Response to APR review of the Graduate Reading Program

Prepared by Delores Heiden, Program Director

April 7, 2006



The Academic Program Review sub-committee’s review of the Graduate Reading Program reveals these areas of concern:


·        It was unclear why there was so little information on previous self-study or past assessment, given that the program was larger (5 fulltime tenured or tenure-track faculty) in the past.


·        The program now has one tenured faculty member, and is seeking to fill one additional tenure-track position. With so few faculty, this makes it difficult to develop the program, and particularly to do so in a timely fashion.


Personnel:  There was an inaccuracy in the original report.  Currently, the Graduate Reading Program has one tenured professor (Reading position) and one tenure-track Associate Professor (Language Arts position).  In the field of literacy education, reading and language arts faculty members are all teachers of reading.  In addition, we have just completed searches for two additional tenure-track faculty, and recommendations have been forwarded to the dean of CLS.  We anticipate that two new hires may join us for fall of 2006.


During the present academic year, plans were laid with teacher educators in graduate reading programs at four other UW System campuses to explore the possibility of developing a collaborative to offer several advanced Reading courses online.  We are waiting for word on the status of our jointly-submitted UW Curricular Redesign Grant proposal, which would provide support for our development of the plan and the creation of the set of 4-5 online  courses.  We believe that this initiative would relieve the burden on a small group of faculty that has wide-ranging responsibilities in both graduate and undergraduate education at each of our institutions, and make graduate coursework in Reading more accessible to teachers who are employed in districts that are some distance from a UW campus.  At the same time, we look for increased numbers in our graduate programs through online course delivery.


·        The program is clearly in transition, and is in the process of defining and updating assessment standards. These standards should be defined and implemented as soon as possible, perhaps with the assistance of other education faculty.


The 2003 Standards of the International Reading Association (IRA) guide our program, and have already replaced the older, 1998 IRA Standards.  Course syllabi reflect the IRA Standards, and all graduate students who will complete their program after June 1 of 2006 must use the 2003 Standards in the creation of their professional portfolios.  Students whose programs were well underway when we migrated to the new standards were given the option of choosing which set of standards to use in the completion of their required professional portfolios.  One graduate student who is finishing this May is nearing completion of her portfolio, which is created around the new standards.  Two others who are finishing at the same time opted to remain under the older standards, but they are the last students who will complete their portfolios under the old standards.


·        The faculty of the Graduate Reading Program should continue to find ways to effectively convey to the administration that they also teach undergraduate courses in reading and literacy, and that these courses are increasingly important as new teachers will be expected to be prepared to teach in Reading First schools funded through No Child Left Behind federal regulations.


With the prospect of four full-time, tenure-track faculty in reading in Fall ’06, the program will actively move forward with plans to create a literacy minor for undergraduates and graduates seeking initial certification in teacher education. 


·        The faculty of the Graduate Reading Program should also continue to seek support for a tutoring clinic, as this was clearly a valuable service to the community and a valuable field component of graduate and undergraduate reading education.


We couldn’t agree more!