By Tom Ward
Thomas More University
Part 47 of Our Series: “Retrospect and Vista II: Thomas More College/University, 1971-2021”
Villa Madonna College was based in 1921 by the Sisters of St. Benedict for the main objective of training their postulants to be lecturers. Thus, it was conceived as being, in the parlance of the day, a “normal school” that will practice lecturers. With this as its founding precept, it was presumed that education would at all times retain a distinguished place in the faculty’s curriculum.
When Bishop of Covington Francis W. Howard made Villa Madonna a diocesan establishment in 1929, with the inclusion of the Sisters of Notre Dame and the Sisters of Divine Providence as a part of the school and administration, the three congregations divided amongst themselves the accountability for staffing the varied tutorial departments. The education program, nonetheless, was to be the purview of all three, although Sr. M. Callixta Blom, CDP, was appointed as departmental chair (Sr. M. Irmina Saelinger, OSB, Retrospect and Vista, 1971). While future chairs may need trigger to surprise if the administration was very supportive of education, Fr. John Murphy, whereas VMC’s President, left little doubt that he believed in carrying on the instructing tradition as he harassed “the exceptional importance of teacher education here at Villa Madonna” (Murphy to Blom, Oct. 3, 1956, TMU Archives).
Because VMC was in the enterprise of coaching lecturers for the elementary by way of secondary ranges, it needed to meet the requirements of the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) for its college students to grow to be licensed lecturers. To meet the standards, VMC’s education department needed to bear thorough self-studies and be evaluated by the state at common intervals to make sure that it met Kentucky’s altering necessities for certification. The department additionally maintained connections with the National Catholic Education Association.
The education department at VMC additionally wished the recognition of its friends for its Teacher Education Program. In 1961, the department sought accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), which might “guarantee good standards in the eyes of the Nation at large.” To facilitate this accreditation course of, the department lobbied President Murphy to announce at the subsequent school assembly on May 25, the formation of a “policy making committee.” This announcement was supposed to “emphasize the point that Teacher Education is the responsibility of every faculty member” and to “produce better prepared teachers …” (Education Department undated memo to Fr. Murphy, ca. May 1961, TMU Archives).
This transfer highlighted the indisputable fact that faculty education of lecturers is exclusive as a result of it calls for that college students even have an education in different tutorial fields; therefore, the want for different school to be members of the Teacher Education Committee. The formation of a committee first concerned establishing seven subcommittees headed by varied school to review the seven NCATE requirements (Fr. Reifsnyder to school, June 9, 1961, TMU Archives). An everyday Teacher Education Committee (TEC), as a subcommittee of the Academic Affairs Committee, was launched in 1964, with school members from a number of departments (Fr. Rooks, tutorial dean, to school, Oct. 13, 1964, TMU Archives).
When making an attempt to recruit different non-education school to the TEC, Mr. William Guilfoyle of the education department defined that they wished to “to draw upon the expertise of members of the TMC community who, while not directly involved in the training of teachers, are people whom we know to be concerned about this area and able to contribute towards a committee who wants to work in this area” (Guilfoyle to Mann, Sept. 22, 1975, TMU Archives). It seems, nonetheless, that, though it was deliberate for at a number of junctures, it didn’t grow to be a common standing committee of the faculty and went into abeyance for years at a time.
While it was operative, the Teacher Education Committee not solely helped set up the education program. With school members of different faculty departments and educators from different faculties, additionally they appraised candidates to the program and have been a part of the course of of choosing candidates to enter it. They additional labored as a staff to help the education majors till their commencement.
A Teacher Education Program is a continuously evolving discipline through which it is very important sustain with present adjustments and greatest practices. Innovation and new applications are essential. On the different hand, constants are additionally demanded.
Of course, pupil instructing was at all times a vital part of training lecturers—it was a vital situation that was over and above different cooperative education experiences and assignments. Students in the higher ranges have been paired in native faculties with skilled instructors who might each advise and consider them. (In earlier years these instructors had been referred to as “critic teachers”). The interval of instructing in a classroom was normally reserved for college students of their ultimate 12 months, although from the starting they got publicity to lecture rooms as observers.
Some college students have been already instructing previous to finishing faculty. For their profit, the education department adopted a coverage of granting 4 credit score hours for many who might exhibit instructing competency (Criteria for Awarding Credit for Demonstrated Competency in Teaching, March 1972, TMU Archives). This course of would require advice from the principal of the instructor’s faculty and approval by the TMC school, just like different credit score for prior studying insurance policies.
