Missouri State University

Research on Learning, Teaching, and Intervention

Concept:

Research on Learning, Teaching, and Intervention requires systematic analysis of the learning process and identification of instructional methods and modalities that best facilitate learning in typical and atypical populations. Included is an analysis of instructional content, pedagogy, and the relationship of teaching practices and clinical interventions to learner outcomes. Studies in this area involve critical evaluation of instructional practices that have a significant impact on students at all levels of ability, from preschool through adult education. This research also includes an evaluation of how students learn and the social and moral context of the learning and teaching process.

Funding:

Examples of major trends and opportunities in extramural funding

Faculty at Missouri State University currently receive funding from a variety of external agencies for educational and intervention programs, including the U.S. Department of Education, the Missouri Department of Education, Missouri Department of Higher Education, National Endowment for the Arts, and several school districts in southwest Missouri. The majority of these funds currently support efforts in education and service; however, many of these efforts have the potential to be used for research activities.

Many agencies support research on improving learning and the effectiveness of related teaching practices. For example, there are three National Science Foundation initiatives for the science of teaching and learning in college students. Passage of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB, 2001) resulted in an increase in federal and foundation funding for studies regarding optimal literacy instruction and intervention for preschool children and school-age students.

Additional sources include the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the U.S. Department of Education, the National Institutes of Health, the National Alliance for Autism Research (NARR), the National Institute for Literacy, the Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE), Performance Funding (Funding for results); DESE (federal pass through funds), the MDHE Improving Teacher Quality Grants, the Rand Corporation's Council for Aid to Education, the Kaufmann Foundation, the Lilly Foundation, the Kellogg Foundation, the Missouri Foundation for Health, the Missouri Department of Transportation, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Carol M. White Foundation.

Growth:

Examples of areas of knowledge you anticipate will experience the most dramatic growth

Growth in effective practice research for PK-12 schools is anticipated based upon mandates within No Child Left Behind (NCLB, 2001) and the individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA, 2004), which mandate school accountability and evidence of research-based practice. Regionally and nationally, there are demands to evaluate the efficacy of early childhood home care providers.

Emphasis on validated treatments for individuals with disabilities or who are at risk for social and learning problems is emphasized in Federal mandates (IDEA, 2004 & NCLB, 2001). The current era of increased accountability offers significant potential for research that focuses on optimal services for individuals with disabilities, the aging, and other growing populations.

Dramatic growth will occur in issues surrounding the classroom such as violence, the need for alternative schools with effective programs (reducing violence), management of diverse populations of students, conflict management, school democracy, social justice, and social responsibility, optimal instructional methods working with children with special needs, teacher/student retention, home schooling, distance learning and the science of teaching and learning relates to all of these.

Missouri State has exhibited leadership in the development and implementation of two graduate level alternative teacher certification programs that have demonstrated significant growth in the last three years. Nationally recognized programs in Visual Impairment and Orientation and Mobility are unique to Missouri and Kansas, and support multidisciplinary clinical intervention goals. The Institute of School Improvement is directing an ongoing study specific to the alternative certification option, Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT). An IRB proposal specific to the Special Education Alternative Certification Track (SEACT) is under review. In addition, an alternative certification program in Severe Developmental Disabilities is under review by University governance with University and MODESE approval anticipated by May 2006. It will be important to continually evaluate the efficacy of these alternative teacher certification options.

Unique Resources:

Examples of unique existing resources as well as current needs in Missouri, the Ozarks, and/or Springfield regarding economic development, technological advances, cultural enrichment, physical well-being, and/or social prosperity

Existing Resources:

Missouri State is home to Greenwood Laboratory School, which includes kindergarten through Grade 12. Among the factors that promote research in this area are a commitment to research on the part of the faculty, staff, students, and their families and a high rate of student retention, which makes longitudinal research regarding educational practices feasible.

The Academy of Educational Studies was initiated June 2005, to provide a forum for MAT Graduate Program Research and professional development and associated faculty research initiatives are in progress. The Institute for School Improvement (ISI) conducts research and program evaluation and develops special projects that connect communities with schools. ISI contributed to recent NCATE/DESE accreditation efforts by completing policy briefs, research summaries, and a variety of statistical analyses and reports from student, faculty, departmental, college and PEU data. The Child Development Laboratory also offers opportunities for collaborative faculty research across programs.

