Diversity must be a persuasive characteristic of any quality preparation program. The Commission expects responsible providers to ensure that candidates develop proficiencies in specific aspects of diversity that appear in the Commission’s recommended standards and to embed diversity issues throughout all aspects of preparation courses and experiences. Examples of proficiencies that candidates who complete an educator preparation program should develop include:
- Incorporation of multiple perspectives to the discussion of content, including attention to learners’ personal, family, and community experiences and cultural norms.
- A commitment to deepening awareness and understanding the strengths and needs of diverse learners when planning and adjusting instruction that incorporates the histories, experiences and representations of students and families from diverse populations.
- Verbal and nonverbal communication skills that demonstrate respect for and responsiveness to the cultural backgrounds and differing perspectives learners and their families bring to the learning environment.
- Ability to interpret and share student assessment data with families to support student learning in all learning environments.
- An understanding of their own frames of reference (e.g., culture, gender, language, abilities, ways of knowing), the potential biases in these frames, the relationship of privilege and power in schools, and the impact of these frames on educators’ expectations for and relationships with learners and their families.
The COEPD model for infusing diversity is two-dimensional as seen on page 134 in the CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK (CF) appendix. The academic segment of the model deals with the diversity concepts and content that become elements of course and field-based experiences in each program. The performance assessments require application of diversity knowledge in working with students in the classroom. The COEPD commitment to diversity is reflected in college-wide dispositions and candidate outcomes for initial and advanced programs. Consistent with the CF, the COEPD has adopted a commitment to diversity as one of its four disposition concepts. Data from the assessment of diversity are an element of the overall decision-making process about program change and improvement, as well as candidate admission and progress.
The specific diversity concepts the COEPD incorporates into coursework and clinical experiences are aligned with the CF and can be found in the CF, DIVERSITY IN PRO ED CORE COURSES INITIAL LEVEL and DIVERSITY CONCEPTS BY ADVANCED LEVEL Framework documents.
COEPD has had the current diversity concepts since 2012. To validate the continued appropriateness of the diversity model, all faculty were surveyed in spring of 2017. Faculty overwhelmingly affirmed the concepts (DIVERSITY QUESTIONNAIRE RESULTS). Each concept was rated by 95-100 percent of the surveyed faculty as Appropriate or Mostly Appropriate. Concepts confirmed included ensuring cultural diversity and social justice for everyone involved and served by the EPP programs. Faculty also validated the mission statement, commitment to diversity as a disposition, and the conceptual areas to address in coursework and clinical experiences. The survey also validated the section added to the diversity model in 2017, which outlined goals for training COEPD candidates to work with ELL students. In the survey, faculty indicated their need for assistance in meeting these goals.
At the initial level, the diversity concepts are addressed in professional education courses and clinical experiences (DIVERSITY OF P-12 STUDENTS IN CLINICAL PRACTICE SITES INITIAL LEVEL). As documented in DIVERSITY IN PRO ED CORE COURSES INITIAL LEVEL, all ten concepts are examined in multiple courses, with “Understanding and valuing diversity of students” covered in 100% of the classes. Specific data from the Diversity Tutoring Project (PERFORMANCE TASKS) reveal scores from 2.50-4.00 on a four-point scale. Clinical data from LEVEL I, LEVEL II and LEVEL III also provide evidence of a “Commitment to Diversity” with scores ranging from 3.49-3.89 over the past three years.
DIVERSITY CONCEPTS BY ADVANCED LEVEL shows the alignment of the concepts by licensure program for COEPD Advanced Programs. As shown in the table, these diversity concepts are infused throughout the programs. DIVERSITY DATA ADVANCED LEVEL contains examples of data showing the assessment of candidates’ knowledge and skills for the various concepts. As can be seen from this data, all programs are training candidates who are knowledgeable about diversity and skilled in applying the concepts in field experiences. For example in the Autism licensure, 81-100% of candidates were rated as Distinguished or Mastery for implementing lesson plans in a manner that demonstrated appropriate accommodations for diverse students. In the DHH licensure program 60-100% of the candidates were rated as Intermediate or Advanced for consistency and fairness in lesson planning. In the Elementary Mathematics Specialist program 100% of candidates were rated at the highest level for organizing learning to meet diverse needs. For the Literacy program, mean scores on Differentiated Instruction (2.44; 2.75), improved in 2016, demonstrating greater candidate capacity to recognize impact of diversity on reading and writing development and provide differentiated instruction that capitalizes on diversity.
In addition to coursework and clinical experiences that reflect the focus on diversity, the COEPD created the Diversity and Social Justice Committee (DSJD) in 2014 to promote the recognition and incorporation of diversity. As outlined in the COEPD Faculty HANDBOOK (September 2017, p. 22) the DSJC is to organize and promote activities which enhance cultural competence in faculty and candidates. The DSJC provides resources to faculty and encourages them to incorporate diversity and social justice elements in syllabi. As shown in the DSJC MINUTES, recent activities include: diversity presentation at culminating seminar for student teacher candidates, promotion of a diversity event to encourage candidates from COEPD to attend, inclusion of a Diversity and Social Justice link on the COEPD website where faculty can access resources, arrangement of brown bag lunches on diversity and social justice, and implementation of a survey of current diversity components in syllabi.
COEPD has also created a Minority Faculty Fellow position. This position is filled each year and used to recruit faculty from diverse backgrounds. Several faculty have remained at MU after serving in this position.
A doctoral student portfolio project done in collaboration with faculty provide evidence of the success of the COEPD model for diversity (DOCTORAL PORTFOLIO PROJECT). Survey results from 183 candidates (initial and advanced), 26 faculty, 4 staff and 2 administrators document the comfort felt discussing diversity in class (Very Comfortable 73% faculty, 83% staff/administrators, 60% candidates). High scores were also evident for comfort level for working with transgender students, disabled students, gay or lesbian students. The survey also affirmed that most did not experience or witness unfair treatment based upon race, disability, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or socioeconomic status. There were also high scores given to the EPP for commitment to recruiting and maintaining a diverse faculty and student body.
|DIVERSITY CONCEPTS BY ADVANCED LEVEL|
|DIVERSITY DATA ADVANCED LEVEL|
|DIVERSITY IN PRO ED CORE COURSES INITIAL LEVEL|
|DIVERSITY OF P-12 STUDENTS IN CLINICAL PRACTICE SITES INITIAL LEVEL|
|DIVERSITY QUESTIONNAIRE RESULTS|
|DOCTORAL PORTFOLIO PROJECT|