Evidence for the OnSite BOE Team to validate during the onsite visit:
1. Unit leadership and authority: The role of the COE Advisory Council/Board in the governance of the unit and its programs
Following our phone conversation with the BOE team to clarify the questions raised in the offsite report, it was our understanding that this question is in reference to the School Partnership Advisory Committee. That committee was formed in the fall of 2007, with representatives from our local partnership schools to serve as advisory to the dean. The group addresses issues related to field placement of our candidates, professional development needs of the faculty in the schools, and ways in which we can continue to enrich and expand our relationships. The group meets at least once a semester.
The SPAC does not actually participate in the governance of the Unit, but does serve as an advisory to the Dean as head of the Unit and also provides feedback to the unit on issues, initiatives, and concerns on all aspects of our programs As a result of the discussion by this group, a TESL program targeted at a local school division needs was started and an outreach effort focused on providing the professional studies courses needed by secondary teachers teaching with provisional licenses was developed.
In addition, the discussions have resulted in our partnering divisions working together on issues that directly impact our placement of candidates, such as developing a reciprocal process documenting criminal background checks prior to field placements. The SPAC has also resulted in mutually beneficial conversations about evaluation and assessment. Specifically, we tapped into the expertise of the committee members for their perspectives on our dispositions expectations for our candidates. The dispositions document and measurement tools were strongly supported and in fact, the division administrators voiced interest in incorporating the disposition measures into their teacher evaluation process. In turn, in our conversations with them about teacher evaluation, we are going to explore how the evaluation of practicing teachers can and should inform our evaluation of pre-service teacher candidates.
2. Unit leadership and authority: Clarification of Academic Advising for distance learning programs, online programs, and alternate route, initial and advanced programs.
As presently designed and developed, we do not have any alternate route programs. We recently developed and are engaged in the delivery of an advanced program in Educational Technology that is delivered entirely online.
Because most graduate students are not on campus and are usually working during the day – the faculty in the Educational Technology program found traditional office hours to be ineffective. The faculty publish their Skype ID and Google ID so that students can contact them using either of those methods (both Skype and Google Hangouts allow real time video and audio). Faculty also publish online office hours - times that they will likely be on one of these systems and can be reached. One faculty reported that students who were meeting face to face noticed that she was on Skype (not during her regularly scheduled office hours) and called her for advice. She was able to talk with them, answer the pressing question, and they were able to move on with their meeting and get the work done. Without that option - the group would have been stymied.
3. Unit leadership and authority: Clarification on the unit’s procedures for recruitment for initial and advanced candidates
The unit participates in several recruitment initiatives. As mentioned in the IR, the Regional Teacher Education Agreement (RTEA) supports the recruitment and transition of candidates from the community college system. Participation in university wide efforts such as Take-A-Look day, Choices, and Academic Open Houses occur annually and target the undergraduate or initial licensure candidates.
For advanced programs, the recruitment strategies are often designed to develop cohorts or clusters of candidates in localities away from campus. For example, the Educational Leadership program faculty are closely affiliated with school divisions in the immediate locale as well as across the Commonwealth. They are in constant communication and consultation with their colleagues who work in the schools. The need for preparing more principals and superintendents is so significant that the faculty is often approached about offering the program off campus, delivered right to the school division. Information sessions are conducted at the distant locations and typically, 30 to 40 interested candidates participate. The faculty reach out to the school divisions and develop a program delivery model that will best meet the needs of the participants.
The program leading to the Reading Specialist experiences similar demands and requests for delivering the program at a distance. The goal of both the Ed Leadership and the Reading Specialist program is to bring the program to the communities, meeting the diverse needs of our more rural areas which do not typically have access to the professional development and degree programs offered through the respective departments.
The Education Technology program uses targeted advertising through professional organization publications, business contacts, and newsletters. A popular course (LTLE 645) that focuses on Gaming, is opened up during the summer sessions to anyone with a Bachelor’s degree for potential candidates to explore the program, the faculty, and the online delivery and techniques used in the delivery of the program.
4. Unit budget: Budget(s) not clear or user-friendly. Budget not clear with comparable units with clinical components on campus or similar units at other campuses.
5. Unit budget: Comparable budgets including a description of and rationale for selection of comparable units.
A centralized budget process is used at JMU with allocations disbursed to the colleges from the office of Academic Affairs based on several factors including but not limited to credit hour production, growth in majors, and increased costs of operations. Budgets are allocated across two broad categories: Personnel and Non-personnel.
