Commitment to developing and implementing policies, procedures, and practices that support candidates working with P-12 students from diverse groups is reinforced at the University, School, and Program levels. Besides the President’s Diversity Statement and the Provost’s establishment of multiple task forces to enhance diversity awareness and proficiencies, the recent branding of the university as Fresno State in Spring 2012 is followed by three salient themes: Discovery, Diversity, and Distinction. The cultivation of a learning community that puts high value on diversity sets the priority for this Unit in our education of credential candidates.
At the School level, the recruitment and retention of faculty members from diverse backgrounds and/or with expertise on diversity and the ongoing inservice training on diversity awareness and proficiencies prepares a competent group of faculty members to support candidates working with P-12 students from diverse groups. The School’s effort in recruiting candidates from diverse background results in exposing candidates to learning from a diverse peer group. This effort is further enhanced by numerous ancillary programs for our candidates to work with P-12 students from diverse groups.
At the Program level, the diversity component is a focal training domain in program curriculum in one or two courses and also an integral element in different courses of the program. For example, the Pupil Personnel Services in School Counseling program designates a 3-unit course on Multicultural Counseling that has diversity as the focus of training. At the same time, the rest of the courses addressing other aspects of counseling also include the context of diversity.
All the above preparation of candidates to work with diverse students in P-12 schools culminates in their work in field experiences and clinical settings with diverse P-12 students. As illustrated by 4.3.f Demographics of P-12 students in schools used for clinical practice,our candidates have ample opportunity to work with P-12 students from different ethnic, gender, socioeconomic, linguistic and disability groups. To ensure and optimize candidates’ experiences working with diverse students, field experiences are explicitly designed to encourage candidates to interact with diverse students and address diversity issues in their practice. For example, student teachers in the basic credential program are placed in schools and communities with diverse populations. All EHD 174 candidates are placed in diverse settings. Our bilingual teacher candidates must have at least one semester placement in a bilingual classroom where Spanish is used as the method of instruction. All School Counseling candidates in field placement are required to conduct assessment of their case studies addressing the P-12 students’ ethnic, socio-economic, or linguistic background.