Department of Teacher Education recognized among the nation's best


The Misericordia University Teacher Education Program is one of 105 teacher preparation programs in the country and one of only seven in Pennsylvania named to the Honor Roll in the 2013 National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) ratings released by U.S. News & World Report on June, 18.
 Misericordia University’s undergraduate secondary education program received three out of four stars in the national report, “Teacher Prep Review: A Review of the Nation’s Teacher Preparation Programs 2013.’’ The three-star designation means the Misericordia University Teacher Education Program “provides strong preparation,’’ according to the report. Of the 1,200 elementary and secondary education programs in the United States that were assigned an overall program rating by NCTQ, only 9 percent received the special Honor Roll designation by earning three or four stars.
In northeastern Pennsylvania, Misericordia University is one of only two schools to be recognized nationally. Four schools achieved a four-star ranking in the NCATE study.
“Misericordia University is proud to be ranked among the very best teacher education programs in the country,’’ said Joseph Rogan, Ed.D., professor of teacher education at Misericordia University. “As the most senior teacher education program in northeastern Pennsylvania, Misericordia has been preparing highly proficient and professional educators for generations by addressing state and professional standards, and utilizing proven best practices for instruction.’’
The final report is a 2.5-year effort to gauge the quality of the bachelor’s and master’s degree tracks required to enter the teaching profession, according to U.S. News & World Report. NCTQ’s ratings evaluated 1,200 teacher preparation programs at 608 colleges and universities on key standards designated by the research group.
NCTQ reviewed applicable key standards including admissions selection criteria, student teaching programs, early reading, elementary math, history, and science curricula, as well as high school curricula and middle school content. NCTQ used course requirements, syllabi, employer surveys and detailed student-teaching contracts, among other documents, to score undergraduate and graduate teaching preparation programs on each of these standards. It then assigned an overall program rating on a scale of 0 to 4 stars, four being the highest, according to NCTQ.
Among the key standards, the Misericordia University Teacher Education Program received four stars in selection criteria, common core middle school content, common core high school content and classroom management, and two stars for outcomes.
To earn a program rating of three or more stars, programs must score relatively well across multiple standards. Few programs, according to NCTQ, are able to accomplish that. Teacher education programs with strong selection criteria may not require strong content preparation or have a strong policy regarding student teaching placements. Or those that provide excellent instruction in early reading may not also do so in elementary math, according to the report.
The Department of Teacher Education at Misericordia University voluntarily shared its internal documentation for the collaboration between U.S. News & World Report and NCTQ shortly after it was requested. “We believe in a transparent and accountable process that strives to improve teacher education quality, teacher quality and student instruction,’’ said Dr. Rogan. “In order to accomplish these noble goals, it is vitally important that proven best practices are shared throughout the education field. It is paramount that we work together to ensure a high quality education for today’s and tomorrow’s children.’’
To ensure quality instruction and preparedness, the Misericordia University Teacher Education Program has been among the first in the state to seek accreditation under newly established standards. In 2001, Misericordia volunteered to be the first program in the state reviewed and accredited under the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s new standards and was among the first to be reaccredited under the 2010 guidelines.
The common teacher education core at Misericordia University is consistent throughout the program. It includes courses in development, learning, classroom management and field experiences for the undergraduate secondary education program, as well as the special education, Pre-K to fourth grade and middle school programs.
“Two years ago, we also voluntarily started the process to seek national accreditation through the prestigious National Council for Accreditation for Teacher Education,’’ said Dr. Rogan, outlining another example of the Misericordia seeking an independent external review to measure the academic program’s quality. “We recently were notified that this national organization has granted us ‘candidacy status’ – a noteworthy accomplishment from a recognized agency that thoroughly reviews teacher education programs from top to bottom, including curriculum and instruction.’’
For more information about the Department of Teacher Education at Misericordia University, please call (570) 674-6400 or log on to Founded and Sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy in 1924, Misericordia University is Luzerne County’s first four-year college and offers 36 academic programs on the graduate and undergraduate levels in full and part-time formats.