ACADEMIC PLANNING COUNCIL
Minutes of October 18, 2004
3 p.m., Holmes Student Center – HSC 505
Present: Bose, Cassidy, Hartenhoff, House, Legg, Levin, Munroe, Musial, Payvar, Prawitz, Reynolds, Russo, Schoenbachler, Seaver, Thompson, Waas, Wholeben, Williams
Guests: Donna Askins, Research Associate, Office of the Provost; Craig Barnard, Coordinator, Assessment Services; Nina Dorsch, Chair, Department of Teaching and Learning; Diane Jackman, Associate Dean, College of Education; Dennis Munk, Assistant Chair, Department of Teaching and Learning; Mary Pritchard, Associate Dean, College of Health and Human Sciences; Shirley Richmond, Dean, College of Health and Human Sciences; Laura Smart, Chair, School of Family, Consumer, and Nutrition Sciences; and Christine Sorensen, Dean, College of Education
The meeting was called to order at 3:10 p.m. It was moved and seconded to approve the minutes of October 4, 2004, and the motion passed unanimously.
Legg introduced Nina Dorsch, Chair, Department of Teaching and Learning; Dennis Munk, Assistant Chair, Department of Teaching and Learning; Christine Sorensen, Dean, College of Education; Diane Jackman, Associate Dean, College of Education; Laura Smart, Chair, School of Family, Consumer, and Nutrition Sciences; Shirley Richmond, Dean, College of Health and Human Sciences; and Mary Pritchard, Associate Dean, College of Health and Human Sciences. Legg asked Richmond and Sorensen to make their opening remarks about the program(s) that are undergoing review this year.
Richmond provided an overview for the early childhood studies program, which is the only program in the College of Health and Human Sciences undergoing review this year. This is an interdisciplinary program between the School of Family, Consumer, and Nutrition Sciences and the Department of Teaching and Learning (College of Education). Smart stated that the program provides foundation classes in child development and one class in curriculum and planning. Graduates of the program are eligible to seek 04 certification. The program includes curricular content related to children with special needs. The program fits into the School of Family, Consumer, and Nutrition Sciences in the area of family and child studies.
Sorensen provided an overview of the programs in the College of Education that were undergoing review this year. The early childhood studies program in the College of Education provides the opportunity for students to seek 04 certification with a preschool special education approval. This area will likely see increased demand over the next several years. The master’s program in early childhood education also provides graduates the opportunity to seek initial certification and it has a professional development track for teachers who are already certified. The program can be designed to include a bilingual focus as well. The elementary education program is the largest in the college, and the master’s program in elementary education has been used to provide teachers with Type 29 provisional certification an opportunity to pursue Type 03 certification to become highly qualified teachers as required by the federal No Child Left Behind act. There is large demand for this certification given the recent changes in education in the State of Illinois. The professional development track in the elementary education master’s program is small. The B.S.Ed. in Elementary Education program is a limited admission program. The college admits no more than 120 students each semester, and a 3.0 minimum G.P.A. is required for admission. This is primarily an on-campus program, but there are two off-campus initiatives currently in Elgin and at Rock Valley College. The undergraduate special education program has high demand. The special education program was revamped several years ago because of the Corey H. case. Now special education teachers must be prepared in all areas, which are represented in the Learning Behavior Specialist I (LBS-I) emphasis within the B.S.Ed. in special education. The LBS-I specialization within the M.S.Ed. in Special Education can also be used to provide initial teacher certification. In curriculum and instruction the department offers graduate programs only. The M.S.Ed. program used to have several focus areas within the degree, but now has a unified program. The professional development coursework is offered off-campus, often using a cohort model to serve individual school districts. This is a key professional development program that serves both elementary and secondary education teachers. The Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction is housed in the Department of Teaching and Learning but the Department of Literacy Education oversees the specialization in literacy education. Curriculum leadership is the largest specialization within the Ed.D. degree. The Ed.D. will continue to be a high demand area, with the literacy education track which includes the ESL and bilingual areas, which are expected to grow. This program is primarily both on and off campus.
Legg turned the meeting over to Thompson for the discussion of the subcommittee report. Thompson thanked her subcommittee for all their hard work.
Thompson said the strengths of the Department of Teaching and Learning are the outreach and consulting activities that provide high visibility and credibility to NIU’s constituents; clinical experiences and student teaching in partnerships provide urban, suburban, and rural settings; and the high faculty productivity. The laboratory facilities are in good shape (assistive technology labs, vision technology labs, and instructional materials social sciences lab). Graduates of the programs have high pass rates on certification examinations, and the use of portfolios, certification pass rates, and standards-based curricula are the bases for program assessment.
