The School of Education
Teaching for the Next Generation
A. 1. What is the institution's historical context?
A. 2. What is the institution's mission?
North Georgia College & State University develops and educates leaders through strong liberal arts, pre-professional, professional, and graduate programs. North Georgia College & State University is proud to be designated by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia as a state leadership institution and by the Georgia General Assembly as the Military College of Georgia.
North Georgia College & State University provides an environment of academic excellence that develops leaders who respect all people, maintain high ethical standards, continue intellectual and personal growth, and serve the community, the state, the nation, and the world.
This mission is founded upon the following core values:
The NGCSU School of Education mission, policies and programs are aligned with the NGCSU institutional mission of “Education for Life and Leadership in a Global Society”. As a part of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) developed for Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), NGCSU has identified information literacy as the common foundation for program development and improvement. The current QEP is based on the rationale that information literacy is a core of educational competencies for managing information, and that problem-based, resource-based, critical thinking-based instruction prepares students for real-life situations whose outcomes depend upon information competence.
The School of Education Institutional report that describes the specific manner in which SOE programs support the institutional mission and address the Quality Enhancement Plan are available through identified links to the institutional assessment electronic archives.
A. 3. What are the institution's characteristics [e.g., control (e.g., public or private) and type of institution such as private, land grant, or HBI: location (e.g., urban, rural, or suburban are)]?
NGCSU is a public land grant institution governed by the Georgia Board of Regents as a regional institution in the university system. NGCSU was originated to serve populations isolated in the Appalachian Mountains. NGCSU is uniquely located to serve schools and communities with widely varying socioeconomic, geographic, cultural, and language characteristics. Communities to the south of the university along the highway connecting NGCSU with Atlanta are characterized as fairly affluent and suburban. To the east, Hall County contains one of the largest and most rapidly growing Hispanic populations in the state, drawn by the poultry industry. Hall County faces urban challenges, such as gang violence in Gainesville City and also supports rural agricultural areas in the county. West of the university communities are characterized by rural poverty and immigrant populations working in construction, agriculture and mill industries. Communities to the north of the university are characterized by rural poverty and the challenges of the geographic isolation of Appalachia. Georgia is a largely rural and poor state. The average rate of free and reduced lunch rates in the state are approximately 50%, and exceed 65% in some districts and 90% in some schools in the NGCSU service area. Georgia has experienced rapid rates of increase in the Hispanic population. Between the years of 2000 and 2008 the Hispanic population of Georgia increased by 69% (Pew Research) though recent immigration legislation is affecting Georgia populations. With the population of public school students increasingly likely to be academically at risk from poverty and/or non-English language background, the NGCSU School of Education designs programs that prepare candidates with a broad array of culturally responsive assessment, instructional and management skills.
Eighty six percent of the NGCSU student population are Georgia residents. Approximately 9% of the NGCSU student population identify themselves in minority categories. Five percent of the NGCSU student population is categorized as international. NGCSU is seeking to remain responsive to the original mission to provide access to higher education to the relatively isolated mountainous regions of north Georgia and expand that mission serve the changing the demographics and burgeoning populations of counties to the south. While the student population of NGCSU is not highly diverse in terms of ethnicity, it is diverse socioeconomically. Approximately 50% of NGCSU students report being the first in their families to seek a college degree. Attached documents describe minority recruitment efforts and outcomes.
B. 1. What is the professional education unit at your institution and what is its relationship to other units at the institution that are involved in the preparation of professional educators?
The professional education unit at NGCSU is housed in the School of Education (SOE). In addition to the teacher and leadership preparation programs described below, the SOE administers programs in physical education, athletic training education and exercise science. Candidates seeking certification in Art Education, Music Education and Physical Education (P-12) or History, English, Mathematics, Biology, or Chemistry (6-12) complete content area degrees and extend their programs to meet education requirements for certification. Candidates in (P-12) and (6-12) programs are jointly advised by their content area departments and the SOE. Deans from the school of Arts and Letters and Health and Natural Sciences, as well as department heads and faculty advisors formally participate Professional Education Committee meetings and informally maintain contact and receive information through the Coordinator of Assessment in the SOE.
B. 2. How many professional education faculty members support the professional education unit?
B. 3. What programs are offered at your institution to prepare candidates for their first license to teach?
B. 4. What programs are offered at your institution to prepare advanced teacher candidates and other school professionals?
B. 5. Which of the above initial teacher preparation and advanced preparation programs are offered off-campus or via distance learning technologies? What alternate route programs are offered?
