Purpose of the Review
The review is conducted to assess the quality of the B.S. in Technology Education degree program as part of the seven-year review process at UW-Stout.
- B.S. in Technology Education
- Program Director
- Dr. Kenneth Welty
- PRC Consultants
- Jonna Gjevre and Brian Finder
- Date of Review
- April 6, 2004
- Committee Findings
- The committee recommends continuation of this program through 2005-2006. The committee also recommends that the student, key instructor, and program advisory committee surveys be conducted in the Fall of 2005 with a subsequent status report by the program director addressing the concerns brought forth in this report, particularly advising issues, communication, and hiring. Contingent upon a satisfactory 2005 status report, continuation of this program is approved through 2008.
The B.S. in Technology Education program prepares students for teaching positions at the K-12 schools in Wisconsin and the region. This program is designed to prepare graduates to teach young people about technology-oriented subjects related to manufacturing, construction, material processing, communications, energy and transportation. In alignment with UW-Stout’s mission, the Technology Education program emphasizes active learning and problem solving, promotes human and interpersonal development, and capitalizes on new teaching as well as learning strategies. The degree consists of 124 credits of general education, professional education, and technical coursework. A program change for this degree was recommended in 1977 and subsequently put into place by the program director.
Process Followed for Current Review
In the spring of 2003, the PRC Chair met with the program director to discuss the review process. The PRC consultants also met with the program director to review the procedures and offer assistance. Data regarding several aspects of the program were collected from students, key instructors within and outside the department, and program committee members. The data were analyzed and returned to the program directors and PRC members. The program director then completed the self-study report, presented the report to the PRC and responded to questions. The PRC discussed the program director’s report and after feedback from members of the committee, the consultants developed this report. The program director was allowed to provide input on a draft of this report prior to its submission to the PRC.
The previous PRC review of the B.S. in Technology Education was conducted by Karen Zimmerman and Sue Foxwell during AY 1996-1997. Their recommendations as well as responses from the program director and applicable deans are summarized below:
The proposed program revision needs to receive approval and be put into place. Students questioned duplication of course content and articulation in the program. They also reported feeling like some courses are too general for the program and need further depth, particularly in the technical areas. Students report a need for more hands-on experiences in classes required for this program, in the professional education classes, as well as in the technical classes.
There is no documentation indicating that the program director formally responded to the above-stated issues concerning curricular overlap and depth of course content, and there is evidence that these two issues remain a source of concern.
The Technology Education program needs at least one additional faculty position to meet minimum program requirements for teaching, advisement and reducing overloading classes. The Program Advisory Committee suggest the inadequacy of the number of faculty not being replaced and that this needs to be dealt with to ensure that the program remains strong.
The previous CTEM Dean addressed this issue in his 4/17/97 program review response by indicating that immediate as well as long-term faculty shortage concerns would be addressed through turnover reallocation and retraining of department faculty, respectively. However, there are indications that both immediate and long-term faculty shortage issues still persist.
The Technology Education laboratory needs to be in place as planned to meet the identified needs of the instructors and students. Key instructor surveys expressed a concern regarding the inadequacy of labs and the need to address development of technical depth in courses. Students report a need for more hands-on experiences in classes and request that more be infused throughout the curriculum.
The need for a Technology Education laboratory was addressed through construction that was performed in 1997 and 1998. It should be noted that the need for adequate lab facilities is still identified as significant.
UW-Stout has the only Technology Education program in Wisconsin and the state has a high unmet need for teachers to fill positions at the middle school and high school levels. UW-Stout has a responsibility to increase the supply of teachers to meet this demand.
The CTEM Dean’s commitment to meet the increased need for technology education teachers was expressed in terms of the number of new freshmen and transfer students being accepted into the program. It should be noted that the demand for technology education teachers has been steadily increasing (as reported by the Wisconsin DPI) and that a significant number of individuals are teaching this subject area on an emergency basis. While at one time UW-Stout was the primary institution in Wisconsin offering a baccalaureate degree in this major, four other technology education teacher certification programs have developed in the last six years (two in higher education and two at the CESA level). It has been reported through the Wisconsin DPI that some Wisconsin-based technology education teachers are even pursuing their teaching degree through distance learning programs offered through Valley City State University in North Dakota. These changes suggest that attracting technology education students to UW-Stout may in the future become more challenging.
Program integrity of technology education is also based on the teacher education core. It is recommended that the Teacher Education Core be examined for overlap and effectiveness.
The CHD Dean responded that the teacher education core was being reviewed for overlap and effectiveness. Some respondents identified overlap as a continuing concern in this report.
- Communication between the program director and key instructors within the department is rated as good (key instructor surveys within the department).
- The Library Learning Center is viewed as providing favorable support for the program (key instructor and student surveys).
- The key instructors outside of the department viewed the quality of their own classroom and lab facilities as favorable (key instructors outside of the department).
- Job placement for program graduates is strong and responses from employers rate the computer literacy, teamwork, and problem-solving abilities of graduates are favorable (three- and one-year employer follow-up surveys [1998 and 2000 respectively]).
- Employer surveys indicate a slight upward trajectory in improvement with regard to overall preparation in employment, familiarity with equipment, and knowledge of specific job skills (one- and three-year employer follow-up surveys).
