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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.

Although Thomas University faculty are a somewhat homogeneous group, our candidates are presented with the opportunity to interact with individuals from diverse ethnic, racial, and gender groups through various activities that occur in classrooms and university programs.  Thomas University is located in Thomasville, Georgia; a small city in Southwest Georgia, located just 35 miles north of Tallahassee, 45 miles west of Valdosta, GA, and 65 miles south of Albany, GA.  Being somewhat isolated from large metropolitan areas, Thomas University provides numerous opportunities for the teacher candidate to interact with professionals from diverse groups.  T.U. partners with the Thomasville Center for the Arts to provide dramatic presentations, art exhibits, and music programs to local school groups; in addition to bringing a plethora of diverse cultural experiences to the community. T.U. candidates are encouraged to attend the Fridays at Noon and the Sunday’s at 4:00 music programs offered by the T.U. Arts Division in collaboration with the Thomasville Center for the Arts. T.U. teacher candidates attend programs at the Cultural Center with their assigned classrooms.  Each presentation offers its own unique approach, including diverse performers and artists from around the region. All Thomas University students are encouraged to take advantage of the Center’s programs.

Division classes invite men and women of all ages from various racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds and experiences to speak with teacher candidates. Distinguished professors, authors, and illustrators, Creek and Cherokee tribal officials, a young autistic woman, and T.U. program completers in their first year of teaching have been among those providing enrichment to the teacher candidate’s experience with diverse peoples.  The guest speakers provide insight into a myriad of issues in education today, and help them to understand the value of culturally-responsive teaching. 

Classroom field placements are carefully made to offer  the teacher candidate an opportunity to be mentored by highly qualified teachers from diverse backgrounds and varied ages and, when possible, from a minority group. The classroom placements reflect the composition of our schools and region.  Classroom placements provide experience for teaching in inclusion classrooms, helping the teacher candidate respect and value all students, and develop the disposition that all PK-12 students can learn.  The unit works with our partner schools and district administrators to provide placements and opportunities for the teacher candidate to interact with faculty from diverse groups.

While in the program, the teacher candidate is required to attend at least one local, district, state or national level conference, such as GAE or NAE; or a district level workshop in order to interact as a professional and to learn about education issues, laws, and initiatives from state and national educational leaders of diverse backgrounds.  Students who are unable to attend a conference for extenuating personal reasons are provided a series of recordings from various educational conferences to watch and reflect on to meet this requirement.

4b.2.      Describe the knowledge and experiences expected of faculty related to preparing candidates to work with students from diverse groups.

Faculty in the Division of Education and Division of Arts & Sciences bring their knowledge and experiences of diverse school settings and students to each course they teach.  Faculty members are eager to share their knowledge and background experience to enrich and prepare the teacher candidate to work with students from diverse groups. Faculty member in both units have either a Masters or Doctorate degree in their area of specialization.

Faculty who teach  the teacher candidate are provided workshop opportunities to become knowledgeable about the GA Professional and Program Standards that must be addressed by every course offered to the teacher candidate.  Faculty in the Division of Arts & Sciences and Education work together to align all required and specialization course syllabi with the GA Professional and Program Standards.

Division faculty have diverse experiences with the educational system, from the classroom to school administration and district administration level.  Division faculty have earned certificates and endorsements in exceptional learners, gifted education, reading, and administration; each having recent experiences, or currently working, with the appropriate grade levels or specializations.

 

 

4b.3.      Describe the demographics of faculty who will work with education candidates.

 

 

Table 6

Faculty Demographics

 

 

Prof. Ed. Faculty Who Teach Only in Initial Teacher Preparation Programs

n (%)

Prof. Ed. Faculty Who Teach Only in Advanced Programs

n (%)

Prof. Ed. Faculty Who Teach in Both Initial Teacher

Preparation & Advanced

Programs

n (%)

All Faculty in the Institution / Agency

n (%)

School- based faculty

n (%) (of partner school counties)

American Indian or Alaska Native

1 (6%)

0

1 (7%)

2 (1.7%)

0

Asian

0

0

0

2 (1.7%)

0

Black or African American

 

 

1(6%)

0

1(7%)

5 (4.2%)

13%

Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific

Islander

0

0

0

0

0

Hispanic / Latino of any race

0

0

0

0

1%

White

 

13 (82%)

0

13 (86%)

100 (84.7%)

85%

Two or more races

1 (6%)

0

0

1 (.8% )

0

Total

16 (100%)

0

15 (100%)

118 (100%)

100%

Female

13 (81%)

0

10 (67%)

71 (60%)

83%

Male

3 (20%)

0

5 (33%)

47 (40%)

17%

Total

16 (100%)

0

15 (100%)

118 (100%)

100%

 

 

4b.4.      Describe efforts the institution/agency will make to recruit and retain diverse faculty.

Thomas University (T.U.) seeks out 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 T.U. 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 Thomas University.  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 our 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. 

 

 

 

 

 

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