Institutional Report Addendum

Standard 5 Responses to Areas of Concern and Validation Questions

Area of Concern 1 – Faculty members do not appear to be assessing their own effectiveness as teachers.

Rationale: Although there are student evaluations, peer evaluations, unit evaluations, and chair evaluations, the IR does not state how these evaluations are used by faculty to assess their own effectiveness and ways to enhance their teaching.

The unit's assessment system is designed to examine data and make informed decisions about future actions. The unit uses the metaphor that the assessment system "drives" decision making (Exhibit 2.6 Assessment Graphic). Faculty members use data to inform their instructional practices with initial and advanced candidates. Each semester, candidates at the university complete "Student Opinion Forms" (Exhibit 2.7 Sample Student Opinion Form) where they rate their perception of the quality of instruction and resources utilized to engage them throughout the course. Faculty have immediate access to this information allowing them integrate changes. Based on these suggestions, faculty begin the next academic year by completing a Professional Development Plan (Exhibit 2.8 Sample Faculty Professional Development Plan). Faculty also have annual access to Institutional Effectiveness reports (Exhibit 2.1 Institutional Effectiveness Reports) that identifies programmatic and student outcomes. These reports afford faculty opportunities to modify their instruction based on aggregate student performance data.

Question 1: How do faculty in the unit use their evaluations to engage in self-assessment?

Unit faculty routinely engage in self-assessment, utilizing a variety of outcomes to reflect on their instruction, activities, and assessments. Faculty report using a variety of data points, including student course performance data (Exhibit 2.9 Sample DFW Report), student opinion forms (Exhibit 2.7 Sample Student Opinion Forms), Electronic Evidence performance data (Exhibit 5.1 Sample Electronic Evidence Performance Data), candidate performance on state and national licensure examinations, and annual faculty evaluation data (Exhibit 5.2 Sample Annual Faculty Evaluation Rubric) to inform and drive their instructional enhancements. These documents also provide evidence of faculty’s progress in reaching the various levels of promotion or earning tenure.

Given faculty reflective analysis, they self-identify areas for improvement each year via their Professional Development Plan (Exhibit 2.8 Sample Faculty Professional Development Plan). Faculty work throughout the academic year to engage in professional development opportunities to improve these identified areas. Faculty report using these data points to perform some of the following changes in their courses or instruction: (a) diversify their methods of instruction, (b) assignments and/or projects, (c) change their course goals and/or objectives, (d) embed different content, vocabulary and concepts, and realign existing content and materials for improved student performance/outcomes.

Question 2: Who is responsible for developing workshops on the use of technology? Who is required to attend?

Workshops are developed and offered by the distance learning office, faculty request, and as mandated by upper administration. A department or program may request workshops unique to their discipline and thereby identify who participates. Some are determined by accreditation requirements and others are based on common interest.  

Faculty and administrators typically complete workshops related to technology and the goals outlined in the university’s strategic plan, Preeminence 2020: Embracing our Past, Creating our Future. Professional development workshops are offered at the institutional level through the Instructional Technology Services and Distance Education (ITSDE) and the Center for Leadership and Organizational Excellence (CLOE) and through the technology support staff at the unit level. The following are some specific areas of training: (a) Online pedagogy — Blackboard, (b) Student monitoring and success — Starfish, (c) Advising — Banner, (d) Student assessment — Taskstream, and (e) Faculty excellence — Digital Measures (Exhibit 5.3 CLOE Professional Development).

Blackboard workshops are developed by Instructional Technology Services and Distance Education (ITSDE) based on campus needs. In addition, ITSDE staff provide training on an individual basis, and faculty are encouraged to meet with ITSDE staff to have specific questions addressed, or to receive support in instructional design specific to their curriculum. ITSDE also offers specific training sessions on modules that faculty can use within BlackBoard to improve the ways they engage instructionally or to assist with the ways they assess student learning products (Exhibit 5.4 ITSDE Professional Development). 

Question 3: Who decides what workshops will be offered during the academic year? Are the workshops mandatory for both full-time and part-time faculty? Do faculty members receive a stipend for their participation?

The types of workshops offered during the academic year is a collaborative decision made by the unit’s leadership team in consultation with the unit’s technology staff based on faculty perceived needs, faculty request, faculty annual evaluation performance data, and unit needs. At the beginning of the academic year, faculty identified need areas (Exhibit 5.5 Faculty and Staff Survey). The unit’s leadership team also relies on annual faculty evaluation performance data to determine what areas may need further examination and upcoming needs that the unit must address that are aligned with the university’s strategic plan such as the rollout of new software like the Starfish Early Alert system or Digital Measures. Using this collaborative approach based on these data points, professional development workshops within the unit are offered but faculty are also encouraged to attend professional development opportunities across the campus such as CLOE workshops, ITSDE professional development workshops, and other sessions offered by various units.

