Skip to main content

Standard 6: Unit Governance and Resources

Standard 6. Unit Governance and Resources

The unit has the leadership, authority, budget, personnel, facilities, and resources, including information technology resources, for the preparation of candidates to meet professional, state, and institutional standards.




Unit Governance and Resources

Unit Leadership and Authority

The unit provides effective leadership for planning, delivering, and operating all teacher education programs offered through Valley City State University (VCSU). While the unit is responsible for the preparation of P-12 teachers, all departments contribute to programmatic initiatives within the field. The Teacher Education Committee (TEC), with appropriate representation from campus departments, public school teachers and administrators, and candidates serves as an advisory body to the dean, who chairs the committee.

All curriculum changes for the teacher education program originate in the respective school/departments and advance to the Curriculum Committee. Following approval by that body, the TEC, as well as the Faculty Senate, must approve the changes. Curriculum changes in the professional education program originate in the unit and follow this same approval process. Curriculum changes at the graduate level originate in their respective departments/school and advance to the Graduate Council prior to going to the Curriculum Committee and Faculty Senate for approval.

The unit actively seeks to recruit, admit, and retain qualified candidates for its programs. It works closely with the admissions office in making contacts and advertises through a variety of venues. VCSU provides a wide range of student services, ranging from academic advising and support to counseling. Unit members encourage students, whether online or on campus, to make use of the services. All courses have a Blackboard presence and include links to student services. Enrollment trends have been positive and the unit has been responsive to faculty needs for increased course sections and professional development. 

The VCSU Catalog and Teacher Education Handbook detail standards for program admission and continuance. The Graduate Catalog outlines policies and procedures for advanced program candidates. The unit ensures its web sites, academic calendars, catalogues, publications, grading policies, and advertising are accurate and current by following established policies and communicating effectively with appropriate constituencies.

Unit Budget

The instructional budget from 2008 through 2014 indicates the budget adequately supports unit programs and is comparable to other unit budgets on campus. Increases since the last visit reflect enrollment growth and program quality. Instructional dollars and faculty travel money support faculty development. Budgetary decisions made with regard to personnel are judicious, in that re-allocations occur to enhance operations necessary to support the mission. Meeting faculty development needs depends on such action. Faculty development may also involve release time for faculty members to share their expertise.

VCSU developed an instructional design team-a group of faculty who received release time to lead instructional design work in their academic areas. VCSU studied its campus needs for a coherent faculty development program, the needs of distance and on campus learners, and the success of the design team. In June 2012, VCSU hired a director of distance learning and faculty development, which has allowed the institution to meet program administrative needs and organize a stronger program of faculty development. The institution has profited from the change and remains committed to release time for the instructional design team faculty members who assist with technology needs for faculty in each academic area.


According to VCSU custom, department chairs/deans determine workload assignments for individual faculty. The unit follows NCATE guidelines in assigning workloads for faculty. The equivalent of twelve credits per semester defines a teaching load at the initial level that may include supervision of clinical practice (one student equals 0.67 credits). The advanced level teaching load is defined as nine credits per semester.

The administration and unit are committed to creating workloads and class size that allow faculty to engage effectively in teaching, scholarship, and service, including time for such responsibilities as advisement, developing assessments, and online courses. Faculty annual reports and goals/professional development statements assist the process, as do continuous needs assessments within the unit.

Fifteen full-time faculty members serve the unit, along with several highly qualified part-time/adjunct instructors from within and outside the university. The unit ensures that the use of part-time/adjunct faculty contributes to the integrity, coherence, and quality of the unit and its programs by requiring they meet the same eligibility requirements of regular faculty. The unit works closely with clinical faculty who provide mentorship and assessment feedback to candidates for support and improvement. The unit has two full-time administrative assistants and fifteen weekly hours of student support at the initial level. The administrative and assessment assistant and the administrative assistant and certification officer combine their talents to maintain all teacher education records, support assessment initiatives, perform routine budget operations, assist candidates interested in teacher education, provide clerical service, supervise student work hours, support both full- and part-time faculty members, and contribute to the general welfare of the unit in a variety of ways. North Dakota State University (NDSU) provides an advisor to help with collaborative candidates on the NDSU campus before they enter the elementary education program.

The director of graduate studies/research (3/4 time) and extended learning (1/4 time) is a member of SEGS and works closely with the unit dean. An administrative assistant has specific duties in support of graduate studies, extended learning, and distance learning.

