Agenda Item I.1.e.
A PROFILE OF PK-16
COLLABORATION ACROSS THE UW SYSTEM:
A FULL REPORT
In June of 2001, the UW System Board of Regents passed the following resolution:
The Board of Regents adopts the PK-16 Principles directing each UW System Chancellor to work collaboratively with PK-12 and other postsecondary education leaders to develop a well-articulated plan for achieving local quality PK-16 education; and to report plans, initiatives and achievements to the Board in June 2002.
This resolution came about, in large part, as a response to the 2000 UW System Economic Summit, which highlighted the role of quality education in advancing the economic vitality of the state. With an eye toward the creation of a citizenry and workforce well prepared for the 21st Century, the UW System Board of Regents took a bold step by endorsing the creation of broad-based partnerships to achieve quality PK-16 education.
In an effort to respond to this resolution, a variety of materials were shared with each of the UW System campuses (see Appendix B-Background Materials). Most recently, a survey was designed to collect relevant information regarding current initiatives and future plans. The intended outcomes of this survey were as follows:
v To document the current status of collaborative efforts across system that are consistent with the June 2001 resolution;
v To identify the issues that serve to promote and/or inhibit the formation and sustaining of collaborative efforts; and
v To promote collaboration and quality PK-16 education by understanding the factors that impact the various systems involved.
After consulting with the Provosts/Vice Chancellors regarding processes for data collection and analysis, a survey was distributed to each UW campus (see Appendix C-Campus Survey). Responses from all 13 campuses and UW-Extension were forwarded to the UW System Office of Academic Affairs. For the purpose of readability, UW-Extension will be referred to as a campus in the body of this report.
Dr. Francine Tompkins conducted a preliminary analysis of the data and developed a draft document that was forwarded to each Provost/Vice Chancellor for their input. In cases where a campus representative other than the Provost completed the survey, the draft document was also shared with this representative.
This report is based on an analysis of the survey and all supporting documents and reflects the input of representatives from each of the campuses. The information provided within this report is intended to be viewed as a work in progress; a formative profile of current practices across the UW System. Each campus representative responded to this survey with the understanding that individual campus identification would not be provided, except to profile best practice efforts. Respondents were encouraged to be forthright in their identification of factors that impact campus-based practices in anticipation that this course of action would promote meaningful reform and an opportunity to learn from each other.
As a result of this systemwide inquiry on PK-16 collaboration, we have an emerging understanding of the nature of collaboration taking place across the state. This understanding will, no doubt, facilitate action on the part of system leadership as they work to support current activities and encourage future ventures designed to promote the attainment of the concepts contained within the June 2001 resolution.
A History of Collaborative Ventures
The concept of collaboration for the improvement of PK-16 education is not a new phenomenon in the state of Wisconsin. As previously noted, state and national mandates have, for a long time, required Schools, Colleges, Departments of Education (SCDs) to work in collaboration with school practitioners. What is new is the recent call to expand upon the membership within these collaborative ventures (i.e., to more explicitly include faculty from Letters and Science) and to document the quality of the teaching and learning that results from these collaborations.
One campus indicated that they have been involved in collaborative activities (i.e., Professional Development Schools) for the last 75 years. Most of the collaboration ventures detailed by campus respondents have their origins in the early 1990’s, with some forming as recently as the fall of 2001. In addition, some campuses are working to establish new collaborative partnerships in the near future.
An Overview of Campus Collaboration and Partnerships
In Section I of the survey, respondents were asked to provide information regarding the general nature of collaboration and partnerships on their campus. Respondents selected the statement that best described their efforts. The statements were written to reflect levels of collaboration across a continuum, with statement #1 reflecting the most involved, complex and well planned levels of collaboration and statement #4 reflecting limited involvement, complexity and/or planning.
