Unit Leadership and Authority
The professional education unit's programs are coordinated by the Teacher Education Executive Board (TEEB), (R.6.4.a.1). TEEB oversees professional education program policies, procedures, and assessments and its decisions reflect official policy. Chaired by the College of Education (COE) Dean, TEEB members represent all initial and advanced programs (R.6.4.b.2), and meet monthly (R.6.4.a.3).
As TEEB chair, the COE Dean is responsible for facilitating communication and collaborative decision-making across teacher education programs and faculty. He is supported by the COE Associate and Assistant Deans, the Director and Assistant Director of the Center for Professional Practice (CPP), department chairs, program directors and fellow deans. The unit also relies on key committees and components:
1 - The NCATE/MSDE Accreditation Steering Committee: Nine unit faculty members - one from each COE department, two from non-COE Unit programs, an at-large faculty member and one MSDE representative; the CPP Director, an at-large COE staff member, and the COE Associate and Assistant Deans. The COE Assistant Dean chairs this committee that provides unit leadership committed to the unit's standard-based professional education programs.
2 - CPP and Towson PDS Network (S.3.1): Located in COE, the CPP is the official conduit to PreK-12 for all field and internship placements. It collaborates with Unit departments and programs to provide Unit candidates with access to PLATO software for Praxis I preparation; coordination of field and clinical placements; oversight of the PDS network; design and delivery of professional development unit meetings with P-12 clinical faculty (e.g., PDS Liaison and Supervisor Meetings are held twice each semester to support the standards-based activities of the PDS Network (R.3.4.a.5.a,b,c,d,e)
3 - Towson PDS Council: Chaired by the CPP director (R.3.4.a.3.a,b,c,d), comprised of representatives from partner LEAs and TU faculty, meets quarterly to address common issues and to advise the Unit and LEA's on how to strengthen, nurture and re-vision our PDS networks.
4 - School System Professional Development School Councils: PreK-12 practitioners and unit faculty participate actively in clinical program-related design, delivery, and evaluation. Many PreK-12 school system partners (e.g., Howard County, Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County, and Baltimore City) have PDS Councils. The unit is represented by the Director and/or Assistant Director of the CPP and unit faculty (S.6.3,4,5).
5 - Curriculum Oversight Committees: Each college in the institution has a faculty-led curriculum committee, whose role is to review and promote programmatic curricular changes within the college. Programs seeking approval beyond the College level must complete the curriculum modification and approval process as described on the Provost’s Academic Resources webpage (R.6.4.a.4).
The unit ensures that candidates have access to advising and counseling services. Policies describing advising and counseling, recruitment and admissions practices, academic calendars, and grading policies are described and updated annually in the Undergraduate Catalog (R.6.4.d.1) and the Graduate Catalog (R.6.4.d.2).
The Unit's budget is sufficient to support faculty teaching, scholarship, and service and includes support for programs that extend beyond the Unit into PreK-12 education (R.6.4.f). Salaries for all Academic Affairs Division personnel are set annually by the Provost in consultation with Deans. The Provost adjusts college budgets to reflect priorities such as enrollment growth (R.6.4.f).
1 - Personnel. The Unit makes efficient use of full-time, part-time, clinical, support and graduate assistant personnel.
Full time faculty include tenured and tenure-track, clinical faculty and lecturers. Workload guidelines for full time faculty, reflecting USM and university policies are:
Workload policies define course units for professional activities including teaching, research, administration (e.g., Chair/program director), PDS supervision, advising, and other assigned duties. Faculty workload is negotiated annually by the faculty member with the Chair and approved by the College Dean and Provost (R.6.4.h.1).
Tenured and tenure-track faculty are responsible for 6 - 7 course units per AY; Clinical faculty and lecturers are responsible for eight course units per AY.
Supervision for field and clinical experiences are on-load assignments; one course
unit is given for supervising four candidates, with a maximum of 16 candidates per
Part-time faculty are selected based on experience and expertise, intended to strengthen programs. Part-time colleagues are provided orientation by each program (e.g., the Conceptual Framework, program standards and signature assessments are explained; core, standards-based syllabi are shared; and expectations for teaching effectiveness are identified), and are supported by their Chairs and/or program directors in this process.
