Standard V. Element 1: Qualified Faculty
Faculty in the professional education unit at Towson University demonstrate appropriate professional credentials. As a result of their academic preparation, school-based professional experiences, commitment to continuous professional development and scholarship, unit faculty serve as exemplary models for candidates seeking initial and advanced certification as teachers and academic leaders. (See Exhibit 105, faculty display).
As reported in Table 1 (p. 3), the unit is composed of 170 full-time faculty (tenured/tenure-track and lecturers) across fourteen departments from five of the six academic colleges; they are supported by forty-two FTE part-time faculty. All full-time faculty have an appropriate terminal degree; tenured/tenure-track faculty have earned doctorates; all full-time lecturers, part-time faculty, and all unit administrators must either have a doctorate or an appropriate master's degree supported by contemporary professional experiences and expertise related to their respective teaching and/or supervisory roles. Table 1 also provides analysis of faculty academic rank; Table 72 (p. 69) provides a faculty demographic profile. Table 78 aggregates data on appropriate terminal degrees.
Tenure-track faculty searches in professional education are conducted with position descriptions that require the following qualifications: 1) terminal degree in appropriate field from an accredited university; 2) successful, recent P-12 experience
Table 78. Overview of Appropriate Terminal Degrees
appropriate to position (e.g., teaching, other role); 3) excellent communication and interpersonal skills; 4) demonstrated proficiency in educational technology; and 5) evidence of scholarly potential (Exhibit 106). Reflecting their role, searches for lecturers (faculty hired to fill a specific, non-tenure track teaching position) are required to possess the following credentials: 1) appropriate terminal degree-doctorate or masters-for the position; 2) recent experience and expertise related to the specific position; and 3) excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
The qualifications of the University clinical faculty are also of critical importance. Clinical supervision faculty have contemporary professional experiences in school settings for the role and at the levels that they supervise. They must be engaged in extensive collaborative work in P-12 schools, and particularly in PDS (e.g., in collaboration with administrators and faculty, mentors, summer strategic planning focuses on PDS support for the school improvement plan). In PDS, education faculty conduct University classes at public school sites to facilitate theory-into-practice learning.
IHE liaisons, full-time unit faculty who maintain the integrity of unit-school partnerships are carefully selected on the basis of their commitment, recent experience with and expertise in the clinical preparation of candidates, their continuing identification with teaching practice and their ability to partner effectively with school personnel. IHE liaisons are assisted by the K-12 PDS-Site Coordinators, who serve as liaisons between University and PDS personnel. The Coordinators share responsibility in selecting, supporting and monitoring the work of the mentor teachers who are also directly responsible for supporting and supervising the intern's clinical skills. The CPP maintains the formal Partners and Mission: Agreement for the Provision of Field Experiences and Internships in Undergraduate and Graduate Programs that governs all field and clinical experiences (Exhibit 64). These contracts document the required qualifications of P-12 mentors who supervise interns and candidates for other roles, including include licensure in the field; tenure; successful classroom experience; and the principal's/supervisor's recommendation. The principal/supervisor attests to appropriate licensure, experience, and expertise of each recommended mentor.
Mentor teachers are formally and informally evaluated at regular intervals. Mentor teachers receive feedback and on-site consultation from the site coordinator and PDS coordinators. The CPP closely monitors the performance of mentors through Program Evaluation Day, an every semester evaluation of mentors by interns as well as through reports from field-based University personnel (Exhibit 27). Data is shared by the CPP with University PDS Coordinators who, through their immersion at the site, collaborate with the site coordinator to assess mentor performance and determine whether or not to retain the mentor.
Standard V. Element 2: Modeling Best Professional Practices in Teaching
Throughout its 140 year history, Towson University has explicitly identified teaching excellence as an institutional priority. Reflecting this historical emphasis, teaching effectiveness is embedded in the Faculty Handbook as the highest priority in the University's Criteria and Procedures for Evaluation, Promotion, and Tenure, Reappointment, Merit, and Permanent Status (pp. 3-38 ~ 3-46). In describing faculty workload, it states that "since Towson University is a comprehensive university with an emphasis on teaching excellence, the first and most important responsibility is teaching" (p. 3-35). Accordingly, faculty are committed to best professional practices in teaching, which are assessed through annual evaluations for merit, reappointment, promotion and tenure reviews based on high professional standards in teaching.
