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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

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.

 4.1 Diversity

How does the unit prepare candidates to work effectively with all students, including individuals of different ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, gender, exceptionalities, language, religion, sexual orientation, and/or geographical area?

In accordance with the conceptual framework theme, candidates are expected to become Educators for aGlobal Future. For all majors, the unit provides a curriculum rich with assignments focusing on areas of diversity ensuring candidates' abilities to work with diverse populations. The unit uses a multifaceted approach to develop, infuse, and assess candidate proficiencies in diverse assignments throughout the curriculum. All programs require SE 301 Introduction to Exceptional Learners, which includes professional development to prevent the over-identification by race and ethnicity of students with disabilities (Exhibit 4.4.b.1).


Focusing on global preparation is a constant thread unit wide. Candidates' abilities to prepare for and work with diverse P-12 students are measured during field experience and internship using the EDUCATEAlabama (EA) rubric (Exhibit 4.4.c.3-4).These elements are mirrored in the Alabama Quality Teaching Standard (AQTS) 4: Diversity (Exhibit 4.4.a.1) and measure the following diversity proficiencies.

  • Indicator 4.1 Cultural, Ethnic and Social Diversity - Develops culturally responsive curriculum andinstruction in response to differences in individual experiences; cultural, ethnic, gender, and linguisticdiversity, and socioeconomic status
  • Indicator 4.5 Language Diversity - Guides second-language acquisition and utilizes English language

Proficiency (ELP) strategies to support learning

  • Indicator 4.10 Learning Styles – Designs learning experiences that engage all learning styles and multiple intelligences


EA field experience and internship assessment data from 2012-13 reflect the following intern

competencies (Exhibit 4.4.a.1).

  • 4.1 – 419 of 452 candidates (93%) demonstrated competency at the Target level
  • 4.5 – 367 of 406 candidates (90%) demonstrated competency at the Target level
  • 4.10 – 419 of 460 candidates (91%) demonstrated competency at the Target level


As the data suggest, most candidates perform well in these areas. When this is not the case, issues are addressed with the candidate:

  • during field experience when the faculty member and candidate discuss the assessment
    element(s) and suggestions for improved performance, or
  • during internship, through a Triad meeting with the clinical faculty, intern supervisor and candidate, when a plan of action is devised to facilitate the candidate's plan for growth. A repeated observation occurs where the candidate is expected to demonstrate improvement.


Diversity is included in two of the professional dispositions in the conceptual framework: "Throughout a professional program, exemplary candidates for the teaching profession should exhibit "stewardship of diversity" and "fairness and the belief that all students can learn" (Exhibit 4.4.i.14). Candidate dispositions are assessed in courses, field experience, and internship (Exhibit 4.4.a.3 &5). Data regarding the two diversity dispositions collected at internship during 2012-13 reflect:

  • 82 of 84 candidates (97%) demonstrated competency in exhibiting stewardship of diversity, and
  • 82 of 84 candidates (97%) demonstrated competency in exhibiting fairness and the belief that all students can learn (Exhibit 4.4.a.6).


Athens State strives to employ a diverse faculty and the unit shares the vision of providing a campus culture that values diversity. These values are exhibited through the diversity of unit faculty. In 2012-13 there were 28 full-time unit faculty, including the dean, with a 35 percent minority representation. The university-wide faculty minority representation rate was 16.2 percent (Exhibit 4.4.d.1).

To recruit diverse faculty, vacancies are advertised through national equal opportunity employment avenues such as the Affirmative Action Register (AAR) and IMDiversity.com, websites that serve the cultural and career-related needs of underrepresented minorities. Announcements are also sent to historically black colleges and universities as well as to the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education's Minority Applicant Pool (Exhibit 4.4.g.1 and 2).

The university provides candidates with diverse events and multiple opportunities to become more cognizant of the rich culture as observers and participants. The university's Center for Lifelong Learning and Livingston Concert Lecture Series hosted the 2012 annual Athens Storytelling Festival, which involves stories of cultural experiences. A list of participants is in Exhibit 4.4.d.2.

