6a. Unit Leadership and Authority
6a.1. Describe how the unit will manage or coordinate the planning, delivery, and operation of all programs for the preparation of educators.
The Division of Education is the unit responsible for all educator preparation programs at Thomas University. The Division of Education has the authority to oversee all teacher education licensure programs, with input and advice from its internal and external committees. The unit provides leadership for all educator preparation programs, including coordination of accreditation and state program approval activities and oversight of curriculum and policies. The Division of Education chair reports directly to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Education faculty members are under the leadership of the Division of Education Chairperson. The chair of the Division of Education is the unit head and is assisted by the full-time Field Experience and Assessment Coordinator and a full-time administrative assistant dedicated to the division. The chair oversees the development and direction of the university’s educator preparation programs.
The Division’s Administrative Council meets monthly and serves as the division’s leadership team. The division’s Administrative Council consists of the three program coordinators (ECE, MGE/SEC and Graduate). The duties and responsibilities of the Administrative Council involve establishing, reviewing, and implementing policies and procedures impacting the division The Administrative Council addresses broad issues and problems impacting the entire division such as: faculty issues (assignment of responsibilities, annual evaluation, promotion, merit); curriculum and class scheduling; student recruitment, advisement, retention, and testing; adjunct faculty recruitment, training, supervision, and retention; instructional equipment and facilities; special projects; and alumni relations. Issues may be referred to the Administrative Council by the division chair, a Program Coordinator, or a student, faculty, staff member, or alumni of the division.
Specifically, the Administrative Council has responsibility for reviewing and giving final approval for policy recommendations (curriculum proposals, budget) made by individual programs. The purpose of this procedure is to allow the Administrative Council to determine if a policy recommendation negatively affects the division and/or the other two programs, either financially or programmatically. If an action item only involves one program, approval rests with the Administrative Council. If the item affects more than one program, the Administrative Council then refers it to the Faculty Council with a recommendation. If the Administrative Council or Faculty Council generates a proposal or action item that impacts one or more programs, it is referred to the programs for review and approval. A single member of the Administrative Council can request to refer a policy recommendation to the Faculty Council.
The Faculty Council meets monthly and is comprised of all faculty members with a 100% assignment in the Division. The Faculty Council is responsible for policy decisions that impact faculty (assignment of responsibilities, faculty development) and other policies that affect the entire division. An additional priority of Faculty Council is to discuss candidate progress and to analyze data and make decisions regarding program improvement. Data-driven decisions and research-based practices are the foundation for our program enhancements and improvements. Additionally, Faculty Council hears and makes decisions regarding all teacher candidate petitions and appeals. The division chair is responsible for scheduling faculty meetings, establishing the agenda, conducting the meetings, making the arrangements for meeting minutes, and distributing the minutes of the meetings.
6a.2. Describe the unit's proposed recruiting and admissions policies. Describe how the unit will ensure that they are clearly and consistently described in publications and catalogues.
The unit’s recruiting efforts are led by the Admissions Office and include visits to high schools and to two-year colleges with AA degree programs in education, giving program information to paraprofessional staff within PK-12 systems, and individual meetings with prospective candidates. Program descriptions, admissions and program requirements are available on the T.U. webpage and in printed brochures sent to prospective students.
Admittance to the certification programs in Early Childhood, Middle Grades, Secondary English, and Secondary Math requires completion of the lower division core curriculum or an AA degree. A transfer candidate without an AA must meet the lower division requirements by completing any missing core curriculum courses or by meeting course requirements with equivalent transfer credits. Admissions standards for transfer students and for the acceptance of transfer credit are described in the T.U. Catalog. Post-baccalaureate programs for Middle Grades, Secondary English, and Secondary Math require the candidate to have a bachelor’s degree.
Requirements for admissions are outlined in the Admissions Requirements Checklist for Thomas University Division of Education. One of the final steps in the admissions process, the interview, is evaluated by the Faculty Council using the Interview Assessment Form. The teacher candidate progression sheets(ECE, MGE, SEC English, SEC Math, MGE Post Baccalaureate, SEC English Post Baccalaureate, SEC Math Post Baccalaureate) guide consistent academic advising each semester.
The Education admissions requirements are delineated and kept updated in the T.U. Catalog, on the division’s webpage and in its handbook, also located on the webpage. Admission requirements are covered in EDU 200 Introduction to the Teaching Profession. Interview dates are set in advance and announced on the division’s webpage.
The division chair keeps the admissions staff apprised of updated policy and program information. The admissions office accepts students to the university based on general admission criteria and informs students of the need to be specifically admitted to the education programs based on its published criteria and process administered by the division. Candidates are notified of acceptance into the program by a letter of admission from the division.
6a.3. Describe how the unit will ensure that its academic calendars, catalogues, publications, grading policies, and advertising remain accurate and current.
The university’s Academic Council made up of the Academic Administration, all division chairs and program representatives, the Registrar, and Director of the Library establishes the academic calendar at least six months in advance of the next academic year. All divisions within the university use this calendar to inform their divisional calendars, strategic and operational planning, and course scheduling.