The transfer to the new campus in 1968 (when it was renamed Thomas More College) was usually heralded as the “new era.” The department already had a good status of manufacturing high quality lecturers. Classroom lecturers who supervised pupil lecturers have been particularly vocal of their reward, declaring that “the teacher education program at Thomas More College is of a superior caliber” (Aims and Services of the Department of Education, ca. 1968, p. 11, TMU Archives).
But the department school weren’t content material to relaxation on their laurels. In 1970, the education department devised a new strategy to instructor education, one which the Kentucky Department of Education referred to as “ ‘one of the most promising in the nation.’ ” The department members at the time (Sr. Joyce Quinlan, OSB, Mr. William Guilfoyle, Fr. John Reifsnyder, and Sr. Madonna Fitzgerald, CDP) extolled its perceived virtues as they have been interviewed in a TMC e-newsletter (TMC Newsletter “Learn Together,” no date, ca. 1970, TMU Archives).
According to those school members, they “created an experimental program based on a home-grown definition of a teacher” as somebody who “is primarily a developer of persons.” This can be achieved whereas guiding the pupil “as he works to become fully human.” Although it was nonetheless needed for education college students to amass the “scientific body of knowledge” associated to instructing, “it is equally true that most of this knowledge is intended to be used in relation to others” and it might “best be learned in the environment where it is intended to be used,” which appeared to imply the lecture rooms of grade ranges at which college students anticipated to show. This meant in follow that the professors would attempt to discern the explicit strengths and expertise of their education majors so these may very well be developed on a person foundation. Throughout the course of, the pupil would “develop certain qualities which relate to himself, to others, and to the profession.” This might “best be accomplished through a clinical – seminar – interdisciplinary – multi-media approach” (TMC Newsletter “Learn Together,” no date, ca. 1970, TMU Archives).
At the similar time, nonetheless, the education department confronted issues that nearly all departments confronted—the indisputable fact that their expressed wants couldn’t at all times be accommodated due to TMC’s monetary difficulties. At least yet another full-time school member was wanted for 1971–1972. Without further personnel “we will be forced to limit the number of day students in the department” (Summary Report on Department of Education, by Fr. Reifsnyder, chair, July 1970, TMU Archives).
As a part of the implementation of the new program, the department sought to arrange “a task force on education with as broad a base as possible.” Department chair Sr. Joyce Quinlan, OSB, contacted individuals of the bigger regional neighborhood, not simply educators, asking them to hitch the process drive that will “advise the department on the needs of the community” and help it “in identifying the qualities and competencies that teachers need now …” (Quinlan letter, June 28, 1972, TMU Archives).
It seems that this “experimental” program didn’t work out in follow in addition to hoped, and after evaluations by many concerned, it was decided that adjustments wanted to be made. The introduction of this program roughly coincided with the faculty’s short-lived Venture Program that started in the 1972–1973 tutorial 12 months. Perhaps the education program was just like Venture in that it was well-intentioned, however not lifelike in its expectations—with much less emphasis on instructing a conventional curriculum, the professors could have discovered it tough to supply the sort of mentoring of scholars that will be wanted, however for which they’d little to information them. At any fee, the abandonment of Venture dictated a shift towards extra “general requirements” for the curriculum, which “eliminated certain out of state deficiencies problems” that education college students confronted when following the Venture Program. However, as the program ultimately returned to a extra standard “separate class structure,” it nonetheless retained an emphasis on medical program visitations (Teacher Education Report for Kentucky Department of Education, 1980, pp. 4-5, TMU Archives).
The department additionally confronted the challenges of sure detrimental perceptions. Some school appeared to assume that education as a tutorial department demanded too little of its college students. Such perceptions have been most likely given extra credibility when the department “agreed unanimously to permit any education student, elementary or secondary, to take part or the total education program on the Pass/No Credit basis as they wish” (Quinlan memo to all administration and school involved with advising college students, Oct. 3, 1972, TMU Archives). A plan for liberating college students to take programs with out reaching a letter grade might have been seen as encouraging mediocrity.
The perceived lack of rigorous necessities was additional supported by the indisputable fact that the department was giving too many “A” grades. As Fr. Edward Baumann, director of Continuing Education, opined after presenting the statistics, “It almost looks as if a passing grade and a grade of A are identical” (Baumann to Ebben, June 19, 1975, TMU Archives). In a confidential memo, Dean Ebben wrote to new education chair John Tibbett that “an inordinate number of very high grades are being awarded to students taking education courses.” Dr. Ebben reminded him that an “A” represented “outstanding quality” and he admonished the school “to review the meaning of the various grades in the College Catalog” and to award grades accordingly (Ebben to Tibbett, June 20, 1975, TMU Archives).
