6c.1. Describe the workload policies for the institution/agency and the professional education unit, including the proposed number of professional education faculty and their projected workloads (e.g., hours of teaching, advising of candidates, supervising student teachers).
The full-time teaching load across the university is normally defined as twelve credit hours per semester for two semesters per regular academic year for full-time faculty. Faculty members who do not meet the minimum load may be assigned other duties, to include Directed Independent Study students, Division or institutional projects, or other responsibilities as their expertise and the university’s needs may dictate. Full-time faculty members are afforded optional teaching opportunities during the summer semester, including work with summer camps, seminars, etc. These duties are not considered part of a faculty member’s regular load, and are compensated at the highest level of adjunct rates.
In addition to instruction, academic advising is a major responsibility of faculty. Care is taken to distribute numbers of advisees as equitably as possible. As individual overloads become apparent, additional faculty members are trained and assigned advisees. The teaching load is assigned by the Division Chair and approved by the Vice President of Academic Affairs and will usually include both day classes and evening classes. Overload courses (normally limited to one per semester), are compensated at the highest level of adjunct rates, providing the faculty member has met all other load requirements for the semester.
Additionally, it is the duty of each member to take an active part in the life of the University. Faculty are to participate in Faculty Senate, serve on Division and university committees, and be available on campus for meetings with students and colleagues.
All faculty in the Division of Education teach in the initial certification programs, which are highly clinically-based. While these are time-intensive teaching requirements, the faculty annual evaluation process supports and rewards these types of university-school engagement activities. Additionally, the most intensive clinical school experiences are supported with a 5:1 student/faculty ratio.
The Division of Education is supported by the faculty appointment of the Division Chair of Education contracted for primarily administrative duties, teaching only one course per semester with three-quarters load for administration of the Division; six faculty lines with a full teaching load (two currently vacant); a Coordinator of Placements and Partnerships (part-time position), a Coordinator of Assessment and Accreditation (1/4 release), and a twelve month, full-time Administrative Assistant to the Division of Education, who supports the work of the Division Chair, the Coordinator of Placements and Partnerships, and the Coordinator of Assessment and Accreditation. Adjunct faculty are contracted on a per-course basis and on a per student basis for clinical supervision of Student Teachers.
6c.2. Describe the extent to which the proposed workloads and class sizes will allow faculty to effectively engage in teaching, scholarship, and service (including time for such responsibilities as candidate advisement, developing assessments, preparing for online courses, work in P-12 schools, independent study, research, administrative duties, and dissertation advisement).
Faculty workloads enable faculty to effectively be involved in teaching, advising, scholarship, and service. Teaching twelve credits per semester is considered a typical load at teaching-centered universities. The Division Chair takes care to create teaching schedules that enable faculty to set office/campus hours convenient to students, advisees, and for meetings with colleagues.
Scholarship and professional development are required activities at Thomas University, however the focus is on the Scholarship of Teaching, as defined by Ernest Boyer, encouraging faculty to integrate scholarly practice with teaching, to be current in their discipline and in pedagogy. Creation of new teaching materials for the physical or online classroom, of Division assessment instruments, and accreditation documentation are part of the work of improving teaching and learning. If a faculty member is asked to assume a particularly large assignment or new initiative, he/she is given assigned time within his/her load or an overload stipend.
Class sizes are limited to enable attention to individual students’ learning and development as teacher candidates. Course enrollment is capped at 20 students. The university is committed to running even smaller sections, if they are necessary, for students’ timely progression through the program.
The university keeps two periods free of scheduled classes on Mondays and Wednesdays as the reserved time for Division and University committee meetings. The committee schedule is posted at the beginning of the academic year to enable planning and time management. Furthermore, the University has structured the class schedule predominantly on Mondays through Thursdays so that Fridays can be reserved for scholarship, special meetings, and other forms of service.
6c.3. Describe how the unit will ensure that the use of part-time faculty will contribute to the integrity, coherence, and quality of the unit and its programs.
