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Department of Education Accreditation

5b.1. How does instruction by professional education faculty reflect the conceptual framework as well as current research and developments in the fields?

Instruction is linked to the conceptual framework through signature assignments that align with the conceptual framework’s performance outcomes that candidates must meet. Through course content and instructional approaches, faculty afford candidates learning opportunities to meet performance outcomes. Prominent examples of the link between the unit’s conceptual framework and faculty instruction are the multiple signature assignments that comprise the Candidate Field Assessment Process (CFAP). The chart, titled, CFAP and the Conceptual Framework: Impact on Course Content and Instructional Approach details the relationship between the conceptual framework, multiple CFAP signature assignments, and faculty instruction. The chart presents instructional strategies faculty utilize to formulate learning opportunities for candidates. The instructional connection is further fortified by the course matrix charts (baccalaureate, exceptional needs, school counseling).

Please reference teacher-centered and candidate-centered instructional strategies.

Faculty instruction is informed by current research and developments in the field of education and school counseling. Instruction in exceptional needs courses stresses that special education labels assigned to students do not dictate interventions. Rather, the level of support students require should drive P-12 instruction and assessment of students. In the first baccalaureate teacher education course, EDUC 140, the instructors integrate this understanding of proper interventions by emphasizing how students can be supported and how pedagogy can be differentiated. At the post-baccalaureate level, content and instruction focus on learner types, learning characteristics, appropriate strategies, and the influences of family structures on student learning. Examples of such content are 5 Easy Pieces, the INCLUDE Plan, and the Coach Model. 

In Research and Methods in Statistics, PSYC 500, the instructor introduces research methods for designing an APA style research proposal.  Based on the proposal, master’s degree candidates are expected to write publishable papers in Teacher Inquiry, SPED 550. Instruction in that course prepares candidates to apply the components of action research to effective solving issues in the P-12 learning environment. The instructor works individually with candidates to resolve the appropriateness of research questions and design and the currency of research-based potential solutions. In Advanced Seminar, SPED 551, candidates implement their research design and publish their work in collaboration with a member of the professional education faculty.

In methods courses and Educational Psychology & Measurement (EDUC 250), instruction emphasizes that “assessment drives instruction” and that “instruction is standards-based.”  Instructors model best-practice pedagogy through the use of project-based signature assignments. In turn, course instruction guides candidates as they plan and prepare their signature assignments.

5b.3. What types of instructional strategies and assessments do unit faculty members model?  

Unit faculty members model teacher-centered and candidate-centered instructional strategies, noted in 5b2. These instructional strategies are complemented by formative and summative assessments.  In the unit’s courses, teacher-centered traditional lectures are infrequently used, although the lecture-recitation approach is more common. Instructors use demonstrations, such as teaching science concepts through multiple instructional approaches. In addition to demonstrations, instructors model instruction for candidates. An example of this is using cooperative learning models to teach Bloom’s Taxonomy in Practicum, EDUC 201. Instructors bring their practitioner backgrounds to the university classroom as they relate anecdotes from their years as P-12 educators. They also share with candidates direct experiences they have encountered as university field supervisors.

Student-centered instructional approaches include whole class and small-group discussions. These may center on classroom management issues, counseling techniques, or scenarios that candidates have witnessed or experienced in field experiences. Additional student-centered instructional approaches include candidate work in discovery and inquiry-based projects, such as interviews with professional educators and field research conducted in schools.  Also, problem-solving instructional approaches are employed. An example of this occurs in Methods for Teaching Exceptional Middle and High School Youth (SPED 328) where candidates formulate an Individual Education Program for a fictitious P-12 student who transfers from another state to their school. Faculty also employ role playing in simulations. For example, in Classroom and Behavior Management, (SPED 430), candidates assume the roles as school personnel who manage a case conference, while the course instructor portrays a parent who is a fierce advocate for her child with special needs.

Formative assessments include direct questioning, quizzes, quick-writes, and learning logs.  Summative assessments include portfolio presentations and interviews, and formal presentations on current issues in education, as occurs in Introduction to Teaching in Inclusive Settings (EDUC 140). In the post-baccalaureate Exceptional Needs Program, candidates develop extended case study projects to meet part of program requirements. Traditional research paper assessments are complemented by vodcasts created by small-groups depicting common elements candidates identify in their individual research papers (Educational Psychology and Measurement, EDUC 250). Finally, the unit’s course matrix charts (baccalaureate, exceptional needs, school counseling) note in the “evidence of performance” sections the instructional and assessment approaches faculty frequently employ to meet teacher and counselor state standards.