1. Personnel on our campus, including representatives from education and Letters and Science are engaged in collaborative efforts with local/regional PK-12 districts and other post-secondary institutions and have developed a well-articulated plan for local/regional quality PK-16 education. N=4
2. Personnel on our campus, mainly representatives from education, are engaged in collaborative efforts with local/regional PK-12 districts and other post-secondary institutions and have developed a well articulated plan for local/regional quality PK-16 education. N=3
3. Personnel on our campus, including representatives in education and/or Letters and Science, are engaged in collaborative activities with local/regional PK-12 districts, however, there is little involvement by other postsecondary institutions and/or we do not have a well-articulated plan for local/regional quality PK-16 education. N=4
4. Personnel on our campus, including representatives in education and/or Letters and Science, are engaged in collaborative activities with local/regional PK-12 districts and/or other postsecondary institutions, however engagement exists on a individual by individual basis and/or does not include a well articulated plan for PK-16 education. N=3
A Continuum of Collaboration
Level #4 Level #3 Level #2 Level #1
N=3 N=4 N=3 N=4
The Complexity of Collaborative Ventures
In addition to selecting the statement that most closely represented the efforts on their campus, respondents were asked to detail one initiative that illustrated the nature of the collaborative efforts consistent with the statement selected (Appendix E-Best Practices). In this summary, each respondent discussed a variety of issues related to the nature of their collaborative initiative.
As reflected in the survey data, four campuses reported operating at the highest level of collaboration, which is characterized as involved, complex, and well planned (level #1). One of the four respondents that selected the highest level noted that they do not have a well-articulated plan, nor are they currently collaborating with other institutions of higher education. Four campuses have collaboration efforts that primarily involve representatives from education faculty (level #2) and three involve faculty from Education and Letters and Science, but either there is little involvement from other postsecondary institutions or efforts are not well articulated (level #3). The remaining three campuses report that while they engage in collaboration, their efforts are individual and not part of a well-articulated plan (level #4).
Based on the responses provided, it is clear that all campuses are involved in multiple collaborative efforts that focus on a specific element of teaching/learning improvement. All collaboration ventures involve faculty/staff from Schools/Colleges/Departments (SCDs) of Education working with teachers/administrators from area PK-12 schools. Most campuses (n=11) reported that there is also involvement from faculty/staff within Letters and Science. In addition, each campus reported that they involve other constituents in their collaborative ventures (see next section for further details on membership).
Three UW campuses explicitly indicated that they have well-articulated plans in place and three other campuses reported that they intend to develop a well-articulated plan for PK-16 education in the near future. Based on the details provided by each campus, it logical to conclude that some level of planning was required to implement and sustain the collaborative initiatives currently in place. However, a review of campus practices reveals that the existence of formal, well-articulated plans, that focus on promoting quality PK-16 education, are currently the exception rather than the rule.
One respondent explained that all collaborations at his campus function at the department level. It was his belief that this decentralized approach to planning was not consistent with the creation of a well-articulated plan. Another respondent stated that his campus has taken a decentralized approach to planning, which he believes “…provides more opportunities for K-12 collaboration and long-term commitment to them.” These comments reinforce the principle put forward by the Board of Regents that strategies to promote PK-16 initiatives cannot be prescriptive.
Detailing the Nature of Partners Involved
All campuses described at least one collaborative venture that involves a partnership between education faculty/staff and teachers/administrators from PK-12. This type of affiliation was the most prevalent type of partnership reported and it seems to have explicit endorsement by the SCDs of Education.
The prevalence of this type of partnership is expected, considering the long history of networking between these two educational entities. As noted by several campuses, various state and national accrediting bodies, such as the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) have long required the formation of such partnerships.
While many campus collaborations do report active involvement on the part of faculty/staff from Letters and Science, this involvement tends to occur more frequently on an individual-by-individual basis, with less explicit endorsement by Letters and Science. It is important to note that new rulings from DPI and NCATE now require more active and sustained partnerships with faculty from Letters and Science.
Representatives to the various campus ventures can be sorted into the following categories:
· Education faculty and staff
· Letters and Science faculty and staff
· PK-12 teachers and administration (local and/or regional)
· Cooperative Education Service Agency representatives (CESA)
· Business/Industry and Community
· State agencies and organizations (e.g., TEACH; Education Communications Board; Wisconsin Public Radio/Television; Wisconsin Arts Board; State Historical Society)
· Other UW campus representatives (including UW-Extension and/or UW College faculty/staff)
· Distance education networks
· University administration
· Education associations (state and/or local)
· Technical College faculty/staff
· Faculty/staff from Wisconsin’s Independent Colleges/Universities
· National professional organizations (Parent/Teacher Association)
A review of individual campus initiatives reveals that many campuses are involved in collaboration endeavors that bring together a rich array of partners. For example, the multi-campus collaboration detailed by UW-La Crosse includes the Executive Director of the La Crosse area Hmong Mutual Assistance Association. UW-Stout has several articulation agreements, which involve partners from the Wisconsin Technical College System and UW-River Falls includes two Minnesota school districts among their partners.
