The College of Education’s longstanding commitment to diversity can be seen throughout the collective work of its departments, centers, and programs since the early 1990s. With the leadership and support of Dean Debbie Mercer, the College of Education has built upon this legacy with new innovative programs and augmentations to existing programs that enhance diversity—within the college, the university, the state, and the region. Guiding these initiatives is the new vision statement for the college, implemented this year: "Preparing educators to be knowledgeable, ethical, caring decision makers, in a diverse and changing world." While there are numerous noteworthy programs and initiatives going on in the college, this is a brief description of key efforts:
Professional Development Opportunities
The COE has a history of providing professional development opportunities (in the form of summer institutes, book studies, guest lectures, and workshops) for faculty, staff, graduate teaching assistants, and students.
The Diversity for Community Committee has traditionally hosted college-wide Diversity Brown Bag sessions on various topics, and plans to continue these offerings for students, staff and faculty. These brown bag sessions focus on topics of current interest that are important to the University, College, or community, and the Diversity for Community Committee welcomes suggestions regarding topics and presenters.
Another type of college-wide professional development is the Diversity Highlights. These are bulletins that are prepared and distributed by the college’s Diversity Coordinator via email to all faculty, staff, graduate students, and College of Education affiliates. These semi-monthly bulletins draw attention to diversity-related current events going on locally, nationally, and internationally, and are usually centered around topics regarding education. Recent Diversity Highlight topics include how the education field is involved in the redefining of gender in the 21st Century, “Me Too,” and discussions regarding changes that have been proposed for Title IX.
Recruitment and Retention of Diverse Students and Faculty
Documentaries Produced by the College
The college has produced a number of documentary video projects with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion and shared them campus-wide. A Walk in My Shoes, started by Dr. Kay Ann Taylor in 2012, is a collaborative documentary series that has covered various topics regarding diverse populations in education. The first series, titled “International Students,” provided a unique glimpse into the lives of international students here at K-State from five different countries—Angola, China, India, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea. Since then, a number of other documentaries have been produced by the college, including, “Humanity Looks Good on Everyone” and “Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project.” Please visit the College of Education Documentaries web page to visit and view all of the college-produced documentaries.
Center for Intercultural and Multilingual Advocacy (CIMA)
The college’s continued commitment to the recruitment, retention, and graduation of underrepresented undergraduate students can be seen in many new and existing programs. The Center for Intercultural and Multilingual Advocacy (CIMA) oversees a number of these programs.
- The Go Teacher Program which began during the summer of 2012, was an international partnership between the KSU College of Education, Division of Continuing Education, English Language Program, the Ecuadorian Ministry of Education, and SENESCYT, the governing body of higher education in Ecuador. This program began by providing English language development and ESL/EFL coursework to teachers from Ecuador. This program served over 1,000 teachers with great success here at K-State for almost 5 years, as the last cohort completed the program at the conclusion of the Spring 2017 Semester.
- The newest, biggest project being conducted by CIMA is the KHEBRAT Program, formally known as “Building Leadership for Change Through Immersion.” Beginning in February of 2018 and running for 12 months, this initiative is an ambitious long-term endeavor of the Ministry of Education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to transform the knowledge, skills and attitudes of Saudi education professionals through university-guided immersion in successful K-12 schools in 6 host countries (US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Finland). This is the first year that Kansas State University has been awarded the grant and only the second year of the program. Currently, Kansas State University has the honor of hosting 40 teachers from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia!
- Originally funded in 2009, Project KANCO and Kansas State University’s College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), is in the fourth year of its second, five-year grant cycle. KANCO serves students at 3 sites, K-State, Garden City Community College, and Colorado State University Pueblo. CAMP provides students from migrant and seasonal farm work backgrounds assistance in completing the freshman year of college and continuing to graduation. KANCO has served over 300 migrant students in postsecondary education, with 86 of those students having completed a post-secondary degree during the eight years the program has existed at K-State.
- The Marilyn and Bill Taylor International Field Trip Program has recently transformed in order to provide study abroad opportunities to K-State students. Field Trips in 2018 visited Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and Cuenca, Ecuador. On these field trips, our students had the opportunity to collaborate with students and teachers in these locations in order to continue to advance English education and to inform the perspectives and practices of the U.S. educational community.
Center for Student Success and Professional Services
The Center for Student Success and Professional Services (CSSPS), under the new leadership of Dr. Roger Schieferecke, has worked for many years to recruit students from diverse backgrounds. Last year, the Center hired Danae Daellenbach as the college’s Recruitment Coordinator. Since her hiring, she has worked tirelessly to enrich diversity in the college, including her oversight of the Call Me MISTER program. Call Me MISTER (an acronym for “Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models”) was established in 2015 to attract some of the most needed students, men of color, to the teaching profession. Its student members are offered both peer and professional mentorship, as well as professional development opportunities throughout each school year.
Working with Developmentally Disabled Adults
In partnership with the UFM, K-State Salina, Big Lakes and Twin Valley Developmental Disabilities Centers, and the Wamego, Geary County, and Manhattan/Ogden school districts, the college-initiated Project EXCELL in 2010. The project, Extending College Education for Lifelong Learning, brings adults with mild development disabilities to the K-State campus for supplemental transition services. Examples of classes offered are sign language, music, dance, vocational exploration, and money management. Classes are offered in two five-week sessions per semester with around 60 participants each session. In addition, Project EXCELL engages College of Education students as volunteers to assist with classes and serve as peer models.
Preparation of Teacher Candidates
As an NCATE accredited program, the College of Education and its PDS partners are held to the highest level of standards in the preparation of teacher candidates. The Professional Development School Network (PDS) includes the College of Education, the College of Arts and Sciences, and hundreds of teachers and administrators from schools in nine diverse districts across Kansas. Partner districts represent inner city, small-town, and rural learning environments and include elementary, middle, and high schools. These PDS partners have been engaged in collaborative and simultaneous K-16 reform, including efforts to address social justice and educational equity, since 1989.
The college's Military/Veteran Educational Initiative began in 2012 to merge departmental and programmatic activities into a college-wide framework for preparing educators to serve military personnel, veterans and their families in educational settings. This initiative includes plans to (1) provide professional development for faculty and graduate students; (2) develop courses and/or pedagogical adaptations to address military/veteran/family issues; and (3) develop a research agenda to contribute to the knowledge base related to working with military personnel, veterans, and K-12 students and their families. This is a critical need as military students and families tend to be highly diverse, transient, and from lower SES backgrounds that historically create unique challenges in schools. The college is committed to preparing educators and administrators to understand and address these challenges effectively. For example, 3 of the 4 schools on Ft. Riley are involved in the PDS partnership. Therefore, College of Education pre-service students have the opportunity to participate in field practicums on post, gaining rich experiences working with military connected students.
The college is also excited to report the genesis of the Troops to Teachers – Kansas (TTTK) Program. In partnership with the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) and the university’s Office of Military Affairs, TTTK will utilize the college’s Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and Bachelor of Science (BS) online programs to recruit military veterans to the teaching profession. In accordance with College and University, this program seeks to provide veteran students with extensive academic, financial, and professional support. Given that both programs are 100% online, TTTK hopes to recruit and retain veteran students with diverse backgrounds from all across Kansas, the U.S., and eventually the world starting in Fall 2018.