In addition to the diverse Festival topics, the university supported other events to promote cultural awareness, including lectures and exhibits celebrating Black History Month in February 2013. The theme for the 2013 celebration was 'A Focus on Black Art in America'. A list of f cultural events is in Exhibit 4.4.d.3.

The unit's candidate ethnic population is approximately 12.8 percent. In comparison to the university, candidate diversity is higher in the categories of American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, and Two or More Races (Exhibit 4.4.e.1). This provides a comparison of unit, institutional and geographical area demographics and reflects that the institutional student ethnic population is 20.73 percent while the ethnicity of the geographical area (Limestone County where campus is located) is 23 percent. While the unit and the institution recognize the need to strengthen minority recruiting efforts, it should be noted that there are five universities, including two historically black colleges/universities within a 50 miles radius.

When comparing diversity demographics of candidates to those of Blount County, which serves the largest amount of candidates for the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative (AMSTI) training, the diversity of candidates in the unit is higher than the overall diversity demographics in Blount County (Exhibit 4.4.e.2). To attract prospective candidates with diverse backgrounds, it is vital that the university and the unit have a plan in place. An Enrollment Management Plan (Exhibit 4.4.h.1) drives institutional efforts to increase enrollment and recruit a diverse student body.


Enrollment planning is based on several factors including the goal to diversify the student body. With this in mind, the unit continuously reviews strategies for recruitment of targeted market segments including active duty military personnel and dual-enrolled community college, international, non­traditional, and under-represented ethnic minority students. Strategies include:

  • Initial recruitment contact with prospective international and minority candidates through mail, e-mail, and phone
  • Letters of recognition to academically outstanding minority students
  • Hosting an annual breakfast with local minority/Hispanic community leaders
  • Unit faculty participation in events that promote cultural awareness and celebration.


The institution's vision, mission, and goals statement (Exhibit 4.4.h.2) includes institutional and learning goals that embody the importance of a diverse campus culture to:

  • recruit and retain a diverse and highly qualified faculty and staff committed to excellence in all university pursuits
  • encourage an atmosphere of diversity and protect the free exchange of ideas
  • understand human cultures, the natural world, and the connections of a global society in the 21st century
  • recognize and value human difference as well as understand how those differences enrich communities


To identify strengths and areas of improvement, the institution developed a Vision 2020 report (Exhibit 4.4.h.3). It became the foundation for a strategic plan to guide direction, goals, and actions (Exhibit 4.4.h.4). One goal included enhancing interaction for students with disabilities and "establishing a dedicated staff position as an ADA coordinator," resulting in the hire of an ADA coordinator. "As part of its effort to lead the state in DL instruction, Athens State should ensure that it can provide instructional services for students with disabilities that set the standard for other universities." In response, a DL policy was developed that addresses ADA and learning styles (Exhibit 4.4.i.11).

The unit ensures that all candidates have opportunities to work with diverse P-12 learners through compliance of the SDE Administrative Code (Exhibit 4.4.i.1). The Field Experience & Internship (FEI) Office places candidates in more than 66 school systems to provide teacher candidates with multiple opportunities to observe and reflect, teach lessons, and collaborate with diverse students. Over 250 of these schools are Title I schools (Exhibit 4.4.f.1).

Through field experience and internship, candidates have opportunities to apply pedagogy in the P-12 classroom by teaching whole classes, small groups, and one-on-one tutoring. For example, in ED 322 Basic Principles of English Language Learners Education, candidates are required to conduct a minimum of two tutorials with students of linguistic diversity (Exhibit 4.4.i.2-3). English language learners are often diverse in other ways: culturally, ethnically, and socio-economically, which helps candidates appreciate the complex student population of the 21st century.

