Mandatory annual evaluations per RIC/AFT Agreement, Article VIII.
Institutional culture that promotes high peer expectation, engagement, and collaboration, and celebrates achievement
Abundant opportunities for professional development, and financial support of faculty development
Clinical Faculty Qualifications
Spring 2011 survey of all cooperating teachers in the last three years, revealed the following statistics:
- Mean years of classroom experience - 14
- Highest degree achieved: Bachelors degree 127; Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies -3; Doctoral degree - 1; Graduate certificate - 9 Masters degree- 261; other-2
- Certification status in Rhode Island: CEE (Initial certificate-8; NO RI certificate-3; Professional Certificate-392).
The Unit faculty members take pride in their teaching, as the entire institution proudly considers itself to be a teaching-intensive college. The faculty evaluation criteria begin with the reference to teaching: "8.10 Teaching effectiveness and professional competence are the main criteria in determining the contributions of a faculty member. 8.11 The teaching effectiveness of the faculty member consists of his/her command of the subject, his/her skill in organizing and presenting his/her material with force and logic, his/her intellectual integrity, his/her enthusiasm for learning both within and without the
classroom, his/her ability to motivate students to intellectual curiosity, and his/her actual teaching performance as determined by various techniques of measurement including
class visits by the department chairperson, faculty peers, and occasionally by the
appropriate dean, and evaluations by students" (Agreement). The Unit Conceptual Framework serves as a constant reminder to faculty to model the reflective practitioner concept, that of"people who carefully apply, adapt, and revise their knowledge as the situation and their principles demand." Our faculty teach candidates how to PAR - Plan, Act, and Reflect, - by modeling those behaviors in their own classrooms, by being explicit and intentional about selecting curriculum and pedagogical approaches.
To get a sense of the the culture of teaching that exist within the Unit's departments, browsing the course syllabi is not enough. One needs to go around and listen to informal faculty conversations. One may hear something like this: "I think a lot of teaching is helping students to understand what they don't see on the surface of something (could be anything - anatomy of a frog in biology, the workings of the mind in psychology, the mathematical operations and research methods behind a statistic, etc.). This leads me to try to help my students understand what they don't see when they watch a good teacher effectively teaching or assessing reading. I need to make the inner workings of instructional decisions transparent to my students. (HOLC Report, p.28)
The course evaluation summary demonstrates high degree of satisfaction by students; and they are a sophisticated and demanding audience. All departments maintain averages over 4 on a five-point instrument. Currently, every department is using a slightly different instrument; however, the discussion is well under way towards adoption of a new School-wide course evaluation instrument. Peer observations of teaching are expected to be a part of every comprehensive review of faculty performance; see sample feedback letters on classroom observations: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
As it is evident from the course syllabi, all courses are designed to include professional, state, and institutional standards. Professional education faculty value candidates' learning and assess candidate performance; the assessments include not only the program and unit-wide assessment system, but also a great variety of formative assessments.
Although RIC has a relatively heavy teaching load (12 credits per semester per Agreement), the vast majority of faculty are engaged in various forms of scholarship, related to their professional responsibilities. Faculty members published 124 articles and books over the last three years. A superficial look at the list of recent faculty publications reveals both the breadth and the depths of scholarly interests; from highly theoretical works to very practice-oriented advice directly aimed at K-12 practitioners. The Unit faculty members brought over $17 million in external funding over the last three years; more than half of the total external grants at RIC
5d. SERVICE AND COLLABORATION
Collaboration with colleagues in Arts and Sciences and other professional schools
- The Unit is central to the history, organizational culture, and the mission of the Rhode Island College. The most robust form of collaboration with colleagues from other schools is the institute of Joint Appointments. Twelve faculty members are appointed in two departments - one within and one outside the Unit. They attend both faculty meetings, participate in faculty governance, and are evaluated by both departments. They serve as ambassadors to establish a consistent flow of ideas and information between our colleagues in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. RIC has no history of conflict between Arts and Sciences and Education faculty. One telling example is the special newsletter, He SED, she SED, published weekly by the Department of Educational Studies with an explicit purpose of keeping joint appointment faculty informed and involved.
- Dr. Kraus represents the Unit in the General Education Revision Task Force.
- All curricular changes that may have effect on one of teacher preparation programs are discussed and approved by the Unit's Dean's Leadership Committee. In addition, admission criteria and curricula changes that impact other schools are approved by other deans and department chairs.
