SARASOTA, Fla. (May 20, 2015) – The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee’s College of Education has been awarded accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the nation’s foremost accrediting organization for teacher education.
NCATE’s board of examiners, which conducted the review, found the college met all standards for categories in bachelor’s and post-graduate educator programs. The college now joins USF St. Petersburg and USF Tampa for having attained separate NCATE accreditation within the USF System. Previously, the USFSM College of Education was NCATE accredited through the USF System.
“It means that the College of Education has been scrutinized by peers in the field of education and that our College of Education has essentially been deemed world class,” said Dr. Terry Osborn, regional vice chancellor for academic and student affairs.
NCATE merged two years ago with the Teacher Education Accreditation Council to form the Council for the Accreditation for Educator Preparation (CAEP).
However, USFSM’s College of Education was accredited under NCATE standards covering all educator programs for pre-K to 12 settings, whether in public, private or charter schools or in online programs.
Accreditation was determined by assessing six categories of NCATE standards:
- Candidate knowledge, skills and professional dispositions: Teacher candidates must demonstrate in-depth knowledge of their subject areas and the ability to convey that information to students.
- Assessment system and unit evaluation: The college must establish a procedure to evaluate the knowledge and skills of its teacher candidates as well as its own teacher programs.
- Field experiences and clinical practice: The institution must form partnerships with pre-K to 12 schools to enable teacher candidates to develop their skills.
- Diversity: Candidates must be prepared to understand and work with diverse student populations.
- Faculty qualifications, performance and development: College faculty are qualified and must demonstrate effective teaching practices. Faculty undergo professional development and performance evaluation.
- Unit governance and resources: The college must have the resources to effectively prepare teacher candidates to meet professional, state and institutional standards.
In awarding accreditation, CAEP wrote that the College of Education excelled in “high-quality educator preparation.”
“This accreditation decision indicates that the educator preparation provider and its programs meet rigorous standards set forth by the professional education community,” Christopher A. Koch, interim president of CAEP, wrote in a May 15 letter to Dr. Sandra Stone, regional chancellor for USF Sarasota-Manatee. “Congratulations again on this accomplishment.”
The accreditation process took six years, starting with interviews with community members, and included the evaluation and documentation of all undergraduate and graduate programs, the formation of new programs, the assessment and reporting of all faculty and educator candidates, a site visit by NCATE’s board of examiners and continual dialogue with the examiners. NCATE’s examiners visited the USF Sarasota-Manatee last fall.
USF Sarasota-Manatee, including all of its colleges, is wholly accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The College of Education’s accreditation through CAEP/NCATE represents an additional and specialized accreditation.
“It is the gold standard of accreditation,” said Dr. Bonnie Jones, assistant vice president for institutional research and effectiveness at USF Sarasota-Manatee.
NCATE, founded by teaching professionals in 1954, was already the largest accrediting organization nationally before it merged with the Teacher Education Accreditation Council in 2013 to form CAEP.
Within the CAEP system, 169 institutions and 224 educational programs are accredited under Teacher Education Accreditation Council standards while 846 institutions are accredited nationally under NCATE standards.
NCATE standards are data-driven to show what teachers know and can do in the classroom. They were subjected to continual revision every five years to ensure they met the latest research and best practices.
USF Sarasota-Manatee’s College of Education began seeking NCATE accreditation in 2009. NCATE accredited USF St. Petersburg’s College of Education separately in May 2010 after seven years of effort there.
Dr. G. Pat Wilson, interim dean of USF Sarasota-Manatee’s College of Education, said the accreditation strengthens the university’s identity in southwest Florida while confirming the work by faculty and staff to educate prospective teachers and school leaders to the highest level.
“It establishes us as an educator preparation program that has been reviewed rigorously and has met these national standards,” Dr. Wilson said.
Once students graduate from the College of Education, it means “they can compete more readily with students from different universities because there is this level of expectation,” she said.
Added Dr. Jones, “The accreditation, itself, gives the College of Education that stamp of quality. It assures parents and students that they are getting a quality education that will help our graduates get a good job.”
Dr. Sandra Stone, regional chancellor for USF Sarasota-Manatee, said of the college’s accreditation: “Earning accreditation through NCATE is so important for our College of Education. It puts us on par with the top educational programs throughout the world and shows the terrific work that is being done by our faculty and students. This recognition also means that USFSM will continue to provide top-notch teachers and educators to our local schools and communities.”
For more information on the USF Sarasota-Manatee College of Education, please visit USFSM.edu/College-of-Education.