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.

Design, implementation, and evaluation of curriculum and experiences.

WCE faculty is acutely aware of the changing demographics of the population of students in schools. The faculty is committed to the continual revision of programs to enhance candidate understanding of diversity, and the need for culturally responsive practice to work effectively with all students. In 2009 all programs were revised to expand field experiences and course content to facilitate the preparation of candidate dispositions and skills in working with diverse populations.

To ensure candidate proficiency, the WCE has an active Diversity Committee. The committee assists in the development of resources and enhancement of diversity initiatives in WCE. The Diversity Committee Mission statement includes the following ‘WCE is committed to preparing educators in content, pedagogy, and dispositions to meet the needs of all learners’ (4.4.i.7). This strong belief in meeting the needs of all students lead to the development of the WCE Professional Dispositions for Teacher Candidates to monitor candidate growth and disposition towards diverse students. Since spring 2011 the assessment tool has been implemented in a variety of ways to meet the needs of the programs. For example, in elementary education a continuum was developed for student self-assessment at the beginning, mid and end-point of the program (3.4.e.1). In the secondary program the students use a checklist format throughout the program (3.4.e.2). There are four categories in the assessment tool with stated criteria, including Category 3; Commitment as an Educator to the Success of all Students. Two of the eight criteria in this category are specific to the preparation of candidates to work effectively with all students:

The Professional Dispositions Self-Assessment also is used by faculty to meet with candidates when any dispositional issues arise; thus it is used for awareness development, as a formative reflective tool, and for evaluation.

In initial programs core courses prepare candidates to teach successfully all students in a variety of ways. For example, EDN 200: Teacher, School, and Society, a prerequisite for admission to WCE, requires candidates to examine the influence of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, socio-economic status, and aspects of culture on the candidates development as teachers. Aligned with this course is EDNL 200: Field Studies, in which candidates observe and reflect on the diversity of learners in local schools or agencies. For example, in the spring semester 2013 semester candidates participated at D.C.Virgo Preparatory Academy, a diverse context, to support the development of sociocultural awareness. Candidates also participate in a Poverty Simulation, keep a reflective journal, and engage in final presentations. Similarly in the Education of the Young Child program EDN 204: Introduction to Early Childhood Education, topics include role of ethnicity and culture in development and learning; the development of culturally and linguistically diverse children; building partnerships with diverse families; representing diversity in the classroom; meeting specialized learning needs.

The core content of course materials emphasizes the concept of diversity from a variety of perspectives including group and individual differences, cultural and social influences on learning, and developmental differences. Although there are specific courses in the programs designed to address issues of diversity, WCE faculty recognize the importance of continued discussions and experiences to deepen understanding over time and with a variety of perspectives (4.4.b.1). An example of the Diversity issues infusion throughout programs is evident in the design of the EYC program (4.4.b.2). Similarly, all initial and advanced programs focus upon meeting the needs of all students through a variety of experiences, and projects to meet the NCDPI standards (1.4.a.2-28).

In the next phase of initial licensure candidates engage in methods content courses with continued field experiences. They build on concepts and experiences, gained from their core courses, and design and implement lesson plans which address the diverse learner. Candidates are assessed in these areas through observations and lesson plan analysis within courses. In all initial programs the core and methods courses are sequenced to develop candidates’ knowledge, skills, and dispositions so that they will be prepared to effectively teach diverse students in a variety of settings and positively impact the learning of all students. 

At the conclusion of clinical practice NCDPI requires the evaluation tool, Certification of Teaching Capacity, for initial licensure candidates. However, faculty in WCE desired to monitor how candidates effectively worked with all students throughout the clinical practice. The Director of Professional Experiences in collaboration with clinical supervisors constructed a formative evaluation tool used by classroom teacher and university mentors (2011). The Intern Performance Scale, has 5 categories, and a 4 point rating scale: Inadequate (1), Emerging (2), Developed (3), and Accomplished (4) (3.4.e.16). Clinical practice supervisors complete the Internship Performance Scale for candidates at midterm and final evaluation. In fall 2012-spring 2013, data from both semesters were combined and diversity proficiencies are summarized for all initial teacher preparation programs at the final evaluation (4.4.a.4).

In the category Instruction of the Certification of Capacity, 2b: Teachers embrace diversity in the school community and in the world:

In the Category Instruction 4c: Teachers use a variety of instructional methods.

Monitoring the candidates throughout their clinical experience is essential and results show candidate proficiency in meeting the needs of all their students. Furthermore, all candidate program completers in 2012-2013 rated MET on the NC DPI Certification of Teaching Capacity in the category: Teachers embrace diversity in the school community and in the world, and Uses a variety of appropriate methods and materials to meet the needs of all students. Candidates also complete the Evidence 5: Analysis of Positive Impact on Student Learning as part of the required Folio for licensure with NCDPI (1.4.g.2).

