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4c. Experiences Working with Diverse Candidates

4c.1. What opportunities do candidates have to interact with candidates from diverse groups?

Candidates have multiple opportunities to interact with each other, and the unit has been proactive in supporting residential and social activities. Outside the classroom context, ClubEd and the Teaching and Learning dorm wing (dedicated in fall 2009) are supported with unit resources, including faculty and staff involvement. However, the most richly diverse experience occurs in candidate enrollment in courses. A typical class of 20 candidates includes both male and female candidates, candidates from different socioeconomic groups, candidates with and without disabilities, and candidates from a variety of racial/ethnic groups including White, Alaska Native, American Indian, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Black. In addition, there is considerable diversity in age, life stage, and life experience. The option to take classes via distance education encourages the inclusion of both nontraditional candidates and candidates who reside in different geographic areas. A single distance course, for example, may include candidates from Anchorage, as far south as Angoon, as far west as Nome, and as far north as Anaktuvuk Pass. In addition, the local school district’s recent efforts to recruit special education teachers from the Philippines and Korea have resulted in a more diverse international candidate pool in the unit’s Special Education programs. The unit has also established partnerships with Chinese and Korean universities, and actively encourages faculty and candidate exchanges. Currently, two candidates enrolled in the MAT are from China.

Course assignments are utilized to facilitate interaction among diverse candidates. These include the use of discussion boards, candidate- and faculty-led small and large group discussions, candidate debates, blogs, class presentations, and collaborative projects and papers. In both initial and advanced programs, candidates participate in face-to-face or distance seminars during their internships. In these seminars, candidates reflect on and discuss dispositions and practices related to successful educational practice, incorporating their own perspectives and experiences. They participate in discussions of their personal beliefs about people who differ from themselves and their views, sensitivities, and personal responses to their students. In the advanced programs, candidates bring prior professional experiences to the program, which further enriches the diverse candidate interactions.

4c.2. How diverse are the candidates in initial teacher preparation and advanced preparation programs?

Table 9
Candidate Demographics

4c.3. What efforts does the unit make to recruit and retain candidates from diverse groups?

Recruiting and retaining candidates from diverse groups starts and relies on a university community that respects and welcomes diversity. Unit efforts are grounded first in UAA’s ongoing commitment to diversity, and further grounded in the unit’s mission, vision, and philosophy, and are especially evident in the core value of inclusiveness and equity (Std4c.Exh10).

  • UAA supports recruitment and retention efforts in which the unit and its candidates from diverse groups participate including TRIO programs, student organizations, and specialized student services. In addition, the unit’s efforts include:
  • COE Recruitment and Retention Coordinator (RRC) – works with candidates, faculty, and rural and urban communities; supports rural candidates and candidates from underrepresented groups
  • COE Academic Success Coordinator – provides academic guidance and facilitates academic support services for candidates; collaborates with the RRC
  • ClubEd – education candidate organization that provides volunteer/community service opportunities and workshops/educational seminars
  • Teaching and Learning Community – residential dorm wing for education majors; provides social and academic events and connects education candidates with peers, faculty, and other professionals
  • Residence Life Education Peer Mentor – provides personal and academic support and serves as a positive role model for first year candidates
  • AEIN Scholarships – provide support for the internship year; award preference is given to candidates who are members of groups underrepresented in teaching professions
  • Outreach through Future Educators of Alaska - a statewide collaborative effort to support Alaska Native students to enter the education profession
  • Program initiatives such as the Rural Alaska Principal Preparation and Support (RAPPS) grant
  • International partnerships with universities in China and Korea
  • Infusion of the core value of inclusiveness and equity throughout the curriculum and field experiences