Candidates are placed in Professional Development School settings and work with P-12 students from diverse populations (Exhibit 4.4.i.10). Candidates are chosen based on several factors including (1) the candidate's need to improve in pedagogy; (2) the candidate's need to work with diverse P-12 students; and (3) the enrollment number of students for the summer programs. There are six PDS sites including a cluster of four schools within the Madison County School System

The unit structures experiences and opportunities for candidates to understand and work with those who may have different cultural backgrounds. Candidates teach in settings that are diverse from their own background, critically explore the impact of diversity on student learning, and ultimately bridge the cultural gap that may exist between the teacher and student (Exhibit 4.4.b.3).



 4.2 Moving Toward Target or Continuous Improvement


Please respond to 4.2.a if this is the standard on which the unit is moving to the target level. If it is not the standard on which you are moving to the target level, respond to 4.2.b.


 4.2.a Standard on which the unit is moving to the target level

  • Describe areas of the standard at which the unit is currently performing at the target level for each element of the standard.
  • Summarize activities and their impact on candidate performance and program quality that have led to target level performance.
  • Discuss plans and timelines for attaining and/or sustaining target level performance as articulated in this standard.


 4.2.b Continuous Improvement

  • Summarize activities and changes based on data that have led to continuous improvement of candidate performance and program quality.
  • Discuss plans for sustaining and enhancing performance through continuous improvement as articulated in this standard.

To ensure a learning experience for all candidates that includes a strong appreciation for diversity, the unit has embarked on several data-driven continuous improvements since the 2007 NCATE visit. The following narrative is a summary of these efforts.


Revision of the Conceptual Framework: Reflective Thinking for Improvement is one element of the unit's current conceptual framework that candidates are expected to demonstrate. In order to strengthen and improve the quality of the program, the unit views reflectivity as a vital process for its candidates and stakeholders. Continuous improvement involves consideration of program strengths, areas for improvement, and alternative ways to enhance candidate preparation. Critical reflection then drives future decisions to improve the program by using the findings regarding the quality of the program's elements of diversity. The unit has made several changes and additions to ensure the continuation of providing a rigorous teacher education program while candidates demonstrate knowledge and ability to teach diverse students. To support the ever-changing learning environment, unit faculty embarked on an effort to refocus the conceptual framework during the summer 2013. The new framework will be implemented in fall 2014 and will further emphasize both diverse students and learning styles.


UDL Lesson Plan Implementation: Another area of continuous improvement involves the lesson plan design the candidates learn to use during senior methods courses and internship. Previously, the unit used the Professional Education Personnel Evaluation (PEPE) lesson plan template to align with Alabama's teacher evaluation process. The state discontinued this template. This has been replaced with a template that involves differentiated instruction, the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) lesson plan template (Exhibit 4.4.c.2). The unit received a grant in 2008 from the Alabama Department of Education's Special Education Department to further the unit's efforts to teach candidates about collaboration and inclusion. This work to improve the unit's program to move toward a more inclusive classroom setting exemplifies another conceptual framework belief, all students can learn.


One of the rationales of using the UDL Lesson Plan template is to address the needs of cultural, ethnic, exceptional, and/or linguistic students. The UDL Lesson Plan is an assignment in the methods courses and internship in which the candidate writes and teaches using the plan (Exhibit 4.4.c.1). Candidates are evaluated during field experience and internship by unit faculty and clinical faculty. The EA observation rubric (Exhibit 4.4.c.3) containing three indicators from the AQTS diversity strand is used to evaluate the candidate when teaching a lesson. The evaluation of the lesson plan is followed by a conference between the candidate and evaluator to discuss the rubric scores, strengths, and areas for improvement. The scores on three diversity strand indicators are part of the candidates' evaluation as these scores are compared from field experience to internship (Exhibit 4.4.a.1).


Professional Development Schools: Another example of the unit demonstrating continuous improvement in the development of partnerships with P-12 involves Professional Development Schools (PDS). These schools provide a robust field experience for candidates and enhance the diverse settings for candidates. Different from a field experience site, a school recognized as a PDS is more involved with the mentoring of a candidate, offering more flexibility and opportunities to conduct the various roles of a teacher. A current cluster of PDS includes the Sparkman Cluster: Madison Cross Roads, Sparkman Middle, Sparkman 9th Grade, and Sparkman High, three of which are Title 1 schools. The inclusion of these four schools was purposeful in that candidates need to understand how one feeder school can affect another feeder school. These four schools demonstrate a variety of student demographics including an average of 35 percent of students eligible for the free/reduced lunch program and an average student minority status of 35 percent (NCES data, 2012-13).

