Volume 23, Issue 1

Educational Planning:  The Ethics of Compromise

Adam E. Nir

This manuscript focuses on ethics in educational policy planning. Specifically, it raises the question of how policy plan analysis may indicate for planners’ ethics in considering that educational planners operate in an environment characterized by a variety of contradicting interests making compromises essential. The manuscript, which offers criteria that may be employed to assess and classify compromises, argues that different types of compromises may serve as proxies for planners’ ethics. However, although the evaluation of compromises may produce valuable information, it is important to acknowledge that plans do not reflect the unique circumstances which existed while planning processes were performed. In this sense, an external assessment of planners’ ethical conduct is limited. Therefore, it is concluded that much depends on planners’ ethical and professional judgment and ability to maintain a conscientious balance between various considerations and expectations so that the compromises made will be less likely to produce paradoxical plans limiting educational development and progression.

Planning For A School Building Renovation

Glen I. Earthman and Carol S. Cash

Many school systems in the United States face the prospect of renovating existing buildings rather than constructing new facilities because of budgetary limitations and constraints. The least disruption to the educational process when a building is scheduled for renovation is to move the student body to a vacant building. This option is not available to the vast majority of school systems and the student body must remain in the building while the renovation takes place. Students are moved from space to space in the building as renovation takes place. Obviously the renovation process is a disruption to the educational process. Some research substantiates this assertion (Maxwell, 1996). She found that the student achievement scores dropped during the period of renovation in both the third and sixth grade mathematics and reading scores. The student scores increased when the students returned to newly renovated buildings. There is some recent research, however, that indicates student performance during the renovation process is not as disrupted as previously thought. Mayo (2010), Norman (2014), and Thompson (2014) investigated the influence a renovation had upon student achievement while enrolled in a building during a renovation. They compared student scores during three time periods – pre-renovation, during the renovation and post renovation. All of the researchers found there was no significant difference in student scores during all three phases of the renovation process. Additional research (Wheeler, 2014) suggests that teachers may be doing something to keep student performance at a high level during a disruption of the educational program. In Wheeler’s study of teacher reaction to such a disruption, teachers suggested that close collaboration, focusing upon the necessary elements of the curriculum, increased use of technology, and collaboration of faculty to provide resources for alternative activities in the classroom might help keep students on task and perform better. Such activates on the part of the faculty might ease the disruption of a renovation and maintain student progress.

Planning Classroom Design and Layout to Increase Pedagogical Options for Secondary Teachers

Angel Ford

The places where high school teachers teach have a relationship with what and how their students learn. Certain aspects of the physical environment have been examined for decades, such as those that affect basic physiological needs including but not limited to climate control, air quality, appropriate lighting, and cleanliness. In addition to these needs, it is important to examine learning spaces in light of the changing pedagogies that teachers are being encouraged to employ with this current generation of students. Pedagogies are continually being added to and adapted; however, improvements in the physical environment are not always considered components of these curriculum adjustments. Without the proper facilities, teachers are limited in the pedagogical techniques they can utilize. As teachers are being required to differentiate teaching strategies, they need to be provided with the appropriate resources, including the most effective physical environments and classroom layouts and the training to use those spaces effectively. Continued studies are necessary to elucidate evidence for those aspects of the physical learning environment that are most effective for aiding in 21st century learning.

Evaluating the Impact of Strategic Planning in Higher Education

Kathleen M. Immordino, Ralph A. Gigliotti, Brent D. Ruben, and Sherrie Tromp

Strategic planning can be broadly defined as a process used by organizations to define strategy and provide direction regarding future decisions. Grounded in the organization’s mission and vision, it is widely recognized as fundamental to an organization’s success over time. A growing number of higher education institutions are incorporating strategic planning processes at the institution-wide level, or for individual schools or programs. While there are multiple models of strategic planning, many of which include a periodic review of the resulting goals and objectives, there are few, if any, assessments of the impact of the process itself. This study of one intentional model for strategic planning at State University indicates that the program has been successful not only in assisting departments and programs in developing mission and vision statements, organizational goals, and action plans, but also in disseminating organizational information, promoting participation, incorporating new members, and heightening awareness of strengths and opportunities for improvement.

Planning for Faculty Recruitment and Assessment in Higher Education: Considering Student Preferences for Faculty Characteristics in Poland and Switzerland

Slawomir Rebisz, Edyta Tominska, and Ilona Sikora

When characterizing a professional academic teacher, we should consider all the expectations that university teachers face. These can relate both to their academic work, various forms of didactic work and the building of relations with students. Exploring and defining the factors relevant to the ways in which lecturers effectively influence the educational process seems to be indispensable, especially in the context of planning for the employment of professional academic staff with the appropriate competences and approach to work, and, above all, their positive attitudes toward students. It is therefore as important to plan the employment of academic staff, based on the information acquired in the evaluation process, as it is to plan well for courses adjusted to a given educational level. In this sense, it is very helpful to examine students’ expectations of their teachers relating to teaching qualities and teacher-student relations. This knowledge can help teachers plan for specific forms of didactic work as needed, and adopt an approach that fosters the building of good relations with students, based on the well experienced master-pupil formula, involving mutual respect, understating and partnership. The purpose of the current study is to present the results of research regarding students’ preferred characteristics of academic teachers. The study was conducted at the Faculty of Education, University of Rzeszow (PL) and the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the University of Geneva (CH). The comparative research involved a sample of 413 full-time students, 268 from a Polish university, and 145 from a Swiss university. The result of data analysis indicated that as far as the characterization of an academic teacher is concerned, students from the two universities expressed different priorities. The differences are not even subtle as the two groups chose to give precedence to different qualities. A univariate analysis of variance (ANOVA) indicated that the variable that differentiated the significance of individual factors was the level of study.