Types of Collaboration Ventures: Goals and Outcomes
The nature of collaborative activity varies from campus to campus, although all are in some way directed at improving teaching and learning within PK-16 educational settings. The following list is intended to capture the most common goals or outcomes:
· Improvement of teacher preparation (pre-service and in-service)
· Improvement of PK-16 achievement (including specific focus on addressing needs within urban settings)
o creation of virtual museum
o competitive grant program
Typically, each campus developed a focused area of collaboration within a major category. For example, UW-Oshkosh, UW-La Crosse, and UW Whitewater focus on the recruitment and preparation of teachers for Bi-lingual and/or ESL education. UW-Milwaukee and UW-Parkside have collaborations that focus on serving the needs of their urban setting through the recruitment and retention of minority teachers; and UW-Eau Claire is engaged in collaborative efforts designed to support pre- and in-service teachers in Social Studies and Humanities.
In addition, the listing provided above is not intended
to imply that the categories are mutually exclusive. For example, the competitive
grant program implemented by UW-Green Bay is designed to document best
practices to improve both teaching and learning, PK-16.
UW-Madison combines improvement of teaching and learning, PK-16, through their long-standing Professional Development Schools.
Several of the campuses reported specific outcomes from their collaborative initiatives. For example, campuses involved in improving the recruitment of teachers for high demand/low supply certification areas provided documentation of an increase in enrollment in their programs as an indicator of realized outcomes. For other campuses with clear numerical targets, (e.g., number of transfers from the technical system to the four-year campus), they too were able to provide data in support of realized outcomes.
Other ventures, such as the PI 34 implementation activities underway at UW-Stevens Point, were able to document their progress towards the creation of new structures and program revisions aimed at realignment. UW-Extension provided data in support of their IDEAS Portal Website, noting the extensive number of “hits” and involvement by area educators since its launching in August of 2001.
Currently missing from our UW System profile is documentation of the quality of the collaborative initiatives; with “quality” defined as demonstrated improvement in teaching and learning. It is critical to note however, that this type of documentation is not unique to any one campus, or to the field of education in general. There is currently a growing national agenda to create approaches to assessment that will move beyond the documentation of traditional “input” measures (e.g., numbers of students enrolled in programs) and move toward authentic “outcome” measures (e.g., demonstrated performance documenting teaching and learning).
This limitation in the data may also be attributed to the processes used to collect data for this report. That is to say, while information was requested regarding outcomes, respondents were asked to provide a brief narrative summary. No specific data was requested. In order to create a well-articulated, systemwide approach to the documentation of quality collaboration initiatives, additional work will need to be completed in this area.
Leadership in Campus Collaboration
Respondents to the survey were asked to identify personnel responsible for providing leadership to their collaborative ventures. Much like the list of partners previously detailed, leadership has emerged from a diverse group of individuals, representing a wide variety of professional roles.
In some instances, it was difficult to determine who from among the various partners played a formal leadership role, since many campuses included the entire listing of participants in response to this question. For those campuses that were more focused in their reply, it is clear there is a rich representation of leadership. The following list is offered as a representative listing:
· Assistant, associate and full professors (e.g., Education and Letters and Science)
· Campus administrators (e.g., Provost, Dean/Associate Dean, Chair, Program Coordinator/Director)
· PK-12 and CESA teachers/administrators
· CEO/administrators from business/industry
· Community leaders
· CEO/administrators from state agencies
Factors Influencing Collaboration
In an effort to initiate and sustain quality collaborative efforts, it is critical to understand the variables that have had an influence on their creation and continuation. The most prevalent factor identified as having both a facilitating and inhibiting effect is resources, specifically stated as financial support. Most campuses reported that availability of funding was critical in the facilitation of their collaboration initiatives. Seven of the thirteen respondents noted that they had secured some type of outside funding (i.e., non-GPR dollars) to support their efforts, while at least one campus cited GPR funding for professional development as a source that facilitated their efforts.