The only program that is offered completely on-line in the NGCSU School of Education is a master’s degree in Middle Grades Math and Science (See Georgia OnMyLine). This program is new and undergoing developmental review in 2012. The first graduates are expected in 2013.
Alternate route programs are provided through Post Baccalaureate Certification Programs or Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) programs in the following fields: Middle Grades math, science, English, social science, physical education (P-12), music (P-12), art (P-12) Foreign Languages (P-12) or math (6-12), history (6-12, English (6-12), Science (6-12).
The MAT programs are delivered on-campus with web based support. The Post Baccalaureate programs are currently offered in Forsyth county and Atlanta. Post Baccalaureate program locations change and are dependent upon identification of an accessible site for a given cohort. Instruction in the post baccalaureate program is also web supported.
B.6. (Continuing Visit Only) What substantive changes have taken place in the unit since the last visit (e.g., added/dropped programs/degrees; significant increase/decrease in enrollment; major reorganization of the unit, etc.)?
Established the Master of Arts in Teaching Program, which began in the Fall 2008. Enrollment in this program has increased from 12 students in the Fall 2008 to 59 students in the Fall 2011, a 392% increase.
A completely online masters degree in Middle Grades Mathematics and Science was developed in partnership with Valdosta State University. The first students from Valdosta State University were admitted in 2008; the first students from North Georgia were admitted into the program in the Fall 2010.
The Education Specialist Program in Teacher Leadership was deactivated for one year in order to undergo a redesign into the Education Specialist in School and District Leadership. This redesign was necessitate by changes in program rules and certification requirements jointly developed by the Board of Regents and the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. While the EDS has always been a performance-based program, the content and focus of the program was changed to meet the new program and certification rules.
The Master of Science in Physical Education replaced the MED in Physical Education in the Fall 2010.
Enrollments in the MED programs have dropped 13% from the Summer of 2009 to the Summer of 2011. It is believed that part of this decline is the significant changes in certification rules for teachers seeking a certification upgrade (and, therefore, a pay increase) by obtaining an advanced degree.
The School of Education has expanded its initial 2009-2010 pilot project in Hall County of the Professional Development Schools concept. For the 2011-2012 academic year, Early Childhood/Special Education majors are placed in one of four Professional Development Communities for the entire school day. The preservice teachers take their regular courses at the school sites, where the course work is integrated with the field placement requirements at the school site. Extensive review and revision of unit and program assessment systems is beginning with an emphasis on elaboration of standards based professional performance portfolios. Shared faculty have been hired. The Middle Grades faculty piloted PDC programs at two sites in Forsyth County and is in discussion with possible partners in the Gainesville city school system.The endorsement program for Teachers of English for Speakers of Other Languages has been suspended as of Fall 2011 while there is a search for faculty to redesign the program.Enrollment of middle grades and 6-12 teacher candidates in traditional campus based teacher preparation programs has more than doubled in the past four years. Three faculty have been added to those programs.
Two integrated science courses are now required for Early Childhood and Special Education majors resulting in the acquisition of three faculty members in science education.
In an effort to increase the number of bilingual teachers for the past 4 years the SOE has been recruiting freshman declaring Early Childhood and Special Education as majors into specialized cohorts that include a Spanish minor, some core content courses taught by faculty bilingual in Spanish, and provision of scholarships to provide a structured summer teaching abroad with our faculty, and focused placements in schools with large Hispanic student populations.
The School of Education has developed the Center for Language Education (CLE).
The CLE has become a point of contact and dissemination for information and activities regarding internationalization efforts of the SOE. The NGCSU School of Education has supported faculty and teacher candidates in teaching, cultural exchanges and internships in Great Britain, France, Morocco, China, Egypt, Argentina, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and New Zealand.The NGCSU School of Education has made significant changes in terms of development of an assessment system and procedures including adding position for an Associate Dean and Coordinator for Assessment (see SOE Organizational Chart), adoption of the Livetext course management system, and development of standards based portfolios (by spring of 2012).
Teacher education faculty workgroups have identified common standards based objectives for courses and have developed at least one common performance assessment for each course in each program. See syllabi by program in LiveText (www.livetext.com with visitor pass).The SOE has adopted the use of the Teacher Performance Record (TPR), a low inference observation instrument developed at the University of Virginia that requires supervisors to identify the presence or absence of specific teacher behaviors associated with student achievement.
The School of Education has also joined the Eduventures (see Research results) collaborative that supports members in combining data across institutions to identify common problems and issues and collect and analyze data.