5b.4. How do unit faculty members incorporate the use of technology into instruction?

In baccalaureate programs, instructors incorporate seven categories of technology into instruction Technology to Enhance Teaching and Learning.  The most frequently employed technologies are: research technology, instructional technology, and assessment technology.    In research technology, instructors require that candidates process information to acquire content and pedagogical strategies and to understand school communities in which candidates complete field experiences. With instructional technology, candidates learn to use media to teach in an interactive manner.  Through assessment technology candidates learn to use technology to diagnose, score, and formulate remediate approaches.  To a lesser extent, instructors utilize technologies in the categories of Presentation, Instructional Support, and Safety and Security.  Assistive Technology is not incorporated into courses at the baccalaureate levels. The greatest variety of technologies is utilized in Educational Psychology and Measurement, where the instructor utilizes five categories.

In post-baccalaureate courses, instructors incorporate seven categories of technology into instruction. The most frequently employed technologies are research technology and presentation technology. In presentation technology candidates learn to use media to teach in an interactive manner. To a lesser extent, instructors utilize technologies in the categories of presentation, instructional support, assistive, and safety and security. Instructional support technology is not incorporated into courses at the post-baccalaureate levels. The greatest variety of technologies is utilized in Teacher Inquiry, SPED 550, where the instructor utilizes five categories.

In 2008, the Department of Education became one of the 15-member Partnership for 21st Century Skills in the nation. As a Partnership member, the department sponsors a faculty member who has participated in webinars, podcasts, vodcasts, and on-line phone conferences with the 14 partner universities. These training sessions are designed to develop an appreciation and awareness of the instructional power that Multimedia Recordings of Teaching (MRT’s)/video tapes can bring to teacher preparation programming. The department collaborates with partner universities to analyze how teaching with MRT’s can pinpoint precise moments when student learning occurs. Defining moments when teaching transfers to learning is documented and referred to as “Records of Practice.” Various on-line video sources and additional resources to assist in sharing these techniques with faculty and pre-service candidates are part of the web-based site generated and compiled by partner universities involved in this grant project. The on-line video sources are then used in university teacher education course work to explore instructional methodology and analyze culturally responsive teaching practices. 

5b.5. How do unit faculty members systemically engage in self-assessment of their own teaching?

On a systematic basis, unit faculties’ classes are evaluated by candidates, using the university-wide standardized assessment, the Individual Development and Educational Assessment (IDEA) instrument. As outlined in the IDEA Diagnostic Form Report, faculty performance scores on IDEA’s 20 methods and 12 learning objectives are correlated. The correlated items are intended to guide faculty in taking actions to improve instructional effectiveness. IDEA results guide faculty members as to which methods are strengths to retain and which methods they may Consider Increasing Use. All courses of new faculty are evaluated with IDEA every semester, while those of veteran faculty are evaluated periodically.

Annually, faculty members complete internally-developed forms, Full-Time Education and School Counseling Faculty Self-Evaluation. On the Department of Education’s evaluation form, faculty members address their strengths and areas for improvement in seven performance categories. The strengths and areas for improvement noted in each category constitute part of faculty’s professional plans for the upcoming year. The Self-Evaluation is aligned with the unit’s conceptual framework. Their understanding of the conceptual framework, coupled with the Self-Evaluation form’s narrative format, encourages faculty to reflect on their performance and formulate thoughtful responses.  Faculty submit completed Self-Evaluation forms to the chair. With Self-Evaluations as points of reference, the chair and faculty members hold annual performance review conferences. The chair uses the Self-Evaluations as one element in evaluating faculty’s overall performance.

In addition to self-assessments, faculty members are periodically evaluated on their course instruction by means of chairs’ class observations. Class observations are followed by faculty –chair meetings and written evaluations from the chair. Collectively, IDEA assessments, Self-Evaluations, and class observation evaluations form the basis for faculty members’ self-assessment narratives. Self-assessment narratives are requirements in mid-tenure review portfolios as well as promotion and tenure portfolios. 

Biannually, the university administers the Noel-Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI) to a purposive sampling to yield a representative sample of all students.  In the 2009 survey, 1551 distributed surveys yielded a sample of 1004 responses or 65%.  Students prioritize the eleven areas of satisfaction with campus life, such as Instructional Effectiveness and Academic Advising.  The SSI is a collective evaluation that constitutes an additional means by which faculty can assess their performance.

Finally, the school’s Five Year Plan (titled Plan to Plan) illustrates the department strategically set goals with target performance and accompanying strategies related to academic excellence. Within this plan, strategic issue #1 incorporates faculty teaching effectiveness.