Unit Facilities

The unit has exceptional VCSU campus facilities to support candidates and allow faculty to model effective teaching methods with technology. Located on the third and fourth floor of McFarland Hall, the unit enjoys a spacious and comfortable, centrally located working environment. In addition to its offices, the area has adequate room for holding meetings and receiving campus visitors. Classrooms in McCarthy Hall are readily accessible and equipped with many technological learning tools. All spaces the unit utilizes are handicapped accessible and ADA compliant, and classrooms are equipped with updated features that allow unit faculty and candidates to use technology for instructional purposes. The same capabilities are available on the NDSU campus for faculty and students. Wireless capacity and personal computers add to the connectivity that exists.

The VCSU Allen Memorial Library maintains both a physical and online presence offering information resources to support the curriculum for both on-campus and distance students and faculty.

Unit Resources including Technology

The unit does not depend on external resources to carry out its core programs. In 2009, the unit obtained a 1.5 million dollar Bush Grant for transforming the unit's teacher education program. The result of the grant included additional faculty and staff, new equipment, and curriculum changes. The university is moving the external funding from the grant to institutional funds to support the changes in curriculum and personnel.

VCSU has been a leader in the implementation of technology since 1996. The university provides all faculty members and full-time candidates with laptop computers, easy access to high-speed wireless networking, advanced multimedia technology, and classrooms equipped with the latest educational technology. Technology services have changed significantly since 2008 with many new services added and virtually every technology replaced or upgraded. Faculty and student input have been the primary drivers of change, including a greater variety of laptops and increasing support for mobile devices.

Examples specific to the unit:

• In 2009, thirty iPads were available for use by faculty members teaching methods courses and the educational technology course.

• In 2012, full-time professional education faculty members were issued iPads in addition to their laptop computer.

• Since 2013, full-time VCSU and collaborative VCSU/NDSU candidates enrolled in the face-to-face educational technology courses received full-time access to iPads in addition to their laptop computer.  

The university supports the SEGS assessment system by arranging release time and extra summer salary for an assessment coordinator. One unit administrative assistant, who works with admission to teacher education and student teaching, contributes significantly to the unit's assessment system efforts, while two other assistants within the unit actively use the central assessment system (CAS), one in the initial and the other in the advanced program. The web application developer, who designed and coded the CAS, receives compensation as a member of the Technical Services Center.

The library spends a significant portion of the instructional budget on electronic resources to support the education curriculum including core databases such as Education Full Text, ERIC PlusText, Lexis-Nexis Academic, ProQuest Educational Journals, OCLC WorldCat Dissertations and Theses and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses A&I, which are available to both on campus and distance students. The library purchases print resources in collaboration with education faculty, making them available through regular and interlibrary loan, and provides audiovisual resources in streaming and physical formats.

The library contains a special collection of teacher support materials, which includes current and classic children's books. In addition, it houses a collection of textbooks that allows teacher education candidates to examine and use teaching resources similar to those of in-service education professionals.

Continuous Improvement

Summarize activities and changes based on data that have led to continuous improvement of candidate performance and program quality.

The School of Education and Graduate Studies (SEGS) serves as the unit for the preparation of teachers. The dean has the responsibilities for the management, coordination, planning, delivery, and operation of all education programs. The director of the graduate program reports to the dean and provides leadership for the advanced program. The director of field experiences and the assessment coordinator both work under the supervision of the dean. The assessment coordinator is responsible for the compilation and maintenance of data for the unit's initial and advanced programs. As a team, everyone is committed to continuous improvement as a guiding principle.

Members of the professional community are active participants in the design and evaluation of the unit's programs. The governing structure includes the Teacher Education Committee (TEC), which meets each semester and is comprised of P-12 teachers, administrators, secondary and elementary method teachers and candidates. This committee is active in helping to shape the curriculum and make data driven decisions. P-12 faculty and administrators also meet with the unit on a yearly basis to review data and give suggestions for program improvement.

Annual surveys give candidates an opportunity to provide feedback and contribute to the preparation of candidates and the program. Final evaluation data from field experiences and consultations with cooperating teachers help identify areas for improvement and promote positive changes in the teacher education program. At the advanced level, graduate faculty collaborate with others in the field and engage in professional development opportunities, demonstrating commitment to effective course design, worthwhile research agendas, programmatic excellence, and success of candidates.

The unit has increased its enrollment and the university has responded by acting positively on the unit's budget, facilities, and resource needs. The university has supported the unit's leadership in developing collaborative agreements and enhancing its assessment system.

Investing in faculty development is a priority for the unit and university. The past five years faculty have had the opportunity to attend summer professional development workshops. Examples of this commitment include:

• The VPAA office manages funding for faculty travel (presenting/attending conferences/workshops, accreditation activities, in-state pursuit of advanced degrees/certifications) and summer institutes (2000-2012), now called Teaching Academy (2013, 2014).