The final exit survey completed by candidates provides evidence of their perceived ability to meet needs of all students. For example, in Education of Young Children, Elementary Education, Middle Grades, and Special Education, 91% of candidates agree, or strongly agree that they were prepared to meet the needs of diverse learners. In the Secondary Undergraduate program 88% of candidates thought they had developed skills in teaching strategies for diverse learners. In the Secondary MAT100% of candidates rated agree or strongly agree they were prepared to meet the needs of diverse learners and special needs students. The candidates also reported specific examples of work with students in schools and how they met student needs (4.4.c.2).

In the design and implementation of the advanced programs courses specifically address the needs of diverse learners; such as EDN 512: Teaching Diverse Learners in the M.Ed. Elementary Education Program. The Ed.D.in Educational Leadership has two strands Curriculum Instruction or Educational Administration and both include courses that examine the context of schooling to better support all learners.

Exit surveys are completed by candidates in advanced programs and show evidence of their preparation to student needs. For example, in the M.Ed. Language and Literacy Program candidates are required in EDN 589: Assessment in Language and Literacy to tutor a child from a culture/ethnicity other than their own which enhances their ability to meet the needs of all learners. In response to the statement, “Because of my program of study I am confident in my ability to meet needs of all learners,” 37.5% indicated that they agree, and 62.5% strongly agree in response to the statement (4.4.a.2). Similarly, MSA Program candidates responded 33.3% agree and 33.3% strongly agree that they are prepared to continually use observation and assessment to analyze learners and adjust conditions to meet the needs of P-12 learners. The same survey administered to the Educational Leadership candidates confirmed that 62.5% of candidates agree and 12.5% candidates strongly agree that they are prepared to meet the needs of all learners.

In spring 2013, the WCE Assessment Office administered the Employer Feedback Survey to employers of our alumni who graduated 1, 3, 5, and 7 years ago. The purpose of the survey is to gain employer input of our graduates’ proficiencies related to the Conceptual Framework of WCE. The following are aggregate results, related to the category Value diversity in teaching and learning, 62.8% of employers’ agreed and 27.9% strongly agreed that candidates are prepared and value diversity (4.4.a.5). Also in In Spring 2013 the WCE Assessment Office administered a survey to alumni who graduated one, three, five, and seven years ago. In response to the one of the statements related to their respective program 51.2% agreed and 20.4 strongly agreed that they were provided sufficient opportunities to work with diverse communities (4.4.a.1).

4.2b 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 through continuous improvement as articulated in this standard
The WCE is committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse faculty and adheres to the UNCW hiring policy on diversity (4.4.g.). Diverse faculty also is a priority in the WCE Diversity Goals (2009) (4.4.g.8). WCE has made efforts to broaden the applicant pool by accessing venues that have minority populations: for example, the National Association of Multicultural Education conference. Since 2006, with concentrated efforts from the Dean and faculty, the WCE has increased the number of full-time minority faculty from nine to sixteen out of 75 full-time faculty including administrators (4.4.d.1).

In addition to racial diversity, faculty have international heritage and/or have worked in international contexts. International faculty members have come from Iran, Taiwan, Turkey, United Kingdom, India, Chile, and Kenya. The WCE faculty believes that experiencing different cultures internationally and in the U.S. provides an opportunity to further develop cultural sensitivity essential when expanding candidate understanding of diversity and global issues. WCE’s commitment to global perspectives and international experiences resulted in the creation of the position of International Program Coordinator in 2008. As a result to further extend our students’ global awareness several professors accompany WCE candidates on one or more of the international programs offered. Faculty commitment to deepening their own understanding of diversity and global issues have led to changes in programs such as in spring 2013, 21 candidates and 7 faculty members worked together in schools and community in Belize (4.4.b.3).  Also, faculty members who teach the professional education courses have extensive knowledge teaching and conducting research in diverse contexts. Therefore they are acutely aware of the needs of P-12 schools.

The WCE plays a strong role in the addressing the diversity goals of UNCW. The Associate Provost for Institutional Diversity’s faculty affiliation was with the WCE, the Director of Centro Hispano is an alumnus of the Ed. D. Program, and the Chair of the UNCW Chancellors Diversity Council is a member of WCE faculty member. These individuals and their offices are active in recruiting minority students and faculty.

Due to the ongoing efforts within WCE to hire diverse faculty with experiences in diverse contexts, candidates have instruction from male and female faculty, faculty from two or more ethnic /racial groups, and faculty with diverse international experiences.

Efforts to attract minority candidates into teaching are done in good faith and in partnership with the UNCW Admissions Office. A teacher recruiter was hired in 2008, and works with the region’s Teacher Cadet Programs to recruit underrepresented populations. The Teacher Cadets visit the UNCW campus and are given opportunities to interact with WCE faculty and students.  In November 2012, the WCE hosted a Teacher Cadet Day, the day which included presentations by faculty and the North Carolina Teacher of the Year, information on college admissions, and a campus tour. Also the WCE recruiter spends two days per month at the local community college recruiting prospective transfer students. Other efforts include a partnership with Isaac Bear Early College (21% minority) to recruit high-achieving, diverse public school students.  