Missouri State has several partnerships with K-12 and sister institutions in place and there are several community agencies that may partner in research on teaching and learning including the ARC of the Ozarks, the Council of Churches, the Literacy Council, the Health Collaborative of the Community Task Force, the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, and the Governor's Council for Physical Fitness and Health.

The Academic Development Center (ADC) and its Faculty represent another unique resource at Missouri State. ADC sponsors the Teaching Showcase and funds the Missouri State Teaching Fellowship Program. Approximately sixty faculty have participated in the latter program.

ADC houses and provides a searchable database of over 1,100 journal articles related to research on learning and teaching. The ADC Director and the ADC Faculty Associates constitute the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education. They are currently conducting a pre-conference workshop in which they will network with other interested conference attendees. They also are soliciting other faculty interested in research on learning and teaching. Faculty Associates of the ADC have presented a number of papers at national and international conferences regarding their research on learning and teaching.

The Carnegie Association for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL) at Missouri State has developed a five-year plan to foster research on learning and teaching that includes hosting a regional conference on that topic in 2008/2009. Our Integrated Learning Program explores empirical questions related to the research on learning and teaching. There is a strong record of related grant acquisition (COE, CNAS, and Institute for School Improvement). The successful Funding For Results program that has promoted creative teaching.

Needs:

There is a need to coordinate the research on learning and teaching currently conducted by faculty in departments and colleges across the campus. Further, considerable faculty- and administrative time is spent evaluating programs for national and state accreditation. There is a need to encourage faculty (through providing appropriate resources) to utilize data collected in teaching and program evaluation for publishable research. There also is a need to continue an established line of faculty research that focuses on student learning outcomes associated with various alternative course delivery formats (on-line, distance education, short courses, lectures, discussions, debates, etc.).

Collaborations:

Examples of new collaborations in research and/or learning as well as linkages to the University's existing and emerging research strengths

Representatives from Mathematics, Business, and Consumer and Family Studies are discussing a collaborative approach to addressing the personal finance mandate for K-12 students. The ISI coordinates a number of collaborative efforts with Missouri Public Schools and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Currently the Department of Counseling is implementing a Federal Safe Schools grant in collaboration with Springfield Public Schools. Faculty in teacher education across the Professional Education Unit (PEU) participate in a number of site-based program efforts that yield opportunities for applied research and program evaluation.

There is a record of corporate and DESE support in the form of software and hardware awards that facilitate clinical and academic clinical intervention projects. Disciplines participating in research regarding intervention for atypical populations have received national recognition with examples that include, but are not limited to Gerontology and Visual Impairment programs.

Missouri State collaborates with the University of Missouri in the implementation of an Educational Leadership program that leads to an Ed.D. The cooperative doctorate supports professional development research with outcomes that contribute to the professional literature in education, government, and industry. Professional preparation initiatives in Special Education and the Area of Visual Impairment support collaborative efforts within Missouri and Kansas and are funded through DESE and Federal awards.

Missouri State is a prime location for hosting conferences on Learning and Teaching - the Lilly Conference on College Teaching has a north, south, east, west, and a national conference each year). Sponsoring a mid-west division meeting could support multiple disciplines and be attractive to many faculty and researchers in education who study the science of learning and teaching.

Faculty service learning initiatives provide additional examples of collaborations between the university and the community and may yield additional research opportunities. The new Missouri State Community and Social Issues Institute (Office of Research and Economic Development) is seeking funding for collaborative efforts between Missouri State faculty and the community. Related Missouri State faculty efforts could address numerous social needs within area schools.