• Beginning Fall 2012, the VPAA added faculty reading groups for pre-tenure and full-time special appointment faculty members, designed to shape the culture of teaching and learning at VCSU through active and engaged professors. The reading list includes:

ο "The Joy of Teaching" (Filene)

ο "What the Best Teachers Do" (McBain)

ο "Teaching Naked" (Bowen)

ο "Learner Centered Teaching" (Weimer)

• The institution invested in the Starfish system as well as training for faculty and the whole university community in order to promote student success and improve retention.

• The director of distance learning and faculty development and the design team members have maintained opportunities for open conversation about strategies for implementing instructional technology and innovative design by offering regular brownbag seminars for faculty during the academic year. The institution purchased a subscription to Magna Publications 20 Minute Mentor, which provides faculty immediate access to relevant video programs to meet current needs.

• The graduate office and the Technology Advisory Committee have used mini-grant processes to support faculty research and classroom innovation.

VCSU's budgetary allocations demonstrate a strong commitment to faculty development and campus initiatives related to its vision and mission. The unit has promoted faculty development in alignment with university initiatives, but also through its Bush Grant activities. Faculty members have had more opportunities to collaborate with P-12 partners and other institutions in the areas of field experience, assessment, and support of graduates entering the profession. The interactions for sharing ideas and learning from other professionals have benefitted candidate preparation.

The unit follows university policies concerning workload, tenure and promotion. Faculty members maintain a twelve credit hour workload per semester. The unit follows the NCATE guidelines to ensure the student teaching supervision expectations do not exceed faculty workload expectations. Faculty who teach in advanced programs maintain the equivalent of nine semester hours. Policies encourage faculty to engage in professional development including service to the community, advising, research and creative endeavors. The dean monitors the selection of part-time and adjunct faculty members based on experience and expertise for particular assignments. The university's faculty load policy limits class capacity to 20 students for an online course.

The institution has replaced virtually all hardware and software associated with the campus wireless network since 2009. The advanced wireless has been a tremendous success. Traditional Ethernet cabling is no longer part of the student seating areas of several classrooms to allow for more flexible room arrangements corresponding to pedagogical needs.

While the Blackboard (Bb) Learn environment (Portal, LMS, and Content System) has provided a stable academic computing foundation, the capabilities of this environment have been greatly extended with integrated applications being added from 2009-2014 to include CoursEval, Starfish, Qualtrics, Tegrity, and Bb Collaborate, which replaced Wimba.

While virtually all classrooms had presentation technology available in 2007, all projection equipment has seen an upgrade and all small to medium sized classrooms have interactive whiteboards. About half the classrooms have added iPad control, Apple Airplay for cord free presentation, and ceiling microphones capable of capturing both student and faculty voices. The classroom ceiling microphones work with the Tegrity and Bb Collaborate systems mentioned above.

In 2013, the Information Technology Center (ITC) and ITC Help Desk changed their names to Technology Services and the Technology Service Desk. This was part of a long-term commitment to providing high quality services relevant to constituents. The word "center" ceased to exist, as the new Technology Services seeks to provide an increased level of online self-service, as well as service to users who may not be located on the VCSU campus.

Plans for sustaining and enhancing performance through continuous improvement

The institution is supportive of the teacher education programs and the unit is in a position to sustain and continue to enhance its quality programs. The positive unit collaboration with P-12 partners and the commitment of the university to the teacher education program assures the unit that programs will continue to remain strong. 

The unit is committed to continuous improvement in the implementation of the unit's assessment system. Efforts to build a customized central assessment system (CAS) for unit data and education department "student assessment system" application began in 2007. Significant functionality expanded its reach thanks to a multi-institution Bush Foundation grant. The unit utilized a $52,000 grant for support of educational assessment systems and made the most of Bush Grant funding to support its annual data sharing sessions with P-20 groups. The unit's assessment system organizes multiple data points unique to students and graduates of VCSU teacher education and provides valuable data for teacher education program improvement.

A complementary system called myeFolio was implemented in 2012. It provides a foundation for documenting student progress toward the VCSU Abilities while aggregating data to support continuous improvement of academic programs.

In 2013, a new position, director of diversity and student success, evolved at VCSU, one that has helped the unit and filled two campus needs. First, the retention rate began to drop during a period of rapid growth on campus. VCSU needed additional help to implement and manage a strong retention program. Second, the institution has long recognized the need to increase faculty and student involvement in diversity, multicultural, and international activities and awareness. Retention rates have turned around and VCSU experienced record enrollment numbers in the spring of 2014 and summer of 2014.

