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. 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 will be trained and assigned as 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 post a minimum of 10 campus hours over four days of the week, time available on campus for students and colleagues but not necessarily spent in the faculty member’s office, to include at least 2 hours identified as office hours during which the faculty member is in the office for appointments.
The Division of Education has a year-round faculty appointment for 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 and supervision of the division’s assessment system, six faculty lines with a full teaching load (one currently vacant) and one ¾-time faculty member assigned to teach three courses per semester, and a year-round full-time Coordinator of Field Experiences and Assessment for the Division of Education who may teach one course per semester. 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 but 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 faculty members are asked to assume a particularly large assignment or new initiative, they are 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. Field Experience courses and Student Teaching are limited to 10 students per section. Other courses are capped at 30, but most average 10-15. 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 committees. The committee schedule is posted at the beginning of the academic year to enable planning and time management. Further, 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.
Additionally, all clinical adjunct faculty are required to attend a four-hour retreat at the beginning of each semester to focus on the use of the unit’s key assessments used in field and clinical experiences. This training ensures that all faculty who supervise and instruct teacher candidates have a thorough knowledge of assessing candidate performance and provides an avenue for gaining and maintaining interrater reliability in the evaluation of candidates during their field experiences and clinical experience.
Adjunct faculty are evaluated for teaching excellence on a semester-by-semester basis on student evaluations, and annually on division chair or peer observation of teaching and Self-Reflective feedback from the instructors.
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 and Coordinator of Field Experiences and Assessment in all matters associated with unit accreditation. She is the contact person for the licensure application process for teacher candidates. In this role, she verifies with candidate advisors and the Registrar that the candidate has indeed completed all requirements of certification and completes all paperwork required of the division to process the teacher candidate’s certification with the Georgia certification office. In addition, she maintains close contact with the Georgia PSC and serves as the Title II data coordinator for the unit.
As a year-round full-time appointment, the Coordinator of Field Experiences and Assessment facilitates the implementation of all aspects of placing teacher candidates in field experiences and student teaching, including securing candidate field/clinical placements and cultivating and maintaining effective relationships with area school personnel and revising field experience and student teaching manuals. The coordinator 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 administration to analyze candidate and completer performance in regards to the outlined outcomes, along with preparation program and unit performance.
The coordinator is assisted by the university’s Director of Institutional Assessment (a 12-month staff contract) in the production of meaningful reports from the LiveText system and statistical analysis of candidate performance data. The director maintains the teacher education electronic databases with information on teacher candidate demographics, field-based placements, and assessments at each decision point of the program. This position is the LiveText Administrator for the division, and thus serves as the primary contact person for faculty and administrators for this system.
The university has assigned at least one Graduate Assistant to the Division of Education 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.