As indicated in the IR, the development of the budget is a collaborative process with the deans and provost working together to ensure that cross-college and cross-division activities receive appropriate attention. Budget allocations go to the various colleges; however, many aspects of the unit functioning are funded under the CoE budget (e.g., the ESC, the ETMC, and travel for student teaching supervision).
Comparable units on campus were identified in Health Studies (pre-professional health programs in occupational therapy and physical therapy), Nursing, and Social Work as one way to describe the budget process. All three areas require clinical experiences for their students. It is recognized that in some contexts (i.e. clinical, medical or institutional) the costs for supporting the clinical experiences vary. In addition, there are variances in the expectations for payment of clinical supervisors so it is difficult to compare the budgets. However, Standard 6, Addendum Exhibit 1: Comparable Budgets provides the basic information about the distribution and allocation of funding for a three-year period.
Not unlike most institutions of higher education, recent economic events impacted JMU and as a result, the professional education programs. Prior to 2007, the university had experienced growth and budgets realized modest but steady increases. However, with the economic downturn, the university began to take measures to ensure that the academic programs would be impacted as minimally as possible. Faculty salaries have been frozen since 2007. In 2008-09, each academic unit was required to return 10-20% of its budget across two areas – travel and professional development, which translated to a $15,494 rescission for the CoE. Through planning and the use of foundation and indirect funds from grants, the college was able to continue to provide support for student scholarships, faculty travel, research and partnership activities. Recognizing the need to continue to find creative ways to support faculty, the JMU budget office has provided an additional $30,000 to the college to support faculty development each of the past two academic years. To address the NCATE standards, increased Title II reporting requirements, and the need to better track candidate performance, the provost has invested the necessary resources to support the procurement of Tk20, a data management system. Even given the budgetary problems, the unit has been fortunate to witness an increase in the numbers of faculty lines assigned to our licensing programs. Growth in credit hour production has resulted in an increase in the numbers of faculty assigned to the unit over the past seven years and accompanying each additional new faculty member, is an increase of $5000 in the operating budget of the unit.
Perhaps the most visible recognition that the administration of the university acknowledges the work of the unit and in difficult times continues to find ways of providing financial support is in the 300% increase in the funding of our field experiences operations. In 2009-10, funding was at $100,000 and over the past two years has increased to over $300,000.
6. Personnel: Clarify information about adjunct faculty – need statistics for year of record (Title II Report lists 1082 as the number of adjunct faculty – Faculty Qualifications Table shows very few adjuncts; need percent of sections taught by adjunct faculty as well as examples of annual evaluations of adjunct faculty; clarification on adjunct faculty knowledge of unit-wide documents and use of TK20.
It is important that we clarify the categories and processes used to identify the personnel who contribute to the professional education unit. In identifying individuals as adjunct faculty, we followed the NCATE definition and included part time faculty in the PEU who are not full time employees of the institution. Supervisors of candidates in field experiences are included in this count. Therefore our total adjunct count is represented in IR found in Standard Five; Supporting Links. This number is significantly lower than the 1082 identified in the Title II report because the definition recommended for that report identifies any P-12 teacher who works full time in the schools and supervises our candidates as being a full time adjunct. Cooperating teachers who host our candidates in their P-12 classrooms are not included in our adjunct count and are listed in the IR Exhibit 5.3.b Table of P-12 School Professionals' Qualifications
Adjunct use varies across the unit. In some programs, close to 100% of the supervision of field experiences, including student teaching is undertaken by adjuncts; in others, the supervision is covered by faculty from the programs.
Standard 6 Addendum Exhibit 2: Percentage of Adjuncts demonstrates the use of adjuncts in courses, field experiences and student teaching
7. Personnel: Faculty workload – clarification of actual workload for various types o faculty including clinical faculty and supervisors of student teaching; student teaching loads. Link went to Faculty Handbook which stated policy. Faculty workload documents were not provided.
As mentioned in the IR, workload policies and practices are consistent with our unit conceptual framework and guidelines for merit, promotion and tenure. They encourage faculty engagement in teaching, scholarship, and service, and collaborations with P-12 schools. The typical semester workload for tenured, tenure-track, and RTA faculty is 12 workload unit-hours for teaching, scholarship, and service. Supervision of student teaching is figured at one credit hour per student teacher; therefore the full-time load equivalent is 12 candidates. Program coordinators, special project directors, and others have reassigned time for administration.
