Standard 4: Diversity

The unit designs, implements, and evaluates curriculum and provides experiences for candidates to acquire and demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions necessary to help all students learn. Assessments indicate that candidates can demonstrate and apply proficiencies related to diversity. Experiences provided for candidates include working with diverse populations, including higher education and P–12 school faculty, candidates, and students in P–12 schools.

San Diego County is one of the most diverse regions in the United States and Southern California in general draws people from many backgrounds and cultures. In any public venue, one is as likely to hear people speaking Spanish, Cantonese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, or Japanese as to hear them speaking English. The county possesses some of the most affluent neighborhoods in the nation as well as neighborhoods where poverty is evident everywhere. Families with children who have special needs advocate for the support they need as they make their way through the P-12 system.  If you visit any of the hundreds of schools within a 50 miles radius of The University of San Diego, you will find children with dramatically different skills and abilities, interests and temperaments, and levels of readiness to benefit from even the most talented teachers. This rich tapestry of human
experience presents many challenges, as students of different cultural, linguistic, ability, disability, and socio-economic backgrounds, experience achievement gaps.

Whether they are pursuing training as teachers, school administrator, or counselors, candidates are asked to think about the constructs of excellence, equity, social justice, and access for all children. Course readings include seminal works by pioneers in the field and contemporary scholars. In-class and on-line assignments require students to draw on their own experiences as they respond thoughtfully to their content. They are also not likely to get very far in any course or field experience without being asked to think about how they
will to be able to adjust what they do so that all of their children can reach their full potential.

As discussed in Standard 3, field sites are selected carefully, to provide candidates experience with students and clients reflecting the full range of cultures, ethnicities and
academic abilities. The site are expected to pair them with experts who have the pedagogical, professional and cultural competence to work effectively with these diverse populations. Our curriculum is developmental, in that students are introduced to these “big ideas” in their foundational classes. They return to these ideas over and over as they move through their methods classes and on into their capstone into their specialized courses.  Faculty members align signature assignments and performance assessments to track candidates’ ability to adapt their approach with any given student or client.

Initial Programs
In all of our teacher credential programs, candidates’ core courses focus on becoming affective teachers of diverse students. A foundations course, EDUC 381/581, Multicultural and Philosophical Foundations of Education in a Diverse Society provides a basis for elementary and secondary teaching candidates to understand how culture, community, economics, and disability interact with students’ achievement.  EDSP 389/589, Healthy
Environments and Inclusive Education
emphasizes strategies for teaching students with special needs.

Candidates in Special Education candidates have very specific coursework that prepares them to work with students who have mild/moderate disabilities or who are deaf and hard of hearing.  Courses emphasize the importance of working with families, schools, and communities. (See SPA reports in AIMS for more on these programs.) Field placements are purposeful and provide candidates rich practical experiences with special needs children. Additional courses for the new Montessori specialization emphasize early childhood development and education. (See syllabi for EDTE 507 and EDTE 508.)

All teacher credential candidates in California are required to have specific authorization in the teaching of English Learners. At USD, all candidates must successfully complete a course on strategies and pedagogy for teaching English Learners (EDUC 384/584C Methods of Teaching English Language and Academic Development). In addition, all teacher credential candidates in all areas have at least one extended field experience (i.e., student teaching) in a school where at least 50% of the population is ethnically/culturally different from the candidate.

Advanced Programs

All M.Ed. and M.A. Programs
Experience with diverse populations for master’s candidates expand the boundaries of what is typically thought of as a diverse learning community. Because SOLES faculty expect our masters graduates to be prepared to be part of a global learning community, all master’s candidates in the School of Leadership and Education Sciences must complete an internationalization requirement (Fall 2008).

A majority of the master’s candidates meet this requirement through a study abroad course, in which they compare curriculum, pedagogy, and classroom management in the United States with that of another country. Examples of some recent courses in which candidates learned in other countries or participated in some sessions abroad are:

Study abroad courses are coordinated by SOLES Global Center.

