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School of Education’s educator-preparation program gains re-accreditation

‘Amazing outcome’ as accrediting agency identifies no areas of needed improvement

The School of Education’s educator-preparation program has been re-accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation in a report that indicated no areas of needed improvement.

The re-accreditation follows a year-long review of the School of Education and a multi-day site visit in February. A CAEP site visit team reviewed extensive documentation, conducted interviews of faculty, staff, students and school district partners as part of its assessment of whether the educator-preparation at Carolina meets the accreditation body’s standards.

“It’s rare for a teacher-preparation program to emerge from a CAEP accreditation process with no identified areas of needed improvement,” said Fouad Abd-El-Khalick, dean of the School of Education. “This amazing outcome is surely attributable to the rigor and excellence of our faculty, staff, and administrators, as well as the efforts and meaningful collaborations of our partner school districts and state education agencies.”

CAEP evaluates educator-preparation programs against a set of standards in five groups:

  • Content and Pedagogical Knowledge
  • Clinical Partnerships and Practice
  • Candidate Quality, Recruitment, and Selectivity
  • Program Impact
  • Provider Quality Assurance and Continuous Improvement

The previous accreditation review in 2008 identified three areas for improvement, all of which were removed from this year’s report after the School demonstrated it had met the requirements of those standards.

“The site visit team expressed how impressed they were with the strength of our programs and the evidence of commitment of School of Education faculty and partners to continued improvement of our programs,” said Lys, who led the School team that worked with the CAEP evaluation process.

The School of Education offers initial licensure for teachers through its Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program; UNC-BEST, a baccalaureate program for math and science majors; and, a bachelor of music program in music education.

During the period that was reviewed by CAEP, the School transitioned from a traditional, four-year undergraduate program to a MAT program. The CAEP report cited strengths of the MAT program, saying it is designed to build upon students’ undergraduate content knowledge through extensive field experiences.

The CAEP report cited students’ engagement in experiential learning opportunities, a key component of the School’s teacher-preparation programs.

“Site visit interviews with current teacher candidates provided anecdotal evidence that these non-traditional experiences compliment traditional school-based experiences,” the report said. “As one candidate stated in the interview, ‘[W]e learned how the community fits in the school, and how the school should fit into the community. It was eye-opening!’”

The CAEP report also described the experience of school principals who hire graduates from the School of Education: “Principals were satisfied with program completers as indicated by their hires of completers. They highlighted the following characteristics of program completers: the ability to differentiate instruction, high professional standards, willingness to address social justice issues, and openness to cooperation.”

The report also highlighted the School’s commitment to building a diverse student body as demonstrated by the hiring of a director of recruitment who works to build a more diverse pipeline of candidates for its programs.

Carolina has been preparing professional teachers for more than 140 years. The unit that became the School of Education was formed in 1885, one of only four professional schools established at UNC-Chapel Hill during the 19th century.