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4b.1. What opportunities do candidates (including candidates at off-campus sites and/or in distance learning or alternate route programs) have to interact with higher education and/or school-based faculty from diverse groups?

The unit’s affiliation agreements with school corporations provide the legal framework for teacher and school counseling candidates to practice in 24 area school districts. These agreements support the unit’s efforts to expand settings in which candidates encounter both students and faculty from diverse backgrounds.

At the baccalaureate initial licensing level candidates interact with cooperating teachers (school-based faculty) in field experiences and clinical placements. Most field placements occur in the four Allen County school corporations (districts), with 60% taking place in Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS). Although school-specific demographic data are not available, school districts report aggregate faculty demographic data. Among the four Allen County school corporations, FWCS has the highest percentage of diverse faculty, at 7.30%. Data on faculty race and ethnicity reported by the four Allen County school districts follow. 

Corporation (District)

 

White Teachers

Black Teachers

Hispanic Teachers

East Allen County Schools

96.86%

2.79%

0.35%

 

Fort Wayne Community Schools

92.19 %

5.80%

1.50%

 

Northwest Allen County Schools

99.40%

0 %

0.30%

 

Southwest Allen County Schools

98.90%

0.54%

0.27%

 

*Source: 2008-2009 Indiana Teachers by Corporation, Listed by Race, by Number, and Percent of Teachers.  (Data from Department of Education (DOE) Website, 2009) 

Beginning January 2009, the unit modified its Cooperating Teacher Summary Vita to include an option for school-based faculty to indicate their racial and ethnic backgrounds. This information will comprise a database for the unit to reference when making placement requests.  

The unit strives to present both on-campus and off-campus events that enable candidates to interact with diverse professionals. For example, the School of Professional Studies holds an annual Best Practice Showcase, a professional development conference for regional teachers, school counselors, administrators, and social service personnel.  Baccalaureate initial licensure candidates are required to attend the conference that draws over 300 professionals from a 130-mile radius, including Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, and school districts in Indianapolis.  

An example of the unit providing opportunities for candidates to interact with diverse faculty is at Family Math Night at Lindley Elementary School, a Spanish-language Immersion School. Through their course, Curriculum Methods in Mathematics, EDUC 393 candidates collaborate with Spanish-speaking teachers at Lindley Elementary School to deliver math lessons and tutor ENL and bilingual students. The class augments its contact with development and delivery of the annual Family Math Night.

In addition to the school-site interactions with diverse school-based faculty, candidates in the post-baccalaureate Exceptional Needs and School Counseling Programs interview professionals in the field and interact with education professionals who deliver guest lecturers in university courses.  Beyond the university classroom, in 2009, the unit’s Director of Exceptional Needs served as consultant to the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Education to establish a peer-to-peer professional experience, whereby candidates engage in dialogue with school-based faculty in Trinidad.  As well, their contact includes dialogue with faculty from the University of West Indies. Their discussions have included exchanges on the successes and challenges of implementing INCLUDE plans and 5 Easy Pieces (available on-site), and the use of learner types and learning style characteristics in designing effective lessons.  

The following examples are a sampling of opportunities school counseling candidates have to interact with guest speakers from diverse backgrounds.  In the Social Cultural Aspects of Counseling, PSYC 522, Caucasian and African American board members from the YWCA presented a dialogue on “White Privilege/Black Baggage,” Burmese refugees and refugee workers discussed the difficulties of relocation, volunteers from a local health clinic discussed poverty and health care, and an African American facilitated discussion with the class on Jane Elliott’s “Blue Eyes-Brown Eyes.”  In the PSYC 529 Human Sexuality course, speakers discussed transgender issues, aids and the struggles involved with homosexuality. In the EDUC 553 Organization and Administration of Guidance Services, a counselor from a rural setting shared the challenges of working with a growing Hispanic population living in poverty. 

4b.2. What knowledge and experiences do faculty have related to preparing candidates to work with students from diverse groups?

The backgrounds of unit faculty members have prepared them to work with students from diverse groups. Faculty’s experiences encompass both the private and public education arenas and cross all grade levels and engagement with African-American, Asian, and Hispanic students. Professional experiences include positions in both international and U.S. schools as teachers and administrators. These experiences have allowed faculty to engage with students and parents from different cultures and linguistic backgrounds.

Faculty have worked with disadvantaged socio-economic populations in charitable endeavors in the U.S. and abroad. Their experiences with populations with exceptional needs are many and varied, crossing all categories of cognitive-emotional exceptionalities. Such experiences reinforce the credibility faculty bring to professional preparation programs.

Also, faculty’s membership in national professional and local service organizations both reinforces the credibility they bring to the program and supports their diversity-related knowledge base. Faculty volunteerism includes participation in clothing and shoe drives for the Burmese community, the university-wide Feed the Fort initiative, activities at a shelter for homeless families, Vincent House, and service at the Refugee Center in Fort Wayne. A faculty member in the School Counseling Program is a volunteer crisis counselor for the American Red Cross at the national level.

Faculty serve as models for civic engagement through membership on local boards of directors, such as the Turnstone Center for Children with Disabilities, Science Central, Easter Seals ARC,  Stop Childhood  Abuse and Neglect (SCAN), the Assistance League, Red Cross, St. Mary’s Soup Kitchen, and the Christmas Bureau.  Over eighty-percent of unit faculty participate in the university’s annual “A Day On, Not a Day Off,” a day of service commemorating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spearheaded by faculty and staff from the Department of Education.   

4b.3. How diverse are the faculty members who work with education candidates?

The diversity of faculty in the unit and across the university is illustrated in Table 8.

4b.4. What efforts does the unit make to recruit and retain a diverse faculty?

In collaboration with the university’s Human Resources Department, the unit attempts to recruit diverse faculty. Available positions are advertised in local newspapers, including Frost; a minority publication; the Chronicle of Higher Education; and HigherEdJobs.com; Affirmative Action emails; and, the university’s intranet and internet sites. 

Informally, current faculty network to contact potential applicants.  Attendance at conferences, such as the Teacher Education Division of Council for Exceptional Children, provides the opportunity to meet possible faculty candidates. To fill the last available position in exceptional needs, the chair emailed over 30 doctoral programs seeking leads to recruit recent graduates who would bring diversity to the Department of Education.

When faculty positions came available in 2005 and 2007, a diverse faculty candidate interviewed on campus.  In 2007, the candidate was offered a full-time tenure track position. After initially accepting the position, the candidate withdrew to remain at his current university. In 2009, phone interviews were conducted with three candidates of color, one of whom withdrew her application, one whose exceptional needs background was uneven, and one who’s spoken English the search committee judged unsuitable for meeting teaching and advising requirements.

The retention of a diverse faculty is bolstered by peer support among the unit’s faculty. Also, the university’s Peer Development Committee (PDC) provides peer mentoring to faculty and is designed to remain distinct from, yet support, the detailed promotion and tenure process.