The discussion points include that some of the programs have a high proportion of temporary instructors and limited enrollment. Other areas of discussion include the impact of the library resources cutback, and the impact that a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) that is being considered in elementary education could have on the M.S.Ed. certification programs. It is difficult to distinguish between the program goals of baccalaureate and the master’s programs that lead to teacher certification. Another concern is the impact on infrastructure if program enrollments expand. Dorsch replied that there is a new specialization in the curriculum and instructional master’s program in advanced practices in teaching special education that meet the professional development needs of teachers pursuing National Board certification. Elementary education has the same issue of differentiating between master’s and baccalaureate programs. The faculty are engaged in talks about advisability of a separate M.A.T. degree to meet initial certification needs. Early childhood is growing, but so far the program has been able to meet the needs of both certification and professional development. As the program continues to grow, the department may have to develop specializations or other curricular offerings. The department is mindful of the need to look at this and try to have degree programs that meet both certification and professional development needs. The M.A.T. is used in some states where initial certification requires 5 years. Students complete the bachelor’s degree and spend the fifth year meeting the requirements for certification and the M.A.T. Other programs offer an M.A.T. that is not attached to the completion of the baccalaureate degree. The college is looking at the M.A.T. as an alternative for students to see how it would fit with what we do and changes in certification requirements. Thompson asked if certification could all be handled under the M.A.T. degree. Sorensen replied that the M.A.T. is more applied than an M.S.Ed. Students might opt for the M.S.Ed. when they have a bachelor’s degree in another area. The standards for certification are identical whether students are certified in an undergraduate or a graduate program. Thompson asked what the implications would be if certification were under the M.A.T. and professional development was within the M.S.Ed. degree. Dorsch responded that that might be interesting to do but the question is how to structure the common core for an M.A.T. across certification areas. Another option might be to create the M.A.T. for elementary education. Thompson asked if this would be detrimental to the other M.S.Ed. programs. Dorsch replied that this might muddy the water in some sense because some students already have certification, but they want to add certification in another area. This happens more with special education, and some of this is economically driven. Most students in the LBS-I specialization within the M.S.Ed. in Special Education already have certification in some area. We also have students seeking career changes who want initial certification. Cassidy asked if there was a difference in the M.S.Ed. and M.A.T. as far as continuing on into a doctoral program. Sorensen replied that it depends on where students go; it may or may not have an impact. Dorsch added that in a doctoral program we look at the whole package of students’ education and experience. M.A.T. degrees don’t tend to have as much of the value added research component, and this could be listed as a deficiency. The M.A.T. is regarded as less rigorous than an M.S.Ed. There is limited enrollment in the early childhood undergraduate program due to the resources; we are aware of the need and demand in this field. Elementary education does not suffer a shortage in the field. In elementary education there is a steady demand that we are able to meet, and we are not planning on expanding this program. In elementary education with certification at the M.S.Ed. in Elementary Education level we focus on the individuals who have Type 29 provisional certification since these individuals are already teaching. Thompson said another discussion point was the proportion of new faculty. Dorsch replied that this issue is not unique to the Department of Teaching and Learning. In the College of Education 45 percent of the faculty members have been hired since 2000. There is work to be done in mentoring these new faculty, but they also bring some interesting perspectives. Williams asked if this was due to the lack of retaining faculty. Sorensen said that many factors play into the configuration of the faculty. Part of this is due to the reorganization of the college in 1999, and we have had a large number of retirements during the last few years. Bose said that we are not proud of the scores in mathematics and science at the high school and middle school levels, and asked if this a reflection of the quality of teachers we produce who cannot motivate the students, or if we need to do something different in preparing these teachers? Dorsch said that part of this is due to the structure of mathematics education in schools. At many high schools, there is only a two year mathematics requirement. The Department of Mathematical Sciences has a minor in mathematics that many of our elementary education students take. The same thing might be developed in science. In the No Child Left Behind legislation there is a strong emphasis on reading and mathematics. In the elementary years, science, social studies, or the arts, might not get adequate teaching time. Sorensen said that one area that we are struggling with is in middle schools. We do well at the elementary level. Thompson noted that the changing standards and legal rulings regarding certification requirements for teaching disabled students has far reaching effects on all programs.
Thompson turned to the departmental recommendations for the future. The department should continue to develop and refine mechanisms to mentor faculty and to assess the quality control of programs that have a high proportion of temporary faculty and continue the partnerships and activities leading to clinicals and practicums in diverse settings. Also, the infrastructure updates/ upgrades should be continued.
Munroe asked if there were specific concerns about the library resources reference to cutbacks. Dorsch replied that the department was careful of how it managed serials, and that the doctoral students can find the resources they need to do their research using a combination of paper and electronic sources.
Thompson turned to the review of the departmental context for the School of Family, Consumer, and Nutrition Sciences. The strengths include the child development laboratory and the diverse faculty.