WCE has conventional and distance education programs that attract candidates from rural North Carolina, Camp Lejeune/Jacksonville area and beyond. Therefore candidates have the opportunity to interact with peers from varying socio-economic and diverse groups. Efforts are made by WCE to ensure that the diversity of the candidate population continues to increase, which is commensurate with the efforts of UNCW (4.4.e.1; 4.4.e.2.). WCE also has a population of International students who take courses in WCE, and campus programs provide candidates with many opportunities to enhance their understanding of diversity.

The WCE candidates in distance and conventional programs have experiences with a diverse population of P-12 students from varying socio-cultural groups, and at least two ethnic groups. As discussed in Standard 3, PDS schools in which clinical experiences occur have a diverse population (4.4.f.1). The demographic school data is maintained in the WCE Portal, and the Office of Professional Experiences monitors all field and clinical practice placements to ensure candidates have experiences with diverse students (4.4.f.2; 4.4.f.3). Based on the NC report card data of more than 30% free and reduced lunch, analysis of the 112 candidates in fall 2012 shows that 108 teacher candidates (96%) had at least one diverse placement in their field experiences and 95 of 112 (84%) had 2 or more placements in a diverse setting. In spring 2013, of the 236 candidates 228 teacher candidates (96%) had at least one diverse placement in their field experiences and 194 of 236 (82%) had 2 or more placements in a diverse setting (3.4.b.12; 3.4.b.22). Of the MSA Principal Intern Placements for fall 2012–spring 2013, 95% of those placements were in schools with 30% or greater free/reduced lunches contributing to the diversity of the experience (3.4.b.23).

Other opportunities also provide an emphasis on working with a diverse student population. For example, 27 candidates participate in the add-on ELL licensure project (ELMS) and work with diverse students throughout their program. All initial licensure candidates have a course with a field experience that requires working with special needs students. WCE continues to expand the international experiences for our candidates to experience other cultures and understand global issues. For example candidates from any program can intern for 5 weeks at the American Creativity Academy in Kuwait following the completion of their US clinical practice and have the opportunity to teach in a class of ELL. A summer program provides an experience in Costa Rica where candidates are immersed in a language other than their own and experience being a second language learner. In the Educational Leadership program both the Administration and the Curriculum and Instruction strands require an international clinical practice. (4.4.b.3)

Locally, candidates can also engage in a variety of experiences within programs that are coordinated by faculty and are designed to support minority and special needs students. Examples include the Columbus County Summer Project during which candidates tutor middle school students from rural settings; The Junior Seahawk Camp which brings under-represented middle school students to campus to learn more about math, science and technology; and Hillcrest Reading Program, where candidates provide tutoring to reduce the achievement gap between under-served populations in New Hanover County. Candidates also can access the Assistive Technology Demonstration and Lending Site which is a model facility with new and innovative materials and equipment that focuses on persons with disabilities (4.4.i.1-5).

Based on data from exit surveys, employer data, and clinical practice supervisor evaluation for initial and advanced programs WCE faculty continue to broaden experiences and opportunities for candidates to increase their understanding of diversity and the need to address the learning of all students (4.4.a.1-5). For example, the Elementary Education Program continues to infuse diversity throughout the program but also plans to develop a course for spring 2014 specifically addressing diverse student needs.

UNCW revised University Studies in 2011 and now all students must have successfully participated in courses related to Living in a Diverse Nation and Living in a Global Society. In addition, UNCW now has a strong commitment to service learning and community outreach. By completing course requirements and engaging in service learning candidates come to the WCE with coursework and experiences that support the WCE conceptual framework.

In 2012-13 new initiatives on diversity were begun including a film festival. The festival featured three films dealing with teacher preparation, working with diverse students, and bullying, were followed by a panel discussion. A Public Speaker Series was initiated in 2013, Sonia Nieto presented ‘Finding Joy in Teaching Students of Diverse Backgrounds,’ which provided a positive perspective to teaching all students. The series continues in fall 2014 with Lisa Delpit as the guest speaker. WCE has an Outreach Liaison who develops panel presentations by community members from local agencies that support diversity initiatives and candidates attend the sessions as part of course requirements. Recently, WCE became part of a consortium of NC institutions examining ways to internationalize teacher education, and diverse experiences in teacher education. Efforts also are being implemented by the WCE Diversity Committee to provide resources to attract diverse candidates including a scholarship program for underrepresented minorities WCE is working with the University Advancement Office to secure funding for the program. 

In conclusion, experiences of faculty in both diversity and global understanding continue to sustain current initiatives and enhance experiences for candidates. Continual revision of courses and programs, maintaining research, and developing projects with candidates in diverse contexts is essential. The WCE faculty and staff strive to ensure that all teacher candidates are prepared to teach a diverse student population from multicultural and global perspectives. The curriculum and clinical experiences support the conceptual framework that emphasizes developing knowledgeable and proficient education professionals dedicated to improving schools and society.

 



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