Unit clinical faculty members are selected based on role-specific selection criteria, including recent Pk-12 classroom experience. Clinical instructors participate in orientation, professional development and evaluation activities (R.5.4.f.4).
The Unit is supported by adequate numbers of staff members. Each academic department has at least one full-time administrative assistant. The CPP staff includes an administrative assistant, a field placement supervisor, an academic program specialist, and a graduate assistant. Graduate assistants also play a program-specific support role for most of the initial and advanced programs in the Unit.
2 - Unit Facilities. The Unit's facilities are sufficient to support the preparation of teachers and other
professional educators. Hawkins Hall (HH) and three floors in the adjacent Psychology
Building (PY) house the Unit's administrative offices, the CPP, the Educational Technology
Center (ETC), the Reading Clinic, the Education Innovation Lab, and the classrooms
and offices for COE programs. Program offices for the Teachers-in-Residence, Teacher
Educators-in-Residence, the Center for Leadership in Education and the Presidential
Scholar for Teacher Innovation are housed on PY second floor. The Towson Learning
Network (TLN), (R.4.4.h.2.e) is based in the Provost's Office.
Unit secondary education programs in the Liberal Arts (English, History, Social Science, and World Languages) are housed in the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) building. Completed in 2011, the CLA provides up-to-date and technologically enhanced instructional spaces. The mathematics program is located in the 7800 York Road building (YR). YR offers "smart" classrooms throughout and houses three computer laboratories. Science education programs are housed in Smith Hall, which features instructional lab spaces. Art, Dance and Music education programs, located in Center for the Arts, have dedicated computer labs for education candidates. Facilities for the programs in Health and Physical Education are presently in Linthicum Hall and other campus sites. Specialized facilities (such as the Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic, the psychology department test library, and the two-way mirror rooms for in vivo observation in School Psychology and Reading Education) are well equipped to support professional preparation. Off-campus programs are offered at Middle States approved locations. The University’s Master Plan describes future facilities enhancements (S.6.1).
3 - Unit Resources including Technology. Faculty and candidates are provided ample and accessible resources, including technology, library and curricular resources (e.g., electronic information services). Led by a Chief Information Officer and its strategic technology plan, the university provides a solid technology infrastructure, supporting fully online courses - and enhancing campus based courses - with Blackboard, many computer labs for courses, campus-wide wifi coverage, professional technical support services, and robust faculty development opportunities with technology. The Office of Technology Services (OTS) provides professional development workshops for faculty and staff. OTS also supports Student Computing Services (SCS), which provides technology support to students for classroom and personal technologies.
The technology needs of the unit are served through unit-wide and college-specific support for the classroom computing and instructional media needs of candidates and faculty. Professional education candidates in HH have access to the ETC, an open computing lab with forty workstations, open more than sixty hours per week. This lab is staffed with two full-time professionals and student support workers.
All unit faculty have access to the Education Innovation Lab. The lab was established in 2008 using university funds to provide faculty opportunities to learn about and use emerging instructional technologies. The lab presently has two interactive whiteboards, an instructor's station for trying lessons before using them in class, and a number of tablet computers for scheduled use by faculty members in their courses.
4 - Library resources. Services offered by the Albert S. Cook Library have grown over recent years to meet increased demands, especially for doctoral-level and technology-based applications. The library collection contains about 715,000 volumes (including nearly 263,521 e-books, over 8,000 of which are related to the field of education) and 16,454 audio visual materials. Cook Library subscribes to more than 46,481 serials (approximately 900 of which relate to the theory and practice of education), and 230 online databases (e.g., EBSCO products such as Education Research Complete; ERIC; Teacher Reference Center along with Primary Search and MAS Ultra, which offer PK-12 content; Naxos Music Library; ARTsor Charter Collection; Children's Literature Comprehensive Database; TeachingBooks; and Education in Film).