- School of Nursing "cooperated successfully with HED to agree to use both NURS 507 and HED 507 to meet a course requirement in the Public Health Community Leadership track of the new Master of Science in Nursing program. The Public/Community Health Nursing faculty collaborated with Dr. Ainley and Dr. Castagno to discuss the proposed Master's program in Public/Community Health Nursing. Dr. Ainley shared information about the HED Epidemiology course and we all agreed that this course was appropriate for our students. The College Curriculum Committee approved the cross listing of the course. In addition, cooperating on the School Nurse Teacher program is an example of a budding collaboration."
- Adams Library faculty: "Carla Weiss met with Laurie Parkerson several times to help her set up a libguide for the Henry Barnard School library. She put the link to the library's catalog on the libguide for the Curriculum Resources Center and libguides for all the education classes for which I did library instruction. Also she met with Laurie a few times to discuss collection development decisions for the Curriculum Resources Center's collection. Liz Rowell asked Carla to add a page on evaluating websites to the libguide for her GenEd 264 class. Mary Ellen McGuire Schwartz sent Carla some sites to add to the libguides for ECED 301 and the Curriculum Resources Center. Carla also ordered books for the library and the CRC in education; some of these books were recommended by Liz Rowell, Rudy Kraus, Andres Ramirez, Nancy Cloud, and Corrine McKamey."
Collaboration with K-12 partners
Engagement with the field is one of the main tenets of its Conceptual Framework: "The FSEHD is committed to facilitating excellence through equity, diversity, and social advocacy." The value of professionalism is defined as "(1) professional ethics, (2) collaboration and advocacy, and (3) professional development. Reflective practitioners (1) uphold and advance a professional ethic rooted in values of justice, respect, and caring; (2) work cooperatively and pro-actively to promote these values on behalf of the people they serve; and (3) attend to their own personal growth and the growth of the profession throughout their careers."
The FSEHD has formal partnership agreements with 29 K-12 schools. Through these partnerships, K-12 practitioners and other members of the partnership schools' professional communities participate in program design, implementation and evaluation of the unit and its programs. Such participation occurs through the daily work of FSEHD faculty with K-12 practitioners in the schools and also through partnership forums and professional development offered within the schools in collaboration with practitioners. The unit head has organized a systematic study, visiting partner district superintendents, and seeking feedback on program quality. Finally, many adjunct and term instructors in the FSEHD are also K-12 practitioners; they bring a highly valued practitioner perspective and expertise to the unit programs. It is also important to note that virtually every faculty member teaches at least one course with a field component a year. It is fair to say that not a single faculty member fits the bill for stereotypical professor who has not set foot in K-12 classroom for years.
The majority of faculty members were engaged in at least one collaborative project with PK-12 partners in the last three years. The highlights of our faculty engagement with the PK-12 world from the Collaboration Report: 79% of individuals reported at least one collaborative activity involving K-12 educators within the last three years. The total length of collaborative projects is 141726 days, or 388 years, with the average of 720 days (two years). A total of 28,804 of K-12 educators is estimated to be impacted by these projects, or 171.5 average.
One of examples of a long-term and large scale collaboration is The Collaboration for Educational Excellence (CEE); a joint venture of Inspiring Minds, Rhode Island College and the Providence Public School district. Designed to optimize the learning experience of both sets of students, intense training and monitoring are non-negotiable factor for RIC students. Armed with knowledge on how young students learn to read, RIC students provide individual or small group academic tutoring. Young students increase their academic performance while future teachers are introduced to the opportunities and challenges of working in an urban school district. They begin to understand the urban students they will teach. The Rhode Island College CEE pilot was launched in 1999 with 30 students. Today, more than 500 Rhode Island College students successfully complete volunteer placements with Inspiring Minds on an annual basis. In the past 11 years, Nearly 4,000 RIC students have supported the academic needs of 12,000 Providence Public students accounting for 60,000 hours of community service. Although a course component, many students serve far beyond the required time. The outcome data is clear. Future teachers at Rhode Island College students are having a significant impact on raising student achievement in Providence Schools. See evidence of the program's impact on student achievement.
Faculty members are engaged in all of the Community Service Learning programs and projects. See also community service learning report, and sample candidate testimonies. Other samples of impactful community collaboration projects are:
- The School Celebration Days is a two-day long days of integrated physical education and content learning activities sponsored by Pawtucket Red Sox, a local baseball team at McCoy Stadium, and organized by volunteers - faculty and students from three FSEHD and two Arts and Sciences Departments. See the photo gallery.
- Special Olympics Motor Activities Training Day offers students majoring in physical education the opportunity to develop an array of physical activity stations for the Special Olympians, who possess a variety of severe and profound disabilities.
- Professional Development in the Teaching of Writing, Martha Horn's project with an urban school district in Providence.