Respondents clarified that funding was used to support a variety of activities, including the hiring of consultants, support for campus and community recognition, and various start-up costs. Financial support was obtained from the following sources:
· U.S. Department of Education
· UW System (e.g., Institute for Race and Ethnicity; increased base budget allocation)
· Foundations (e.g., Johnson Foundation)
· State agencies (e.g., TEACH)
· National agencies (e.g., National Council of History Education)
Two respondents noted that the lack of additional financial resources prevented them from expanding current efforts or initiating new ventures. The issue of resources is also addressed in a following section, which focuses more specifically on profiling the role of funding in the promotion of shared responsibility for teacher quality.
Another factor that was identified as important is the attitudes of participants, specifically their willingness to take a risk to try something new. One campus stated that their previous successes in collaboration with others, where real outcomes were realized, made it easier for individuals to commit to new ventures.
Other factors identified include administrative support, in-house experts who could act as consultants to various projects and existing infrastructures consistent with collaborative outcomes. Many campuses have Teacher Education Councils, or similar advisory boards, that are made up of Education faculty and PK-12 practitioners. Some boards also have representation from Letters and Science.
These structures were put in place in response to DPI and/or NCATE requirements. For many campuses these entities serve as a facilitating variable. Not only do these structures sustain current efforts, but as a result of their history of success, they also create a foundation upon which to build additional collaborative structures.
Respondents identified additional factors that serve to inhibit the creation and/or continuation of collaborative initiatives. In addition to insufficient fiscal resources, a lack of on-going communication between education faculty and the content area faculty from Letters and Science was identified as a factor that serves to inhibit collaboration. This obstacle is particularly problematic given the new PI 34 mandates. At least one campus cited that this lack of communication was an obstacle to their efforts to revise their program and align curriculum with the new content area standards.
While additional data will need to be collected to draw any solid conclusions, it is likely that the history of existing campus infrastructures, such as those characterized by limited participation of Letters and Science faculty on Teacher Education Councils/Advisory Boards, has created a climate that is proving resistant to change. Without a history of on-going communication and prior success between faculty/staff in Education and Letters and Science, many campuses may experience a protracted rate of development.
Formal vs. Informal Collaborative Partnerships
Each campus was asked to identify if their collaborations were part of a formal partnership. While this distinction may not seem to be an important issue, the existence of well-established partnerships is becoming an essential criterion for many funding sources, particularly at the federal level.
Limitations of the survey design made it difficult to determine what would constitute a “formal” partnership arrangement. Except in the cases of UW-Milwaukee and UW-Green Bay, where significant funds have been awarded for the express purpose of establishing a university-wide partnership, it was not possible to make this determination with any degree of reliability.
From the data provided however, it appears that at least five campuses self-identify their collaborative efforts as a formal partnership. The remainder of respondents either did not specify or made references that would lead to the conclusion that their arrangements remain more informal in nature. As mentioned, criteria to determine this status would need to be made clearer in order to draw a reliable conclusion.
An Overview of The Status of Shared Responsibility for Teacher Quality
In Section II of the campus survey, respondents were asked to document the extent to which there exists an all-university responsibility for the quality of teacher preparation, induction, and mentoring and professional development. This was accomplished by selecting the statement that best described the efforts on their campus. The statements were written to reflect levels of all-university responsibility and action across a continuum, with statement #1 reflecting the highest level of shared responsibility with actual outcomes in program development and statement #4 reflecting minimal shared responsibility and action.
1. Ensuring the quality of teacher preparation, induction, mentoring and professional development in concert with DPI rules and school renewal is formally recognized on our campus as an all-university responsibility (including faculty from education, letters and science, and other related disciplines) in collaboration with local PK-12 school partners and our teacher preparation programs reflect this shared commitment. N=6
2. Ensuring the quality of teacher preparation, induction, mentoring and professional development in concert with DPI rules and school renewal is formally recognized on our campus as an all-university responsibility (including faculty from education, letters and science, and other related disciplines) in collaboration with local PK-12 school partners and faculty and administration have begun to engage in conversations/actions around how to best address this commitment. N=7
3. Ensuring the quality of teacher preparation, induction, mentoring and professional development in concert with DPI rules and school renewal has not been formally recognized on our campus as an all-university responsibility (including faculty from education, letters and science, and other related disciplines) in collaboration with local PK-12 school partners, however we do plan to address this issue in the near future. N=1
4. Ensuring the quality of teacher preparation, induction, mentoring and professional development in concert with DPI rules and school renewal has not been formally recognized on our campus as an all-university responsibility (including faculty from education, letters and science, and other related disciplines) in collaboration with local PK-12 school partners, and there are no current plans to address this issue in the near future. N=0
A Continuum of Shared Responsibility
Level #4 Level #3 Level #2 Level #1
Lowest degree of shared responsibility
Several campuses (Eau Claire, Madison, Oshkosh,
Superior and Whitewater) are engaged in a multi-campus collaboration around
certification in educational leadership. The remaining eight campuses acknowledge
the importance of shared responsibility and indicated that they have begun to
engage in conversations and/or actions consistent with this commitment.
