Educator-Preparation Programs Receive Renewed National Accreditation
The quality of educators has a tremendous impact on the achievement of students, which is why officials at the University of Arkansas believe it is essential that programs preparing professional educators be held to the highest standards possible.
The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education recently awarded the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas continuing accreditation for its professional education unit. The accreditation applies to degree programs that prepare teachers, administrators, counselors and speech pathologists. The counseling and speech pathology programs are also accredited by separate accrediting bodies.
"Obtaining professional accreditation is a vitally important way to ensure the public that schools of education are graduating well-qualified educators ready for today's schools," said University of Arkansas Chancellor John A. White. "National accreditation further verifies that our College of Education and Health Professions is a leader in providing the best educated and best prepared teachers to shape the minds that will build a bright future for the state of Arkansas."
University of Arkansas education graduates take positions throughout the United States and have won national awards for their work in schools. Earlier this year, the American Association for Petroleum Geologists chose Ryan Henry, a 2004 graduate of the Master of Arts in Teaching program, as the earth science teacher of the year for the nation. At the time, Henry was working with at-risk youth at an alternative high school in Tulsa, Okla.
Also this year, Deb Walter, a physical education teacher in the Rogers School District, was named secondary physical education teacher of the year by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education. Walter, who also works with at-risk youth, earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the College of Education and Health Professions.
Debbie Davis, who earned a doctor of education degree in 2005 from the University of Arkansas, was honored last month in Washington as the state's 2006 elementary principal of the year by the National Association of Elementary School Principals. Davis was principal of Bayyari Elementary School in Springdale when she won the award and has since become director of the Master Principal Institute of the Arkansas Leadership Academy based in the College of Education and Health Professions.
"The college has proven its commitment to producing high-quality educators for our nation's children by undergoing the rigorous accreditation process based on performance-oriented standards of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education," said Reed Greenwood, dean of the College of Education and Health Professions. "The college is especially grateful to Tom Smith and Janet Penner-Williams, our former head and assistant head of the department of curriculum and instruction, respectively, for their leadership and extraordinary effort that made this successful review possible."
NCATE, a specialized accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for schools, colleges and departments of education, accredits 623 institutions that produce two-thirds of the nation's new teacher graduates each year. Another 99 institutions are candidates or precandidates for accreditation.
NCATE-accredited schools must meet rigorous standards set by the profession and members of the public. Teacher candidates must have in-depth knowledge of the subject matter that they plan to teach as well as the skills necessary to convey it so that students learn. The college or university must carefully assess this knowledge and skill to determine that candidates may graduate. The institution must have partnerships with P-12 schools that enable candidates to develop the skills necessary to help students learn. Candidates must be prepared to understand and work with diverse student populations. College and university faculty must model effective teaching practices.
The school, college, or department of education must have the resources, including information technology resources, necessary to prepare candidates to meet new standards.
NCATE revises its standards every five years to incorporate best practice and research in order to ensure that the standards reflect a consensus about what is important in the preparation of educators today.
Accrediting examiners will next visit the University of Arkansas in the fall of 2011 to review programs.
College of Education and Health Professions
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Heidi Stambuck, director of communications
College of Education and Health Professions
(479) 575-3138, email@example.com