A Message from Jonathan Gillette, Dean of the Graduate School of Education
Dear Graduate School of Education Alumni,
Last month, we received the highest possible marks from the national accreditation visiting team that reviewed us last February, and were awarded full national accreditation for all Lesley University educator/counselor programs. That outcome came after years of effort on our part to wrestle with assessment, to examine what it means and what it can mean for our work and for the quality of preparation we provide our candidates. Like any teacher preparation institution, faculty and staff work as part of a larger process. Staff support and faculty teach a course or two in a program, but in no instance have opportunity connect with a candidate from start to finish. This “silo” effort is reinforced by every incentive system the academy offers: what is important is the quality of teaching in your specific class and the new amount of scholarship created in your specific field. Few rewards reinforce working across courses to examine the design and effectiveness of the program as a whole. For a large university such as ours, the problem becomes even more challenging.Even with incentives pointed in the wrong direction, faculty care deeply about their overall impact on the development of their students. After all, we chose higher education to widen, not lessen, our impact on the teaching that K-12 students receive every day. So with a goal of improved student development and in anticipation of our national accreditation, we built an assessment system by doing the following: faculty identified specific competencies for every program of study; those competencies were allocated to the appropriate courses within the program of study; new assignments were created to capture student work that evidenced the targeted competencies, and valid rubrics were developed so both faculty and students could clearly understand what an acceptable level of performance was required. Electronic portfolios captured the work and data systems generated patterns for faculty to interpret and design improvements.The result was stunning. We had new ways to see our work as a whole—faculty now knew exactly what their course contribution was. We understood our work differently—the new key assignments, in which students were asked to apply knowledge in a clinical setting, gave us strong predictors of their readiness for classroom success. In addition, we could use our core constructivist stance to have number patterns deepen and extend our confidence that we prepared high quality teachers ready to make an impact in their classrooms by knowing both what to teach and how to teach.
Jack Gillette, Dean
Alumni & Friends Home
Upcoming Alumni Events
Lesley Alumni News
Get our Alumni eNewsletter
Meet the Advancement Staff
Give Online Today
Sign up for our Alumni Newsletter!
Read previous stories