The unit sustains partnerships with the PDS through annual negotiation of revisiting the needs of the school faculty. PDS teachers may request professional development activities that are then conducted by unit faculty. As this partnership has matured over the past nine years, the unit continues to develop more partnerships in the surrounding area. Tanner High School K-12 in Limestone County became a PDS in 2009, and Mountain Gap School P-8 in Huntsville City is the newest partnership formed in 2012. Each PDS provides opportunities for teacher candidates to conduct field experience in a structured environment.

Part of the contract negotiation with Tanner High School involved creating a summer enrichment program with an emphasis on reading and math. For Mountain Gap School, the focus was a summer technology program. The candidates observe unit faculty using a culturally-responsive method to establish the classroom and model lessons. Candidates then transition into the lead teacher under the supervision of unit faculty during the two-week program. PDS partnerships provide unique opportunities for candidates as well as unit faculty to work with students of diverse backgrounds. Supporting documents related to PDS activities are available in Exhibits 4.4.i.4-9.

Children's Advocacy Studies Training: Children who experience abuse cannot be forgotten when considering student diversity. Based on the increasing number of reported child abuse cases and to address regional and national concerns, the unit adopted a new certificate program to educate professionals in the field of child advocacy, family support, and law enforcement agencies who deal with child maltreatment. The Children's Advocacy Studies Training (C.A.S.T.) is also a benefit to those who work with children and can help teacher candidates identify warning signs of children who are abused or neglected. Exhibit 4.4.i.12 is a CA301 syllabus. Candidates can obtain a C.A.S.T. certificate along with a degree.

Social Justice: As the nation's population grows more diverse, the unit shifted from the outdated concept of "accepting" diversity to one that "embraces" it. To prepare candidates to become more culturally competent about the students in today's classrooms, a team was formed in 2011 to explore ways to infuse social justice into the program. The curriculum in ED 302 Foundations of Education II has been modified to include assignments related to social justice concerns and issues in society (Exhibit 4.4.i.13).


Program Minors: Another area of continuous improvement is the development of several minors offered through the unit and made available to candidates across the university. An example is the English Language Learners (ELL) minor was approved by the curriculum committee December 2013 and will be offered beginning summer 2014. The unit consulted current research that states that "as a nation as a whole...educators with the requisite knowledge and skills to work effectively with linguistic minority students have been in short supply" (Batt, 2008, p. 39). Since candidates need further in-depth study opportunities about English learners, providing an opportunity to pursue an ELL minor will prepare them to develop effective teaching strategies for the linguistically diverse student. The unit takes pride in being one of very few baccalaureate degree programs that requires an ELL course in all P-6 education

programs of study. The addition of the ELL minor will be an asset to all candidates as classrooms have become inclusive to meet the academic needs of all students. This ELL minor will provide a concentrated area of study for candidates who plan to teach in a school system with a large ELL population. It will also be an asset to all candidates who are meeting the academic needs of all students in the increasingly inclusive classroom.


Collaboration Among Programs To Integrate Various Aspects of Diversity: To ensure teacher candidates are capable of integrating a curriculum suitable for a diverse population of learners, faculty from the unit representing the areas of children's literature, diversity, English language learners, technology, and early childhood have collaborated to review all unit courses. The goal of this collaboration and review is to ensure that candidates receive targeted instruction and integrate the above areas in teaching to a diverse population of students while simultaneously receiving instruction in those areas themselves.


As the narrative indicates, the unit takes diversity seriously and uses an on-going process of review and revision to meet the needs of candidates and students in the P-12 classroom. To this end, the unit continues to collect and review data and improvement areas are reviewed and reflected upon regularly. These efforts include conversations with all stakeholders, including candidates, clinical faculty partners, and unit and university faculty. These conversations and venues of data collection guide the unit in sustaining and enhancing performance and result in plans of action.