Any admissions policies or program requirements approved by the unit’s Administrative Council and Faculty Council are taken to the university’s Academic Council. This body is responsible for final approval of any policy or program recommendation, including grading policies, to maintain consistency and rigor across the institution. Once approved, policy and program requirement changes are published in the TU Catalog (posted in a web version on the T.U. website) and on the division’s webpage on the website.
All undergraduate and graduate courses must adhere to the university’s approved grading scale. Teacher candidates’ progress is governed by university-wide academic progress policies as well as by division policies. The grading scale and academic progress policies are published in the catalog and division policies in the sources noted in the paragraph above.
The Office of Academic Affairs is responsible for maintaining an accurate and up-to-date university catalog, incorporating all items approved by Academic Council. Each academic division through its respective division chair is required on an annual basis to review and revise their particular section of the academic catalog as well as the same information on the university website.
In consultation with and approved by the division chair, division
publications for recruiting and advertising are updated annually, or sooner if
changes mandate it, by the admissions office.
6a.4. Describe how the unit will ensure that candidates have access to student services such as advising and counseling.
All teacher candidates are assigned academic advisors who are full-time faculty members in the Education Division. The advisor’s primary role is to assist students in enrolling for courses that lead to the timely completion of the degree program; however, in many cases advisors also mentor candidates with academic or personal issues. Quality academic advising is a required aspect of performance for every faculty member and advisor training is regularly provided by the Office of Academic Affairs. Academic support is available through the following student services: Academic Resource Center (ARC) which provides group and individual tutoring on-campus and online via email and web-conferencing, primarily for math, writing, and research support, for all T.U. students; Student Support Services (SSS) which provides academic tutoring services and mentoring through the federally-funded TRiO grant for first-generation, low-income, and/or disabled students; the Thomas University Library provides individual assistance for reference, research, and information projects, as well as assisting classes in person or via a course Blackboard shell. Accommodations for students with disabilities are provided by the Office of Disabilities Service and information about receiving disabilities services is included on all university syllabi; this included accommodations for access as well as for learning support. Thomas University provides free counseling services for students by referral in coordination with the Archbold Medical Center Student Assistance Program.
6a.5. Describe how members of the professional community will participate in program design, implementation, and evaluation. In what ways have members of the professional community participated in program design?
The unit’s Administrative Council has worked with its Faculty Council, Program Coordinators, Advisory Committee, Field Experience Committee, Admissions/Advising Committee, and Education Curriculum Committee to design the Early Childhood, Middle Grades, Middle Grades Post Baccalaureate, Secondary Education and Secondary Post Baccalaureate programs. These committees participate in continuous review of the program design, implementation and evaluation of the program. Unit faculty serve on committees in the division, as well as on the advisory committee with administrators and faculty members from the unit’s partner schools. These committees are charged with the responsibility of making policy decisions or programmatic decisions that impact the design, delivery, and evaluation of the program.
The unit’s Administrative Council, Faculty Council, and Program Coordinators have recently worked collaboratively with the Advisory Committee to design the clinical teacher program. Partner school faculty and administrators are members of the Advisory Committee and participants in the clinical teacher program. The unit incorporates the feedback from the advisory committee and the clinical teacher program, as well as data from teachers and principals on the Division’s key assessments to design the field experiences and to determine the methods and content courses the teacher candidate is required to take. The Advisory Committee reviews data from the key assessments and makes recommendations to the Administrative Council regarding program design.
The mentor teacher observes and evaluates the teacher candidate during the field and clinical experiences using the Field Experience/Student Teaching Midterm/Final Summative Assessment and the Mentor Teacher Survey of Teacher Candidate to document teacher candidate performance. Principals complete the New Teacher Hire Survey to inform the unit of the recent graduate’s proficiency in the classroom during the first year of employment. The data from key assessments are entered into LiveText to be analyzed for the purpose of determining program needs. The Advisory Committee reviews data reports from LiveText on key assessments, as provided by the Assessment Review Committee, and makes recommendations indicated by the data.
The Advisory Committee reviews the data from the LiveText reports on teacher candidate performance, as provided by the Assessment Review Committee, and makes recommendations to the Administrative Council for program improvements.
6a.6. Describe how the unit will facilitate collaboration with other academic units involved in the preparation of professional educators.
The unit collaborates with the Division of Arts & Sciences to provide the content knowledge required for the teacher candidate to be successful in the classroom. Members of the Division of Arts & Sciences sit on the Advisory Committee with unit faculty and partner school faculty and administrators. The Advisory Committee reviews the data reports from: a) LiveText for the key assessments, b) GACE score reports, d) grades, and e) GPA data, as provided by the Assessment Review Committee, and makes recommendations about program improvements.
The Education Curriculum Committee considers programmatic changes based on student performance data and legislative changes. In addition, they review new course proposals and annually review course syllabi. They discuss trends from the GACE score reports each semester to identify program needs. The Education Curriculum Committee reviews course syllabi annually to identify areas of need regarding the teacher candidate’s content knowledge. By analyzing GACE score reports and course syllabi, the unit faculty determines that changes to current content courses and new content courses will provide more content knowledge for the teacher candidate. The Arts & Science faculty have worked with the unit faculty to align the courses taken be the teacher candidate with the GA Professional and Program Standards.