Standard 6: Unit Governance and Resources

The unit has the leadership, authority, budget, personnel, facilities, and resources including information technology resources, for the preparation of candidates to meet professional, state, and institutional standards.

6.1 Unit Governance and Resources

How do the unit's governance system and resources contribute to adequately preparing candidates to meet professional, state, and institutional standards?

Watson College of Education (WCE) provides educator preparation B-12 programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, in collaboration with the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and College of Health and Human Services (CHHS). The WCE administrative structure consists of a Dean, two associate deans (one for Academic and Student Affairs, and one for Teacher Education and Outreach), and four departments with chairs; Department of Early Childhood and Special Education (ECSE); Department of Elementary, Middle Level and Literacy Education (EMMLE); Department of Instructional Technology, Foundations and Secondary Education (ITSF); and the Department of Educational Leadership (EL). These personnel serve as the leadership team for the unit and are known as the Administrative Team (A-Team). The roles of the administrative team are outlined clearly in the WCE Policies and Procedures Manual (2.4.a.16). The manual also describes the operations of the unit and the organizational charts provide an overview of the structures comprising the unit (6.4.b). The Center for Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (CESTEM), and the Office of Youth Programs also are part of WCE. The unit is supported by offices and services in WCE and across campus (6.4.c; 6.4.d; 6.4.e.). There are 18 WCE committees and other specific committees are formed as needed with membership based upon purpose to support the coordination of the unit (6.4.a.1). WCE has nine directors who facilitate offices and centers.

The Education Building was built in 2004 and was a top priority of the UNCW leadership administrators and Board of Trustees; a strong testament to the importance of teacher preparation at UNCW. The facility is an 80,500 sq.ft, building with 9 classrooms, including a well-equipped science laboratory, 4 seminar rooms, 3 technology labs, and informal computer space, three conference rooms, Education Lab, Curriculum Materials Center, and offices for the academic departments and outreach service. One classroom is in partnership with New Hanover County Schools; the Young Adult Transition Classroom (special needs) uses the facility daily. The Friday Annex, a building situated near WCE, is used by full and part-time faculty for offices and classrooms. In addition to the main campus space, faculty in the WCE deliver education courses at public school sites to meet program needs. WCE partnerships with community colleges benefit candidates by offering courses at community college locations, and courses in the doctoral program also are offered at a variety of off-campus sites.

The WCE recruiting and admission process for all the programs for candidates is outlined on the WCE Academic Advising website (6.4.d.4), and on the UNCW website. The unit ensures that for candidates to be successful they have access to counseling and advising services as needed both in WCE and on the UNCW campus (6.4.c.2,). For example, the UNCW Learning Center provides academic support for content tutoring, math and writing services (6.4.d.3). The Office of Diversity and Inclusion strives to provide a climate that is friendly and safe for students through five affinity groups (6.4.d.1). In WCE, to make sure candidates are informed throughout their programs, faculty sponsor information sessions. The Elementary Education program for example, provides a welcome orientation, and field and clinical practice orientations. At the advanced program level, orientations and information sessions guide candidates. In the Language and Literacy Program Orientation, faculty discuss course and research interests with candidates. The Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs oversees the advisors for the distance education programs and the programs on campus. Once the on-campus candidates are admitted to WCE they are currently advised by faculty. All graduate students are advised by the program coordinator and faculty within the respective program.

Within the departments, faculty members are organized into program area committees and course committees to facilitate planning and revision of initiatives (6.4.a.4). Curriculum, program development, and revision processes originate from the program, to the departmental level, and to the WCE Curriculum Committee. The approved changes go to the Teacher Education Council which includes members from the WCE, CAS, and P-12 educators. The changes are then submitted to the University Curriculum Committee or the Graduate Council.

UNCW continues to grow even with reduction in state funding, in part due to the recognition of the importance of WCE and its role of preparing educators. Funding continues to support effective programs to meet mandated standards. WCE continues to hire faculty, and to support teaching and course development, scholarship, research, and service, which are essential in candidate preparation. The unit receives equitable funding based on size and scope with the units across UNCW campus (6.4.g). Distance education funds are available to maintain and upgrade technology and support distance education programs (6.4.f.2). Apart from external grant funding faculty also can apply for mini-grants in WCE and from UNCW. WCE continues to be successful in the area of external funding including grants, contracts and fundraising. Grants in process for 2012-13, total over $3m. These resources gave faculty additional financial support for travel, research, and design innovations to improve instruction, pursue innovative research initiatives and provide support services to public schools. Faculty workloads were adjusted due to these funds (6.4.h.4). Graduate assistantship funding has been maintained with a slight increase in 2012-13. One time funding was available in spring 2013 and the Administrative Team met to determine expenditures based on strategic planning priorities.