Thompson said that the strengths of the B.S. in Early Childhood Studies program include documented strong demand, the interdisciplinary nature of the program, and the endowment that provided enrichment for students. This endowment provided funding for guest speakers and for students to attend conferences. The joint advising mechanisms, advisory committee, and steering committee are also strengths of the program.
Thompson asked Dorsch to discuss the details of the joint advising, advisory board, and steering committee. Dorsch replied that there is 50/50 representation from the two areas on the steering committee, that there is a joint professional advisory board, and that activities were coordinated. Smart added that the advisors are in close contact with each other, and the information they provide to students is the same. Thompson noted that the program may want to talk about the program changes that were effective in spring 2003 in response to the changes in state standards. Dorsch responded that these changes are pretty much in place, and that the Corey H. case also had an impact on every teacher certification program. Standards for all curricula were added to address the needs of students with disabilities, and these standards are now in effect. Thompson said that another item for discussion was the completion time for pre-majors. Pritchard explained that students are only admitted once a year and sometimes students interested in the program have not met all the prerequisites. Smart added that if students don’t start this program in their freshmen year, they may have a problem with completing the degree in four years. Dorsch stated that with the A.A.T. we may need to alter the sequence of prerequisites to accept the standards students have met in the A.A.T. in early childhood education. Sorensen explained that last year there was an initiative in the House to pass a law for higher education to accept specific courses in early childhood education. What was passed instead was a resolution that stated higher education had one year to figure out an A.A.T. in early childhood education that public universities would accept. Thompson said that the two emphases need to be clarified and growth needs to be discussed in terms of needs, wants, and realities. Sorensen replied that the governor’s office called about preparing early childhood teachers last semester, and we will be pushed to grow the program. Cassidy stated that in the future plans discussion it included a new faculty in Family, Consumer, and Nutrition Sciences and Teaching and Learning. Sorensen replied that in order to produce more students in this area we would have to add faculty. Dorsch stated that the program does not want to add more temporary faculty. Cassidy asked if there are plans to increase faculty in early childhood. Dorsch replied as resources permit. We also have talked about if we should admit students once a year or twice a year or admit more students once a year. Cassidy asked how large the course sections were. Pritchard replied our target is to graduate 30 students, so we are letting in a few more than 30. Cassidy noted that in the last section of the report where we ask about plans, there is a statement about adding two new faculty and this is talked about as being among the highest priorities. Sorensen replied that new resources would be needed to hire more faculty. Richmond concurred and added that if the state continues to push this area, we may need to look at this again. Cassidy said that this needs to be clarified in the reports. This is also mentioned in special education. Dorsch replied that in special education we are trying to get back to the number of faculty that we were at prior to the budget cuts. Sorensen added that we are hoping to find a donor that will endow a position for us. The Department of Teaching and Learning in general is down across the board in faculty positions. In elementary education and special education we have far too many adjuncts. We have over 2,000 students with 20 faculty in the Department of Teaching and Learning. Cassidy asked if the positions in elementary education could be reallocated. Sorensen replied that we only have four faculty in elementary education. Richmond added that we are seeing this across the university. Dorsch asked what do we stop doing. In order for teachers to maintain their certification they have to have professional development. Sorensen added that this is not going to get any better because of the new legislation for professional development. Levin said that maybe some of the individuals hired could be at the senior level. Sorensen responded that this sounds good, but it is probably not feasible. Dorsch stated that we are hiring at the associate level if possible.
Williams said when teachers come back for continuing education credit but not a degree, there are less credits given to the departments. Sorensen said this is correct, and there are probably 1,000 students that don’t show up as majors, and many of these students are students-at-large. This is a bit of a problem. Cassidy stated that it does show up in credit hours taken by non-majors in the ICLM data. Sorensen said that it doesn’t show up in the cost of advising these students. Dorsch added that focused programs for subsequent certification will add to this problem. Focused certifications are for teachers who have one initial certificate and wish to add another (early childhood, elementary education, secondary education, or special). Professional development requirements are also increasing. The first certification that teachers receive is good for four years. After this timeframe there is a four-hour course, twelve hours of master’s coursework, or other options for teachers to receive a standard certificate. Sorensen said that some students opt for the M.S.Ed. and some students just choose to take courses as students-at-large. When this occurs, it doesn’t help with looking at the faculty required to teach these students.
Thompson said that the program should continue its recruitment and retention efforts. Cassidy added that in regard to assessment many reports indicated that because of program changes, no data were available. This is not something that we can allow to go for eight years. Most programs will be asked for a follow-up report on assessment findings.
Thompson turned to the strengths of the M.S.Ed. in Early Childhood Education. The opportunities and documented need for professionals with early childhood certification is growing, enrollment is increasing, and the curriculum and coordination of the program facilitates efficient servicing of growing enrollment. There is also an opportunity for an international focus in the program.