The board of trustees was apprised of issues in the education department. Enrollment was shrinking drastically, and there had been some pupil complaints. The department wanted a “critical appraisal,” and it was obvious that some adjustments must be made (Board of Trustees assembly minutes, April 26, 1976, TMU Archives).
After some disagreements concerning the operation of the department, Sr. Evelynn Reinke, a Sister of Notre Dame and an alumnus of Villa Madonna College (1962), joined the education department in 1976. She turned its chair that fall at a time when the different school, apart from Mr. Guilfoyle (who directed pupil instructing, amongst different issues), had departed. The new school members who would come into the department all had expertise instructing at the classroom stage for which they might be making ready TMC college students. Sr. Evelynn herself was the secondary education advisor at TMC (Interview with Sr. Evelynn Reinke, SND, May 2, 2022).
While Mr. Tibbett had been chair, TMC’s education department centered on “competency-based teacher education,” with three “thrusts,” one among which—Needs, Competencies, Objectives, Activities (NCOA)—was designed by TMC employees to be applicable for Okay-12 education. Students have been to meet the NOCA necessities for “competency verification” that will meet Kentucky standards for certification (Thomas More Education Department, ca. Jan. 1976, TMU Archives).
It was essential to Sr. Evelynn to keep up a “student-focused” strategy to instructor education. During her time as chair, the education department started some new applications. For one factor, the “on again, off again” nature of the Teacher Education Committee was lastly transformed into an ongoing entity that included school from different departments, school and directors from native faculties, plus a pupil consultant. Under Sr. Evelynn’s route, the TEC would have wide-ranging duties, together with to debate and resolve on points akin to, “admission of candidates to the department, to student teaching, to graduation; major changes in the direction of the program; new courses; problem areas; department and/or program policy” (TEC assembly minutes, Feb.11, 1980, TMU Archives).
During the Nineteen Eighties, the education department needed to cope with objections and necessities of the Kentucky Department of Education. It appeared that the KDE and TMC had completely different expectations for the route of the education department. President Robert Giroux expressed disagreement with the state’s suggestion to restrict the variety of college students admitted into education. Naturally, TMC wished to extend enrollment, and its education graduates have been discovering no issue being positioned in faculties; in truth, simply the reverse was occurring—“we have had fewer graduates than we could supply for all the available positions brought to our attention.” So, there was no must refuse admission to these with “reasonable expectations of their successful employment” (Giroux to Dr. Harry Snyder, Executive Director of Council on Higher Education, Nov. 19, 1979, TMU Archives).
But it was not solely the KDE with whom problems arose. When the department was devising a five-year plan to answer a latest KDE analysis, the committee fashioned for this objective concluded, after reviewing pertinent paperwork, that “education has not been a priority to recent administrations of the College, and that standards set by the State of Kentucky Department of Education have not been met in recent years.” The committee took into account the apparent monetary constraints confronted by the faculty, however nonetheless requested whether or not instructor education needs to be advisable to the president as a precedence or ought to it’s advisable that “teacher education by dropped from the College curriculum”? (Dr. Thomas Hanna to Fr. Leonard Callahan [Covington Diocese’s director of education], Dr. James Fouche [chair of the Education Department at Northern Kentucky University] and Ms. Judith Harris, TMU Archives).
Judy Harris, together with Elizabeth Penn, got here onboard in the department throughout the early years of Sr. Evelynn’s chairmanship; each can be long-term members of the school. When Sr. Evelynn took a sabbatical 1986-1989 to finish her PhD at St. Louis University, Ms. Harris turned the appearing chair of the department. Upon her return, Sr. Evelynn was hesitant to renew her function as chair—she didn’t need to settle for the hectic place once more except the department can be granted 4 full-time school as stipulated by the KDE (Reinke to Hebert and education school, Aug. 14, 1989, TMU Archives). She did, nonetheless, serve one other three-year time period as chair after her return from St. Louis University.
Sr. Evelynn additionally believed in sustaining strict admission requirements. She wished to display potential college students fastidiously as a result of the “teaching profession enjoys low esteem.” Some critics referred to schools of education as “diploma mills” for college students who wouldn’t make it in different majors. She not solely sought to dispel such perceptions, however, extra importantly, to make sure that TMC college students have been really ready to be good lecturers (Reinke to Hebert, Feb. 5, 1990, TMU Archives).
As the education department moved into the Nineties, it clearly confronted challenges. It ultimately turned clear, nonetheless, that it was buying the personnel to satisfy them.
Tom Ward is the Archivist of Thomas More University. He holds an MA in History from Xavier University, Cincinnati. He will be contacted at [email protected].
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