E. 1. Narrative. Standard 4: Diversity
Design, Implementation, and Evaluation of Curriculum and Experiences
Diversity curriculum and experiences are guided by beliefs explicated in our Conceptual Framework that guide our engagement in “…the preparation of a diverse and comprehensive array of education professionals who are life-long learners, skilled in pedagogy and content, knowledgeable of standards and assessment, and capable of working with all populations in a changing global environment.” Our Conceptual Framework further states, “Successful professional educators respect and respond to multiple representations of diversity that include racial, ethnic, linguistic, gender, philosophical, cultural, socio-economic status, age, ability, and sexual orientation.” Further, “Our vision, our mission, and key elements of our Conceptual Framework all reflect our commitment to preparing candidates to support the learning of all students.” (Conceptual Framework)
The Unit’s focus in the Conceptual Framework on diversity within candidate proficiencies represents only the start of our commitment to diversity. When the State revised its performance-based standards for teachers, it neglected to include diversity. The Unit then elected to add a diversity standard to the eight state standards. The five main diversity candidate proficiencies are detailed in the Candidate Diversity Proficiencies. In totality, our programs develop, implement, and assess our candidates’ commitment in meeting the educational needs of all students in a caring, non-discriminatory, and equitable manner.
All UNC students are required to take courses from Liberal Arts Area 8, Multicultural Studies. Teacher Education Curriculum has been developed in all programs to provide candidates learning opportunities to develop knowledge and demonstrate proficiencies of diversity expectations. Diversity Curriculum Matrices have been created for required courses across programs to provide evidence of where diversity proficiencies are taught and practiced. The matrices show the course concepts, objectives, text(s)/reading(s)/videos, and assignments, activities, and assessments related to diversity. They were used to align and revise diversity curriculum.
Candidate competency on the Unit diversity proficiencies are assessed in initial and advanced programs using rubrics and scoring guides that evaluate student progress toward and attainment of the diversity elements. Data are aggregated from completed performance-based candidate rubrics that have been evaluated by cooperating teachers and/or university supervisors. Data analysis from cooperating teacher, principal, and 1st and 2nd year teacher surveys are also provided within Diversity Assessment Instruments and Data. The report demonstrates that diversity is thoroughly integrated in the entire unit assessment system. The data also show that candidates are “proficient” or “advanced” on assessments that require candidates to accommodate lessons and practice to assure opportunities for all students to learn. The Diverse Curriculum Scan, discussed later, makes a convincing case that the Unit has made significant progress in infusing its curriculum with the concepts and skills related to diversity.
Experiences Working with Diverse Faculty and Diverse Candidates
The Unit recruitment and hiring policy also demonstrates a commitment to diversity. Advertisements for new positions state: “Preference will be given to candidates with experience or disposition working with individuals from diverse backgrounds. UNC is an AA/EO employer and committed to fostering diversity in its student body, faculty, and staff.”
The Faculty Qualifications Summary demonstrates that faculty members have acquired significant experiences in working with children, youth, and families from diverse linguistic, cultural, and economic backgrounds. Sixty percent of TEF members supervise candidates in field experiences. Sixty-nine percent provide professional development to local schools, which are quite diverse. The faculty members within the Unit are routinely assigned to work in diverse field settings at school reflecting significant learner diversity in the role of practicum supervisor. Professors from teacher education programs work closely with the staff and students served by the Asian/Pacific American Student Services, Cesar Chavez Cultural Center, Marcus Garvey Cultural Center, Native American Cultural Center, Women’s Resources Center, The Gay, Lesbian Bisexual Transgender and Allies Resource Office, the Office for Academic Support and Advising Center, and the Center for Human Enrichment are all designed to provide academic, social, and psychological support to students in order to facilitate their progress through academic programs.
The Teacher Education Faculty (TEF) demographic data shows a consistent pattern over the last two academic years where approximately 53% of the faculty members were female and 47% were male. 88% are Caucasian American and the largest ethnic/racial group is Hispanic American representing 3%. In comparing the TEF with all faculty at the institution, the TEF consists of 2% more women and 2% more Caucasian Americans. Candidates experience greater diversity in faculty in the public school setting than on campus. The demographic data of our cooperating teachers shows 78% are Caucasian Americans and 5% are Hispanic or Latino. There is also greater diversity between university supervisors who reported 79% Caucasian American and 6% Hispanic or Latino. As expected the cooperating teachers at the Center for Urban Education represent the most diverse faculty with 59% reporting Caucasian American, 12% Hispanic or Latino, and 11% Black or African American.
