Standard 5

Standard 5.1 Faculty Qualifications, Performance and Development

Faculty Qualifications

The faculty data table shows 196 faculty and five College of Education administrators who provide unit leadership and services across 29 programs from five of the six academic colleges (R.5.4.a.1.a).  As stated in the University Policy on Appointment, Rank and Tenure of Faculty (ART), credentials for tenured/tenure-track (T/TT) faculty are: (1) a doctorate or recognized terminal degree in the field of specialization (2) potential for superior teaching, service, scholarship, or creative performance (R.5.4.f.1 p.14), which all T/TT faculty in the unit possess. Additional unit requirements not listed in ART include: (1) at least 3 years of PK-12 teaching or its equivalent (2) technology proficiency demonstrated in a teaching lesson (R.5.4.a.2).

Non-tenure track (NTT) faculty have master’s degrees (at a minimum) and contemporary professional experiences.  NTT faculty are hired for teaching/supervising roles with these credentials:  (1) appropriate degree for the position, (2) recent experiences/expertise for the role, (3) recognition for their competence in the field (R.5.4.f.1 pp.16-18),  (R.5.4.f.4) and (R.5.4.f.5).

Some full-time faculty serve as Institute of Higher Education (IHE) liaisons that teach/supervise in Professional Development Schools (PDS) and maintain the integrity of unit-school partnerships.  Liaisons are selected for their contemporary experiences suitable for the clinical preparation of candidates, and their ability to partner with the IHE and local school district (LEA) personnel.  The clinical faculty data table presents the qualifications of IHE instructors and liaisons/supervisors (R.5.4.b.1).  Roles and responsibilities of PDS partners are described in the PDS Handbook (R.3.4.e.46 pp.13-20). 

P-12 faculty are licensed in the fields they teach (R.5.4.b.2).  Policies and practices to assure clinical faculty in schools meet unit criteria are at R.3.4.c.1.  The Center for Professional Practice (CPP) monitors initial preparation mentors’ and ULS’ performance through Program Evaluation (R.1.4.c.3) which includes interns’ evaluation of mentor teachers (MT) and university liaisons/supervisors (ULS).   MT data are used by PDS partners in the decision of continuing a MT.  ULS data are summarized by the Center for Professional Practice and shared with respective chairs/program directors (R.3.4.d.1).  University liaisons are full-time lecturers who are evaluated using the Annual Review (AR) process (R.5.4.f.2).

Best Practices in Teaching

Unit faculty have an in-depth understanding of their fields and meld current content and methods in their instructional practice.  Faculty teaching reflects the proficiencies in professional, state and institutional standards.  The Specialized Professional Association (SPA) Program Status chart shows that 23/25 SPA reports have been nationally recognized (S.2.1).  Faculty incorporate appropriate assessments throughout the professional program in coursework, field experiences, and clinical practices.  SPA assessments and course syllabi provide examples of performance assessments. See S.5.8 for sample syllabi.   Faculty value candidates’ learning and adjust instruction as shown in the Towson Course Evaluation Online (TCEO) surveys.  Students respond to six questions about the instructor’s effectiveness, with results reported to instructors and the college.   TCEO results are not aggregated for the unit; therefore, data from the COE will be shown as an example.  Results show the ratings for faculty are in the mid-to high 4’s on a 5 point scale for all instructor effectiveness questions.  See (R.5.4.f.3) for the questions and ratings. Other teaching effectiveness evaluations are completed by interns in their final semester in the program who are asked to rate their ULS on eight generic supervisor functions, on implementation of the InTASC Standards and a technology standard.  See (R.3.4.d.1) for results.

Instruction reflects national and state standards, current research and PK-20 initiatives such as Common Core State Standards, PARCC, and teacher-principal evaluations.  Faculty align syllabi and requirements to the conceptual framework, to professional standards and current research.  Instruction also reflects the “wisdom of practice” through faculty interactions with PK-12 colleagues in their immersion in PDS sites, resulting in reciprocal sharing of classroom-based instructional strategies, understanding different models for teaching/learning and knowledge of Maryland’s school accountability system.   See S.5.9 for sample syllabi that embed national and state standards with aligned projects.