WCE has an outstanding faculty as indicated by their commitment to the profession and levels of expertise in teaching, research, and service. The faculty members in WCE adhere to the workload policies as mandated by the UNC system (6.4.h.1; 2; 3). Faculty have a load equivalent to 12 hours a semester and faculty members are required to spend an equivalent of three of those hours working in and/or with public schools in research and service. Teaching load for full-time tenure-track faculty can be a minimum of 3/3 if they are research active. Duties include advising, committee work, professional development, etc. Course reductions may result from course "buyouts" grants, special projects, and academic administration (6.4.h.4). Faculty hires continue despite state reductions in funding with the hiring of 9 new faculty members in 2011-12, and 22 in the last 3 years. WCE accommodates and promotes online teaching and provides the necessary support, with time, and resources for distance education (6.4.j.3-11; 6.4.i.3-9).

WCE full-time tenure-track faculty members direct the focus of the department; they design, assess, and modify programs. However,WCE also employs part-time faculty to meet instructional and supervisory responsibilities. In 2012-13, 43 part-time faculty members served in various capacities, and are regarded as valued colleagues in the preparation of candidates. The appointment process includes review of transcripts, interviews, and letters of recommendation (6.4.h.5). Support personnel are an essential component of an effective unit. All departments have an Administrative Assistant, the Dean and Associate Deans have Executive Assistants. WCE also provides a Webmaster, Technology Support Analyst, Minority Recruitment Liaison, three advisors, and one field placement coordinator.

Professional development is essential in maintaining current practices to produce highly qualified candidates. Faculty members engage in informal conversations on a variety of topics in large and small contexts. For example, college faculty/staff meetings provide a forum for discussion related to the revised mission and value statements. In smaller groups Brown Bag sessions are facilitated by faculty on a variety of topics to enhance theory development and emerging practices. WCE faculty have close connections with the UNCW Center for Teaching Excellence, and many faculty attend sessions, and present at the center.

Through funding WCE supports the assessment of programs to ensure that candidates meet required standards. To accommodate the data collection WCE has a Director of Assessment, and a Data Analyst who continue to develop the WCE Database and Collaborative Portal which contains assessment data to meet the needs of accreditation and state assessments (2.3.d.4). Technology is also updated for faculty on a regular basis. Resources in WCE include technology stations in all classrooms, with a document camera, computer, and ports for additional hardware. Mechanized screens and touch pads are available for easy use with ceiling projectors, 3 carts of laptop computers are available for classroom use, and 10 research laptops with software (SPSS, NVivo) are available. Additionally, Smart boards were mounted in 3 classrooms.

Faculty use Blackboard Learn and other software to either teach courses online, or as a depository for resources in the face-to-face courses. Professional development in technology includes workshops by the Director and staff of the Technology Unit in WCE for Ipad Users, and the WebEx Trainings Group. The UNCW Information Technology Services Division (ITSD) holds technology training sessions and is continually updating and educating university personnel in the newest technologies and software. The UNCW library provides extensive resources through easy access to materials, the web and global communication (6.4.i.10-17). Electronic equipment is available for check out from the UNCW e-learning area, the Technology Director's office, and Assistive Technology Lab. The CMC provides accessibility to teaching materials for faculty and candidates.

6.2.b Continuous Improvement
  • Summarize activities and changes based Data that have led to continuous improvement of candidate performance and program quality.
  • Discuss plans for sustaining and enhancing performance through continuous improvement as articulated in this standard.

Data in Standard 1,2,3,4,5,and 6 indicate WCE administration pays close attention to maintaining resources for faculty, and services for candidates to provide a nurturing environment that supports the candidates' development related to the Conceptual Framework and candidate performance. WCE utilizes a continuous improvement model indicated by successful candidate performance and program quality which shows the availability of resources and attention to governance to support candidate proficiency. Data in Standard 1 show candidates successful completion of Program Evidence Folios and MSA Portfolios by candidates (1.4.h.1-25). Ratings on the Certification of Teaching Capacity indicate that initial candidates meet expected proficiencies; high final evaluation ratings of initial candidates on the Intern Performance Scale (1.4.d.22-30); high Praxis II pass rates (98% for 2011-2012); and overall positive results from exit surveys (1.4.d.12-21), alumni surveys (1.4.i.1), employer surveys (1.4.j.2), NCDPI data (1.4.j.1), and NC Teacher Quality Research reports (1.4.k.1-5).

To ensure that faculty members in units across UNCW who prepare teacher candidates in the College of Arts and Science (CAS) and in the College of Health and Human Services (CHHS), are aware and attend to the WCE standards for candidates, meetings are held to provide information that is pertinent to candidate development. For example, information about current NCDPI and state mandates are shared at monthly Program Coordinator meetings, and in a meeting each semester facilitated by the Associate Dean for Teacher Education and Outreach.