- Having a Laboratory School as a part of the College provides numerous, rich opportunities for collaboration. They can be as simple as walking across the lawn to observe a lesson, to President Carrioulo reading to children of Henry Barnard School. The range and the character of the collaboration make the school very close to the model defined by the National Association for Professional Development Schools.
- A number of our programs have advisory committees involving practitioners. See, for example the work of Art Education Advisory Committee and the conference on Improving Music Teacher Quality, 2010.
- We maintain a close contact with our Alumni, most of which are practicing educators. See, for instance a Facebook page designed to connect faculty, students, and alums.
- The Sherlock Center for Disabilities has developed an extensive outreach program, involving hundreds of practitioners in special education and beyond.
- Middle Level Partnership Network
The Unit employs systematic, and focused evaluation of faculty, regulated by the RIC/AFT Agreement, Article VIII:
- Annual evaluation is conducted by calendar year. Each December, faculty members submit the Personal Data Form, which is a brief annual report, to their Chairs. Chairs forward the forms to the Department Advisory Committee (DAC). DAC often observes faculty teaching ahead of time, and considers this information in providing advice to Chairs. The Chair considers DAC input and submits the Annual Evaluation Form to Dean, who in turn, forwards it to VPAA. Although Dean does not normally comment on annual evaluation decisions, she or he uses the materials to both recognize outstanding achievements and raise concerns with faculty performance.
- The comprehensive review for tenure and promotions follows the same time line and a similar pattern. See the Summary of decisions. The criteria for faculty evaluations is spelled out in the RIC/AFT Agreement:
- 8.10 Teaching effectiveness and professional competence are the main criteria in determining the contributions of a faculty member.
- 8.11 The teaching effectiveness of the faculty member consists of his/her command of the subject, his/her skill in organizing and presenting his/her material with force and logic, his/her intellectual integrity, his/her enthusiasm for learning both within and without the
classroom, his/her ability to motivate students to intellectual curiosity, and his/her actual
teaching performance as determined by various techniques of measurement including
class visits by the department chairperson, faculty peers, and occasionally by the
appropriate dean, and evaluations by students.
- 8.12 The following shall be used, not necessarily in priority order or limited to the following, in determining the professional competence and other value of a faculty member:
- a. Research, publication, grants in a special field, or creativity and performance in the
- b. Leadership and service to the College, including responsibility and creativity in the departmental affairs, service on College committees, and quality of student
- c. Professional improvement, such as is shown by the completion of additional graduate
courses; attendance at professional meetings and holding office in professional
- d. Leadership and service to the community, state, or nation where such service is
clearly related to the faculty member's professional responsibilities at Rhode Island
5f. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
One recent example can best illustrate faculty commitment to professional growth. In Spring 2010, faculty from all departments created the Hybrid and online learning community (HOLC). 28 faculty members signed up. The Community had three face-to-face meetings, and weekly discussions and assignments online. The last meeting was dedicated to faculty presentation of their projects. The
total of 585 discussion entries were contributed, and each participant has developed an online or a hybrid class. To get a sense of the depth of professional discussion browse through 247 pages of the HOLC report; especially the samples of faculty work at the end of it.
The Unit is developing a culture of professional development. For example, Department Of Educational Studies faculty organized a reading group on Teaching the Taboo: Courage and Imagination in the Classroom by Rick and William Ayers. They met February 23, March 23, April 27. Their new project is The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education by Diane Ravitch. The group is going to meet in May to discuss half of it and then in August/ September to discuss the other half.
The meetings have been wonderful dialogues and well attended.
While all examples cannot be included, consider the 78 professional development events taken from the campus calendar for 2010/11. The Unit faculty take advantage of most PD activities offered by College. For example, the User Support Services offered 71 workshops for faculty in 2010/11 AY. However, the Unit itself puts together its own series of brown bag seminars and technology workshops. These engage faculty members into a professional conversations with each other and range from an occasional guest to a faculty member returning from sabbatical leave. Examples of recent presentations are: Lesley Sevey, Elizabeth Henshaw. The Unit provides reassigned time to all new faculty members to establish their scholarship agenda; it assigns a mentor, and the FSEHD Dean meets with all first-year faculty monthly to offer more mentoring.
The majority of the supplemental funds are expended to support professional development opportunities:
- Workshops, colloquia and brown bag seminars (See sample 1, sample 2)
- Travel fund. All faculty members are eligible to apply for the Feinstein PD fund, up to $1000 a year ($800 per trip). In addition, they can obtain as much from the VPAA funds. An increasing number of faculty members travel for professional conferences: 07/08-53individuals were supported; in
09-10- 66, and in
- College-wide financial support for faculty includes a variety of internal funding opportunities