Faculty teaching empowers candidates to develop and demonstrate SPA and other standards-based proficiencies and supports candidates’ development of reflection, critical thinking, and problem solving skills.  Interns rate the effectiveness of their supervisors on helping them understand InTASC Standards and a technology standard at the end of their programs.  Ratings for spring 2013 of 4.51/5.00 and higher from 402 interns demonstrate unit faculty are assisting candidates in developing standards-based proficiencies (R.3.4.d.1).

Best Practices in Scholarship

Professional education faculty demonstrate scholarly work related to teaching, learning, and their fields of specialization.  When completing the AR faculty list a percentage of their workload spread over three areas: teaching 65-75%, scholarship 15-25%, and service 5-15%.  Publications (peer and non-peer reviewed), presentations, grants and contracts are listed in Section III (R.5.4.f.2). Faculty remain current in their fields through attendance at professional conferences/workshops, and participation in other professional development.  Samples of faculty scholarly activities are found in: (1) COE Faculty Research and Development Committee (FRDC) Newsletter (R.5.4.d.1), (2) Fisher College of Science and Math newsletter (R.5.4.d.2), (3) the agenda for the FRDC College of Education Meeting (R.5.4.d.3), (4) sample unit faculty scholarly activities (R.5.4.d.4) and (5) yearly Faculty Non-Instructional Productivity Questionnaire Report representative of COE (FNIPQ) (R.5.4.d.5) and unit promotion and tenure decisions (R.5.4.d.6).

Faculty Service

Reflecting the conceptual framework theme of collaborative partnerships, working together within the unit includes attending the Teacher Education Executive Board (TEEB) (R.6.4.b.1-2; R.6.4.a.3), unit monthly meetings (R.5.4.e.1) and NCATE/MSDE steering committee meetings (R.5.4.e.2). T/TT faculty provide service to the university and wider community in ways that are outlined in the institutional mission (R.1.5.a.1, p 206) and in the ART document which requires service to university, civic, and profession (R.5.4.f.1).  They collaborate with PK-12 practitioners (see TPIP reports R.3.5.a,b,c.1,c.2,c.3),provide leadership in the profession, schools, and professional associations at multiple levels (R.5.4.e.3); and provide education-related services at the local, state, and national level.  Towson Learning Network (TLN) provides unit courses across the state (R.5.4.e.4).  See FNIPQ information in R.5.4.d.5.

Evaluation of Faculty Performance

The university’s systematic evaluation structure includes regular and comprehensive reviews of faculty teaching, scholarship, and service to the community, institution, and profession.   All T/TT faculty, clinical faculty and lecturers are evaluated using the procedures and criteria set forth in the ART document for the following reviews: (R.5.4.f.1.pp.3-1 to 3-38, forms in appendices)

  1. Annual
  2. Reappointment
  3. Merit
  4. Third-Year
  5. Tenure
  6. Promotion
  7. Comprehensive

Faculty regularly assess-and are assessed on-their effectiveness as teachers.  Their positive effects on candidates’ learning and performance are assessed through candidate learner outcome data, collected through the SPA process and the Unit Assessment System.  Faculty systematically engage in assessment of their teaching effectiveness and the development of best teaching practices through an anual AR process.  All full-time faculty complete the AR and include the report in all additional evaluations, such as those for reappointment, merit, third-year reviews, promotion, tenure, and comprehensive reviews.  In the AR faculty discuss their achievements in teaching, scholarship, and service and future plans to improve/increase productivity in each area.  On the AR forms, faculty include TCEO results for all courses taught during the review year and may include a narrative statement on how they will use the results to inform/improve their teaching.  ARs are approved by the faculty member, department chairperson and the college dean (R.5.4.f.2).

Professional Development               

Policies that support faculty professional development are included in the TU Mission (R.1.5.a.1. pp. 205) and in the TU Strategic Academic Plan (R.5.4.g.1 pg.3).  Faculty are urged to pursue professional development activities based on their AR outcomes, TCEO feedback, and/or self-identified growth needs.  Sabbatical leaves are available to tenured faculty to support their professional growth (R.5.4.g.2).  Faculty professional development also occurs through attendance and presentations at conferences in faculty disciplines.  Faculty are supported in their professional travel through the university and the college.  Exhibit (R.5.4.g.3) is the COE travel policy and (R.5.4.g.4) shows faculty funded travel over the past three years and the professional conferences attended.  New faculty orientations are held at the university and college levels (R.5.4.g.5 and 6) with resources such as the Teaching Evaluation Handbook (S.5.7) and Academic Advising Handbook (S.5.6) available on the Provost website. Experienced professional education faculty mentor new faculty and support their teaching and professional development (R.5.4.g.7).