On the TEF membership application form, renewed every five years, faculty are asked to explain their ethnicity selection of “other” and to identify themselves if they were international faculty. Five faculty specified their ethnicity as German-American, Jewish, Lebanese and Colombian/South American and Greek. Seven faculty identified their country of origin as Austria, Ireland, Germany, Taiwan, and Russia. Looking beyond the traditionally reported demographic categories allows us to document further the diversity of our faculty.
Candidates not only work with Unit-wide faculty, but they have many opportunities to interact with diverse faculty and diverse students across campus. Strong evidence of these opportunities is provided in the National Association of College and University Residence Halls, Inc. (NACURH) “Commitment to Diversity” proposal for which the university won the national award in 2008). Pages 4-16 highlight university-wide programs and faculty dedication to and university initiatives on diversity. Opportunities for studies abroad have been created to help candidates experience international aspects of diversity. In the last three academic years, 158 teacher candidates studied in 24 countries.
The College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, in particular, has taken a strong stance in its retention and recruitment work of underrepresented candidates. The program offerings at the UNC Denver Center for Urban Education have been expanded in the past several years to include undergraduate programs in Elementary Education, Special Education, and Early Childhood Education. These programs are based on an innovative apprenticeship model that employs candidates as para-educators in an urban setting during the morning while completing an undergraduate degree in the afternoon. In addition, the CUMBRES Program, founded by UNC’s Hispanic Alumni Partnership, has been preparing teacher candidates for ten years. Faculty members actively recruit Hispanic candidates for participation as English as a Second Language and bilingual education teachers. Other initiatives to recruit and retain diverse candidates are found within Practices for Recruiting Diverse Candidates. In addition, opportunities for our candidates to work with diverse candidates are also highlighted within Experiences Working with Diverse Candidates.
Efforts to increase the diversity in teacher candidates is evident in the analysis of our Candidate Demographic Data that show increased graduation rates of Hispanic and Latino undergraduates (8.8% in 2005-2006 to 12.8% in 2008-2009. We have also seen an increase in American Indian advanced graduates with an increase from .7% in 2005-2006 to 2.0% in 2008-2009. Contrary to the national trend, the Unit graduates are only slightly less diverse than the graduates from the institution, but the Unit graduates a higher rate of Hispanic graduates over time with 12.8% in 2008-2009 compared to 9.0% in the institution.
Experiences Working with Diverse Students in P-12 Schools
The design of curriculum in all teacher education programs delineates the components of cultural responsiveness through course content, early field experiences in diverse school settings, and in-depth examination of learner diversity at full-time practicum placements. Initial programs require all candidates to complete a structured field experience as a design in the programs. The Diverse Field Experience Requirement was piloted in 2008 and fully implemented in 2009 in the initial programs to further document that candidates have a diverse field experience. Candidates outline on a form signed by a supervisor that they have worked with ethnic/racial, cultural, economic, linguistic, and disability/exceptionality diversity. Almost all initial and 50% of the advanced programs are using the Requirement now; the rest use alternative methods of ensuring diverse field experiences.
In most cases the education professionals in the advanced programs complete their required field experiences in the classrooms where they are currently employed. The increasingly diverse school settings in the region, from which the majority of our advanced candidates originate helps assures candidates of opportunities to work in diverse settings.
The Unit compiled information on the student diversity of the partner schools where initial and advanced candidates completed their student teaching. Diversity information was obtained from the Colorado Department of Education for schools where three or more UNC student teachers were placed during the academic year. Analysis of K-12 Student Demographic Data suggests UNC candidates graduate with experience working with diverse populations. Overall, UNC initial candidates completed their student teaching in schools with higher percentages of minority students, students receiving free and reduced lunch, English Language Learners, and students with disabilities/exceptionalities than state-wide averages. Data from special education programs and advanced programs indicated candidates’ practicum and internships are in more diverse settings than the initial programs. Demographic data from the Center for Urban Education partner schools provides evidence of the highly diverse settings candidates experience in programs at the Center.