The unit's enrollment and budget have increased the past three years. The unit is committed to maintaining faculty workloads that are within the 12-hour undergraduate/9-hour graduate framework to allow faculty opportunities to pursue scholarly activities that will enhance their performance as scholars and teachers. Support for professional development is available upon request. The unit is also committed to employ only adjunct faculty who demonstrate expertise in the appropriate fields and hold a master's degree or higher.

The unit provides state-of-the-art technology for faculty, staff and candidates and the unit facilities meet the needs to support educator preparation on campus at VCSU and NDSU. The unit's assessment system and online services are well supported by the institution to meet the needs of the unit and all candidates. The unit and institution are committed to maintaining quality personnel and sufficient resources to ensure candidates meet professional, institutional, and state standards.

Areas for Improvement Cited in the Action Report from the Previous Accreditation Review

No areas for improvement cited.

Exhibits for Standard 6


Policies, procedures, and practices for governance and operations of the unit.

exhibit 6.4.a.1 Teacher Education Handbook

exhibit 6.4.a.2 Administrative Designations  (see Dean of the School of Education & Graduate Studies)

exhibit 6.4.a.3 Example of Teacher Education Committee Minutes

exhibit 6.4.a.4 Example of School of Education Committee Minutes

exhibit 6.4.a.5 Example of Curriculum Committee Minutes

exhibit 6.4.a.6 Example of Annual Unit Data Sharing Meeting Minutes

exhibit 6.4.a.7 Additional Example of Data Sharing Meeting Minutes

exhibit 6.4.a.8 State Report and Assessment Sharing Minutes

exhibit 6.4.a.9 ESPB Program Report Minutes

exhibit 6.4.a.10 Graduate Council Meeting Minutes

exhibit 6.4.a.11 Graduate Policies and Procedures

exhibit 6.4.a.12 VCSU Committee Structure

exhibit 6.4.a.13 Teacher Education Committee Structure

exhibit 6.4.a.14 Access to Additional Examples of Meeting Minutes


Organizational chart and/or description of the unit governance structure and its relationship to institutional governance structure

exhibit 6.4.b.1 SEGS Organizational Chart

exhibit 6.4.b.2 Institutional Organizational Chart


Policies, procedures, and practices for candidate services such as counseling and advising

exhibit 6.4.c.1 Learning Center

exhibit 6.4.c.2 Counseling

exhibit 6.4.c.3 Academic Advising

exhibit 6.4.c.4 Student Academic Services


Policies, procedures, and practices for candidate recruitment and admission, and accessibility to candidates and the education community

exhibit 6.4.d.1 Teacher Education Handbook

exhibit 6.4.d.2 Enrollment Services

exhibit 6.4.d.3 Disability Services (online) and brochure


Academic calendars, catalogs, unit publications, grading policies, and unit advertising 

exhibit 6.4.e.1 Teacher Education Handbook

exhibit 6.4.e.2 Academic Calendars  

exhibit 6.4.e.3 VCSU Catalog Teacher Education

exhibit 6.4.e.4 VCSU Catalog Advanced Program

Unit Publications

exhibit 6.4.e.4a Teacher Education Handbook referenced in 6.4.e.1

exhibit 6.4.e.4b Student Teaching Handbook

exhibit 6.4.e.4c Endorsement Brochure Example-Special Education Strategist

exhibit 6.4.e.4d Program Brochure Example_VCSU and Casper College

exhibit 6.4.e.4e Master of Education Student Handbook

exhibit 6.4.e.5a Grading Policies Initial

exhibit 6.4.e.5b Grading Policies Advanced

Unit Advertising for Teaching as a Profession

exhibit 6.4.e.6a Web link to Teachers2be

exhibit 6.4.e.6b Web link to Why Teaching

exhibit 6.4.e.6c Web link to NExT Program

Advanced Program Advertising

exhibit 6.4.e.7a Graduate Certificates

exhibit 6.4.e.7b Elementary Education Concentration

exhibit 6.4.e.7c Teaching English Language Learners Concentration

exhibit 6.4.e.7d English Education Concentration

exhibit 6.4.e.7e Library and Information Technologies Concentration

exhibit 6.4.e.7f Teaching and Technology Concentration

exhibit 6.4.e.7g Technology Education Concentration


Unit budget, with provisions for assessment, technology, professional development, and support for off-campus, distance learning, and alternative route programs when applicable

