Teacher Professional Expectations Policy

Sponsor:

School for Graduate Studies. MAT program

Contact:

Chair, Graduate Education Programs

Category:

Graduate Studies

Number:

310.011

Effective Date:

A version of this policy has been in effect since 9/2004

Review Date:

2016/12/06

Implementation History:

Reviewed by MAT, then Grad, then GSPC on these respective dates: 6/25/13; 9/19/13; 9/27/13. This policy updated the former Professional Expectations in Teacher Education Programs Policy. Approved by Senate on December 6, 2013.

Keywords:

Teacher, Professional, Expectations, Dismissal, Ethics, New York State

Background Information:

The MAT program has had a policy in place since enrolling its first cohort in 2004 since teachers need to adhere to a professional code of conduct in their K-12 school setting. The MAT Program and Dean have been reviewing it for a year with consultation with SUNY Counsel so that we are able to dismiss students who act unethically. We also added into the policy accreditation language since being accredited in 2012 as well as a procedure for assessing students’ readiness to teach and the Dean’s ability to review a potential candidate’s readmission application history.

Purpose

The main factor for having this policy is ethical. New York State teachers must be ethical and professional with regards to their encounters with school district personnel, program faculty and staff, and most importantly, with their students. This policy will allow us to review any candidate who demonstrates a lack of professional conduct and dismiss him/her from the teaching program.

Definitions

We were careful to use the term “dispositions” based on advice from SUNY Counsel that students could not be dismissed for personality characteristics but rather lack of professional conduct and/or judgment.

Statements

Empire State College expects teacher education students to teach effectively and in a caring way and to demonstrate behaviors and attitudes that are consistent with the ideal of fairness and the belief that all students can learn. Empire State College expects students in professional education to demonstrate a set of values and attitudes consistent with the highest professional standards and to comply with relevant local, state and federal law. Students who fail to meet professional expectations are subject to warning or dismissal from the program and those dismissed cannot be recommended for teacher certification.

Further, the teacher education programs prepare students to function as professionals who serve pupils and clients who may be minors or individuals in circumstances of significant vulnerability. In pursuing their academic programs, students come into direct contact with such vulnerable pupils and clients as part of their field experiences, residency placements, and teaching roles. Empire State College has an obligation to protect those pupils and clients and cannot tolerate student behavior that exploits, endangers, compromises or threatens the welfare, safety or rights of those pupils or clients.

In deciding whether to admit or readmit to, retain in, or graduate a student from a program, or to recommend an individual for state certification, the teacher education program considers not only the college’s admission and academic requirements but also the individual’s competencies related to serving in the teaching profession, including, but not limited to, the individual’s conduct, professional attitudes, values and attributes to the extent such traits impact the person’s ability to serve effectively and ethically in the profession, and advancement in a teacher education program. The teacher education faculty and staff will conduct periodic reviews of students at key checkpoints, such as the time for certification recommendation, to determine whether or not the student will move forward in the process.

Professional Expectations and Criteria:

In deciding whether to admit or readmit to, retain in, or graduate students from a program, or to recommend an individual for a state teaching certificate, a teacher education program considers:

  1. The individual’s educational, work, and other life experiences related to the teaching profession
  2. The individual’s ability to communicate and work effectively with students, families, colleagues, peers, college faculty and staff, and communities, including individuals from different backgrounds, individuals with exceptional needs or limitations, individuals from different religious, cultural, racial or ethnic populations, and individuals of different genders and sexual orientations;
  3. The individual’s fitness for the profession, including but not limited to any formal charge of professional misconduct or any felony conviction(s);
  4. The individual’s behavior in light of appropriate professional and ethical standards;
  5. The individual’s general and specific knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to successfully complete the particular program and to function effectively in the profession. Dispositions for teaching are defined as those professional attitudes, values and attributes expected of an education professional by this policy and by New York State law and regulations. An instrument will be used as a valid, reliable and objective tool for assessment in this process. There will be a set process to review the results of this instrument.
  6. The legal requirements and professional expectations as set out in the applicable laws and regulations governing state certification;
  7. The standards and rules adopted or recognized by a teacher education program and applicable professional organizations; and
  8. Whether the individual has met all the other program requirements for retention, graduation, or recommendation for state certification as set forth in the Graduate Catalog and the program’s written policies and procedures.

Procedures

Warning or Dismissal from a Teacher Education Program

A. Academic Warning or Dismissal

The graduate student Evaluation and Grading policy, Satisfactory Academic Progress policy, and Academic Honesty policy contain college policy and procedures for academic warning and dismissal.

B. Professional Warning or Dismissal

The dean of the School for Graduate Studies may issue a warning or dismiss a student from the program for failure to meet, satisfy, or demonstrate satisfactory performance with respect to one or more of the program’s professional criteria (see Part I).

