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School of Education among 13 to win CAEP honor

students teaching an elementary class

Carolina’s School of Education is among 13 educator-preparation programs from across the country and Puerto Rico to win recognition for its work to adopt continuous improvement methods in its efforts to instill better ways to prepare teachers and other educators.

The award from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) went to educator preparation programs that during the past year achieved re-accreditation from CAEP with no stipulations or identified areas for improvement.

“We are delighted to receive this recognition,” said Fouad Abd-El-Khalick, dean of the School of Education. “Our faculty and staff worked hard last year to document our efforts in educator preparation, which included details about our work that is aimed at continuously improving the ways in which we prepare educators. This recognition is a reflection of an enduring commitment to excellence by our faculty and staff.”

The award — named the Frank Murray Leadership Recognition for Continuous Improvement — is named after the founding president of the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). CAEP was created by the consolidation of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and TEAC.

According to CAEP, recipients of the Murray Recognition were selected from the pool of educator preparation providers (EPPs) that earned CAEP accreditation in the previous year. These institutions provided evidence and demonstrated data trends with no stipulations or areas for improvement, CAEP said.

“This award recognizes EPPs meeting all CAEP standards at a high level of engagement and consistency,” said Diana Lys, assistant dean of educator preparation and accreditation. “Accreditation is a peer review and a partner-informed process. Together, we prepare excellent educators.”

Providers selected advance equity and excellence in educator preparation through purposeful use of self-study procedures and evidence-based reporting that assure quality and support continuous improvement to strengthen P-12 learning, CAEP said in a news release.

These EPPs have a mission driving their continuous improvement inquiry, use assessments that are relevant to the topic being informed and consequential, show the reliability and validity of the evidence provided for accreditation, and have quality assurance capacities that inform their knowledge and address questions about relationships in the data, CAEP said.

“This first class to receive the Murray Recognition represent the diversity and innovation that comes with CAEP accreditation. Small, large, public, private, faith-based, and historically minority serving,” said CAEP President Chris Koch. “These recipients reflect the creativity that CAEP affords in achieving excellence, by meeting the standards in a variety of ways, for the diverse populations they serve.”

The School’s re-accreditation followed a year-long review 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.

“Many people within our School and from among our partner institutions contributed observations, insights, and data during the re-accreditation process,” said Abd-El-Khalick. “I am grateful for their contributions and to Assistant Dean Diana Lys for leading the effort.”

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 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.

In addition to his presidency, Murray also served as chairman of the board for TEAC and was an initial member of the CAEP Board of Directors. He was a key advocate for the creation of a single set of teacher preparation standards to unify the profession. He previously served as the dean of the College of Education at the University of Delaware from 1979 to 1995.

“Frank Murray was passionate about education preparation, a prominent leader in our profession, and an advocate for evidence to improve education,” said Karen Symms Gallagher, chair of the CAEP Board of Directors. “The providers that CAEP is recognizing are committed to continuous improvement and preparing their students to succeed in a diverse range of classrooms after they graduate. CAEP Accreditation is a sign of commitment to quality through purposeful use of evidence. The Murray Leadership Recognition recipients should be proud of their accomplishments.”

CAEP Accreditation serves the dual purposes of accountability and continuous improvement. In total, 238 educator preparation providers in 43 states have been accredited under the CAEP Standards. The CAEP accreditation process evaluates the performance of providers and focuses particularly on whether candidates will be prepared, by completion, for the challenging responsibilities that educators face in America’s classrooms.

Currently, more than 800 educator preparation providers participate in the CAEP Accreditation system, including many previously accredited through former standards. CAEP is the only educator preparation provider recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.