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5b. Modeling Best Professional Practices in TeachiNG

5b.1.     Describe how the unit will ensure that professional education faculty teaching reflects the conceptual framework as well as current research and developments in the field.

The unit will ensure that professional education faculty teaching reflects the conceptual framework as well as current research and developments in the field through the systematic assessment of course evaluations completed by teacher candidates each semester and through the annual evaluation process, including the use of peer evaluations annually. The Unit’s conceptual framework forms the foundation for teaching by professional education faculty members.  All course syllabi have objectives linked to the conceptual framework and the PSC professional standards.  All course syllabi are reviewed each semester by the Division Chair for current research and development in the field before being submitted to the Vice President of Academic Operations.  Additionally, the Education Division Curriculum Committee meets twice a semester to review existing course syllabi for alignment of course outcomes with course assignments and evaluation measures, alignment with the Division conceptual framework and PSC content standards, and incorporation of current research and developments in the field.  The Curriculum Committee also reviews and approves all new course syllabi for these criteria prior to submitting them to the University Academic Council for approval.  Methods of instruction identified on course syllabi reveal proven methods of instruction such as alternative assessment, differentiated instruction, cooperative learning, and other research-based strategies are a part of each course.

 

5b.2.      Describe how the unit will ensure that professional education faculty teaching encourages the development of reflection, critical thinking, problem solving, and professional dispositions. 

The unit will ensure that professional education faculty’s instruction encourages the development of reflection, critical thinking, problem solving, and professional dispositionsthrough the systematic assessment of course evaluations completed by teacher candidates each semester and through the use of the annual evaluation process, including the use of peer evaluations. The Unit’s conceptual framework forms the foundation for teaching by professional education faculty members and the professional practices of reflection, critical thinking and problem solving, and professional dispositions are each articulated components of the framework. Syllabi are aligned with the conceptual framework and the University general education outcomes, which include the ability to think critically, discover information, foster community, and communicate effectively.  The philosophy inherent to the conceptual framework is that an important component in the process of developing expertise in one’s field is the capacity to engage in active and reflective inquiry into one’s practices.  All syllabi state the expectations for professional dispositions and faculty begin every course with a review of their importance and to ensure understanding by all candidates. Professional education faculty use a wide variety of instructional strategies to promote candidate learning, reflection, critical thinking, problem solving, and professional dispositions. A review of course syllabi reveals examples of collaborative learning, simulations, blogs, multimedia, reflection papers, portfolios, conference attendance and participation, case studies of PK-12 students and schools, web quests, graphic organizers, research reviews, problem solving, games, learning centers, diagnosis and remediation of learner’s achievement, and many others. 

 

5b.3.      Describe how the unit will ensure that professional education faculty teaching models expected instructional strategies and use of assessments.

The unit will ensure that professional education faculty model expected instructional strategies and use of assessmentsthrough the systematic assessment of course evaluations completed by candidates each semester and through the use of peer evaluations annually.As stated in the unit mission, unit faculty members are committed to excellence in teaching and learning as they continually engage in reflective practice and are committed to lifelong learning. Thomas University has at its core mission, teaching, and therefore the unit hires faculty who, first and foremost, are committed to modeling best professional practices in teaching. Faculty have an in-depth understanding of their field and are teacher scholars who integrate what is known about their content fields, teaching, and learning in their own instructional practices.

Syllabi for unit courses further document faculty emphasis on multiple approaches to teaching, and the use of assessment. Faculty incorporate a variety of sound pedagogical strategies including use of technology, microteaching, case studies, reflective discussions, simulations, research projects, and class presentations, flipped classrooms, to name just a few.  Unit faculty members use and model both formative instructional practices and summative assessment strategies in their courses, as well as using traditional and authentic assessments. Faculty members use multiple formats for assessment depending on class format; in-class, take home exams, online practice, online proctored). Methods of instruction and evaluation and assessment methods are clearly described on all course syllabi.

Hybrid and online classes must fully use the Blackboard course platform to create meaningful instruction, interaction between instructor and classmates, provide feedback on assignments, and utilize gradebook functions.  All faculty (full-time, part-time and adjunct) who teach hybrid and online classes are required to take and successfully pass an Online Teaching Proficiency Assessment.  

 

5b.4.      Describe how the unit will ensure that professional education faculty members incorporate technology into instruction.

The unit will ensure that professional education faculty members incorporate technology into instruction through the systematic assessment of course evaluations completed by teacher candidates each semester and through the use of the annual evaluation process, including peer evaluations.Faculty have multiple technology resources at their disposal for teaching and learning; many of these uses are mandated as part of the teaching and learning process for teacher candidates. All faculty members are required to use a Blackboard Learn course shell to provide course resources and communication for each course regardless of delivery mode.  Hybrid and online classes must fully use the Blackboard course platform to create meaningful instruction, interaction between instructor and classmates, provide feedback on assignments, and utilize gradebook functions.  All faculty (full-time, part-time and adjunct) who teach hybrid and online classes are required to take and successfully pass an Online Teaching Proficiency Assessment.  

The integration of technology into instruction by professional education faculty members takes place in every course.  Courses specify teaching and learning utilizing various technology tools (i.e., Smartboard technology, blogs, wikis, narrated PowerPoints, Camtasia); this is evident in course syllabi.  Other course assignments require demonstration of mastery of internet search skills and use of GALILEO and other scholarly databases; professors along with librarians provide instruction for these skills.  Modeling the use of instruction technology for students is a practice of all professional education faculty members.

Students and faculty are required to utilize their portal access to Hawklink (CAMS), TU’s fully-integrated internet-based student records system which enables online registration; student portal access to financial aid, billing, unofficial transcripts, and course Blackboard shells; faculty portal access to advisees’ student records for advising and to automated grade reporting.  All students and faculty are assigned Thomas University email accounts.  Every syllabus states that students are expected to use TU email as faculty, administrative and student services offices will communicate exclusively through this media for email.  Faculty are required to check TU email daily and expected to be adept with the features of Outlook for communication and calendars.

All Education faculty and teacher candidates must effectively utilize LiveText.  Faculty are required to record student assessment in the system and to use the system to evaluate student progress.   In addition, all faculty are expected to have competent skills using Microsoft Office suite programs; Word, PowerPoint, and Publisher are required in Education course assignments as evidenced in course syllabi. 

 

5b.5.      Describe how the unit will ensure that faculty members systematically engage in self-assessment of their own teaching.

Thomas University and the education division are committed to quality teaching, and faculty are regularly assessed through an evaluation of their teaching performance which includes student course evaluations and chair and/or peer evaluations. Strong student evaluations, availability to students, professional rapport with students, appropriate and rigorous course content, scholarly and current command of subject matter are all aspects of teaching excellence at Thomas University. Additionally, reflection on and fulfillment of goals for the previous academic year are part of the self-assessment process. The formal evaluation process requires faculty to annually submit a Reflective Self Profile demonstrating teaching effectiveness, scholarship/professional development, and service activities.  As part of the annual evaluation process, the faculty member identifies one to three goals in each area for the following academic year. The Division Chair and faculty member discuss the faculty member’s annual performance and ways in which ongoing reflection and growth of the faculty member’s teaching can be supported. Peer evaluation also provides a mechanism for stimulating self-reflection through conversations with a professional colleague during the pre-observation and post-observations exchanges.

Education that Engages... Empowers... TRANSFORMS

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