the assessment culture meant that the COE needed to change the way it performs as a college. Three years ago, records for individual programs within departments were kept in a variety of formats: Task Stream, Blackboard, Excel, Access. Through the work of the Assessment and Accreditation Committee, the College created a comprehensive list that represented all the data collected. Recognizing the inherent problems of having so many data collection processes, the College decided to create a powerful electronic database that would collect student data in a systematic, formalized manner that uses live data from the university's enterprise database (ISIS). In May 2012, representatives from the College of Education began meeting with staff from UCCS's Informational Technology department to build a semi-automated information collection system that would track students from inquiry status through program completion. The vehicle for this system was developed by Cherwell, a local technology company that specializes in data collection. The small COE/IT group spent months defining terminology; identifying data points; determining what data would be collected, when and by whom; examining other databases across campus that needed to interface with Cherwell; and designating where data would be housed (Cherwell, Singularity, DARS, ISIS). The transition to Cherwell meant that COE could go paperless with its student and employee records, eliminating paper files. The program also allowed the College to collect, sort, and analyze data electronically with a degree of accuracy that was never possible when information was hand-entered into a multitude of spreadsheets. Cherwell is capable of tracking student progress for the various transition points and notifying (via email) the candidate or the faculty when there is a problem. COE is the first academic unit on campus (or technically, the country) to use this program.
Understanding the history of Cherwell is a critical component of ensuring that accurate, accessible, and mutually agreed upon data is being collected for the College. Cherwell tracks student data for five different categories: Inquiring, Applying, Matriculated, Deferred/Inactive, and Field Experience. Program completer data is available at the student level, but aggregate data rolls up to inform departments and the College (http://youtu.be/kFOrtISMSgI). Cherwell also informs the College's Student Resource Office (SRO) on matters related to staff productivity, how students contact the SRO (72% by email), and student appointment traffic during the semester.
Moving to paperless student files required that faculty and staff become trained on FERPA, ISIS (the CU system's data enterprise system), Cherwell, the university's Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS), and Singularity (a campus-based document imaging system). The majority of faculty completed their trainings by January 2014, not coincidentally when the last of the paper student files were shredded. Besides inquiry data, Cherwell tracks interview results, reference letters, application completion, and admission decisions, thus improving the accuracy of the enrollment process and the College's ability to track and utilize data to inform SRO, departmental, and college-level decisions.
The best way to illustrate the College's progress in meeting Standard 5 demonstrating Provider Quality Assurance and Continuous Improvement is through a timeline of the practices and progress achieved in the past six years (see Electronic Exhibits 5b. Some of the items listed reflect assessment advances in an obvious way, but others are included as they represent the establishment of a framework to support the other changes or future expansions. Many of the points will be expanded upon in the College's Continuous Improvement Plan.
The introduction of Cherwell has served as a game changer for the College (and subsequently the University, since it will soon be used for tracking General Education requirements). In the past, files were occasionally borrowed by employees and lost in offices for weeks at a time. This has been corrected by having a secure, web-accessible site where faculty can share student files from campus or home, enter comments, send student emails, make advising appointments, or check admission applications, all using real-time data. More importantly, departments and the College are able to track students from initial inquiry to program completion. Programs are able to project enrollment numbers through the use of consistent, current, and accurate student data and generate reports based on that information. Cherwell has created a cultural shift in data collection, student communication, faculty advising, and how the College uses the platform to determine necessary and relevant data collection to inform resource distribution, planning, and recruitment initiatives. The data available allow the College and departments to monitor student progress in a systematic way that was previously unavailable. The future gains will be fully realized as departments utilize this new data in the coming years. The results will be used to drive further program improvement.
Several of the initiatives outlined in the timeline are reflective of the College's many efforts to address diversity through recruitment, successful program completion metrics, candidate effectiveness with P-12 students, and faculty outreach (Q2). More importantly, the timeline reflects the College's efforts to make continuous improvements across a wide swath of themes and specifically it endeavors to create a system of assessment (Q5).