The discussion points for the program include the faculty advising load, the collaborative partnership with bilingual teachers in Rockford, and the balance of students (certification vs. professional development). Sorensen said that the program is working with Type 29 teachers in Rockford to obtain Type 03 certification. Thompson noted that this will help with diversity, which the subcommittee noted as a recommendation.
One recommendation is to distinguish the B.S.Ed. form the M.S.Ed. Dorsch replied that the undergraduate program builds on the foundation of general education and adds in standards for certification. The graduate program takes the standards as the base and has a value-added focus on research. Cassidy said that one issue that needs to be addressed is that the baccalaureate and master’s programs have the same learning outcomes, and it is difficult to defend a baccalaureate program and a master’s program that state the same outcomes. Dorsch replied that the professional teaching standards are the same. Williams asked if there was a requirement that we adopt the state standards. Dorsch said we do this because this is what the students will be tested on. Sorensen stated that the program goals could be different. Dorsch added that we did add program goals to the master’s program to reflect the value added. Cassidy said we can’t have degree programs replicating outcomes. Thompson noted that this was discussed in the subcommittee meeting, and we suggested talking about the research component first and then talking about the certification component. Dorsch said this might work except in special education when we have certification bullets, and what happens if there aren’t certification specializations. Cassidy replied that you could use “or,” or you could have a 1.a. and a 1.b. We will have to talk about how we can follow-up on this issue.
Thompson turned in the B.S.Ed. in Elementary Education. The strengths include success in recruitment and graduation of a diverse student population, good alumni response rate, and the accommodation of non-traditional students with off-campus and on-campus scheduling. Discussion points are the balance of occupational demand to size and the full-time and temporary staffing levels. Sorensen said the elementary program (bachelor’s and master’s combined) has a high percent of part-time instructors. Some of the off-campus programs are staffed entirely with temporary faculty. Thompson said the program should continue their good efforts at maintaining diversity. Prawitz asked why the alumni survey had such a good response rate. Dorsch replied that she didn’t know, but part of the reason could be that as an institution we have graduated many students and our students have found other NIU graduates as their colleagues. This can create a strong NIU tie. Sorensen added that we are also out there in the field with professional development.
Thompson said that the strengths of the M.S.Ed. in Elementary Education are the same as the strengths for the undergraduate program. The discussion points are the difficulty students have obtaining appropriate courses for professional development, the balance of students, the full-time and temporary staffing balance, and the Master of Arts in Teaching degree possibility. Cassidy said that one thing that the department has done to meet all these needs is moving to Chicago by using the resources that were allocated to the program offered at Naperville. The program tries to meet the needs throughout the region.
Askins said that NCATE is coming up soon, and asked if the department/college logs what it is doing, especially with diversity issues. Dorsch replied that the department does a relatively good job with diversity. We are getting more clinical placements in Rockford, and Elgin is pretty strong as well. Askins said her point is to log and report this information. Dorsch added that these diverse areas are now clinical settings, which provides students placement in diverse communities. Sorensen stated that we document what we do. We have partnerships with nine schools, but we don’t document all the calls we get to create additional partnerships because we don’t know how this would help us.
Thompson turned to the B.S.Ed. in Special Education. Strengths of the program are the high unfilled demand, the curriculum changes in response to significant changes in standards, the wide range of clinical and field experiences, the diverse student body, and the high alumni survey response rate. Also, this program is one of a few in the country that prepares teachers to work with visually impaired students. Areas for discussion include summarizing the certification changes, the increasing service load, and court case changes. She noted a discrepancy in the enrollment and graduation rates. Dorsch replied that she will check the data. Thompson said other areas are growth in enrollments and the temporary instructors and full-time faculty balance. A recommendation would include a better balance between full-time and part-time faculty.
The last program to be reviewed today is the M.S.Ed. in Special Education. This program has similar strengths as the B.S.Ed. program, except for a less diverse student body. Discussion points include the balance of students seeking certification and professional development, the balance of temporary and full-time staffing and increasing enrollment, and diversity. The recommendation for the future is similar to what we have said before. Make clear how the baccalaureate and master’s programs differ. This is a complex issue with the master’s serving several different needs at once. Dorsch added that one of the reasons we got into offering the M.S.Ed. in Elementary Education with certification was because it was a recommendation the last time the program was reviewed. We did this, and the program grew. Levin suggested changing the program’s claim under the multicultural outcomes discussion; everyone will claim this and this does not seem specific to this program. She suggested wording similar to that in the B.S. in Early Childhood Studies document. You also might want to say that you meet the needs of children with special education needs.
Legg thanked Thompson and her subcommittee for the work they put into this review.
The meeting adjourned at 5:00 p.m.
Carolyn A. Cradduck