LSSU Response to

Periodic Review/Program Evaluation Recommendations


Recommendations from Review Panel Regarding Programs to Prepare



August 25, 2006


The faculty at Lake Superior State University appreciate the opportunity to provide additional information and address the concerns noted in the careful review of the Earth/Space (DH) application submitted in February 2005.  The items noted in the July 6, 2006 recommendations have been separated below into a numbered list to facilitate careful analysis of each point.  All changes made in response to the recommendations of the reviewers have been posted to the LSSU PR/PE website:  Changes (as noted in the narrative below) to the application are noted with bold text on the main page, and hyperlinks are provided to the revised versions of Form XX, instructional faculty and the Standards Matrix for the DH program.


We believe we have made a careful effort to address the points noted by the reviewers, yet if additional questions arise, or we can further clarify the strengths of our program, we look forward to the opportunity to address those issues as well.  We thank the reviewers for their careful and thoughtful analysis. 


Program Review Comment/Response


Standard 2.0 - . . . Apply mathematics, including statistics and precalculus, to investigations. . . Reviewers were unable to confirm that this standard is met.  Please provide additional information beyond that currently stated in syllabi and course descriptions.

Effective with the fall of 2005, MA207 Statistics  was a program requirement for all teacher candidates.  This requirement is reflected in our Undergraduate Handbook, and stated as a requirement for graduation.  In order to simplify this application, and to address the standard for individuals seeking to add the Earth/Space science endorsement, we will add MA207 Principles of Statistics to the program requirements (major/minor/endorsement) and reflect this change in the program narrative (2.b) and on Form XX.  This change will increase the apparent program size by three semester credits.  Similarly, the Earth/Space program requires MA111 College Algebra as a departmental degree requirement.  We have added this to the major/minor endorsement requirements and reflected the change on Form XX.


Standard 4.0 -  . . . design and conduct inquiry-based open-ended investigations . . . After examining the syllabi and expanded course descriptions, reviewers were unable to establish if this standard is being met by courses with a GE prefix.  Please offer additional information to verify that these courses enable candidates to meet this standard.

Laboratory experiences, required in every course in the program, integrally incorporate learner investigations.  Laboratory experiences totaling over 330 hours are required in the major, and over 210 for the minor.  During this time students gain invaluable experience in the processes and procedures for implementing chemical based investigations.  Preparing teacher candidates to lead inquiry-based open-ended investigations begins with training university students in the concepts and skills of chemical analysis, and finds its fruition in the classroom experiences of the field experience and the discussions of TE443.  While many experiments assigned through the program are focused on specific learning outcomes they might be considered to not be inquiry based.   The teacher candidate applies these principles in developing activities for their secondary classrooms.  The institution has led EPA funded grants with several local districts to assist the secondary students to become active in water quality monitoring of local streams.  Through these collaborative projects our faculty, and graduates-now-teachers, have worked to apply the techniques of the university classroom to the real-world contexts of the secondary student’s world.  TE443 discusses constructivist learning theory and its application to the classroom as discussed in Chiappetta.  See also our response to Standard 10.0.

Chapter 9  Learning in Middle Grades and Secondary Schools


·         Cognitive Approaches and Strategies for Teaching Science in a Constructivist Manner

·         Assessing and Reviewing

·         Resources to Examine

·         References



Standard 6.0 – understand and promote the maintenance of a safe science classroom as identified by the Council of State Science Supervisors (CSSS). . . Please provide additional information as to how the teacher candidates are directed to or become knowledgeable of CSSS guidelines.  For example, site the website ( in the syllabi for TE443 and some of the earth space science courses.


TE443 is the best and most relevant place to hold a discussion of the supervision of a safe science learning environment.  Laboratory safety is essential, and explicitly discussed in the the context of labs in all courses related to Earth/Space Science.  However the discussion in a university laboratory centers on university student safety, not on the implications for science activities performed in distant (both physically and conceptually) secondary classrooms.  In the science methods course we hold discussion regarding the Council of State Science Supervisors, illustrate reference sources such as Flinn Scientific Catalogs for laboratory/school safety, and we provide discipline specific information on laboratory safety, and practice laboratory safety inspections.  We have used several different science methods textbooks over time, but each has given special attention to this important matter in a separate chapter in the textbook on science safety.  The table of contents for Chiappetta’s book, referenced in the TE443 syllabus, has been provided for the reviewer’s reference.  The chapter on laboratory safety, given a week’s instructional time in our course, addresses the discipline specific safety needs for each field of study.  Teacher candidates prepare summaries of the textbook readings, and consistently relate their appreciation for the discipline specific discussion of safety topics.  For example, the handling of animals in a biology class, the handling and disposal of waste from chemistry, and the health hazards of some minerals in earth/space science classes.


