College of Education Institutional Report

Standard 4: Diversity

The unit designs, implements, and evaluates curriculum and provides experiences for candidates to acquire and demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions necessary to help all students learn. Assessments indicate that candidates can demonstrate and apply proficiencies related to diversity. Experiences provided for candidates include working with diverse populations, including higher education and P-12 school faculty; candidates; and students in P-12 schools.

4.1 Diversity

How does the unit prepare candidates to work effectively with all students, including individuals of different ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, gender, exceptionalities, language, religion, sexual orientation, and/or geographical area?

The unit supports the university's commitment to promote the principles of diversity reflected in the Preeminence 2020 strategic plan and the Affirmative Action Plan and Policies (4.4.b.7). Faculty, candidates, public school partners, and other stakeholders recognize diversity as one of the core values of the unit's conceptual framework and its commitment to work effectively with 21st century students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Between 2008 and 2010, faculty reviewed and redesigned curricula and courses throughout the teacher education program to emphasize the nine central tenets of diversity: (1) race, (2) ethnicity, (3) gender, (4) socioeconomic status, (5) age, (6) sexual preference, (7) religion, (8) exceptionalities, and (9) geographic region.

The unit monitors and evaluates its candidates for diversity acumen via: 1) clinical practice, 2) classroom observations, 3) formal reviews, and 4) disposition components of the formal admission to teacher education interview. Professional education core courses in the initial licensure program address various principles of diversity. In CUIN 110-Ethics of Teaching, candidates focus on the ethical commitment classroom teachers must have to teach the "whole child," which includes appreciation for students' diverse backgrounds, aspirations, and interests. A 20-hour early field experience is required. CUIN 210-Culturally Relevant Pedagogy focuses on cultural competence and critical consciousness of linguistic and cultural diverse P-12 students. Candidates conduct a contextual analysis of a learning environment where they identify aspects of diversity then articulate specific ways they can use this information to hone instructional planning, implementation, and assessment. Candidates engage in a 30-hour early field experience in this course. In CUIN 410 Differentiated Instruction, candidates assess instructional needs of P-12 learners then plan responsive instruction appropriate for each student. Candidates complete a 40-hour early field experience where they examine how P-12 public school teachers integrate knowledge of students' intellectual abilities into instructional planning and assessment.

Candidates engage in a 60-hour early field experience where they further their abilities to diagnose P-12 learners' knowledge and skills and plan responsive instruction based on their assessment (I.5.b).

The unit also addresses diversity in advanced licensure programs by requiring all candidates to complete a minimum of one course addressing diversity. All MAT candidates enroll in CUIN 729 Diversity Issues in K-12 Classrooms where the scholarship is grounded in diversity, culturally relevant pedagogy, and equity education. Candidates conduct equity analyses of educational environments to assess implicit biases in instructional tools and the design or layout of the context. Candidates in MS, MAEd, and MSA complete one or more of the following diversity- focused courses: CUIN 740, INST 735, READ 735, or AGED 752. Thereafter, candidates produce evidences that illustrate their knowledge and ability to work with P-12 students from diverse backgrounds. In MSA 771-Diversity Issues in Administration, candidates develop an action plan that assesses the present parent and community involvement in school decision making and thereafter work with the school to develop a plan that addresses community-perceived "biases". Candidates in AGED 752-Special Populations in Agricultural Education interview a special education teacher and monitor his or her range of responsibilities serving students with exceptionalities, as a first-hand experience. In CUIN 740-Issues and Trends in Urban Education the disenfranchisement of instruction is examined and candidates monitor their own instructional practices to determine if they unintentionally engage in exclusionary instructional practices (4.4.b).

The unit engages in strategic recruitment of diverse faculty and education majors because we realize the value of these heritages in the preparation of candidates. Faculty reflect the age and socio-economic spectrum. In addition, the unit is comprised of 2% East Indian, 2% Asian, 78% Black non-Hispanic, 16% White, and 2% Unknown; women compose 66% of the faculty, and men compose 34% (4.4.d). The demographic data of education majors illustrates the cultural and linguistic diversity of the student body in the School of Education and the university. In 2013-14, the unit was composed of the following demographics: .002% Hispanics, .008% American Indian, .006% Asian, 63.6% Black non-Hispanic, 29.9% White, .004% two or more races, .024% Other, and .017% Unknown.  Approximately 54% of the students were women, and 46% were men (4.4.e).

Faculty members demonstrate their commitment to diversity through their research on issues of diversity in education. They are recognized for their scholarship in race and ethnicity, students with exceptionalities, socioeconomic status, and gender. Not only do candidates benefit from this expertise in classrooms but also they work alongside faculty on diversity-related research projects, presentations, and engagement activities (4.4.d).

The unit intentionally places initial and advanced candidates in early field experiences and clinical practice in public schools and agencies that are comprised of various forms of diversity representative of their communities (4.4.f). A large percentage of the unit's candidates are placed in an urban school district of 72,000 P-12 students, comprised of typical and atypical students representing 95 countries. The student population includes 41% African American, 37% Caucasian, 12% Hispanic, 4% Multi-Racial, 5% Asian, .54% American Indian and .19% Pacific Islander with 117 languages and dialects. In addition, the system serves 10,536 students with various exceptionalities.

Faculty members model how to interact with culturally and linguistically diverse individuals. Several faculty engage candidates in study abroad travel opportunities working with P-12 students, teachers, administrators, and support personnel who speak English as a Second Language or, in some instances, who do not speak English. These experiences also include exposure to individuals whose socioeconomic, religious, and geographic backgrounds differ significantly from their own (4.4.b.5).