  1. Grounds for Professional Warning or Dismissal The dean of the School for Graduate Studies may issue a warning or dismiss a student from the program for failure to meet one or more of the following:
      1. A school or a school district decides not to hire or retain the student, dismisses the student from field experience, disciplines the student for misconduct, or determines that the student has behaved inappropriately with respect to any of the professional criteria.
      2. The dean of the School for Graduate Studies determines that the student does not meet the professional criteria.
  2. Procedure for Warning or Dismissal
      1. Once notified of a complaint/incident, the program chair and/or director of teacher education will consult with the student as well as his/her academic advisor and course instructor(s). The program chair and/or director of teacher education will make a recommendation to the dean of the School for Graduate Studies.
      2. Upon receipt of this recommendation, the dean of the School for Graduate Studies may warn or dismiss the student from the program. In making this decision, the dean may obtain information, documentation, or consult with others as deemed necessary.
      3. The dean notifies the student in writing. The warning or dismissal notice includes the effective date and reason for the warning or dismissal. The dean provides a copy to the program chair, director of teacher education, the student’s academic advisor and course instructor(s).
      4. If the student is in a field experience or teaching role and is dismissed by the college, the dean also notifies appropriate school personnel of the dismissal. If the student has been issued transitional B certification and is dismissed, the director of teacher education also notifies appropriate NYS Education Department personnel.
      5. In cases where the student’s behavior appears to present an immediate danger to the welfare and safety or rights of pupils or clients, in accordance with the Student Conduct Policy and Procedures, the dean may place an individual on interim suspension.
      6. A student who receives a warning or is dismissed may make an appeal following the college’s policy on Student Academic Appeals.

Decision Not To Recommend For Certification

  1. Grounds for Decision Not to Recommend a Student for Certification
    1. The program does not recommend any student for certification who has been dismissed from the program.
    2. The program does not recommend any student for certification who fails to meet NYS Education Department requirements.
    3. The program chair and/or director of teacher education may decide not to recommend a student for certification who fails to meet, satisfy, or demonstrate satisfactory performance with respect to one or more of the program’s academic and/or professional criteria.
    4. The program chair and/or director of teacher education may decide not to recommend a student for certification if a school or school district disciplines the student for misconduct, dismisses the student from field experience, or determines that a student has behaved inappropriately with respect to any of the professional criteria.
  2. Procedure for Decision Not to Recommend a Student for Certification
    1. The program chair and/or director of teacher education may decide not to recommend a candidate for certification. In making this decision, the program chair and/or director of teacher education may obtain information, documentation, or consult with others as deemed necessary.
    2. The program chair and/or director of teacher education notifies the student in writing. This notice includes the reason for the decision not to recommend the student for certification. The program chair and/or director of teacher education provides a copy to the student’s academic advisor and the dean of the School for Graduate Studies.
    3. A student who is not recommended for certification may make an appeal following the college’s policy on Student Academic Appeals.

Readmission Consideration

Students who reapply to the program or a different program in the School for Graduate Studies must do so in accordance with the procedures for readmission. In reviewing an application for readmission to the teacher education programs all previous work in a graduate program including the individual’s competencies related to serving in the teaching profession and professional expectations and criteria defined in the policy is considered.

Applicable Legislation and Regulations

Incident Reporting

A. Violations of Criminal Law by Teacher Education Students

  1. Students charged with violations of criminal law must report such charges immediately to the program chair and director of teacher education. The dean is responsible for determining the student’s status upon receipt of the information. The dean makes an evaluation and determination concerning the seriousness of the offense or offenses charged and the bearing, if any, that the criminal charges have on the student’s fitness or ability to perform the duties and responsibilities of field experiences or teaching, until the charges have been dismissed.
  2. Depending on the nature of the charges and the information available, the dean may immediately remove such students from participation in field experiences or teaching.
  3. If further action is required, including interim suspension from the college, the dean follows the procedures outlined in the Student Conduct Policy and Procedures.

B. Legal Notice

  1. Students in field experiences are covered by New York State Education Law §3023, which requires that each school district “save harmless and protect all teachers, practice or cadet teachers… from financial loss arising out of any claim, demand, suit or judgment by reason of alleged negligence or other act resulting in accidental bodily injury to any person, or accidental damage to the property of any person within or without the school building, provided such teacher, practice or cadet teacher… at the time of the accident or injury was acting in the discharge of his duties within the scope of his employment or authorized volunteer duties and/or under the direction of said board of education….” A student who is involved in any such accident must immediately inform the school administrator and the ESC, program chair and director of teacher education.
  2. A student who is served with a summons, complaint or other legal process involving an incident which occurred during the course of their teaching or field experience while participating in a teacher education program must immediately forward a copy of the legal papers to the local school administrator, ESC, program chair and director of teacher education.

Related References, Policies, Procedures, Forms and Appendices