Dr. Tanya McCoss-Yerigan
2011-2015 4-Year Report

When I accept a task or position, I make it a personal challenge to do my very best.  As a result, teaching effectively and performing at the highest standard possible is of the utmost importance to me.  As an SMSU professor, I am constantly challenging myself to do the best I can for my students and the institution.  SMSU has been part of my adult life since I was a senior in high school and moved here as one of first full-time PSEO groups.  Since then, this institution has either been part of my professional focus as a student and/or as an employee.  In short, SMSU is important to me on a personal and professional level.  I am constantly striving to uphold the integrity of the degree(s) we are granting.  

On a spectrum from easy to difficult, my students would probably say I fall in the latter.  They are well aware they could have selected a professor that would have presented them with much less work throughout the two-year program.  With that said, my students are proud of the work they do with me.  They know they are "earning" their degree in a time when many colleagues are being viewed as having attended a "degree mill".  My students know that I will hold the bar high and push them to deliver quality work.  My students are made to redo their work until it meets the expectation of the learning community.  I can't count the times that I have been "thanked" for upholding this standard.   So, yes, my students would tell you that I provide a rigorous program that is appreciated because it is paired with relevance.  Rigor without relevance is a waste of their time.  They know I will not do this to them.  They know this because I invite them to share the governance of the program with me through facilitator assessment and a high functioning graduate council.  My students are told to challenge me as I challenge them.  I want to be better at what I do and the students push me to become my personal and professional best for them and for all future students who come after.  

I often conduct very similar work that I expect of my students.  I expect them to engage in research, so I do it to.  I expect them to engage in scholarly reading, so I do it to.  I expect them to build a portfolio, so I do it to.  I believe in leading jointly (with my students) and by example.  One of my goals for criterion one is to organize the learning communities.  Not just the learning communities in general but each learning community that I offer.  The students that comprise a learning community are not the same nor should my approach to them be.  Now, that all sounds pretty but to put it into practice is a challenge.  During this entire 4-year cycle, I have worked diligently at compiled portfolios for each of my learning community sites.  To date, I have compiled them into traditional 3-ring binders which include my syllabi, each weekend agenda, all weekend handouts (mine and those the students bring), and a comprehensive overview of the weekend.  In the past couple of years, this 3-ring binder has been made available to my students through the use of D2L.  Through my LC D2L sites, my students have electronic access to everything I utilize to create a successful weekend experience. 

Another goal for criterion one was to collect monthly evaluations regarding my student growth and application of learning.  I want to make sure they are learning and have something to immediately implement into their practice from our weekends.  If I see these percentages decline in the weekend Survey Monkey evaluations, I know that I need to revise my curriculum for the next weekend by bringing in new content and more applicable information.  To do this in an organized fashion, I have developed an instructional improvement log.  I utilize the log to document areas that I need to improve.  I also have my students evaluate my facilitation skills.  I do this so I know if I need to be making changes to the way I approach a certain group of students.  These can be both very rewarding and convicting.  For instance, the last several years my facilitation evaluations have been in the high 90% satisfaction range.  Last year, I saw these take a decline in two areas including seeming unapproachable and being distracted by technology (phone and iPad).  It was an eye-opener to me and career-changing.  I realized that no matter how much praise and high rankings I'd had, I have to continually work hard to maintain them.  I had to face that I had grown accustom to them and was taking the students for granted.  I immediately called a retreat with my co-facilitators to dig deep into all the data and devise a plan for improvement for me and our programming.  In preparation for the retreat, I supervised and helped plan a doctoral internship for Jay Meiners.  His internship was research-based and was used to take several years of my facilitation, overall program, and site data collected via Survey Monkey and make recommendations for my programming and facilitation.  This data was presented at the facilitation retreat I hosted.  From the presentation, changes were made to our curriculum and facilitation plan.  In addition to data driven changes, we also integrated much more technology into the curriculum for the 2014-2016 learning communities. 

In an effort to address a request from students, I developed several courses and marketing packages for credits beyond the master's program for teachers.  I worked hard to prepare a package that would give them the number of courses they needed while also offering the courses that were most meaningful to them.  The students were involved in the curriculum design as well as the overall courses.  This remains a significant area of interest for me.  I am currently researching the following topics with the intention of developing additional courses:  teacher sexual misconduct, childhood trauma, educator reflection and making learning real.

This brief summary only provided some of the criterion one highlights from my 4-year plan.  Please click on the brown box below for the full comprehensive criterion one report.  
 Criterion One Philosophy & Highlights