UW-Extension, while not directly charged with degree/certification responsibilities, is involved in a variety of efforts that support the preparation of teachers, particularly at the in-service level.
Factors Influencing a Commitment to Shared Responsibility
Once again, it is important to understand the factors that serve to facilitate or inhibit the establishment of a shared commitment for teacher quality. Respondents were very detailed in their documentation of these factors. An analysis of the variables that were perceived as facilitating can be organized into the following categories: resources, internal policies, external policies, prior history, and local and regional needs.
The category of resources was defined most commonly as funding. As previously detailed, many campuses sought out and were successful in securing outside funding to support campus efforts. In addition to the uses previously described, the following activities were supported as a result of this influx of additional dollars: financial aide for pre- and in-service teachers; creation of a teacher-in-residence program; stipends for faculty to participate in retreats and support for curriculum redesign/program redevelopment efforts; and workshops for faculty and/or PK-12 practitioners.
The category of internal policies includes explicit endorsements and communications by the campus administrators, governance structures, and explicit personnel guidelines for teaching load and merit, retention, promotion and tenure. Several respondents provided examples of explicit communication regarding shared responsibility. At UW-Parkside, the Chancellor and the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences “…stated publicly that teacher preparation is a campus-wide responsibility.” Other campuses cited the existence of a campus-wide strategic plan as evidence of internal policies in support of shared responsibility.
Teaching load issues were characterized by situations in which faculty from Letters and Science were assigned to teach education courses and supervise student teachers/interns. Governance structure issues seem to be most closely related to the existence of Teacher Education Councils/Advisory Boards, especially in situations where faculty from Letters and Science are active participants. At one campus, the Associate Dean of Teacher Education reports to the Teacher Education Council, which includes a highly diverse representation of faculty and PK-12 practitioners. Specific issues associated with merit, retention, promotion and tenure will be discussed later in this document.
State (DPI) and national accreditation mandates (NCATE; INTASC) are examples of external policies that serve to promote shared responsibility across the campus. In some instances, the creation of an interdisciplinary council/advisory board may not have resulted without the express mandate from an external agency.
The idea of prior history as a variable contributing to promotion of collaboration was previously mentioned. This feature is most aptly summarized in the axiom “nothing succeeds like success.” Citing past history with interdisciplinary partnerships, specifically those that have been successful, respondents stated that these experiences influence the future quality and commitment of participation. Past success seems to breed a general climate of cooperation among a diverse body of professionals, making it more likely to initiate and sustain efforts toward common goals.
The final category identified by respondents was local and regional needs. One clear example was reported by UW-Platteville as they described a shared commitment to forge partnerships with local tribal leaders and bring comprehensive instruction and knowledge of Wisconsin Indian communities into the university setting. These actions also respond to an external mandate by the state legislature (ACT 31), and resulted in campus-based activities that bring together faculty from diverse fields (e.g., ethnic studies, education, English) to work hand-in-hand with campus administration (Provost/Vice Chancellors from Platteville and Eau Claire) and PK-12 practitioners.
This last illustration is a perfect example of the inter-relationship that exists among the various categories. For Platteville, it was a convergence of local need and external mandates. In other situations, the explicit support from a Chancellor may have led to the securing of outside funds, which, in turn, led to the creation an advisory board that emphasized active participation from faculty in Letters and Science. These interactions may have resulted in the creation of personnel guidelines that explicitly acknowledge and reward interdisciplinary efforts toward a shared responsibility for the quality of teacher preparation.