School Counseling
The foundational courses in school counseling are designed  to make candidates aware of the effects that culture, community,  socioeconomics, and disability have on student behavior in schools. COUN 515 Multicultural  Counseling provides an opportunity for candidates  to examine their own cultural identity and to understand the beliefs,
behaviors, and values of varied ethnic groups. Prior  to field placements, school counseling candidates examine the underlying  cross-cultural concerns associated with using various counseling techniques.  Candidates participate in role -play situations and receive targeted feedback  from course instructors. COUN 504, Prepracticum in Counseling Techniques, facilitates candidate  development of key foundational counseling skills, including counseling  culturally diverse students and their families. Supervisors provide feedback on  how those skills might be appropriately used with a diverse body of clients.  All counseling internship placements involve diverse regional school settings  and candidates are evaluated on their ability to work effectively with diverse  students (see intern evaluation).

Administrator Preparation
The preliminary and professional  administrative services program provides experiences for their principal  candidates that include school visits and apprenticeships working with a  diverse population of K-12 students. The programs require on-site P-12  experiences that target a specific culture in the San Diego region. Candidates  must plan and conduct meetings with parents and with the community of the  schools where they are apprenticed.

Continuous Improvement Changes
At the time of our initial accreditation, the team indicated  that we needed to have supervisors who were more representative of the region for  the Teacher Credential programs. The Chair of the Department of Learning and  Teaching responded to that challenge immediately.  As is evident in the tables for Exhibit 4 and Exhibit 8,  today faculty members and the supervisors are much more culturally diverse than  the general faculty population at the University of San Diego and they are more  representative of the region. In recent years, the Director of Professional Services  has made more purposeful practicum and student teaching placements in  culturally diverse schools with culturally diverse master teachers.

The School of  Leadership and Education Science’s Professional Education Unit (PEU) adopted  the ACE Conceptual Framework, in 2004.  The third part of the ACE Conceptual Framework is directly related to  Standard 4:

Academic Excellence, Critical Inquiry, and  Reflection: Candidates  in the unit will demonstrate the knowledge and the ability to represent content accurately by applying effective strategies and techniques in their field of study, by actively engaging in reflective activities, by critically analyzing their practice and by applying higher order thinking skills to a wide array of investigative pursuits.

Community and Service: Candidates in the unit will strive to create and support collaborative learning communities in their classrooms and their professional fields of practice by bridging theory and practice and engaging in community service.

Ethics, Values, and Diversity: Candidates in the unit will understand and adhere to the values and ethical codes of the University, of the schools they work in, and of the professional organizations to which they belong. They will support the creation of inclusive, unified, caring and democratic learning communities that value each individual
regardless of background or ability, and they will equitably support student  learning and optimal development (2004).

While assembling information about the assessment of candidate dispositions in the various programs in the PEU for this review, faculty determined that they wanted to create a common assessment instrument for use across the PEU. Faculty representing teacher preparation (initial and advanced), special education teacher preparation, school counselor preparation, and administrator preparation held meetings with the Director of Assessment Support and drafted an instrument that was piloted in Spring 2011.  This assessment keys off the ACE Conceptual  Framework noted above and the items are grouped in those three categories.

The third ACE category, Ethics, Values, and Diversity, includes items that assess candidates’ attitude toward an expression of diversity. Because each program has different
expectations of its candidates, individual items were designed using broad terms for dispositional attributes, such as “values diversity” and “persists” so that the terms can be operationalized for each program. To view a copy of the electronic SOLES PEU Dispositions Assessment, please click on the hyperlink. The assessment will be completed by faculty at three points in the program: the application phase, mid-point (prior to student teaching or internship), and at the end of the program. Some programs plan to have candidates complete it and compare faculty and candidate responses. The implementation of a PEU-wide assessment will permit a Unit analysis versus individual program analyses.


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