The College of Education's commitment to excellence through research, leadership and diversity
University of South Carolina's College of Education is actively engaged in assessing and transforming new education models through its collaborations with National Network of Educational Renewal (NNER), the Council of Academic Deans from Research Education Institutions (CADREI), the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), the South Carolina State Board of Education, and the South Carolina Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (SCACTE). As such, productive dialogue ensues that produces the innovative approaches to expand the College's commitment to excellence through research, leadership and diversity because of these opportunities.
USC-Columbia is the flagship institution and hub of the multi-unit South Carolina system which also includes four regional two-year campuses and three senior four-year campuses. Consistent with USC's recognition as a leader in community engagement, the College of Education is proud to have received national recognition as a leader in developing and sustaining school-university partnerships. In April 2011, the college was awarded continuing NCATE accreditation with no areas of improvement and was recognized for meeting the Target level for NCATE Standard Three: Field Experiences and Clinical Practices (valid for seven years).
The College of Education incorporates three key elements of NCATE's Blue Ribbon Panel Report in its teacher education efforts. These include collaboration between the College and P-12 districts and schools, an emphasis on Clinical Practice through the diverse range of clinical experiences available to candidates, and data-driven, outcomes-based assessment that critiques performance and accountability of the teacher candidate and the teacher education program. USC-Columbia serves approximately 3,000 candidates in educator preparation in programs ranging from the undergraduate through doctoral levels. The college's Professional Education Unit includes six colleges and schools as well as over 140 schools in its Professional Development School and Partnership Network.
Field experiences are an integral part of the candidate experience at the College of Education. During the 2012-2013 academic years, USC students participated in a total of 2,246 field experiences at 315 unique locations across the country. The college specializes in offering 30 different degree options that span (3)Early Childhood, (2)Elementary, Middle Level, (8)Special Education, (2)English, (2)Mathematics, (2)Science, (2)Social Studies, (2)Physical Education, (2)Foreign Language, (2) Educational Administration, Educational Technology, and Language & Literacy. Most internships, practica, and clinicals are in these program specific courses though there are a few that incorporate multiple disciplines. (See Impact Data information by program, department, and course).
To assist in developing the skills needed to become successful educators, candidates are evaluated at the mid-point and completion of their student teaching experience, using South Carolina's ADEPT evaluation standards. These student teaching candidates are evaluated on 10 core dispositions:1) Professionalism: Punctuality, Attendance, & Appearance, 2) Professionalism: Ethical Behavior, 3) Interactions with Children & Families, 4) Classroom Participation, 5) Preparation, 6) Self-Assessment / Reflection, 7) Appreciation of Diversity, 8) Provision of Learning Experiences for All, 9) Collaboration with Other Professionals, and 10) Initiative & Resourcefulness. (See current Candidate Disposition Impact Data).
Proudly, the college acknowledges that incoming Fall 2012 freshman had an average SAT total score of 1150 (avg. Verbal – 565 / avg. Math-585). In 2011-2012, the Institutional pass rates on the Praxis series test was 96%. When preparing to graduate, students must take The Praxis Series™ tests to measure the teacher candidates' knowledge and skills. These tests are used for licensing and certification processes.
The College of Education faculty and staff are vested in educational outreach and innovative instructional methods. The college's unique partnership with a local school district focuses on intensive "inquiry-based" instruction through The Center for Inquiry. This is a public magnet school established jointly by USC and Richland School District Two which provides on-site pre-service teacher education courses and intensive clinical experiences for USC teacher candidates. Students are held to high standards that are met through this innovative approach.
Located in the USC's College of Education is the SC-School Improvement Council that provides member training, technical assistance, statutory accountability and operational resources vital to the continued success of the community-based School Improvement Councils mandated by statute in each of the state's 1,100-plus K-12 public Schools.
Since 1999, the college underpinned the first collaborative a partnership with the State Department of Education (SDE) and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) called the South Carolina Reading Initiative(SCRI) to increase the knowledge base of classroom teachers so they could help more students comprehend grade level texts.
Whether in the remote villages of Africa, towns in Europe, locales across South Carolina, or within ground-breaking achievements in quantitative methods and statistical theory research, Fulbright Scholars and faculty from the college at Carolina are making a positive impact.
Dean Lemuel W. Watson serves on the executive board for NNER, the executive committee for CADREI, and the board of directors for AACTE. In doing so, Dr. Watson is strategically involved with all phases, discussion and formulation of plans, policies, and programs to compel member institutions of these entities to become more effective in their work. Dr. Watson daily affirms NNER's four-part mission statement within USC's College of Education – "providing equal access to quality learning for all students, promoting responsible stewardship of our schools and universities, improving teaching and learning through pedagogy that nurtures and challenges all learners, and providing students with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to become fully engaged participants in our democratic society."
Please visit USC's College of Education's Impact Data site for complete information on specific initiatives.