Strengths:

Examples of building on existing strengths

Missouri State faculty have a record of research in the area of effective instructional practices that yield achievement gains for public school students with examples found in CNAS, COE, CHHS, the ISI, and others as evidenced by a series of Eisenhower , Department of Education, and MODESE Grants and related publications. It is important to note that review of Sponsored Research data indicate extramural funding for learning and teaching initiatives are near the top of the University rankings. In addition to ongoing acquisition of Federal awards yield opportunities for field based research. Subcontracts with the Missouri Assistive Technology Council and DESE sponsored programs (Project ACCESS, Blind Skills Specialist) are only two examples.

Two Federal OSEP grants and numerous DESE awards focus on evaluation of field based outcomes for public school students with disabilities. Long range research plans that focus on enhancing clinical experiences to ensure applied research opportunities of a multidisciplinary nature with emphasis on the aging, disabilities, gender issues, and families are evident across disciplines. Research underway in language and literacy for children with and without communication disorders has been funded by corporate software and equipment grants and has resulted in a state-of-the-art laboratory of augmentative and alternative communication devices and technology supports for literacy as well as numerous national presentations and publications. Faculty in the Missouri State College of Education (COE) have established research agendas investigating teacher supply and demand, teacher retention, distance education, curricula issues, gender issues, collaborative teaming, and professional development in health and social issues specific to educators (HIV and medical management within the IEP, teen pregnancy, behavioral supports, and character education).

Regional and international Hispanic initiatives in COE, as well as site based educational programs, support applied research goals specific to diversity and literacy. Early Childhood has recently obtained a MODESE award that supports pre-school education and research for at risk children. The Academy of Educational Studies provides a forum to support student research in a rapidly growing MAT program.

Mission Fit:

Examples of compatibility with the University's statewide mission in public affairs

The "incubation of new ideas" is one of the five key elements of the University's public affairs mission. To incubate new ideas we must have an effective learning environment. Research on learning informs the teaching process and helps better assure that our students can both grasp existing knowledge and incubate new ideas.

Another key element of the public affairs mission is "modeling ethical behavior," much of which may be modeled in the classroom. Research on learning and teaching addresses this key element.

The university's purpose is to graduate educated persons. Education means learning and research on learning and teaching should then produce educated persons, including faculty who will benefit from such research.

Education Fit:

Examples of contributions to superior undergraduate, graduate, and professional education

Field experiences and research requirements associated with HHS Early Childhood Federal grants, the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership, the site based Elementary Education Program, rural Reading Program Initiatives, the Mathematics Education Program and many other areas support research in learning and teaching. All programs in teacher education are routinely evaluated and accredited at the state and national levels and as a component of accreditation, documentation of effective practice outcomes with PK-12 students is required.

An understanding of teachers, their role in the learning/teaching process, as well an as evaluation of the teaching process and associated learning outcomes is integral to superior graduate, undergraduate and professional education at Missouri State and has relevance for all learning/teaching institutions and organizations.

Sustainability:

Current faculty teaching, advising and service loads, and the lack of available infrastructure to support grant acquisition and implementation, significantly limit the ability of faculty to participate in expanding their research on learning and teaching. As existing research efforts in learning and teaching expand (as they are through the ADC and its Faculty Associates, COE, PEU programs, and others), it is anticipated that external funding opportunities from sources identified in the "Funding" category above will become more readily available.

The development of a graduate program of study in the science of learning and teaching (masters and PhD) could provide additional enrollment income and, simultaneously, make Missouri State an attractive institution for receiving related external funding. With our name change and enhanced infrastructure supports, Missouri State has the potential of being more successful in obtaining funding for research on learning and teaching, particularly if the research has national applicability (relevance to other learning and teaching organizations). It appears that considerable data exist related to PEU student and program evaluation. A review of how data collection within the PEU can facilitate faculty research is warranted.

Recommendations stated in the Research Task Force Statement for the New Five-Year Plan (2/2/05) should be implemented in order to sustain and expand research efforts including public awareness initiatives to support faculty recruitment, incentives and rewards for faculty in line with record of productivity, recognition and support for faculty supervision of student research, careful examination of teaching and service loads to ensure opportunities to conduct research, and other related supports. Several faculty and academic programs share an interest in research on learning and teaching. It will be important to investigate the potential for enhanced collaboration among cost centers to facilitate research outcomes specific to this area.