The UMM TEP is well supported by institutional resources.
Computing Services at UMM provides networking and technology support to the campus. The facilities are open to all UMM students, staff, and faculty. Accounts are provided without charge to all students. The campus network reaches every building on campus. All residence hall rooms have a network connection available to each resident, and all UMM systems are Internet connected. Computing services maintains six public computer labs on campus with approximately 125 computers, all less than four years old, available for student use. Two of the labs are open 24 hours a day during the academic year. The computing labs, especially the library lab and the two 24-hour labs, are well used. Computing Services personnel make students a priority. Staff members provide assistance for webpages, student accounts, purchasing computers, and use of most programs (e.g. Excel or PowerPoint).
Media Services aids teaching, learning, and research of the campus community by supporting the UMM campus with technological tools. The department supports projects for classroom learning, research, seminars, marketing, and outreach. The staff members install, maintain, and provide assistance as needed for classroom technology. They coordinate the use of equipment and provide training.
Faculty offices are equipped with computers and all full-time professional education faculty members have laptops that are used extensively during supervision.
In July 2001, just before the last NCATE review, we were awarded a $363,371 PT3 implementation grant for New Teachers, New Technology (NTNT). This grant provided training for faculty, school partners, and candidates in the use of effective technology, and we worked to infuse technology instruction throughout our courses. Faculty and candidates regularly use the information and instructional technology as part of their program course work and field experiences. New initiatives encourage even greater electronic communication through the use of Moodle, Adobe Connect, and Wikis. Bush Interactive Teaching Groups and Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL) grants support faculty projects. Three of the six current tenure-line faculty members are actively involved in technology initiatives supported by grants, and all faculty members are skilled at using general informational and instructional technology.
The unit has worked to design, implement, and improve an Assessment System that is manageable, coherent, useful, and suitable for the size and needs of our program. Data are collected from candidates, cooperating teachers, university supervisors, faculty, graduates, employers, and national testing services. The data are stored in three databases that allow us to track individual candidate progress and to analyze aggregated data by program and unit. First, a record is kept of each candidate’s progress through teacher education course work. The University of Minnesota computer based Academic Progress Audit System (APAS) has been tailored to requirements for licensure in each field. One administrative specialist monitors each candidate’s progress through our programs and maintains records for each candidate. The APAS system is supported by institutional and system resources.
A second candidate database, created and supported by unit resources, allows the administrative specialist in charge of student records to monitor and track candidate performance on Praxis I and II examinations and to record placement and completion of field experiences. We are in the process of developing a new system based on one developed by UM Twin Cities campus. We also use EXCEL to maintain the data for key program assessments and follow-up surveys. This is supported through our regular teacher education budget and is part of the workload for our two administrative specialists. The NCATE coordinator, receiving intermittent stipends or course reductions, assumes responsibility for analysis and dissemination of data. The unit has supported travel to NCATE workshops and has made a commitment to continue this practice so that the coordinator is updated and current on accreditation issues and expectations.
Library and Curricular Resources
The mission of the Rodney A. Briggs Library at the University of Minnesota, Morris, is to advance and enrich instruction, research, and scholarship in the liberal arts tradition. Integral to the academic life of the college, the library focuses on the learner in providing resources and services that promote the effective access, evaluation, and synthesis of information. Guided by an emphasis on lifelong learning, the library also supports the informational and cultural needs of the west central Minnesota region.
In its mission statement, Rodney A. Briggs Library affirms its role in supporting the learning enterprise at the University of Minnesota, Morris. The Teacher Education program is an important component of the UMM academic mission and the library supports the students and faculty of the Education Division both in terms of resources and services.
In terms of learning resources and collections, a very important and obvious element of this support is the maintenance of the Curriculum Library on the third floor of Briggs Library. The Curriculum Library is comprised of the following collections: 1) Teacher Education Collection (Elementary Textbooks, Secondary Textbooks, Teaching Aids and Kits); 2) Children’s Literature (Children’s Reference, Fiction, Non-Fiction and Picture Books); 3) Professional journals and 4) Pamphlets/Ephemeral materials. The Children’s Literature collection is arranged by Dewey Decimal classification. It seeks to emulate the PreK-8 Media Center that teacher education candidates will find in the schools in which they will be assigned for clinical experiences and student teaching, as well as in future professional positions. In addition to the Curriculum Library, there is a significant amount of volumes in the general collection relevant to pedagogy, learning theories, educational policy, child psychology, multiculturalism, and other relevant topics.
There are many resources provided for the Teacher Education program that are not physically located in the Curriculum Library but are available 24/7 via any networked computer. The library subscribes to the following databases in order to facilitate research and professional growth: Academic Search Premier, Digital Dissertations, Education Abstracts, ERIC, Expanded Academic Index ASAP, Gale Professional Collection, Health and Wellness Resource Center, JSTOR, LISTA (Library Information Science and Technology Abstracts), Project Muse, PsycInfo, and PsycArticles.
Some of these databases are indexes/abstracts and others provide immediate access to the full-text of the article. In the case of the indexes, access to the full text article is facilitated by the library’s link-resolving software, making availability only a few clicks away. The library’s interlibrary loan department provides efficient access to the articles not readily available at Briggs Library in print or electronic format.
There is a close coordination between the library and the education faculty in building and maintaining the Curriculum Library. At the beginning of each academic year, a specific amount is allocated to each UMM division and discipline in order to ensure quality collection growth across the curricular spectrum. The allocation amounts are based on applying the following variables to the funding available: number of faculty in the discipline, number of credit hours generated, circulation of library materials appropriate to the discipline, and average cost of materials in the subject area. It is to the education division’s advantage that the circulation of children’s literature and teacher education materials is typically high in relation to other disciplines. However, the education division also shares the unfortunate situation with all the other UMM disciplines that the library budget has remained static for the last ten years, resulting in declining allocations for materials as inflation takes its toll.
Collection evaluation is another activity integral to maintaining a quality Curriculum Library collection. The library staff works closely with education faculty in a regular item-by-item evaluation. As a result of this examination, outdated, damaged, and worn materials are weeded from the collection and replacements are ordered.
As is the case in libraries across academia, Briggs Library is quickly transitioning from journal subscriptions in the print format to online subscriptions. At the present time, the library’s collection includes 60 print journal subscriptions with an education focus, but the number of corresponding electronically available serial titles exceeds 1000.
In terms of services, the library staff is anxious to provide formal instruction sessions, for Teacher Education classes, to facilitate information literacy, familiarity with research strategies, and an introduction to available resources. There is also the opportunity for one-on-one reference assistance for Teacher Education students working on research projects or activities related to their field experiences. The one-on-one service can take the form of in-person, Email, phone or instant messaging reference assistance. Librarians create and maintain webpages in a project entitled Research QuickStart readily available from the Briggs Library Web site. There are Research QuickStart pages for all UMM majors, including Education. This means that students uncertain where to start their search for information can go to this site and find suggestions for databases, online resources, and print reference sources likely to be helpful in completing their research or project. The interlibrary loan service, mentioned above, is also available to all UMM students and faculty. Finally, many Education faculty members take advantage of the library’s electronic course reserve service where the library creates course pages upon request and then scans or links the articles, excerpts, or other materials directed by faculty.
A Library liaison program is employed at UMM, whereby each discipline has a designated librarian to facilitate communication between the various faculty members and the library. LeAnn Dean, Briggs Library Director, is the designated liaison between the Education division and the library. Having been certified as a school librarian/media specialist and having served as a school librarian in Minnesota for seven years, she enjoys and appreciates the opportunity to work with UMM’s Education faculty.