Governance and Resources
Since 2007, unit governance and resources have enabled the unit to: enhance existing program offerings; improve technology infrastructure; expand candidate and faculty access to technology-enhanced instructional spaces; expand the use of, and methods for, online learning for course delivery; and expand candidate scholarships and grants.
1. Program and Facilities Expansion. In 2012, as a result of collaboration between the departments of Special Education (SPED) and Early Childhood Education (ECED), the first cohorts of candidates enrolled in an integrated Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) program, leading to dual certification as Early Childhood (PK-3) and Infant-Primary Special Educator. SPED also began a new program concentration in Teacher as Leader in Autism Spectrum disorders in Fall 2011 (R.4.4.b.3). The Middle School education major in 2011. The Kinesiology MS first enrolled candidates in Fall 2008.
The unit has expanded its full-program off-campus course offerings since its 2007 accreditation. ECED began at Universities at Shady Grove in 2007. The EESE program began at the University Center of Northeastern Maryland in 2007, and was joined there by the ECSE in 2012. University facilities expansions are detailed in the Campus Master Plan (S.6.1). The TU in Northeastern Maryland building is scheduled to open in Fall 2014 (S.6.6).
2. Improved technology infrastructure. All unit instructional spaces in Hawkins Hall (HH) and the Psychology (PY) building have been enhanced since 2007 to adhere to the University’s Classroom Technology standards. These standards identify the number and type of technologies that should be present in a modern classroom, and establish a consistent upgrade schedule for those technologies. The standards were developed through a committee of representatives across the institution, and are updated regularly (R.6.4.i.2).
3. Technology-enhanced instructional spaces. The Provost office provided $25,000+ annually (FY11- FY14) to purchase interactive whiteboards for classrooms, replace outdated faculty PCs, replace workstations in the ETC, and acquire flatbed scanners for department uses, and purchase iPads and other handheld tablets for instructional use. As a result, most classrooms across HH and PY are classified as "multimedia classrooms" (R.6.4.i.1).
4. Education Innovation Lab (EIL) The EIL was established in 2008 to provide faculty with a setting designed for them to become familiar with and integrate instructional technologies into their teaching. A new lab manager position was created to enhance the effectiveness of the space. The Lab provides technology support, faculty workshops and other technology instruction. Campus funds paid for the design and construction of the facility. COE funds covered the initial start-up costs for hardware, software and furniture ($45,000+). Additional upgrades since FY2008 include the purchase of tablet computers, “support carts” to provide multiple pre-configured tablets for classrooms of users. Additional equipment funding comes from a combination of Academic Affairs and COE funds. For the FY14 Provost technology support allocation ($25K), the lab be upgraded with new equipment and receive recommended technologies. The lab now also provides services to candidates wishing to learn how to use these classroom technologies.
The lab has maximum seating for 25 people, flexible table configurations for working groups between two and 25 people, a teacher’s station with document camera and Crestron control system, and a dual ceiling-mounted projection system with two retractable screens. This setup provides faculty members with a facsimile of a standard teacher’s station, enabling them to “test run” lessons before using them in front of candidates. The lab’s flexible space hosts multiple events relating to faculty professional development; research presentations and lunchtime discussions on a broad range of topics relating to teacher preparation and educational reform.
5. Online Course Delivery. In 2009, the Educational Leadership MS and Organizational Change CAS programs began their fully online Administrator I certificate programs; the only fully online programs in the unit. Candidates may complete all program requirements, including the 300 hour internship and a summative portfolio, using online resources. Data collected online completers’ comprehensive examinations is similar to that found for the traditional face to face program (S.6.2).
OTS has since 2010 automatically created a “course shell” in the Blackboard learning management system for each course section offered on campus each semester. These course shells are pre-populated with course enrollment names, and instructors may import course setting from a prior semester, easing some aspects of online course management, and increasing the use of Blackboard course management tools within campus-based courses.