4.3 Areas for Improvement Cited in the Action Report from the Previous Accreditation Review

Summarize activities, processes, and outcomes in addressing each of the AFIs cited for the initial and/or advanced program levels under this standard.

There were no areas for improvement cited for Standard 4 in the 2007 NCATE Accreditation Review. 


4.4 Exhibits for Standard 4

4.4.a Aggregate data on proficiencies related to diversity that candidates are expected to demonstrate through working with students from diverse groups in classrooms and schools, including impact on student learning

4.4.b Curriculum components and experiences that address diversity proficiencies (This might be a matrix that shows diversity components in required courses.)

4.4.c Assessment instruments and scoring guides related to candidates meeting diversity proficiencies, including impact on student learning (These assessments may be included in program review documents or the exhibits for Standard 1. Cross reference as appropriate.)

4.4.d Data table on faculty demographics (see Appendix A for an example)

4.4.e Data table on candidates demographics (see Appendix B for an example)

4.4.f Data table on demographics of P-12 students in schools used for clinical practice (see Appendix C for an example)

4.4.g Policies and practices, including good faith efforts, for recruiting and retaining diverse faculty

4.4.h Policies and practices, including good faith efforts, for recruiting and retaining diverse candidates

4.4.i Policies, procedures, and practices that support candidates working with P-12 students from diverse groups

4.4.a.1 EA Field Exp. And Internship Data Table

4.4.a.3 Field Exp. Assessment Data (1.4.d.5 and 3.4.f.29)

4.4.a.5 Internship EA Assessment Data (1.4.d.6)

4.4.a.6 Professional Dispositions Assessment Data at Internship (1.4.f.3)

4.4.b.1 Diversity Assignments in Curriculum Table

4.4.b.3 ED 322 Case Study Template

4.4.b.4 EL 423 Pictorial Diversity Assignment (3.4.f.34)

4.4.b.5 EL 424 Sample Lesson Plan (learning styles)

4.4.b.6 EL 424 Differentiated Instruction PPT

4.4.c.1 Courses with UDL Lesson Plan Assessment

4.4.c.2 Scaffold UDL Lesson Plan (2.4.g.5)

4.4.c.3 EA Field Experience Assessment Rubric

4.4.c.4. EA Internship Assessment Rubric

4.4.d.1 Table of Diverse Faculty Appendix A

4.4.d.2 Athens Storytelling Participants (and Descriptions)

4.4.d.3 Cultural Awareness Events (and Descriptions)

4.4.e.1 Table of Diverse Candidates Appendix B

4.4.e.2 AMSTI Teacher Candidate Service Areas 12-13

4.4.f.1 P-12 Student diversity Data – Appendix C

4.4.g.1 University Hiring Guidelines (5.4.a.1)

4.4.g.2 Recruitment Overview Diverse Faculty

4.4.h.1 Recruit Retain Diverse Candidates Plan pp 15-16

4.4.h.2 Vision, Mission, and Goals (1.5.a.1)

4.4.h.3 Vision 2020 Report

4.4.h.4 Strategic Plan – Reaching toward 2020 - 3 year plan 2012-2015

4.4.i.1 SDE Administrative Code Excerpt

4.4.i.2 ED 322 ELL Course Syllabus

4.4.i.3 ED 322 Diversity Assignments

4.4.i.4 PDS Fairview Collaborative Grant

4.4.i.5 PDS Madison County Cluster Demographics

4.4.i.6 PDS Orientation Letter to Candidates

4.4.i.7 PDS Principals’ Overview

4.4.i.8 PDS Sparkman Cluster Agenda

4.4.i.9 Summer PDS Demographics

4.4.i.10 Candidate Placement PDS

4.4.i.11 Athens State Distance Learning Policy (5.4.a.2 and 6.4.j.1)

4.4.i.12 CA301 Course Syllabus

4.4.i.13 ED302 Course Syllabus (1.5.b.2)

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








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