6.1 How do the unit’s governance system and resources contribute to adequately preparing candidates to meet professional, state, and institutional standards?
The education unit at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is led by a highly qualified administrative staff and faculty committed to the task of developing pertinent programs, managing budgetary resources, and implementing a curriculum appropriate for its various majors and programs. The Unit and each academic department which participates in the preparation of educators at all levels are expected to develop and implement high quality programs that foster quality and to secure resources for the implementation of the curriculum. The Director, assisted by the Academic Unit Leaders for specific programs, holds primary responsibility for the oversight of the Unit and functions as the liaison between the Unit and other organizational elements of the University. A number of committees have the responsibility to establish general direction and coordination for various programs at the initial and advanced levels. The SOE organizational chart provides a graphic illustration of general as well as programmatic governance in the Unit.
The SOE houses most undergraduate and graduate programs in education with the exception of programs leading to licensure in Secondary Education Mathematics and Sciences which reside with the UTeaChattanooga program. Professional education programs at the graduate level are administered by the SOE, with Academic Unit Leaders heading the School Psychology, Counseling, Leadership, and Learning and Leadership programs.
The governance structure of the Unit involves faculty in all aspects of decision making and general operations. The experiential knowledge background of the faculty and administration affords a desirable balance between the theoretical and practical elements of curriculum design and implementation. Each major program holds faculty meetings on a regular basis for the purposes of overall communications, presentations and departmental decision making. The departments are reinforced by numerous action committees at the program and Unit levels.
Major programmatic or curriculum change begins at the program level and move through the required steps until final approval. Changes in the program and/or curriculum may be initiated as a result of changes in state regulations, new programs based upon determined need or changes based upon review of assessment data from internal and external sources. In addition to the above described steps, each program has faculty representation on several standing non-programmatic committees involved in governance issues.
Committees within the Unit include Tenure, Promotion and Reappointment Committe, the Undergraduate Student Petitions and Grade Appeals Committee,and Graduate Student Petitions and Grade Appeals Committee and Ad Hoc Task Forces as assigned.
At the Administrative level, the Executive Staff brings together the Dean and Associate Dean with CHEPS department heads and the directors of the major grant-funded centers within the College to enhance communications and integrate the various college centers with academic departments.
Recruiting and admission practices for the unit are clearly and consistently described in publications, catalogs, and on websites. The knowledge, skills, and dispositions essential to success in the program appear in written materials and are provided on-line. The academic calendar and university undergraduate and graduate catalogs are updated annually and appear on-line. These materials are reviewed by the Director and appropriate Academic Unit Leaders for accuracy. Full information regarding student services at UTC appear in the UTC Student Handbook and on-line. A college advisor and a freshman advisor serve students throughout year-round.
During the past four years, economic constraints have imposed some limitations to growth, but accompanying enrollment increases at the university-level have helped the Unit avoid significant impact and/or reduction in program faculty and/or course offerings. Budgetary allocations support Unit programs that prepare candidates for various professional positions, and these allocations are at least proportional to other units on campus. Operating budget and trend enrollment data for the Unit reflect the status of enrollment at the university and Unit levels.
The Director is responsible for the management of the budget. With the consolidation of Graduate Studies and Teacher Preparation Academy into the School of Education in 2009, departmental budgets were also combined. The primary Administrative Assistant for the Unit maintains close interaction with the college budget specialist who has responsibility for the management of all college accounts, operating and externally funded.
Student credit hour production has increased since the last NCATE visit in 2005. Faculty are also supported by funds from numerous grants. Unit faculty apply for large amounts of grant funding and also receive among the largest dollar amount of grants at UTC.
The Unit faculty have considerable college and graduate-level teaching experience and embrace the unit’s conceptual framework and mission. Faculty demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions selected by the Unit and demonstrate effective practices in the classroom as they prepare students (Faculty Qualifications Table). They provide service to the profession through various activities including consultation, publication, and research. The faculty are also involved at local, state, regional, and national levels in professional organizations within their areas of expertise. They participate in technology training sessions offered year-round by the Walker Teaching Resource Center and have developed proficiency in the use of the Blackboard Course Template and in the implementation of appropriate technology, including Banner.