Not all candidates can travel to foreign countries, so the unit creates opportunities for candidates to travel to domestic locales where they interact with other teacher education candidates and faculty from diverse backgrounds. Since 2007, initial candidates from Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio and North Carolina A&T have participated in an exchange program. Muskingum is a private liberal arts institution with 1100 undergraduates in rural New Concord, Ohio. Candidates from North Carolina A&T who visit New Concord examine diversity issues in rural communities and schools (4.4.b.5). For 13 years, the unit has sponsored the Rural- Urban Exchange (RUE) collaborative with the College of Education and Allied Professions at Western Carolina University (WCU), a predominantly White and rural university. Candidates from North Carolina A&T spend one week on the campus of WCU where they visit public schools and engage in activities that expose them to a socioeconomically depressed rural community comprised primarily of a White and Native American demographic (4.4.b.5) Initial candidates, who are Teaching Fellows, have opportunities to participate in the Triad Intercollegiate Conference. Candidates interact with other candidates from diverse backgrounds, and engage in conversation, workshops, and seminars focused on ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, gender, exceptionalities, language, religion, special orientation, and geographical area (5.4.e).

Faculty launched initiatives that immerse candidates in the examination and exploration of critical diversity issues in education, educational policy, and counseling. Since 2006, the unit has annually hosted the Rehabilitation of Racial and Ethnic Minorities with Behavioral Addictions (4.4.b.4) Conference. From 2009 to 2013, the unit sponsored the Urban Education Institute, which focused annually on critical issues that impact P-12 student performance outcomes in urban schools (4.4.b.2). Since 2012, the unit has sponsored the Emergent Educational Leaders Seminar series that allows initial and advanced candidates to engage individuals from diverse backgrounds (4.4.b.3). Unit faculty have launched the Graduate Reading Scholars' Research Symposium where advanced candidates engage various audiences in the examination of their scholarship focused on the influence of linguistic and cultural diversity on the reading proficiency of P-12 students.  The unit sponsors the Eminent Leaders Series where research scholars and prominent leaders from various organizations and agencies engage candidates in critical diversity issues related to exclusivity, inclusivity, "isms," and social justice from a leadership perspective (4.4.b.1).

The unit also created several partnerships that expose candidates to P-12 students and faculty from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. For example, the unit has partnered with Hampton Elementary University Partnership (formerly Hampton Elementary), which changed its name to illustrate the commitment between the university and the elementary school (3.4.a.4). The unit works closely with The Middle College at North Carolina A&T, the first all-male public high school in North Carolina recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, and the STEM Early College at North Carolina A&T.

4.2.b Continuous Improvement

  • Summarize activities and changes based on data that have led to continuous improvement of candidate performance and program quality.
  • Discuss plans for sustaining and enhancing performance through continuous improvement as articulated in this standard.

The unit uses data from initial and advanced program transition point key assessments, employer and employee surveys, focus group sessions, and external program review documents to engage in continuous improvement. This process ensures initial and advanced candidates are prepared to work with 21st century P-12 learners in diverse school districts (e.g., rural, urban, low socioeconomic, high socioeconomic). Curricula revisions implemented during the 2010-2011 academic year were the result of focus group meetings with representatives of P-12 schools and community-based organizations in Guilford County (1.4.c.4) who discussed ways to improve the unit's initial and advanced program curricula to address issues related to diversity, collaboration, and impact on P-12 learning. From these conversations, the unit implemented CUIN 210 Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and CUIN 410 Differentiated Instruction in its initial programs and integrated CUIN 729 Diversity Issues in K-12 Classrooms, CUIN 740 Issues and Trends in Urban Education, INST 735 Assistive Technology and Diverse Learners, AGED 752 Special Populations in Agricultural Education, HPED 660 Program Development and Adaptive Physical Education, and MSA 771 Diversity Issues in School Administration in its advanced programs.

Focus group sessions with P-12 cooperating teachers and student teachers during the fall 2012 and fall 2013 semesters support data collected in the employer and employee surveys that initial and advanced candidates require more instruction on and interaction with students who have exceptionalities and students who speak English as a Second Language.  In the spring 2013 semester, a course in the initial professional education core, CUIN 210 Culturally Relevant Pedagogy, began a partnership with ELIMU, an afterschool program for Swahili and Somali refugee students who attend public schools in Guilford County. Education students in this course conduct their 30-hour field experience in the ELIMU program afterschool where they undergo diversity training prior to engaging students.  Thereafter, candidates provide tutorial support to improve student learning (I.5.b).

During the 2014-15 academic year, faculty will conduct content analyses of initial program curricula to examine where at least one course in inclusive education (e.g., SPED 350 Introduction to Exceptional Children) and at least one course in English as a Second Language (e.g., ELED 300 English Language Learners) may be infused into all initial licensure programs. Similarly, faculty will examine advanced programs to assess where a course in inclusive education can be integrated into program curricula.

The unit conducted a contextual analysis of course syllabi in advanced programs, and faculty concluded that diversity was embedded in some graduate programs. During the 2014-15 academic year, unit administrators will charge the Teacher Education Curriculum Committee to work with advanced program coordinators to ensure cultural and linguistic diversity content are explicit in each program curricula.

Data from the study abroad experiences illustrate that fewer than 50 candidates have participated in these opportunities over the last three years. Unit faculty realize the importance of these experiences as they expose candidates to geographic, socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, language, religious, and special orientation differences. Although the unit has increased the number of international partnerships, affording more candidates an opportunity to travel abroad, the unit hopes to further grow these initiatives.

Unit faculty data indicate that there are few Hispanic candidates (i.e., .002%) represented within the unit and no Hispanic faculty. The unit will continue to recruit faculty and candidates who are more representative of the population served in the state of North Carolina.

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