Standard 5.2 Continuous Improvement

Best Professional Practice in Professional Development
The activities and changes in the unit that have led to continuous improvement of candidate performance and program quality center around unit faculty professional development, service to local and regional schools/school districts, and collaborative activities with teachers, administrators, and other school personnel.

1. Work of the Presidential Scholar

To engage in professional development and learning opportunities around emerging educational theories and practices, unit faculty attended monthly meetings organized by Dr. Nancy Grasmick, the former 20-year Maryland State Superintendent, who was named Presidential Scholar for Innovation in Teacher and Leader Preparation at Towson University in 2012 and Dr. Ray Lorion, Dean of the College of Education. The purpose of the unit meetings was to increase faculty understanding of, and ability to instruct on, PK-20 initiatives of Common Core State Standards, PARCC, student learning objectives, and the new state teacher-principal evaluation. The sessions were conducted by renowned unit faculty, state and national leaders. See the following exhibits for session content and evaluations:  S.5.1, S.5.2, S.5.2.a, S.5.3.a, S.5.3.b, S.5.4.a, S.5.4.b, S.5.10.a, and S.5.10.b.  See Exhibit S.5.5 for Signature Forum presentations. 

2. University-wide Professional Development

Each year the Provost’s Office presents a January Conference (S.5.5) and a Multicultural Conference (S.5.11) for faculty and friends of Towson University.  The purpose of these conferences is to provide innovative ways of transforming courses that are taught to foster outstanding student learning, achievement, and success and to increase diversity awareness among students, faculty and staff.  The speaker for the January 2014 Conference was Dr. David Rose, founder of CAST (Center for Applied Special Technology) whose work has grown into the field of Universal Design of Learning (UDL).  Building on the momentum of the January Conference, under the leadership of Liz Berquist, assistant professor in the Special Education Department and a member of the National CAST UDL Faculty Cadre, Towson faculty can participate in the campus UDL Professional Learning Community (S.5.5). Course development is offered through the Office of Academic Innovation (S 5.12)

3. College of Education – Education Innovation Lab

The Education Innovation Lab (EIL) is a unit faculty resource for technology professional development support through faculty-led workshops and assistance with integrating technology into instruction.  The mission of the EIL is to enhance, model and support teaching and learning with technology.  The lab houses SMART and Promethean Boards, seven computer workstations, two LCD projectors and an instructor station outfitted with a document camera and Creston control unit.  Unit faculty of all skill levels are encouraged to visit the lab to ask questions or to participate in demonstrations of best practices with technologies that enhance face-to-face and online instruction.  Exhibits S.5.13 provides EIL newsletters, and S.5.14 provide EIL professional development.

Best Professional Practices in Service

Through the University Mission Statement and the ART document, unit faculty are actively engaged in leadership in the profession and schools at multiple levels.  Faculty collaborate with the professional world of practice in PK-12 schools and with faculty in other colleges or universities to improve teaching, candidate learning, and the preparation of educators.  A representative sample of such involvement follows.

1. Center for Application and Innovation Research in Education (CAIRE)

In 2010, Maryland was awarded a $250 million Race to the Top grant.  Led by Dr. Ray Lorion, the unit head, and housed at Towson, CAIRE is a Maryland collaborative initiative with unit faculty involved with other USM (University System of Maryland) faculty and the world of work in PK-12 schools.  CAIRE was established to evaluate the success/impacts of 54 state managed RTTT projects and monitor scores of LEA-based projects.  MSDE reached an agreement with the University System of Maryland (USM) to conduct the project evaluations through CAIRE (Exhibit S.5.15).

