Standard 4.1: Diversity

4.1 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?

Fresno State and the Kremen School of Education and Human Development (KSOEHD) are committed to the development of educators who have the optimal knowledge, skills, and disposition necessary to work effectively with all students, including individuals of different ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, gender, exceptionalities, language, religion, sexual orientation, and/or geographical area.  The development of candidate proficiencies related to diversity is guided and reinforced at multiple levels of Fresno State:

1) The President’s Diversity Statement: “Diversity is an integral part of the fabric of California's past, present and future, and, therefore an essential element of academic excellence at Fresno State. We are committed to promoting the success of all, and working to address and reduce barriers to success related to differences in areas such as race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, culture, religion, linguistic diversity, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, geographical region, and more”; 2) The KSOEHD theme of “Leadership for Diverse Communities,” and vision statement for graduates to “become community leaders who advocated for high standards and democratic values with attention to professional ethics and diversity;” and 3) accreditation standards and professional standards for proficiencies in diversity within the unique professional context of each program in the Unit.

Element 1: Design, Implementation, and Evaluation of Curriculum and Experiences

The KSOEHD conceptual framework adopts Valuing Diversity as one of the six professional dispositions for our candidates to develop and master.  Each program designs, implements, and evaluate its curriculum and experiences in accordance with its effectiveness in developing its candidates’ capacity for Valuing Diversity.  As detailed in Exhibits 4.4 a, each program sets high standards for its candidates’ diversity proficiencies in alignment with accreditation standards and provides specific behavioral outcomes in diversity proficiencies for curricular designs.  While each program has its unique set of behavioral outcomes, diversity proficiencies of all programs share in the following beliefs and commitment: 1) All students can learn; 2) Individual differences in ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, gender, exceptionalities, language, religion, sexual orientation, and/or geographical area affect student learning; 3) Educators have the responsibility to advocate for equity for diverse learners; and 4) Educators must engage in ongoing training to become increasingly effective with diverse learners.

Each program designs its curriculum and experiences with explicit goals of developing candidates’ diversity proficiencies.  As indicated in Exhibit 4.4b, programs provide candidates with the knowledge base to understand concepts and issues relating to diversity, classroom activities and assignments to facilitate candidates’ self reflection, critical thinking, and comprehension of diversity issues, and field based experiences to practice with and on a diverse school population.  As a general pattern, programs design their curriculum to support the development of diversity proficiencies partly by infusing and integrating the element of diversity sensitivity, knowledge, skills, and experiences into numerous courses in their programs and partly by designating a core course that focuses mainly on diversity proficiencies.

For example, the Multiple Subject Credential Program strategically designs its courses in sequence, which provides candidates with successive exposure to the tenants that all students can learn, and that ongoing assessment is crucial.  All candidates are required to take LEE 172Cultural and Language Contexts in the Classroom, which was designed specifically to address diversity issues in teacher education. Candidates also have the opportunities to refine their skills in a series of application activities: to first understand the importance of ongoing assessment and a variety of assessment techniques to recognize students’ needs in CI 171: “Understanding the Learner, Instructional Design, and Assessment); then multiple opportunities to refine their observation skills and recognition of students with special needs through different structured observation tasks in EHD 50: Introduction to Education; EHD 174: Field Study A: Grades 4-8; EHD 178: Field Study B: Grades K-3; SPED 179: Differentiated Instruction and Classroom Management; and, EHD 170: Final Student Teaching. Each candidate in the Multiple Subject Credential program participates in field assignments, which by design include diverse placements.  Other programs have similar sequences with a core course particularly dedicated to developing diversity proficiency and other courses that further develop and consolidate diversity training among candidates, culminating in final assessment in field practice.

Assessment of candidates’ diversity proficiencies is fully integrated in all KSOEHD programs.  As reported in Exhibits 4.4.c., each program adopts multiple assessment instruments at different phases of candidates’ development: course work that requires candidates to demonstrate their diversity proficiencies, assessment of professional disposition in Valuing Diversity, clinical reviews, supervisor’s evaluation of field placement performance, surveys (candidate, employer, alumni), and other formal assessment tools used in specific professional specializations.  Candidates are assessed as individuals and receive ongoing feedback from instructors.  Aggregate data from specific assessment instruments are also used to identify growth and needs of candidates as a group and subsequently, guide program improvements.

Element 2:  Experiences Working with Diverse Population

A.   Diverse Faculty

In the KSOEHD, candidates are engaged in learning from a diverse group of faculty and supervisors who bring their unique experiences with ethnicity, race, exceptionality, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and socio-economic background to the diverse learning community at Fresno State. As reported in Exhibit YYY this diverse learning community has become possible due to the good faith recruitment efforts at the university and school levels. During the period 2003-2013, 34 tenure track faculty members who were hired at KSOEHD came from the following range of demographic background: males (29%), females (71%), African Americans (12%), Hispanics (24%), Asians (18%), and Whites (47%). KSOEHD has two Hmong faculty and hosts the nations only Hmong second language teacher credential program.

Ongoing in-service training for faculty and supervisors, the commitment of faculty and supervisors to scholarly activities relating to diversity, and the promotion of an inclusive culture on campus through numerous diversity-related task forces or programs further enrich what faculty can offer to our candidates. Although the university does not formally identify faculty with disabilities, at least one faculty with a physical disability requires accommodation and another faculty with health conditions that requires different modes of curriculum delivery

KSOEHD has the highest percentage of diverse hires over the last ten years and the highest percentage of faculty from diverse groups of any of the schools and colleges at Fresno State.

B.   Diverse Candidates

Exhibit 4.4.e shows that our candidates have a lot of opportunity to learn and work with peers from different ethnic and gender groups. More than 50% of candidates are from an ethnic group other than Caucasian. Twenty-nine percent of candidates in Basic Credential programs and 19% of candidates in Advanced Credential programs are male.

Research on Principal evaluation of graduate preparation to teach, as seen in Exhibit EducBias reveals that our 21% of graduates parents never attended high school, 29% came from households earning less than $24,000 per year and from a variety of ethnic background. There was no difference in employer ratings of the graduates based on their parents’ education or family income. Latino teachers were rated as better prepared to work with English Learners but there were no other significant differences based on background.

Exhibit Value of data is a peer-reviewed article accepted by the Teacher Education Quarterly that demonstrates the effect of our efforts to improve preparation for teaching English Learners. The article clearly describes our efforts over time and displays both a statistically and clinically significant improvement as a result of these targeted efforts. 

C.   Diverse P-12 students

The incredible diversity of the students in our schools in the San Joaquin Valley certainly provides a learning laboratory for candidates in all KSOEHD programs. As shown in Exhibit 4.4.f, our Unit has maintained close collaboration with numerous school districts with a wide range of ethnic, socio-economic, exceptionality, linguistic, and gender background to place our candidates for field practice. In order to optimize our candidates’ diversity experiences, programs assign candidates to diverse schools and/or require contacts with students from different backgrounds within the same school.

A peer-reviewed (Exhibit Culture of Evidence) study conducted by our faculty and published in the Teacher Education Quarterly demonstrated that employers reported teacher education graduates equally well prepared despite the demographics of the schools where they were hired. There was no relationship between Principal evaluation of graduate preparation and percent of English Learners in the classrooms, percent of students on free or reduced lunch, or the decile of achievement of the school where they taught. We view this as firm evidence that preparation for teaching diverse students is effective.

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