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College of Education > NCATE

Welcome | Overview & Conceptual Framework | Master Exhibit List
Standard 1 | Standard 2 | Standard 3 | Standard 4 | Standard 5 | Standard 6

Institutional Report for a Continuing Visit (Continuous


Improvement Pathway) Updated May 2013


     This section sets the context for the visit. It should clearly state the mission of the institution.
It should also describe the characteristics of the unit and identify and describe any branch campuses, off-campus sites, alternate route rograms, and distance learning programs for professional school personnel.

 I. Overview and Conceptual Framework

 I.1 Summarize the institution's mission, historical context, and unique characteristics (e.g., land grant, HBCU or religious).

Athens State University is a baccalaureate degree granting, co-educational institution located in Athens, Alabama. It can be classified as both the oldest and the youngest institution of higher education in Alabama. It is considered the oldest institution because it was founded in 1822 by local citizens who purchased 5 acres of land and began Athens Female Academy. In 1842, ownership of the institution was transferred to the Tennessee Conference of the Methodist Church. The university remained a female institution until it became co-educational in 1931, with a name change to Athens College. In 1974, the North Alabama Methodist Conference authorized the transfer of the institution to the state of Alabama as a member of the two-year community college system, where it officially became an upper-division public institution of higher learning. The Alabama Legislature and the state Board of Education worked together to appropriate funds for continued operation with the goal of serving the graduates of the states' many two-year colleges. The university underwent another name change to Athens State University in 1998.


Athens State University is considered the youngest institution because it became an autonomous university in 2012. This occurred when, by act of the Alabama Legislature, Athens State University withdrew from governance under the Alabama State Board of Education and the Department of Postsecondary Education and from membership in the statewide community college system. On October 1, 2012, the university officially became an autonomous public institution governed by a Board of Trustees (BoT).


As the only institution in the state of Alabama offering only upper division educational services, Athens State University continues to enjoy the important and unique position that it has always occupied within the community. The university offers 30 programs of study at the junior and senior level with an annual FTE enrollment of 2,828 in academic year 2012.


University Vision, Mission, Institutional Goals, and Learning Outcomes

On April 19, 2013 after extensive review and university-wide discussions, the Board of Trustees approved the revised vision and mission statements (Exhibit 1.5.a.1). The BoT also supported the institutional goals and learning outcomes for all university students.




Athens State University will be the premier destination for transfer students seeking the highest quality education and cutting-edge delivery at the most affordable cost. As the upper-division university in

Alabama, building on a tradition that began in 1822, Athens State University will be the catalyst for positive change in the lives of its students. (Approved by Board of Trustees April 2013).



The university advances the best interests of its students and the state of Alabama through teaching, service, research and other creative activities to empower students to make valuable contributions in their professional, civic, educational, and economic endeavors. Through innovative communication and course delivery, Athens State University provides a supportive environment for each student, demonstrating the importance of the diverse and interdependent nature of our state and society. Athens State University changes the face of Alabama by changing the lives of its students. (Approved by the Board of Trustees April 2013). Along with the vision and mission statements, institutional goals and learning outcomes were developed through broad-based faculty conversations across the university. Once agreed upon, these were forwarded to the president for review and approval. The BoT affirmed these documents in April 2013

(Exhibit 1.5.a.1).


I.2 Summarize the professional education unit at your institution, its mission, and its relationship to other units at the institution that are involved in the preparation of professional educators.

The university's rich heritage in teacher preparation dates back to 1911 when the first Alabama teaching certificates were awarded. The College of Education (unit) continues to be committed to the preparation

of highly qualified teachers. As an upper-division university, Athens State University is dedicated to serving students who transfer from other institutions. In 2012-13, the unit enrolled 460 candidates in eight initial teacher preparation programs. Reaffirmed by NCATE in 2007, the unit offers courses in varied formats (distance, blended, traditional) and at several locations across the state to meet the demands of a diverse student population. The unit's current conceptual framework was based upon a shared view of the role of educators in preparing for the future. The unit's mission is to prepare educators who will be effective educators in an ever-changing world.