Unit faculty members' instruction reflects the Conceptual Framework's explicit commitment to instructional excellence and models the performance-based expectations and outcomes expected of initial and advanced level candidates. Teaching within the unit facilitates active learning, reflects "best practices" derived from research and practice, integrates diversity and technology, and incorporates national and state performance-based standards through the following:
E. Faculty regularly assess - and are regularly assessed on - their own effectiveness as teachers, including the positive effects they have on candidates' learning and performance (Exhibit 108): The positive effects that faculty have on candidates' learning and performance is assessed through candidate learner outcome data, collected through the SPA process and Unit Assessment System. As noted in # 1 above, annual reviews of outcome data are conducted by program faculty to document success and to identify areas for improvement in the instructional programs. Additionally, faculty systematically engage in assessment of their teaching effectiveness and the development of best teaching practices through a mandated faculty Annual Review process, which includes specified methods and materials/sources for assessment of teaching accomplishments, challenges, and concerns (Faculty Handbook, pp. 3-41~3-47). Faculty submit dossiers including the following required data points:
These multiple data sources enable the faculty to analyze, revise, and improve teaching practice on a continuous basis. (See Exhibit 109 for representative awards that are testimony to the instructional expertise of unit faculty).
Standard V. Element 3: Modeling Best Professional Practices in Scholarship
By Carnegie classification, Towson University is a public Master's (Comprehensive) University I; by its mission statement, Towson University is a metropolitan comprehensive institution focused on teaching. Accordingly, as defined in the
Towson University's institutional mission statement reemphasizes that definition of scholarship, and states that tenured/tenure-track faculty "actively pursue scholarship and creativity that complement disciplinary knowledge and superior teaching. The University values and rewards equally the scholarships of discovery, teaching, integration, and application" (p. 3). All tenure-track faculty members are required to remain active scholars and to participate regularly in professional meetings, conferences and workshops both as participants and presenters.
Towson University is very systematic about documenting faculty scholarship. The Office of Institutional Research maintains a web-based, annual Report on Faculty Non-Instructional Productivity (FNIPQ) (Exhibit 110). All full-time faculty must complete this report. The database generated by these faculty reports provides an annual profile of faculty scholarship, reflecting the definition above; Table 79 presents data for the last two years. (Note: while many full-time lecturers are engaged in scholarly activities, they are not required to do so as a condition of their employment).
Table 79. Scholarship: Professional Education Unit FNIPQ Data
A review of vitae provides specific detail regarding the diversity of faculty scholarship. These scholarly activities have a major emphasis on applied research that impacts effective teaching and learning, as well as enhanced professional education programming. (See Exhibit 111 for examples of faculty research themes.)
Faculty have experienced success in securing external funding to support teaching and research from such entities as the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, the American Physic Society, and University System of Maryland. Table 80 illustrates the unit's external funding activity for FY 04, FY 05, and FY 06. (See Exhibit 112 for the Office of University Research Services complete records of external funding.)
Table 80. Professional Education Unit Grants and Contracts FY 04-FY 06
Standard V. Element 4: Modeling Best Professional Practices in Service
As the State's Metropolitan University, Towson University's institutional mission statement emphasizes the service mission of faculty-"Facultyserve the region through research and professional outreach that specifically responds to the state's socioeconomic and cultural needs and aspirations" (p. 1). The
Faculty Handbook specifically defines faculty service as one of three principal areas of faculty workload:
The University's Criteria and Procedures for Evaluation, Promotion, and Tenure/Reappointment, and Merit, and Permanent Status (Faculty Handbook, pp. 3-54 ~ 3-56) states clearly that ALL faculty are expected to offer service in three domains: 1) to one's profession; 2) to practitioners and community; and 3) to the institution. Vitae document that faculty contribute in significant ways to the University, local, regional, state, national, and international professional community. Towson University is also very systematic-through the aforementioned Report on Faculty Non-Instructional Productivity -in documenting faculty service. Table 81 presents a two-year profile of faculty service data confirming that faculty are actively engaged in professional service. (Note: while many full-time lecturers are engaged in service activities, they are not required to do so as a condition of their employment). A review of unit faculty vitae provides specific detail regarding faculty service. (See Exhibit 113 for a representative list of faculty roles and awards received which provide testimony to the recognized service commitment of unit faculty).