exhibit 6.4.f.1 VCSU Education Budget

exhibit 6.4.f.2 VCSU Design Team Provided Support and Training for Faculty

exhibit 6.4.f.3 Professional Development on Effective Teaching


Budgets of comparable units with clinical components on campus or similar units at other campuses

exhibit 6.4.g.1 Unit Budget over time Compared to Total Instructional Budget

exhibit 6.4.g.2 VCSU Business Information and Technology Budget

exhibit 6.4.g.3 VCSU Music Program Budget

exhibit 6.4.g.4 Unit Budget Comparison with a Teacher Education Program at Another Campus

exhibit 6.4.g.5 VCSU Snapshot with Budget Comparisons

exhibit 6.4.g.6 Unit Budget Supports its Assessment System


Policies, procedures, and practices for faculty workload and summary of faculty workload 

exhibit 6.4.h.1 Faculty Workload Policy

exhibit 6.4.h.2 Faculty Workload Table


Policies, procedures, and practices to ensure that all candidates have access to physical and/or virtual classrooms, computer labs, curriculum resources, and library resources that support teaching and learning

Examples of Memorandum of Agreements (MOUs)

exhibit 6.4.i.1a North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND;

exhibit 6.4.i.1b Trinity Bible College in Ellendale, ND;

exhibit 6.4.i.1c Casper College in Casper, WY

exhibit 6.4.i.2 Technology Services Laptop FAQs

exhibit 6.4.i.3 Full-time access to VCSU Laptop Computers

exhibit 6.4.i.4 Examples for Candidates to Gain Access on Personal Devices

exhibit 6.4.i.5 Expectations of Faculty Teaching Online Courses

exhibit 6.4.i.6 Accessibility of Digital Information and Services

exhibit 6.4.i.7 Support for Distance Learners

exhibit 6.4.i.8 Expectations of Candidates Taking Online Courses

exhibit 6.4.i.9 Access to Library Materials


Policies, procedures, and practices to ensure that all candidates have access to distance learning including support services and resources, if applicable

exhibit 6.4.j.1 Support for Distance Learners

exhibit 6.4.j.2 Expectations of Candidates Taking Online Courses

exhibit 6.4.j.3 VCSU Accessibility of Digital Information & Services

exhibit 6.4.j.4 Access to Library Materials

exhibit 6.4.j.5 Technology Services Policies and Procedures

exhibit 6.4.j.6 Technology Orientation Guides





Celebrating 125 Years

VCSU 1890-2015

2.4.e.1a and 6.4.a.1 and 6.4.e.1 Teacher Education Handbook

6.4.a.2 Administrative Designations

6.4.a.3 Teacher Education Committee Minutes

6.4.a.4 School of Education Minutes

6.4.a.5 Curriculum Committee Minutes - STEM credential added

6.4.a.6 Example of Unit Data Assessment Sharing Meeting Minutes

6.4.a.7 Additional Example of Data Sharing Meeting Minutes

6.4.a.8 Teacher Education Meeting Data Sharing for State Reports

6.4.a.9 ESPB Program Report Meeting

2.4.g.5 and 6.4.a. 10 Example of Graduate Council Meeting

6.4.a.11 Graduate Policies and Procedures

6.4.a.12 VCSU Committee Structure

6.4.a.13 Teacher Education Committee

6.4.a.14 Access to Additional Meeting Minutes

Institutional Governance Organizational Chart

Minutes from Teacher Education Committee Meeting

6.4.b.1 SEGS Organizational Chart

6.4.b.2 Institutional Governance Organizational Chart

6.4.c.1 The Learning Center

6.4.c.2 Counseling

6.4.c.3 Academic Advising

6.4.c.4 Student Academic Services

2.4.e.1a and 6.4.a.1 and 6.4.e.1 Teacher Education Handbook

6.4.d.2 Enrollment Services

6.4.d.3 Disability Support Services

6.4.e.2 Academic Calendar

6.4.e.3 VCSU Catalog Teacher Education

VCSU Catalog Advanced Program

2.4.e.2a and 3.4.e.2 and 6.4.e.4b Student Teaching Handbook

6.4.e.4c Endorsement Brochure Example - Special Education Strategist

6.4.e.4d VCSU-Casper College Program Information

2.4.e.3a and 6.4.e.4e Master of Education Student Handbook

6.4.e.5a Grading and Grade Point System

6.4.e.5b Advanced Program Grading Policies

6.4.e.7a Advanced Program Certificates

6.4.e.7b Elementary Education Concentration

6.4.e.7c Teaching English Language Learners

6.4.e.7d English Education Concentration

Library and Information Technologies Concentration

e-Portfolio created with myeFolio