Respondents were also very clear to identify factors that serve to inhibit a sense of shared responsibility. Surprisingly, this list was relatively short and included the major categories of time, resources, and personnel.
While the issue of time was not fully detailed, it is probably safe to conclude that expanding the involvement of faculty and staff requires additional time; for planning, implementation and assessment.
Resources were again cited, with funding the major issue. Campuses addressed recent base budget reductions in GPR dollars as a factor inhibiting their progress toward shared responsibility. These resources typically support functions that are critical to the attainment of quality (e.g., professional development of faculty, student financial aid, and support for adult learners) and thus any reduction is viewed has having a negative affect on anticipated outcomes.
Personnel issues included the shear numbers of faculty/staff who need to be educated and involved in the process. A lack of commitment by some faculty was cited as having a detrimental impact on the overall progress of the campus. Citing the overwhelming number of educators with an emergency license or permit, campuses noted the need for additional personnel who would be willing and able to create non-traditional offerings (e.g., evening, weekends, on-line and distance learning options).
A View of Campus Climate
Anyone who has taken part in a sustained collaborative effort knows that its success is dependent upon the good will of diverse people who come together and stay together for a common cause. These collaborative partnerships help create the foundation for sustained reform within a system.
To create a system that will help improve the quality of PK-16 education, and support it once it begins, it is important to understand the complexities of the system. This final section will help in our understanding by examining the types of explicit and implicit rewards and incentives that are present at our campuses.
In Section III, respondents were asked to select the statement that best described the efforts on their campus with respect to the current reward structures.
1. Our campus has taken specific action to ensure that merit and promotion and tenure policies do not impede contributions of faculty involved in research, teaching, and service related to bringing about quality PK-16 educational reform. N=6
2. Our campus has formally recognized that there are issues associated with merit and promotion and tenure policies that may impede contributions of faculty involved in research, teaching, and service related to bringing about quality PK-16 educational reform, and have begun to address these issues, although no policy change has taken effect. N=5
3. Our campus has formally recognized that there are issues associated with merit and promotion and tenure policies that may impede contributions of faculty involved in research, teaching, and service related to bringing about quality PK-16 educational reform, however we plan to address these issue in the near future. N=0
4. Our campus has not taken steps to formally recognized that there are issues associated with merit and promotion and tenure policies that may impede contributions of faculty involved in research, teaching, and service related to bringing about quality PK-16 educational reform. N=3
A review of the data reveals that most campuses (n=11) acknowledge the importance of creating environments where personnel policies do not impede the collaborative contributions of faculty working toward quality PK-16 educational reform. This recognition and resulting action is critical. Without this alignment between goals and rewards (implicit and/or explicit), faculty and staff will work at cross-purposes. Given human nature, individuals will tend to work toward those goals that bring them the greatest rewards: intrinsic or extrinsic.
On one campus, “concerns have been expressed that university fieldwork in schools is not sufficiently valued beyond the level of service.” It was acknowledged that faculty “…spend many hours in schools each semester building partnerships that takes a good deal of time away from what is valued by Promotion/Retention/Tenure policies.”
Although three respondents agreed that statement #4 best represented efforts on their campus, they seem to select this option for very different reasons. Their comments reveal some insight into the challenges that exist within the complex campus environment. One campus provided the following comment: “University policies and procedures do not specifically mention PK-16 educational reform and are not likely to be modified in the foreseeable future. The University committee has not recognized this as a priority.”
Another respondent surveyed faculty within Education and Letters and Science. One of the faculty stated that “…the process [local rules for merit and promotion and tenure] is still unclear, muddled, confusing, and (it seems to me) somewhat arbitrary.” It appears that while some on this campus recognize the issues, there has been no action taken to resolve them.
A third respondent selected statement #4 because the item was not applicable to the merit, tenure and promotion process (UW-Extension). The respondent did state that when “…faculty have become engaged in research, teaching and service related to bringing about quality PK-16 educational reform, especially in Youth Development, those efforts have been recognized for both merit and promotion and tenure.”
If progress toward fulfilling the Board of Regent’s resolution is to continue, there are numerous challenges that need to be addressed. The good news is that most campuses (N-11) have already taken action or are planning to modify existing policies that they recognize may serve to impede collaboration around PK-16 priorities. The following section details some of these actions.
