4b. Experiences Working with Diverse Faculty
4b.1. Describe the proposed opportunities for candidates (including candidates at off campus sites and or in distant learning preparation programs) to interact with higher education and /or school based faculty from diverse groups.
Candidates in the proposed advanced degree programs will have the opportunity to interact with diverse faculty with respect to gender, race, ethnicity, age, religious affiliation, and sexual orientation. The current full-time faculty lacks diversity with respect to gender and race/ethnicity, but is committed to increasing the number of minority faculty. All efforts will continue within the Division of Education to recruit, hire, and retain a diverse faculty. The recent efforts by our partner, KTA, to assist us in the recruitment of qualified adjunct faculty from each of the targeted satellite areas has proven successful. This effort produced a pool of twenty-two adjunct applications with the following credentials: 20% Male, 80% Female; 30% AA, 60% W, 10% Other, 40 % Doctorate, 60 % Ed.S.; 18 - average years teaching/administrative experience. This effort also provides a pool of potential full-time faculty candidates with diverse characteristics and experiences across Georgia schools.
4b.2. Describe the knowledge and experiences expected of faculty related to preparing candidates to work with students from diverse groups.
Full, part-time, and adjunct faculty in the Division of Education bring their knowledge and experiences of diverse school settings and students to each course they teach. The knowledge and experiences which undergird the faculty’s ability to prepare candidates to work with students from diverse groups is grounded in their own experience as PK-12 teachers in diverse schools. Division faculty have diverse experiences with the educational system, from the classroom to school and district-level administration. Division faculty have earned certificates and endorsements in exceptional learners, gifted education, reading, and administration; each having recent experiences, or are currently working with the appropriate grade levels or specializations across a wide range of diverse school settings. As a result faculty members stand eager to share their knowledge and background experience to enrich and prepare the candidates to work with students from diverse groups.
Thomas University requires Division of Education faculty to be experienced educators with documented years of excellence in their teaching career and to hold a Masters or Doctorate degree. Faculty members identified to teach in the proposed programs have either a Doctorate or Ed.S. degree. Those without terminal degrees have rich experiential backgrounds as teachers and administrators in the PK-12 partner school systems and have demonstrated competency for their Thomas University assignments.
Division faculty are held to the same professional dispositions as the candidate. Respect for fairness and belief that all students can learn is modeled by faculty. Division faculty are expected to maintain a positive and supportive learning environment for all individuals, and prepare developmentally appropriate interventions, as needed. Division faculty are expected to promote the value and significance of diversity and social justice, including advocating for the diverse populations with whom we work.
4b.3. Describe the demographics of faculty who will work with education candidates.
The Faculty Demographics table provides details regarding the diversity composition of the faculty who work with education candidates.
4b.4. Describe efforts the institution/agency will make to recruit and retain diverse faculty.
Thomas University (TU) seeks faculty members who demonstrate the diverse representation of the most highly qualified educators in their field of expertise. Advertisements for positions are posted as a matter of practice in the Chronicle of Higher Education, HigherEdJobs.com, on the TU website, and in regional newspapers. To enhance recruitment of diverse faculty, we pay an additional cost with all position listings in HigherEdJobs.com to be included in their Affirmative Action listing as well, which is sent weekly to 171,004 job seekers and features job postings from colleges and universities that are actively recruiting candidates in accordance with affirmative action or diversity plans. Retention of faculty is encouraged by the supportive atmosphere of the administration, collegial peer relationships across disciplines and with staff, an expectation of participation in the shared governance model, conscious fostering of a community of caring for all members of the campus community, and openness and encouragement of new ideas and diverse approaches to the work of the institution. All full-time faculty participate in a New Faculty Orientation and receive mentoring support specific to the assignments they are given in their first year at TU. The administration encourages and financially supports professional development opportunities and the faculty’s diverse professional interests. Campus events and student activities are respectful and/or celebrate the diversity of students, faculty, and staff in terms of ethnicity, heritage, religion, and sexual orientation. The University’s Diversity Statement (approved by the Board of Trustees and printed in the catalog) extends the expression of our non-discrimination policy to specifically value diversity in our campus community.
The President and Provost make an increase in the salary pool an annual priority for approval by the Board of Trustees as the next year’s budget is considered. The University offers generous health benefits, including major medical, dental, and vision insurance, life insurance, long term disability, and retirement plans. Initial salaries are competitive within the region and show consideration for attracting diverse candidates in particular as budgets allow.