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Education and Human Development
Due to the nature of the fields reflected in our college and the context of TAMU as an AAU Land-Grant IHE, excellence has both a traditional academic focus and attention to broader societal impact. These reflections on excellence are, in large part, shared by other AAU institutions with Colleges of Education and Human Development; however, there are some unique qualities in our pursuit of excellence that are reflected on below. Further, while individual faculty, students and programs currently reflect achievements and activities as described, these are also seen as aspirational expectations for all faculty, students, staff and programs in the college. That is, we have evidence that the college is moving in the direction of “excellence” and some faculty and programs have attained national/international stature, but we also have some distance to go to claim excellence in all programs.
Academic Community Indicators of Excellence: Consistent with other AAU colleges, academic peer recognition is recognized by our faculty and leadership as an important measure of excellence and is reflected, in part, in program rankings by peers (e.g., three of our graduate programs - educational administration, special education, and educational psychology are identified in 2011 USNWR as top 20 programs nationally; individual professional societies also have identified our programs as among the top ten programs in the nation, e.g., exercise science (American College of Sport Medicine); human resource development (International Academy of Human Resource Development); school psychology (American Psychological Association and the National Association of School Psychology); and sport management (Sport Management Society). In general, these rankings reflect faculty excellence as demonstrated through professional leadership – scholarly productivity (e.g., Yvonna Lincoln was identified as one of the most cited educational researchers in the world), editorships of top-tier journals (e.g., Linda Skrla serves as editor of the Educational Administration Quarterly), recognition by professional societies (Mary Alfred received the 2010 President’s Award by the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education).
Social recognition of quality programs also is reflected in accreditation by professional societies and governmental agencies (e.g., American Psychological Association accreditation of the Counseling Psychology and School Psychology programs in 2010) and governmental agencies (2011 accreditation of the CEHD undergraduate and graduate teacher preparation programs by the Texas Education Agency). These reviews are conducted by independent third-parties and reflect on quality of faculty, curriculum and instructional activities, students and graduates.
Impact Indicators of Excellence: As noted in CEHD’s strategic goals, a priority focus of the instructional, research and engagement activities of the college and an indicator of excellence is our impact on achievement and health disparities of children and families in the State and nation. For example, all CEHD teacher education graduates are prepared in one or more high need teaching fields. Moreover, we produce large numbers of these teachers for the State; we are the number one producer of Mathematics, Science and Bilingual education teachers and among the top five producers of special education teachers. Currently, we have 9,688 graduates working in public schools in 709 school districts across the state. While there are a number of AAU institutions with teacher education programs; in most instances, these programs prepare small numbers of teachers. In contrast, our CEHD programs prepare large numbers of teachers who are well prepared.
Aligned with and integrated into our high quality instructional programs, our faculty and students are engaged in research activities that impact professional practice, policy and research direction. This research influences instructional practice in K-12 schools (e.g., Hughes; Joshi; Simmons; Capraro); school leadership practices (e.g., Goddard; Scheurich); and exercise and nutrition practice and policy on health status of children and adults (e.g., Bloomfield; Kreider; McKyer). It is noteworthy that the research conducted by these faculty was, in large part, supported by grants from federal and state agencies (e.g., NIH, IES, NSF, and TEA) and these faculty have mentored graduate and undergraduate students in the planning, implementation, and reporting of these research projects.
Contextual Qualities: To attract and retain quality faculty, students, and staff who develop the instructional, research and engagement programs that impact achievement and health disparities requires contextual conditions to support pursuit of excellence. These contextual conditions include:
- We will not attain excellence as a CEHD without a focus on diversity and addressing educational and health issues of minority populations. This focus is reflected, in part, in recruitment and retention of faculty and students with background and commitment to the development of culturally and linguistically diverse children, families and adults. To support this goal, the college has engaged in faculty and student recruitment activities, development initiatives, and grant activities. With the goal of aligning the demographic qualities of our students with Texas demographics, we have established first-generation scholarship programs and foundation (e.g., Houston Endowment) and federally funded (e.g., U.S. Department of Education) student financial assistance programs to support undergraduate and graduate student enrollment. As a result of these efforts there has been a significant growth in graduate students with backgrounds and expertise pertaining to culturally and linguistically diverse populations (e.g., 128 African-American and 113 Hispanic students account for 35% of doctoral students in the college which is as large or larger than the size and percentages of minority students at peer AAU universities). However, there is significant work that needs to be done in recruiting and retaining diverse undergraduate students. To address these concerns, recruitment and retention programs are being implemented (e.g., Byrne success Center and Lohman and Haynes CEHD Learning Communities).
- Establishing instructional programs that impact quality of professional practice and generation of new knowledge in our fields requires more than effective classroom instruction, it requires extensive supervision in field-based practice. For example, on average our teacher preparation programs provide almost seven times the minimum required by the state in pre-student supervised teaching practica hours. This intensive mentorship support is evident in our educator preparation programs (a quality recently acknowledged by TEA accreditation reviewers). It is also noteworthy that as part of our efforts to enhance field-based activities and diversity initiatives we have study abroad graduate or undergraduate activities in each of our departments.
- Quality doctoral student mentorship also has been identified as an indicator of excellence. One marker of quality mentorship has been publication activities of our doctoral students (a 2010 report indicated approximately 200 publications by our graduate students from 2009-10, a 2000% increase since 2005). This activity is a result, in large part of the commitment of our faculty to develop our students. In turn, our recent graduates have been recruited as faculty at research universities (e.g., Florida State University; University of Connecticut; University of Maryland). To support this mentorship effort, we have implemented writing mentorship programs for faculty and students and have modified our faculty expectations and evaluation activities to align with and support faculty mentorship of students.
- To enhance access to our instructional programs and to promote expertise in our graduates in the areas of technology-mediated–instruction (TMI) and cyberlearning, we have expanded our use of technology in the delivery of instruction in our undergraduate and graduate programs throughout our College. In light of the prominent role of IT in the dissemination of information, excellent Colleges of Education and Human Development will be those who have developed, studied and disseminated model instructional programs that have focused on TMI and cyberlearning.