Actions Taken to Align Policies and Priorities
Several campuses stated that they clearly recognize the value of collaboration around issues of quality PK-16 education. Two campuses stated that they explicitly recruit faculty who are highly committed to teacher education (within both Education and Letters and Science). To support this orientation, many campuses provide mentoring to new faculty to encourage inquiry and publication. On-going conversations with administrators regarding the issues of merit, promotion and tenure was also mentioned as a strategy for promoting an alignment between campus priorities and reward structures.
Respondents stated that their current reward and recognition policies explicitly value collaborative partnerships. Another respondent stated that the expectations for research are broad enough to support collaborations “…as long as it results in refereed publications.” Clear guidelines for rewards and recognition that are aligned with campus priorities and open and on-going communication regarding criteria seems to be key factors that help to create a supportive campus climate.
This report provides a profile of current practices across the UW System. It is intended to be viewed as a work in progress; a document that includes baseline data, which can be used to follow the developmental course of campuses as they work toward implementing various aspects of the PK-16 Board of Regent’s resolution.
Now that this preliminary process is complete, what is it that we know? We know that all campuses have taken actions consistent with the Board of Regent’s resolution. While we do have some indicators of success, there is much work that needs to be done in order to know with certainty if these actions are resulting in quality PK-16 educational outcomes for teaching and learning.
We also know that there are numerous issues that need to be addressed if we hope to maintain current levels of collaboration and create new ventures. Fortunately, we have leaders among the UW faculty and staff who have been successful in overcoming some of the major obstacles that have served to inhibit progress. Finding effective strategies to maximize the acquisition of external funding is a challenge that should likely be included as a priority for future collaborative ventures within the UW System.
We also know that there is a culture and climate that exists within institutions that can serve to both facilitate and inhibit the very partnerships we hope to promote. Again, we are fortunate in that several campuses have implemented policies and procedures designed to encourage recognition of collaboration in the merit, retention, promotion and tenure process.
Recommendations for the Future
In order for the June 2001 Board of Regent’s PK-16 resolution to become a reality, there must continue to be an explicit, long-term commitment on the part of leadership across the UW System. The following quote captures the impact of this commitment: “Responding to the issues raised in PK-16 has sparked meaningful discussions at [our campus], a development that undoubtedly will continue on our campus well into the future.
As evidenced in the April 2001 presentation by UW Milwaukee Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, there is a great deal of work that must occur before collaborative ventures will yield meaningful outcomes for teaching and learning. While there may be no shortcuts to quality PK-16 education, we can realize significant outcomes if we make a concerted effort to improve the infrastructure upon which all endeavors are built.
The PK-16 Principles endorsed by the Board of Regents, provides a functional guide for our travels. Recommended actions, including the one that encourages “Provosts to review promotion and tenure policies so they reflect the contributions of faculty in PK-16 reform,” have the potential to facilitate success.
The work represented in this report is just the beginning. The analysis of available data has been preliminary and will need to be expanded in order to achieve an acceptable level of reliability. In addition, it is clear that additional data will need to be collected.
In an effort to address the most immediate needs, a system-wide task force will be convened in the very near future to help inform the work conducted by leadership within the UW System Office of Academic Affairs. The Education Deans across the UW System have clearly expressed their need for such guidance and support. As a result of a survey conducted in the fall of 2001, these leaders identified the following as areas of need:
· Identifying potential resources to help them achieve PK-16 reforms
· Promoting exchange between Universities and PK-12 schools
· Disseminating information about successful innovations in PK-16
· Establishing benchmarks for quality outcomes and a framework to guide practice
· Creating a long-term commitment to quality PK-16 education
· Clarifying what is expected from local/regional partnerships (i.e., clearly defined goals)
A Final Comment
The concept of quality PK-16 education has, as its core, a focus on the learner. The goal of associated reform efforts is to create a functional connection among the various levels of education-early childhood, K-12, and post-secondary. Perhaps, our efforts will be made more meaningful, if not easier, if we keep the vision of the learner forefront in our mind. To successfully guide a child through the education system and watch them develop into a young adult, ready to participate in and contribute to society, is certainly a common goal worth our collective labor.
Note: All appendices will be available on the UW System PK-16 website at http://vital.wisconsin.edu/
PK-16 Principles and Actions
PK-16 Principles Planning Framework
Summary of Best Practices
...fmt\regents\bor pk-16 full report