2. Center for Leadership in Education (CLE)

Providing quality comprehensive leadership and organizational development support for schools, school systems, and education-related organizations, the CLE is a resource for quality leadership activities in the mid-Atlantic region.  CLE is directed by Dr. Mike Hickey, former Howard County Superintendent, and Dr. Ron Thomas, former St. Mary’s County and Baltimore County Associate Superintendent. The Center’s primary program areas are leadership: training, development, system support, research analysis and dissemination Exhibit S.5.16)

Best Professional Practices in Teaching

1. TU/Baltimore County Public School (BCPS) Race to the Top Partnership

In 2010, the unit, led by COE, entered into a partnership through a RTTT grant with BCPS, to support pre-tenure and recently hired teachers in high priority schools.  TU provides BCPS with three full-time Teacher Educators in Residence (TEIR), who provide professional development support for pre-tenure teachers at BCPS low performing schools.  BCPS provides TU with three full-time Teachers-in-Residence (TIR) to support instruction in the unit and in PK-12 schools.  The goals of the program are to provide an additional year of university support to pre-tenure teachers resulting in increased teacher retention and student achievement and to inform the instruction of unit programs based on input from the BCPS Teachers in Residence (BCPS teachers on leave from the classroom to work in the low-performing schools and with TU faculty).  Six BCPS schools are involved in the project; full-time faculty from TU have become TEIRs and other unit faculty have provided professional development activities in the six schools (S.5.17 interim project report; S5.18 faculty participating in professional development).

2. National edTPA Pilot Project/Maryland edTPA Collaborative

In 2010 the College of Education, through the Elementary Education Department (ELED), joined with two  other Maryland IHEs as members of the national Teacher Performance Assessment Consortium.  The edTPA was developed at SCALE (Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity) and field tested in 2011 and 2012 at select sites around the country.  ELED remains a member of the state initiative with the University of Maryland (UMD) and Morgan State University (MSU), called the Maryland edTPA Collaborative (MedTPA).  The Collaborative provides a venue for ELED faculty to inquire systematically into and reflect on department practices and improvements in candidate teaching, learning, and assessment.  A description of ELED’s years implementing edTPA can be located in Exhibit S.5.19.

In an effort to actively engage in a dialogue with interested colleagues about the positive outcomes associated with the edTPA performance assessment, on June 28, 2013, the MedTPA Collaborative held its first edTPA Mid-Atlantic Implementation Conference at MSU.  The purpose of the conference was to share information on how to implement edTPA for stakeholders who had attempted the assessment and had questions/experiences to share and to provide information for those who knew of edTPA and wanted more information.  Participants from seven regional states and D.C. attended.  To showcase the positive benefits of edTPA to faculty and students, IHE administrators, faculty, LEA teachers and former interns from all three institutions offered conference sessions (S.5.20). One of the attendees was Laurie Calvert, Teacher Liaison at the U.S. Department of Education.  Through her position at the U.S.DOE, members of the MedTPA Collaborative were invited to speak to U.S. DOE education staff about Maryland’s work with edTPA.  The COE Associate Dean, a former TU graduate, now an assistant principal and a former Towson intern at her school, attended the discussion (S.5.21)

Outreach to Schools and Teachers

1. Towson University Center for STEM Excellence, led by Fisher College of Science and Mathematics

Unit faculty provide service to PK-12 schools to enhance the delivery of instructional programs. As a representative example, the Fisher College of Science and Math offers STEM outreach activities and other math/science outreach such as the following: (Activities described more fully in Exhibit S.5.22).

-Bioscience Education and Outreach Program-The Bioscience Education and Outreach team is committed to engaging, exciting and educating middle and high school students in science.  Two of the most well-known programs are the SciTech student learning lab, housed at the Columbus Center at the Baltimore Inner Harbor, and the Maryland Loaner Lab program.  The Loaner Lab project offers biotechnology curriculum and lab activities in a self-contained kit.
-Baltimore Excellence in STEM Teaching (BEST) Project-Funded from NASA, the BEST program aims to improve high school and middle school science, technology, engineering, and math instruction in the Baltimore area.

2. Additional Outreach led by Fisher College of Science and Mathematics (S.5.23)

-Civitas/TU Project
-Project ASTRO
-PEEESC Program
-Hackerman Academy

New Majors/Programs in the Education Unit
New majors/programs/courses in the unit will ensure that the focus on quality instruction and outstanding performance of unit faculty and candidates will continue.  The unit has instituted relevant programs for students seeking employment in area and regional LEAs.  The unit has addressed critical shortage areas as identified in the Maryland State Staffing Report and responded with two majors in the field of Special Education.  The Secondary Education Department has responded to a recent new certification area at the Maryland State Department of Education in Middle School education that also addresses critical shortages in math and science teachers.  Exhibit S.5.24 provides information about new majors and programs developed since 2007.

2014 Institutional Report - Standard 5