Workload policies allow faculty members to be effectively engaged in teaching, scholarship, assessment, advisement, collaborative work in P-12 schools and appropriate agencies. Full-time faculty loads for teaching are typically 12 credit hours. Faculty members who exceed that number of hours receive overload pay per course. Faculty have the opportunity to negotiate a load reduction if they are involved in special projects.
Faculty provide regular and systematic advisement for students, and all faculty members are assigned an advisement load. Faculty are not required to teach during the summer sessions. However, many teach and are remunerated at a rate of 3/32 of total salary for each three-hour-course.
The Unit makes appropriate use of full-time, part-time, and adjunct facultyto assure program coherence and integrity. In 2011-12, the SOE represented 39% of CHEPS student credit hours. The SOE adjuncts are fully qualified to teach at the university level. They receive informal and formal training at the program level and through the University’s Walker Teaching Resource Center and the Banner Office which provides formal training sessions in the use of technology to aid instructors.
Administrative and staff support in the Unit are sufficient to support faculty efforts and general operations. These staff provide faculty and student support in data management, faculty communication, and academic services associated with securing licensure. The SOE employs a Certification Officer, a Field Placement Coordinator, a Departmental Advisor and a Freshman Advisor to assist and meet the needs of faculty and students. UTeaChattanooga employs a Program Advisor and assistant that coordinates placements and observations. Externally funded initiatives also provide additional staff positions. These term employees are associated with the department during the funded life of the project.
Graduate assistants functioning primarily as teaching and/or research assistants are assigned to the College as support personnel. GAs work with various programs and faculty to provide general assistance as required. GAs are compensated with tuition waivers and stipend compensation for 10 to 20 hours of work per week. Federal work study students, selected through an application/interview process, are also employed to assist departments.
The Unit, College, and University provide some funding resources and opportunities for professional development. The University of Chattanooga Foundation provides additional support for faculty professional travel through Faculty Development Grants.
The central facility for the professional education unit is Hunter Hall. Hunter Hall is near the center of the campus and is within easy walking distance of both the Lupton Library and the University Center. UTeaChattanooga is housed in the Collins Street Annex, complete with a full science laboratory, classroom and student computer lab. The Lupton Library is an official textbook repository for the State of Tennessee. An assessment and testing library is housed with the Youth Education and Research (YEAR) Center.
The SOE also maintains oversight of the Challenger STEM Center for Teaching and Learning and the UTC Children’s Center. It is also the editorial home of Teaching about Asia. The SOE has clerical and technical support for its initiatives and access to the services of the Office of Partnerships and Sponsored Programs.
In addition to Hunter Hall, the Unit utilizes facilities in Pfeiffer Hall to provide office and meeting spaces. Staff receive new computers on planned replacement schedule. Through partnerships with Hamilton County Schools, several elementary schools serve as Professional Development School sites. UTC graduate and undergraduate education candidates participate in field experiences and other activities at these sites.
UTC technology resources include podiums with multimedia equipment. Additional technology has been installed in specific classrooms to afford candidates access to current classroom-level technology used in K-12 schools.
The University supports online and distance classes through an online course delivery system (Blackboard). The system is administrated centrally through the Walker Teaching Resource Center (WTRC), which offers campus-wide support for faculty and staff on teaching, learning, and technology issues. Overall, the campus has seen much growth in the online course delivery system, with approximately 48% of all UTC classes activating some component for their use. The online course delivery system is used for web-enhanced (supplemented information is posted online), hybrid (some face-to-face, some online components), and totally internet-based courses.
The Walker Teaching Resource Center supports faculty and staff through scheduled seminars and workshops on teaching, learning, and technology topics. The Center also provides one-on-one consultation with faculty, upon request, for instructional development support, production support, teaching observation, etc.
The mission of the T. Cartter & Margaret Rawlings Lupton Library is to provide access to materials and information that supports the teaching and research programs of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Strong efforts are made to ensure that materials of the highest quality are added to the Library’s collections and that library services meet the needs of our students, faculty, and staff (Lupton Library's annual holdings and expenditures).
Lupton Library staff work closely with faculty to design instructional sessions tailored to program, course, and assignment objectives. The current library was first occupied in 1974, but a new library under construction and scheduled to be completed in 2013 will provide a new facility with significant upgrades, offering the latest technological advancements.