During the 2012-13 year, the unit included 28 full-time faculty, 5 staff, 3 clinical faculty and 50 adjunct faculty, as well as 4 faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences (COAS) where content subject courses are offered. The unit includes the dean, two department chairs and the Teacher Education Services (TES) area under the supervision of the assistant to the dean. The structure of the unit is listed here.


Curriculum and Instruction Department

• Early Childhood Education

• Elementary Education

• Physical Education

• Secondary Education

• Special Education/Collaborative Education

• Art Education P-12


Philosophical Foundations and Technology Department

• Technical Education

• Philosophical Foundations and Technology


Teacher Education Services

• Field Experience and Internship Office

• Certification Office


 I.3 Summarize programs offered at initial and advanced preparation levels (including off-campus, distance learning, and alternate route programs), status of state approval, national recognition, and if applicable, findings of other national accreditation associations related to the preparation of education professionals.

The unit offers initial-level teacher education programs including courses in a variety of formats (distance, blended, traditional). Coursework is offered on the university's main campus with a variety of scheduling opportunities. In collaboration with several two-year colleges, the unit provides on-site coursework to serve candidates from across the region. These locations include University Centers (Wallace State Community College-Hanceville, Northeast Alabama Community College, and Redstone Arsenal) and Distance Learning Centers (Snead State Community College and Northwest Shoals Community College). Exhibit 1.5.e.1 provides a complete list of all teacher preparation programs, hours required and enrollment data for the 2012-13 academic year.


The unit offers undergraduate degrees leading to recommendation for initial Class B certification by the state of Alabama. The Class B designation describes those teachers who have earned a B.S. degree in education and have met state certification requirements including passing the appropriate state teaching exams. The unit offers programs of study in Early Childhood Education P-3, Elementary Education K-6, Elementary/Collaborative K-6, Collaborative K-6 and 6-12, Physical Education, and Technical Education: Secondary Instructor. The unit collaborates with the COAS to offer secondary licensure and certification in the areas of art education, biology, chemistry, English/language arts, history, mathematics and social science (Exhibit 1.5.a.2).


The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The most recent reaffirmation visit was in 2010. Additionally, the College of Business is nationally accredited by the Accredition Council for Business Schools and Programs (Exhibit 1.5.a.3).


I.4 Summarize the basic tenets of the conceptual framework, institutional standards, and candidate proficiencies related to expected knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions.

In 2005, unit faculty embarked on an in-depth process of research and broad-based conversations to select the theme of Educators for America's Future as the foundation for the conceptual framework. To better reflect a global focus, the theme was updated in 2007 to Educators for a Global Future (Exhibit 1.5.c.1). This theme is more fully articulated through the identified goals, outcomes and professional dispositions. These are embedded in course syllabi across all programs of study. Sample syllabi are provided in Exhibit 1.5.b.1-6. Based on the current conceptual framework, a system was developed including five benchmarks to evaluate candidate, program, and unit effectiveness. The full assessment system, as it is now written, has been in use since 2005 and is fully described in Standard 2.


The unit's ultimate goal is to prepare teachers who will make thoughtful and effective choices when confronted with instructional decisions in the classroom. These decisions will prepare children and youth to meet the demands of the future. To support these ideals and to ensure the appropriate knowledge and skills of teacher candidates, the Teacher Education Program (TEP) is grounded in the following objectives.


• Performance-based for ability: Candidates and professional education faculty show evidence of superior teaching ability through classroom performance. Successful candidates must be able to translate many kinds of knowledge into appropriate and effective teacher behaviors.

• Modeling for understanding: Candidates and professional education faculty model effective teaching strategies and approaches, classroom management techniques, and other skills in order to increase the understanding of all students. This is an essential and pervasive component of the program.