6. Grants Received. Over the past five years, the unit has aggressively and successfully secured additional resources to support its programs. Representative of those grants (their duration, financial support, and a brief synopsis of the grant’s outcomes), examples include:
A - Preparing Teachers to Meet the Needs of Diverse Learners through Enhanced Professional Development Schools Partnerships (MSDE-RTTT); 6/1/2012-8/31/2014, $45,000: The goal of this grant is to increase the number of effective teachers in high poverty/high minority schools through enhanced PDS partnerships, rigorous preparation program coursework, sustained professional development, intensive internships, and mentoring, all focused on meeting the needs of diverse learning. The grant project will contribute to the development of the knowledge base of the Maryland Teaching Consortium.
B - Exploring the Efficacy of Engineering is Elementary (E4) (NSF-DRK12) 9/15/2012-8/31/2014, $160,000: The project investigates how an engineering curriculum, Engineering is Elementary (EiE), can support elementary school students and their teachers as they enhance their knowledge and abilities in engineering and science and build their interest in STEM fields.
C - Preparing Teachers to Meet the Needs of Diverse Learners through Enhanced Professional Development School Partnerships (MSDE); 6/1/2012-8/31/2014, $41,667: Goal of grant is to increase educator effectiveness of first and second year teachers working with students identified as having special needs and results for their students. Participants in the grant include 10 second year teachers (5 EESE/5 MAT) and 20 first year teachers (10 EESE/10 MAT) to assess their mentoring and coaching needs, and 30 mentors.
D - Improving Middle Grants Teachers' Knowledge for Implementing the Maryland Common Core State Mathematics Curriculum (MHEC) 3/12/2012-3/30/2013, $155,000: Purpose of grant is to improve the academic achievement of all students by providing sustained and intensive high-quality professional development to help teachers and principals.
E - Assistance to the State for Educating Students with Disabilities-Praxis I & II Training (MSDE); 8/1/2011-11/30/2012, $25,000; Purpose of the grant is to improve the performance of students with disabilities on all measures of accountability through effective pre-service preparation of teachers who will be dually certified and highly qualified.
F - Development of Special Education M.Ed. In Autism Spectrum Disorders (MSDE); 7/1/2010-9/30/2011, $75,000: To revise, improve and restructure Towson's graduate level Special Education Pre-service Program. Revisions made to assure the graduates meet the highly qualified requirements while gaining the knowledge, skills, and dispositions required for serving students with disabilities.
G - Cherry Hill Learning Zone Grant; (U.S. Department of Education); 9/1/2008- 4/15/2011; $310,480: Collaboration with Towson University and community-based organizations to establish processes for sustainable and scalable growth within the Cherry Hill neighborhood.
H - Baltimore County Teacher Induction Program (Baltimore County Public Schools - BCPS); 10/1/2010 – 9/30/2014) $1.6M: This program partners unit faculty with BCPS to reduce attrition in pre-tenure teachers in under-performing schools. Teachers-in-Residence from BCPS and Teacher- Educators-in-Residence from the COE are exchanged to enhance candidate preparation for assignments to such schools and professional development for pre-tenure teachers and other staff in designated BCPS PK-8 sites.
7. Scholarships and Grants for students. In 2009, the Hattie S. Strong Foundation partnered with Towson University to offer two $5000 scholarships to deserving teacher candidates each year. These awards are based on merit, and upon demonstrated excellence in preparation coursework. The awards are timed to help offset expenses incurred during the full time internship. In 2012, the Strong Foundation doubled its commitment to Towson and now supports four students each year (two in undergraduate initial certification, and two in the MAT initial certification program.
In spring 2013, the University was selected by author James Patterson to join a limited number of sites to receiving support for the James Patterson Scholarship Program. This program offers eight renewable grants of $6000 each to incoming freshmen interested in pursuing a career in teaching in Pk-8 classrooms. The selection of recipients is very rigorous. The initial cohort had among the highest SAT and GPA scores of entering students and completed written applications explaining their interest in reading and commitment to becoming teachers. Assuming continuous enrollment in a teacher preparation program and consistently high performance, a recipient can receive up to four years of support. Mr. Patterson has proposed that by 2017 up to 32 students will be eligible for such awards each year.