We wish the reviewers to consider that not every web reference provided in our comprehensive secondary science methods textbook can be expected to also be present in the syllabus.  Further, it is not an explicit goal of every science course to specifically and explicitly address the teaching standards for pre-service teacher candidates.  Some outcomes, and their application into the secondary classroom, occur through the integration of pedagogical and content knowledge – a process which requires analytical synthesis and internalization of deep science knowledge in powerful learning environments associated with the field placements.  For example, electrical engineers may be concerned about the use of ground fault interrupt circuits, but that need not be an explicitly stated in the general chemistry syllabus – even if we do have and use them in our laboratories.  Nevertheless, we recognize the intent of the reviewers, and have added reference to the CSSS resources to all course syllabi.    Laboratory safety is the topic of Chiappetta’s 14th chapter, which is discussed in TE443.

Chapter 14  Safety in the Laboratory and Classroom

·        Introduction

·        Safety and the Law

·        General Safety Responsibilities

·        Safety Goggles and Eye Protection

·        Specific Safety Guidelines for Biology

·        Specific Safety Guidelines for Chemistry

·        Safety in the Earth Science Laboratory

·        Safety Guidlines for Physics and Physical Science Laboratories

·        Radiation Safety

·        Safety Units for Students

·        Assessing and Reviewing

·        Resources to Examine

·        References


Standard 8.0 - . . . conceptual understanding will occur for all science students; Provide additional documentation explaining how teacher candidate activities provide experiences that encompass all students.

The syllabi for content area courses describe the content focused learning objectives and activities.  These courses are used by many major and minors.  There are generally no teacher-specific outcomes for teacher candidates identified in the syllabi, nor are there engineering- or biology- or criminalistics- or environmental health-specific outcomes explicit in the syllabi.  The content courses provide the foundation knowledge, and model learning activities focusing on the application of that knowledge.  The education courses bring the content together with the pedagogy, and through extensive pre-student teaching field experiences, and an extended student teaching internship, these are put into practice in the secondary classroom under the supervision and mentorship of a highly qualified practicing teacher.  The issues of diverse learners in science instruction is specifically and explicitly discussed in Chiappetta’s eighth chapter during TE443, the Secondary Science Methods course

Chapter 8  Diverse Adolescent Learners and Their Schools

·         Student Diversity

·         Equity in Science Education

·         Cultural and Linguistic Diversity

·         Gender-Inclusiveness

·         Exceptionalities

·         Adolescents' School Science Experience

·         Assessing and Reviewing

Resources to Examine


Standard 9.0 - . .  .teaching through investigative experiences . . . application of the scientific processs . . .  TE443 is the only coursed sited for meeting this standard on the matrix.  Reviewers request additional information showing how this standard is covered in earth/space science courses, in addition to TE 443.

Standards 2 through 11 are prefaced with the statement “the preparation of high school chemistry teachers will enable teachers to …  Our perspective in preparing the narrative for Standards 2-11 was to frame our thinking in the context of teacher specific training.  The syllabi for the content classes in chemistry do not generally specifically detail the education related outcomes of their courses, any more than they identify the specific ancillary outcomes related to the preparation of pre-service doctors, firefighters, biologists, environmental health specialists or engineers.  The content of these standards are present in the chemistry courses, but the application to the secondary classroom is implicit for education students, and explicit in TE443 and the program field experiences.


The curriculum covered by Earth/Space Science is an extensively laboratory based curriculum.  There is a required laboratory component for each course in the program.  These laboratories focus on investigative experiences and the application of the scientific process (evidenced by the laboratory activities described in each syllabus).    These laboratories have as their focus the university teaching individuals (teacher candidates, pre-professional students, pre-engineering students, pre-firefighters and others) through and about investigative scientific processes.  The teacher candidate then uses these skills and applies them in the context of their pre-service field experiences (90 hrs prior to student teaching, and generally two semesters of supervised student teaching under the direction of a highly qualified science educator).  Chiappetta’s 13th chapter on laboratory work is discussed in TE443 where teacher candidates relate their experiences in the many chemistry laboratories to their new role as teacher and coordinator of student learning in laboratory.

Chapter 13  Laboratory and Field Work

·        What is Laboratory Work?

·        Preparing Students for Laboratory Experiences

·        Ensuring Successful Laboratory Experiences

·        Fieldwork

·        Assessing and Reviewing

·        Resources to Examine

·        References



On Form XX, please review the total number of semester hours for the secondary minor and additional endorsements.  Section 2-b of the Program Summary (the sequence of courses) states 23 semester hours and Form XX also adds up to 23, while also reporting 28 semester hours at bottom of Form XX.

We will mark this up to an editing error. With this correction, and the explicit requirement of algebra and statistics, the program size has increased to 57 and 29 semester hours for the major/minor respectively. The changes are indicated on the revised FormXX.


Instructional Faculty table:

  • Explain what the institution is doing to ensure that all faculty members are participating in professional development opportunities.  Two of five members do not list professional development of any kind.