Standard 6 Addendum Exhibit 3: Faculty Workload Template presents workload documentation for faculty.
8. Personnel: Clarify are graduate assistants used by the unit? If yes, how?
Graduate Assistants are typically used to support the operations of the offices. Clerical assistance to administrative assistants and faculty are the major responsibilities. We do not utilize graduate assistants to support instructional activities in the classrooms.
9. Personnel: Percentage of courses taught online, blended and traditional.
The majority of the courses are taught in traditional face-to-face situations. Occasionally, faculty members may use Blackboard technology to offer a class session during a semester but only a few classes are offered totally online. To date, we have only one program that is offered totally online and that is the MEd in Educational Technology.
10. Unit facilities: clarify statement “Our campus occupies 712 acres within 11 buildings.” What is used by the unit, variety, type?
We discovered an error in our report when we were developing the response to this request for clarification. Indeed our campus does occupy 712 acres, but we also house our programs and students in 111 buildings, NOT 11! As indicated in the IR, the College of Education was relocated to Memorial Hall (MH) in 2006. The relocation of many of the unit’s entities into Memorial Hall provided opportunities for the unit to review and enhance operations. For example, with guidance from the college Advisory Council, additional technology enhancements, such as the purchase of mobile computer labs and “smart board” technology were incorporated into the rooms in Memorial Hall. Our facilities in Memorial Hall reflect the entire range of instructional settings: large lecture classrooms, seminar rooms, meeting rooms, instructional labs, computer labs, science labs, library space, and common informal meeting rooms. Practice rooms, art studios, concert halls, playing fields, gymnasiums, and counseling rooms provide support to other programs in the unit and are located within close proximity of the faculty who teach in the licensure areas. Two recent additions to the athletic program facilities have been the completion of new softball and baseball fields and a major expansion to the football stadium. The newest addition to our growing and ever impressive physical facilities is the newly constructed Forbes Center for the Performing Arts, which opened Summer 2010. With a 175,000 sq. ft. footprint, the Forbes Center includes classroom, rehearsal, and office facilities. Construction continues and in spring 2012 a new Science building will be opened on the East campus to support our STEM areas.
11. Unit resources including technology: Clarify how resources are allocated within the unit – what criteria are used? What is the evidence related to fiscal resources across programs (unit budget)?
Responding to a need to coordinate and share information and advances related to the use of technology in teaching and learning, a newly organized Technology Committee was established within the college during the 2009-10 academic year. The COE Technology Committee (membership includes representatives from each academic unit, student representative, and technology support staff) meets monthly to discuss technology issues across the college. Discussions and actions of the group are focused toward operationalizing the Technology Plan (http://www.jmu.edu/coe/TechPlan.shtml).
With representatives from all departments and the ETMC, the goal of this committee is to support college and unit faculty in the implementation and modeling of educational technologies, recommend appropriate technology for faculty use, and offer professional development to faculty and staff. A major role that they play is in decision-making regarding technology purchases for the college and implementation of technology across the unit, when appropriate.
Budgeting for technology at James Madison comes from multiple sources. Education Technology Funds are made available through special funding from the Commonwealth and the university budget office allocates specific amounts to each college. Our annual allocation has remained steady at $30,000 for the past several years. Expenditures of the funds are restricted purchases over $500 and must be approved by SCHEV (State Council for Higher Education/Virginia). In addition, we have discretion with our operating budget to purchase computers, software, and other educational technology equipment. The Technology Committee plays a major role in making decisions regarding those expenditures.
Goal 3 of the technology plan specifically addresses the fiscal resources for technology needs across the college. The Technology Committee works closely with the Dean’s Office each year to compile a list of equipment needs in the college and compiles this list to submit each year to the Office of Budget Management at James Madison University. This central office then makes decisions about what funding is available for equipment purchases across campus. This process is focused primarily on equipment and does not cover software non-equipment needs.
It has been our experience that funding resources have not been adequate to meet the technology needs as we have outlined them through this process. The technology committee has been working to develop a technology budget that would more clearly outline the technology needs across the college. These discussions are on going with the hope that funding can improve to continue our integration of emerging technologies for learning.