Part-time/adjunct faculty are carefully screened by the Chair of the Division of Education and the Executive Vice President of Academic Operations for appropriate credentials, teaching experience, and understanding of Thomas University’s learner-centered ethos. Part-time/adjunct faculty are valuable members of the Division’s instructional team. Many part time/adjunct faculty in the Division of Education are experienced Pk-12 school partners, most currently practicing in roles as teacher, principal, and district administrator. Their academic credentials and recency of experience provide the Division with faculty members who not only contribute to the integrity, coherence, and quality of the unit’s programs, but provide valuable feedback to the unit for ongoing program improvement.
The University provides adjunct faculty orientation to their role, the curriculum, and logistical expectations for instructors at TU, and is offered online and face-to-face. Since adjunct faculty for the master’s program cohorts are secured from across Georgia, a Division of Education adjunct faculty orientation is scheduled each semester on the Thomas University campus for new adjunct faculty to provide a more intimate acquaintance with the University and the Division’s mission, goals, and learner-centered pedagogical focus.
Adjunct faculty are evaluated for teaching excellence on a semester-by-semester basis on student evaluations, and annually by the Division Chair who reviews syllabi, course Blackboard shells, and makes face-to-face class observations, as appropriate and whenever possible. The part time/adjunct instructor’s self-reflective feedback is also part of the evaluation process.
6c.4. Describe the support personnel positions that will provide administrative and clerical support to the unit. How will the unit ensure that it has an adequate number of support personnel?
The Chair of the Education Division has a full-time (40 hours per week) administrative assistant who is located in the Education building next to the Chair’s office. The administrative assistant’s primary duties are supporting the work of the Division Chair, the Coordinator of Placements and Partnerships, and the Coordinator of Assessment and Accreditation, in all matters associated with unit accreditation. She is the contact person for the licensure application process for teacher candidates.
The Coordinator of Placements and Partnerships is a part-time, twenty hours per week faculty position and facilitates the implementation of all aspects of placing teacher candidates in field experiences and student teaching, including securing candidate field/clinical placements, ensuring that candidate field/clinical experience placement data is recorded, and revising clinical school experience manuals. Equally important is the positions responsibility for cultivating partnerships with school partners that have PK-12 student and candidate learning as the primary focus.
The Coordinator of Assessment and Accreditation ensures the regular and systematic dissemination and collection of data collection instruments, while also facilitating the systematic process of data compilation, aggregation, and summarization of those data collected in order to allow the unit faculty and stakeholders to analyze candidate and completer performance in regards to the outlined outcomes, along with preparation program and unit performance. The Coordinator of Assessment and Accreditation is responsible for the statistical analysis of candidate performance data and the production of meaningful reports from data gathered in the Thomas University electronic databases (EDUbase and CAMS) and from LiveText. The Coordinator maintains the teacher education electronic databases with information on teacher candidate demographics, field-based placements, and key assessments at each decision point of the program. This position serves as the LiveText Administrator for the Division, and thus serves as the primary contact person for faculty and administrators for this system.
The Coordinator is assisted by the university’s Director of Institutional Assessment (a 12-month staff contract), as needed. The Division has one Graduate Assistant for up to fifteen hours per week each semester to assist with implementation of the assessment system and other Division projects. Student workers are assigned to the Division of Education for fifteen hours per week per person to assist in data entry, filing, and support of faculty.
6c.5. Describe the financial support that will be available for professional development activities for faculty and how faculty will request and receive such funds.
All University faculty are provided financial support up to $1,200 per year per faculty member for professional development. Faculty submit a request for professional development funding to the Division Chairperson. Funds are available through the Provost’s office to assist with professional activities of faculty that specifically support teaching and learning excellence and scholarship in service to the university’s programs and mission. Additionally, throughout the year there are multiple professional development opportunities for training in educational technology, effective teaching strategies and advising practices. The Provost also provides funds to support faculty development of online courses.