• Reflective thinking for improvement: Candidates and professional education faculty are reflective thinkers who review and analyze their teaching performance in order to grow and improve as teachers. Reflective thinkers recognize the value of the process to their success and the success of their students.

• Problem solving for progress: Candidates and professional education faculty use and model critical and creative thinking, decision making, and other skills relative to solving problems. A teacher who can solve problems is one who can grow with the changes in schools and in society.



Teacher candidates successfully model the outcomes identified by the unit, evidencing their expected knowledge and skills. The nine outcomes are:

• Effective Communicators

• Knowledgeable Scholars

• Positive, Supportive Professionals

• Resourceful Curriculum Planners

• Skilled Facilitators of Developmental Growth

• Student-Centered, Reflective Instructors

• Capable Classroom Managers

• Competent Evaluators

• Lifelong Learners


Professional Dispositions

The unit established seven professional dispositions for candidates that are observed, developed, and evaluated throughout the program. The following candidate dispositions are considered to be requisite for an effective educator. Throughout a professional program, exemplary candidates for the teaching profession will:

1. Participate in positive interactions,

2. Show respect for self and others,

3. Assume responsibility,

4. Exhibit interest in the learner and the learning process,

5. Exhibit stewardship of diversity,

6. Advocate the use of technology, and

7. Exhibits fairness and the belief that all students can learn.


In 2012, the university became an autonomous public institution governed by a Board of Trustees. This presented an opportunity for the unit to review and revise the existing conceptual framework so that it would more closely align with the new goals, vision, and mission of the autonomous university. Additionally, through a focus on continuous improvement and an effort to address diversity more fully within the program, the unit reviewed the strengths and weaknesses of the existing conceptual framework and elected to update the tenets to include a stronger theoretical foundation and focus on social justice. The revised conceptual framework resulted in a new theme (Preparation of the Reflective Practitioner: Educating Communities), goals, and outcomes. Full implementation will take place in fall 2014 (Exhibit 1.5.c.2).



I.5 Exhibits

I.5.a Pages from catalogs and other printed documents describing general education, specialty/content studies, and professional studies

I.5.b Examples of syllabi for professional education courses

I.5.c Conceptual framework(s)

I.5.d Findings of other national accreditation associations related to the preparation of education professionals (e.g., ASHA, NASM, APA, CACREP)

I.5.e Updated institutional, program, and faculty information under institutional work space in AIMS

1.5.a.1 Institutional Vision, Mission, Goals & Outcomes (4.4.h.2)

1.5.a.2 List of All Programs of Study

1.5.a.3 Accreditation Information

1.5.b.1 CE 301 Foundations of Career Technical Education Syllabus spring 2013

1.5.b.2 ED 302 Foundations of Education II Syllabus fall 2012 (4.4.i.13)

1.5.b.4 EL 324 Teaching Mathematics in the Primary Grades Syllabus fall 2013

1.5.b.5 BI/CH/GS 456: M&M of Teaching Biology/Chemistry/General Science Syllabus in Middle

1.5.b.6 SE 465 IEPs and Other Legal Issues Syllabus

1.5.c.1 Current Conceptual Framework (4.4.i.14 and 6.4.a.2)

1.5.c.2 Future Conceptual Framework (6.4.a.7)

1.5.e.1 Program Demographics

1.5.b.3 ED 305 Technology & Media Syllabus fall 2012



II. Unit Standards and Movement Toward Target

Movement Toward

Target Please indicate the standard(s) on which the unit selected to demonstrate movement toward target:




Standard 1: Candidate Knowledge, Skills, and Professional Dispositions

Standard 2: Assessment System and Unit Evaluation

Standard 3: Field Experiences and Clinical Practice

Standard 4: Diversity

Standard 5: Faculty Qualifications, Performance, and Development

Standard 6: Governance and Resources





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