Even though many changes occur in personnel at UNCW, and in WCE, the structure and governance system maintains the infrastructure necessary for data collection through the continued work of the Assessment Director and Data Analyst. In the past two years UNCW campus had a new Chancellor in 2011, and a Provost in 2012. In WCE a new Dean was selected in 2011, two Associate Deans in 2012, a PDS Director in 2011, and a Director of Assessment in 2011. However, even with transitions in administration financial resources, and governance continued to provide support for professional development activities, research and service, increase in program offerings, and course revision. Extensive course revisions have occurred since 2009, for example in the Elementary Education initial licensure program, and in the Special Education Program expanded field experiences provide authentic contexts for candidates as they developed lesson plans and assessments in methods courses. In the Secondary Education licensure program candidates indicated, on the Exit Survey a need to have more time in schools to increase their comfort level in the classroom and provide them with more opportunities to interact with high school students. Therefore, additional field experience and tutoring opportunities were provided in SEC 320: Field Experience Block 2. At the advanced level the development of new programs, for example the Masters in Higher Education, and also the expansion of the Doctoral Program to include three tracks, exemplifies that the infrastructure was maintained to support and expand experiences for candidates.

WCE administration has initiated some changes that enhance faculty productivity in scholarship, which ensures their preparation and currency in educational practices. The Dean established a revised policy to reduce the amount of overload course teaching for tenured and non-tenured faculty, provided mini-grants for research and developing innovative practices, and introduced several new forums for faculty discussion and sharing of research and ideas. For example, Coffee and Conversations; WCE Scholarship Brown Bag Series; Public Speaker Series; No Agenda Lunches with the Dean; New Faculty Lunches. Other community building activities provide informal conversations such as; the Annual Picnic; Ice Cream Social; and Holiday Dinner. Other forums include; WCE College wide meetings; WCE Open Forums; College Council; Program Area Retreats and meetings; Program Coordinator meetings and annual events such as the Razor Walker Awards (6.4.a.6-7).

The increase in school partnerships provides additional collaboration opportunities due to research, grants, and interaction with the public school partners. For example, the Partnership in Action Schools Project, (spring 2013) provides the opportunity for faculty to immerse themselves within the school context. WCE continues to provide funding for full-time faculty to travel and present at local, national and international conferences, and seek additional funds through the Office of International Programs for international travel to expand the globalization of curriculum and candidate experiences.

WCE has technology resources in all classrooms and continues to upgrade those which are essential to provide candidates with knowledge of tools and software available in the schools. Recently, three classrooms were equipped with Web-X to facilitate student learning in off-campus site and upgrades were made to a large Distance Education Lab (EB266). Funds supported the replacement and upgrading of technology in EB162 (capacity 150) at a cost of $65,000 (completed summer 2013). This upgrade created a state-of-art system for presentations and conferences. Future plans for technology evolve from the technology committee and the needs of programs. For example, discussions and plans to prepare secondary candidates in Virtual High School teaching are in process.

WCE is committed to provide the opportunity for faculty and candidates to be knowledgeable about theory and practice in P-12 learning. The expansion of the Doctoral Program, from 37 candidates in 2009 to 58 candidates in spring 2013 and with three concentrations, Leadership in Educational Administration, Leadership in Curriculum and Instruction, and Leadership in Higher Education, provides faculty with opportunities to work in schools as the program is designed for working professionals and most of the candidates are in administrative roles within school systems.

Due to expansion of programs and the hiring of faculty since 2006, administration in WCE addressed space usage, and the use of facilities close by in the Friday Annex. Some faculty offered to move into the Annex so that incoming new faculty could have office space in the WCE building; this gesture is important to enhance new faculty immersion into the WCE community.

Depending on space availability faculty can request office moves within the building and from the Annex. The development and relocation of a central advising system to the ground floor of WCE is in process and will begin fall 2013. This initiative will provide more accessibility to candidates due to the location of the advising center. Second, it will release faculty from course advisory roles, and provide consistency in advising. Therefore, faculty will have more time to spend on course preparation and professional development to ensure they are current in instructional practices for candidates in both face-to-face and distance education courses.

To pay close attention to governance issues and to update policies in the WCE Policies and Procedures Manual, the Dean created a Policy Committee 2012-13. Under current review and revision are the following policies: Review of non-tenured faculty progress toward RTP; Administrator Role Descriptions (Program Coordinators); Faculty Governance document; and WCE Faculty Workload Policy. Three new committees for fall 2013 evolved from a needs assessment. A Building Committee was formed due to the need for building reconfigurations; a Policy Committee will examine policies across WCE and make sure they are aligned with UNCW policies and other professional practices; a Public Speaker Series Committee will organize future speakers and coordinate related events for the Public Speaker Initiative.

Due to leadership, governance system, personnel, facilities, budget and technology support for on-campus and distance education programs, and opportunities for professional development WCE is positioned to provide the optimal experience for candidates in all programs to meet national accreditation and state program approval standards, and ultimately address the needs of P-12 students.