Table 81. Service: Professional Education Unit FNIPQ Data
Standard V. Element 5: Modeling Best Professional Practices in Collaboration
Reflecting the Conceptual Framework, professional education is an all-University responsibility as well as a collaborative effort with external partners. In addition to the specific collaborative efforts previously described Standard I (pp. 18-19), Standard III (pp. 51-54), and Standard IV (pp. 66-67), systematic structures are in place to promote and support collaboration); examples of collaboration include:
Standard V. Element 6: Evaluation of Professional Education Faculty Performance
Unit faculty members undergo regular, systematic and comprehensive annual evaluations. The Annual Review process is directed by the University's Criteria and Procedures for Evaluation, Promotion, and Tenure/ Reappointment, and Merit, and Permanent Status (Faculty Handbook, pp. 3-38~3-46), and focuses on teaching, scholarship, and service. (See Standard V, Elements 2, 3, and 4). (See the Faculty Handbook, pp. 3-6~3-79 for the Annual Review forms).
All tenured and tenure-track faculty are reviewed annually by their department's Promotion, Tenure, Review and Merit Committee, then by their Department Chair, and then the College Dean to assess their accomplishments in teaching, scholarship and service; for candidates pursuing promotion and tenure, the process also includes the College-specific Promotion and Tenure Committee and review by the University Provost. Tenure-track faculty meet regularly with their Department Chair and College Dean to assess their progress toward promotion and tenure. Modifications in course load and other assignments are negotiated on a case-by-case basis to optimize potential for meeting individualized professional goals.
Lecturers--full-time faculty who are not on a tenure-track appointment-- are also assessed annually in terms of their specific assignments, and prior to the renewal of their contracts. Measures include the standard candidate evaluation of course and instructor, through other faculty assessment (e.g., from a PDS Coordinator), and conferences with the Department Chair. Part-time faculty are evaluated through the standard candidate evaluation of course and instructor, through other faculty assessment (e.g., from a PDS Coordinator), and conferences with the Department Chair.
Standard V. Element 7: Unit Facilitation of Professional Development
Ongoing professional development of unit faculty is a shared goal of the University and the unit, and reflects the Conceptual Framework. Faculty participation in professional development activities is high. While most activities for full-time faculty are invitational and voluntary (e.g., Lilly Conference on College and University Teaching; Exhibit 115; Multicultural Institute conferences, Exhibit 77), targeted activities take place at the annual Provost's January Conference (Exhibit 116), January and August Unit Retreats, as well as within mandatory monthly College meetings (e.g., ongoing Diversity, Technology, Scholarship themes - Exhibit 117). Many professional development activities are conducted collaboratively with public school partners (e.g., "Differentiating Instruction to Meet the Needs of All Learners," Exhibit 118).
Faculty are encouraged to pursue focused professional development activities based on evaluation results (e.g., course evaluation data, Annual Review) or self-identified professional growth needs. Sabbatical leave is available to tenured faculty to support their professional growth. Participation by part-time faculty in orientation sessions is required; program standards and assessments are addressed, core syllabi are shared, and professional expectations for teaching effectiveness are identified. Additionally, unit faculty provide ongoing support for part-time faculty (Exhibit 119).
Focused professional development. In the last several years, faculty participated in numerous focused professional development activities that address the Conceptual Framework. Table 82 identifies representative examples.
Table 82. Examples of Focused Professional Development Activities
Additional professional development support offered to faculty includes:
The Center for Instructional Advancement and Technology (CIAT) supports excellence in teaching and learning by providing professional development opportunities to investigate and apply sound learning theory and technology to instruction (e.g., Technology Fellows) (Exhibit 123).
The Office of Technology Services (OTS) provides ongoing professional development workshops for faculty and staff, and sponsors
Faculty Online, a faculty resource site for online, hybrid, and web-supported courses. The OTS also supports faculty use of the new (in 2006)
Digital Media Classroom (Exhibit 124; also see Standard VI, pp.96-97).