The university provides an annual allocation for each faculty member to pursue professional development.  Attendance and participation at national and regional conferences are common, as are use of these funds for instructional technology and instructional resources (books, subscriptions, etc).   The annual review of faculty, both in the school of education and in the schools and departments across campus, has as part of the contractual obligation, the preparation and assessment of a personal professional development plan.  Reference to, and the criteria of, this plan can be found in the faculty handbook.  The institution makes sufficient opportunity for faculty to avail themselves of professional development opportunities.  The faculty may then take the opportunity to report of the details of their individual activities the purpose of this report and the MDE review panel.



  • Indicate who the instructors are for TE443, GE315, GE318 and GE445.

We regret the oversight in omitting the instructors for these courses, the Instructional faculty table has been revised and new links posted from the program narrative page. The instructors of these courses are as follows:

TE443 – David Myton

GE315 - Diane Krueger

GE318 - Paul Kelso

GE445 - Lewis Brown


  • Describe what the institution is planning to do to increase faculty experience with and knowledge of K-12 Michigan Curriculum Framework and assessment.  Currently, only one of five faculty members listed familiarity with MCF and MEAP.

The School of Education will work with the Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District and the EUP Math/Science Center to hold faculty training sessions in the fall of 2006 to redress the issue of awareness of the MCF and MEAP.  We recognize the importance of this awareness, and that our making the disciplinary faculty aware of the requirement did not equate with their participating in the training opportunities that were offered in the past.  We have the support of our Provost/Academic VP to promote this training and are confident that we will make significant inroads into raising the awareness of our content-area faculty.  A letter of support from the EUPIDS is copied below.


-------- Original Message --------


Re: fall faculty training


Thu, 20 Jul 2006 15:34:07 -0400


Michelle Ribant <>


David Myton <>



Dave - We at the Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District, especially the General Education staff, will be most willing to conduct either half day or short seminar presentations to your staff on the content specific Michigan Curriculum Frameworks and the associated Grade Level Content Expectations (the assessment piece) as well as the very new High School Content Expectations.  I am imagining that you will want to either have a large group session with Math, Science, Language Arts and Social Studies professors and then maybe breakouts around the specific contents?  The large group could then come back together or meet a second time for a short period to talk about the ramifications of testing; MEAP, AYP, NCLB?  We could also work with each group separately. Your call as to what would work best with the faculty.  The first week of school is typically a good week for us as our districts are extremely busy getting things underway.  If that week would work for you, pick some dates, times and we will go from there.  Michelle Ribant, Curriculum Coordinator, EUPISD



  • Express what is being done to encourage P-12 collaborative work for earth space science faculty.  Currently, only one member reported collaborating with elementary and middle schools.  Also, provide additional explanation for how planetarium shows provided collaborative opportunities for earth space science faculty.

The department, which finds its primary interests and faculty focus centered on the preparation of professional geologists, active and ongoing international research agendas, and nationally recognized curriculum reform efforts, may not necessarily find time for collaborative opportunities with regional teachers from our extremely large and remote region.  On the whole, the science faculty at the university have good representation on regional science initiatives, with the School of Education chairman, this author, a tenured professor of chemistry.  The planetarium, and modest museum exhibits associated with our science building, provided opportunities for regional teachers to bring their classes to the university, for dialog with teachers, and for input from the EUPISD and Math/Science Center staff to address MCF/GLCE topics with our faculty.  These discussions have been fruitful and rewarding – and serve to connect our faculty with the teachers in the region which we serve.


Reviewer requests specific information as to how females are encouraged to pursue Earth Science as specified in Section 2-e.  Also, please describe how this incorporates gender equity into the teaching of the subject area.


The biographical poster assignment, described as in the excerpt below from the TE443 syllabus, requires candidates to generate a student assignment, including assessment rubric, in which the learner will identify the contributions of a minority or woman from the content area under examination.  The teacher candidate prepares a lesson, rubric, and exemplar of the assignment poster, as a model for their subsequent use as an assignment for their classroom.  Individuals in the student teaching internship often report the successful use of such assignments in their classes.


Biographical Poster (5%) – as described in the syllabus for TE443

Prepare a lesson plan for an activity where you assign your students to prepare a poster display of a biographical nature on a scientist (from your areas of endorsement).  Create a series of overhead transparencies, or use other appropriate instructional technology, to use in your classroom to define the assignment, its grading rubric.  Prepare a poster to model the assignment for the class.  The focus should be to emphasize the wide diversity of cultural and ethnic backgrounds of scientists (scientists other than white men of European descent).  Outline their background, scientific contributions, and information on their life to help understand them as a whole person, and to demonstrate the interconnectedness of all science.  In-class presentations will allow each person to present their poster before they are placed on display in the school offices.  Turn In: lesson plan, poster and webpage evaluation rubric