Question 4: Are the funds allocated for faculty development adequate based on the number of faculty in the unit, the school, the university?

The funds for faculty development are adequate for professional development based on the number of faculty in the unit, the school, and the university. The university and the unit financially supported faculty development through various entities on the campus including external funding.  The unit allocated funds for professional development through the dean’s office, department offices, and utilized external funds to support faculty attendance at professional meetings and conferences. The unit supported faculty travel and registration fees during the 2011/12 - $50,453; 2012/13 - $89,950; and 2013/14 - $59,080 academic years totaling $199,483 for the three years. The unit expended $80,655.00 to assist faculty in research and grant writing activities. This amount includes funding support of $15,723 for graduate research assistants and $64,932 for undergraduate hourly and non-hourly wages. A portion of overhead returned to the unit is used for faculty to engage in professional development activities.

Over the 2013-2014 academic year, the School of Education’s Title III budget has supported faculty development activities totaling $14,111.00. The Academy for Teaching and Learning (ATL) supported faculty attendance and participation at professional meetings and international travel endeavors. Faculty development activities supported through ATL total $64,606.00 within the last three academic years (2011/12 - $32,330; 2012/13 - $14,003; and 2013/14 - $18,273).  Additionally, ATL sponsors workshops and seminars to enhance learning in the classroom by strengthening faculty pedagogical skills.  The Office of Instructional Technology Services and Distance Education (ITSDE) provides professional development for faculty to model best practices through the incorporation of classroom technology. ITSDE conducts workshops, seminars, and one on one instruction for faculty to develop online teaching modules through the utilization of Blackboard.

Question 5. Exhibit 5.4 does not provide policies and procedures for promotion and tenure. Are these policies and procedures in the North Carolina A&T State University Faculty Handbook?  If not, where are they?

The Policies and Procedures for Tenure and Promotion are in the North Carolina A&T State Faculty Handbook in Appendix B-2: Regulations on Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Due Process (Exhibit 5.6 Appendix B-2).

Question  6.  Are the university evaluations different from the unit evaluations? What document provides a complete description of the evaluation process at each level?

Unit evaluations are different from university evaluations. The five Schools or Colleges that comprise the teacher education unit utilize unique evaluation instruments that share teaching, research, and service as common filaments (Exhibit 5.7 Unit Evaluation Instruments). Three bodies evaluate an applicant’s reappointment, promotion, and tenure (RPT) package—the department RPT committee, the School/College RPT committee, and the Dean.  The university committee reviews all applications based upon published university standards, which the unit uses to guide the development of its evaluation instruments. The Faculty Handbook provides policies and procedures for promotion, tenure, and due process. In addition, each school has its own tenure and promotion Policies, which comply with the university’s policies and procedures.

Question 7. Will examples of faculty promotion and tenure dossiers be available for review by members of the onsite committee?

Examples of promotion and tenure dossiers will be available for the onsite committee.

Question 8. What professional development activities does the unit engage to remain current in modeling best practices?

The unit is committed to promoting effective teaching, innovative scholarship, and dedicated service.  That commitment is reflective of NC A&T’s mission statement as well as the unit’s mission statement.  Faculty engage in scholarly work as part of a process for achieving tenure, promotion and maintaining status and a continuing faculty member.  The unit’s annual report (Exhibit 1.34 SOE Annual Reports) requires faculty to document:  research projects undertaken and research projects completed, productive and creative activities and activities relating to research. Faculty are also expected to remain engaged in their fields and be familiar with trends and mandates regarding literacy, numeracy, and high-stakes testing.  Faculty are expected to continue to attend and present at conferences, participate in P-12 school settings (Exhibit 5.8 Direct and Ongoing Involvement and Services to Public School) and engage in activities which and model life-long learning for candidates. The unit also has a newly constructed model classroom available for both faculty and candidates (Exhibit 5.9 SOE Model Classroom Layout).

All program coordinators (Exhibit 5.10 Program Coordinators and University Supervisors Licensure Credentials) hold current North Carolina Professional Teaching licenses. All professional education faculty are expected to renew teaching licenses before expiration. Copies of these are maintained on file with the Licensure Officer and the Assistant Dean for Student Services. The process for renewing a professional teaching license is determined by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI).

Faculty have opportunities to engage various forms of professional development which enable them to remain current in modeling best practices. As the State Board of Education and NCDPI changes licensure exam requirements, faculty are extended the opportunity to take the state required professional licensure exam in their respective content areas. P-12 teachers and principals also model best practices via workshops in the model classroom within the unit.

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