- Key instructors in supporting technology-based departments are generally perceived as enthusiastic and effective in their classroom work (student and advisory committee surveys).
- Technology education faculty in the SOE are professionally active on a state and national basis (self-report).
Issues of Concern
- The program advisory committee appears to be inactive; in fact, many committee members did not know they were on the committee (advisory committee survey).
- Significant levels of uncertainty exist with regards to the content priorities, delivery methodologies, and philosophy of the field. Students report receiving conflicting messages regarding what they should learn and what they should teach (student and key faculty surveys).
- Interpersonal relationships between the program director and the students/key faculty appear to be strained (advisory committee, student surveys and key instructors outside of department).
- Student satisfaction with SOE faculty/staff has been identified as a source of concern (student surveys).
- Advisement is not very available to the students; respondents report a shortage in advisors and a lack of availability in existing advisors (student surveys).
- The program is understaffed in core instruction and faculty regularly must change the courses they teach (advisory committee, key instructor, and student surveys).
- Communication between the program director and outside key instructors as well as some inside key instructors is perceived as inadequate (key instructor surveys from outside of department and key instructors within the department).
- Some department members perceive a lack of department cooperation in scheduling an adequate number of course sections (key instructor surveys from within the department).
- A review of the Technology Education program plan sheet on the Stout website indicates that it is not current with the courses being offered/required in the major.
- A total of 148 prerequisites have been signed off in the last two years for course TEC-304. Discussion with the program director indicates that this is due to a discrepancy which exists between subject matter that is desired for the students, and what the prerequisite course (TEC-103) was originally designed to deliver. A planned update of TEC-103 meant to resolve this issue has yet to be completed.
- Course overlap and/or repetition exist within the program. Student surveys point to overlap between education course methodologies and Technology Education course methodologies. Curriculum overlap internal to Technology Education courses has also been reported (student surveys).
- Students are not very confident about their ability to be successful in their profession with regard to operation/maintenance of equipment, classroom management, and core lab skills (student surveys).
- Students’ written communication, critical thinking, problem solving and other competencies are perceived as weak (one-year follow-up, student and key instructor surveys).
- The math/statistical abilities of students within the program are perceived as weak (one-year follow-up, key instructors outside the department).
- Many respondents perceive the overall level of rigor in the program as being minimal (student, key instructor, and advisory committee surveys).
- There was a noticeable desire for students to possess more core-skill laboratory competencies in the areas of safety, fluid power, woods, welding, and electronics. Additionally, the subject areas of transportation and energy were perceived as lacking in applicability (student, key faculty, and advisory committee surveys).
Facilities and Support
- The quality of the classroom and lab facilities for the students is viewed as being not completely up-to-date. Limited access to lab experiences was also identified as an issue (key instructor surveys within the department and student surveys).
- Clerical support for the faculty is viewed as insufficient (key instructors inside of department).
Recommendations for the Program Director
- Create a new advisory committee with on-campus technical faculty and good representation of high-school teachers. This committee must meet every semester and be charged with setting goals and achieving results.
- Prompt the advisory committee to initiate dialogue that addresses uncertainties/conflicts regarding content priorities, high school based delivery methodologies and the philosophy of the field.
- Address advisement concerns by raising the number of program advisors and/or increasing the availability of current advisors. One option of addressing this issue would be to extend advisement roles to faculty who are teaching technology-based courses.
- Continuously maintain open lines of communication with key internal instructors as well as those who are outside of the department. The program director should consider actively soliciting feedback on stakeholder concerns and respond to such concerns in a timely manner through public meetings and/or correspondence.
- Identify the basis of and subsequently address concerns about curriculum overlap both internal to the program and in relation to the courses from the school of education.
- Address stakeholder concerns regarding the minimal rigor of the program, particularly as it relates to the need for core-skill lab competencies (equipment operation and maintenance, welding, fluid power, and wood skills, electronics, safety) and math/physics abilities.
- Follow up with program web-master to ensure that the Technology Education program plan sheet listed on the Stout website is current.
- Consider reducing the number of students enrolled in the program to minimize advisement-related stress as well as competition for available core education/technology courses.
- Continue dialog with the CET Department Chair/faculty to resolve course updating-based issues specific to TEC-103.
Recommendations for the Department Chair
- Assess the need for increased clerical support for Technology Education program faculty.
- Prompt involvement by all faculty within the Technology Education discipline as well as the SOE to address scheduling concerns.
Recommendations for the Dean
- Hold the program director accountable for performing administrative responsibilities, including securing adequate student advisement and holding advisory committee meetings.
- Prompt the department chair/faculty to continue the search and screen process for qualified staff, and as needed, provide resource support for staffing needs.
- Prompt the department chair/technology education faculty to specifically identify SOE facility deficiencies and as needed, provide resource support to improve such physical areas.
- Work with the CTEM Dean to identify strategies that promote effective inter-college faculty involvement as well as curriculum refinement.
- Work with the program director and chair(s) to ensure that stakeholders continue dialog addressing the uncertainties/conflicts regarding content priorities, high school-based delivery methodologies, and the philosophy of the field.