By Ruth Bruno
Members of Faculty Senate engaged in heated debates but postponed any major decision until a later meeting date.
Michael P. Alphano, Dean of the School of Education and Professional Studies, presented the Senate with a resolution to facilitate teacher preparation by dividing and merging departments within the School of Education and Professional Studies at CCSU.
Among other proposed changes that would occur within the School of Education and Professional Studies, the resolution calls for faculty members from the Early Childhood/Elementary Division to merge with faculty members from the existing Department of Reading and Language Arts to create a brand new department.
Alphano stressed the need for these changes saying that the standards set by CCSU’s new accrediting body, CAPE, are far more demanding than before.
“The landscape has changed. What’s expected of teachers to learn already the day they step into their own classroom has remarkably become more rigorous in the last few years,” said Alphano. In addition the state legislature has put forward changes to the list of requirements a student must fulfill in order to obtain a master’s degree in the field of teacher education.
According to Alphano, the Department of Educational Leadership, the Department of Language Arts and the Department of Special Education have all approved of the resolution.
Alphano said that the programs involved in the merge have been meeting and discussing these amendments over the last several months. However, Dr. Aram Ayalon, Chair of the Teacher Education Program, spoke to the Senate saying that the resolution had been agreed upon without the consent of his program.
“We met numerous times with the dean but we see little of our feedback or our comments in that [resolution]. We submitted questions and didn’t receive detailed answers,” said Ayalon.
Ayalon feels that if the resolution is passed, his division will be left ill-equipped to He said that the division is made up of six faculty that were hired to do elementary education. Three members would be moved out of the program cutting it in half. “Almost 100 students are accepted to our program every year. How can you staff that program with three faculty members?”
Ayalon went on to voice his worries that there will not be students graduating from his program if the resolution is accepted. He believes that students will pass through the program to complete the core requirements of their major, but will end up graduating from another department. “We’d like our students not to have to move to many, many departments. “So much for coherency.”
Dr.Karen Riem, a professor in the teacher education program felt that Dr. Ayalon’s presentation to the Senate did not fully represent the sentiments of the program. She spoke optimistically of the proposed resolution. “We’re teacher educators sometimes you need to rearrange the setting of the classroom based on what your goals are and what you hope to be learning. Sometimes you have to be willing to be a little uncomfortable if you wasn’t to bring new opportunities.”
Dr. Paul Karpuk, a professor of English voiced his concern that the discrepancies between the School of Education and Professional Studies and the Teacher Education Program need to be addressed so that the Senate can better understand the situation they are being asked to consider.
“There are a lot of ins and outs that many of us don’t understand. “It sounds to me like the Senate can’t do this right now. We’re not ready to vote on this. Greater efforts need to be made to reconcile the two parties,” said Karpuk.
Several faculty members agreed with Karpuk. The Senate passed a motion to postpone any discussion and advising concerning the resolution until the next meeting on Tuesday, October 13th.