UW-RF College Of Education And Graduate Studies Receives Professional Accreditation
January 29, 1999
Studies show that teacher quality is the most important factor in P-12 student achievement. But how do we know that our children's teachers enter the classroom ready to help them learn? Professional accreditation is one way to ensure the public that schools of education are graduating well-qualified teachers ready for today's classrooms.
The University of Wisconsin-River Falls College of Education and Graduate Studies has proven its commitment to producing quality teachers for our nations's children by achieving accreditation under the performance-oriented standards of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, the organization responsible for professional accreditation of teacher education.
UW-RF College of Education and Graduate Studies is one of 57 teacher preparation programs that received either initial or continuing accreditation by NCATE's Unit Accreditation Board in its most recent round of decisions.
While there are almost 1,300 colleges and universities engaged in teacher education only approximately 500 are accredited by NCATE. Those accredited institutions produce two-thirds of the nation's new teacher graduates.
Chancellor Gary A. Thibodeau said the reaccreditation was another indicator of the College's national reputation for teacher excellence.
"It's always heartening to have an affirmation on the quality of your programs from an external accrediting agency. That is particularly validated when you take into consideration that the group that reviewed us through a campus visit consisted of educators with national reputations in teacher education.
"This review is another indicator of national recognition for the quality of our teacher education program," Thibodeau said.
NCATE-accreditated schools must meet rigorous standards set by the profession and members of the public. NCATE standards expect accredited schools of education to ensure that subject matter content, and how to teach it, is a priority; to emphasize school district collaboration; to ensure that candidates can use technology in instruction; and to prepare teacher candidates to teach students from diverse backgrounds. The standards also require the school of education to design a conceptual framework for each program that is based on current and established research and best practices.
Assistant Dean Teri Crotty, who coordinated the campus accreditation process, was pleased that the Board of Examiners noted the faculty commitment to high standards that contribute to the success of UW-RF graduates in the field:
"The commitment of the unit to high standards was evident in the testimony provided by public school personnel with whom UW-RF students interacted. Graduates of the program consistently reported that they felt prepared for the demands of the teaching profession and and that their experiences throughout their program and the unit's faculty members had made a positive impact on both their professional and personal lives."
As evidenced from display projects and feedback from student teachers, undergraduates students and cooperating teachers, UW-RF candidates are well prepared to assume the roles for which they have been trained. Faculty members were cited for teaching students the instructional techniques they will actually apply in the classroom when they assumed K-12 teaching positions.
Meeting NCATE accreditation standards also helps institutions prepare new teachers for new, more rigorous licensing standards in many states. Wisconsin is a partnership state with NCATE and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction conducts joint NCATE/DPI teacher program reviews.
The DPI Liaison, Bob DeMuth, commended the College for its efforts to examine the education program in the context of the new Wisconsin Standards for Teacher Development and Licensure.
CEGS Dean Karen Viechnicki did not join the college until after the acceditation review was completed. However, she said she was impressed with the positive comments made in the final report. She was pleased to note that the depth and breadth of the efforts to engage UW-RF faculty, students and public school personnel in the integration of theory and best practice was cited in the NCATE Board of Examiners report.
NCATE is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the professional accrediting body for schools, departments, and colleges of education. On-site visits, document review, and accreditation decisions are all carried out by professionals from the education community, including teachers, school specialists, and teacher educators, as well as members of the public and education policymakers.
For more information about the University of Wisconsin-River Falls College of Education and Graduate Studies teacher education program, visit the web site at www.uwrf.edu. More information about NCATE is available at www.ncate.org.
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