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Teacher Education Department achieves candidacy status for NCATE accreditation
06-11-13

The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) has accepted the Teacher Education Department at Misericordia University as a formal candidate for accreditation. While still known widely as NCATE, currently the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) is being merged with NCATE to create a single accreditation body for teacher education programs. The emerging organization is the Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (CAEP).

Candidacy status means that the Department of Teacher Education at Misericordia University has met preconditions for accreditation but is not accredited. The candidacy covers initial teacher preparation programs and advanced educator preparation programs at Misericordia University. However, the candidacy does not include individual education courses that the program offers to pre-school to 12th-grade educators for professional development, relicensure, or other purposes, according to CAEP.

“Candidacy status’’ is the first step in an arduous, but important progression in the national accrediting process with CAEP that began two years ago for Misericordia University. The next step is approval by individual professional organizations such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Council for Exceptional Children. The final step is to be fully accredited by CAEP, which could be completed by fall 2015.

CAEP-accredited education programs at colleges and universities undergo a thorough external review to validate candidate proficiency in teaching and mastery of content. CAEP is a national accrediting agency affiliated with the Commission on Higher Education of the United States Department of Education. It accredits more than 650 institutions of higher learning, while almost 70 others are candidates and pre-candidates for accreditation. Founded in 1954, CAEP is a nonprofit organization that establishes rigorous standards for teacher education programs, holds accredited institutions accountable for meeting established standards, and encourages unaccredited schools to demonstrate the quality of their programs by working for and achieving professional accreditation, according to CAEP (ncate.org). The Misericordia University Teacher Education Department began the accreditation process in 2011, in part, “because of the faculty’s desire to obtain an additional external affirmation and recognition of the level of excellence within our programs,’’ said Stephen Broskoske, Ed.D., associate professor of teacher education.

Teacher education was one of the inaugural academic programs made available at Misericordia when it was founded in 1924. The program has always been fully accredited by the Pennsylvania Department of Education since its inception. The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools also has reviewed and approved all of the teacher education programs at Misericordia. The University’s programs also are in compliance with the regulatory changes the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania made in governing teacher certification effective Jan. 1, 2013.

The Teacher Education Department has undergraduate majors in primary education with special education, middle-level education and in five areas of secondary education – biology, chemistry, history/citizenship, English and mathematics. At the graduate level, the department offers specializations in instructional technology, special education and reading specialist.

“The accreditation process affirms that the University and its faculty are accountable to our students and to the children they will be teaching in the years to come,’’ added Dr. Broskoske. “It is another way to document that we are incorporating proven best practices in education and in measuring our program against national standards.’’

CAEP accreditation also is beneficial to graduates of these programs, as they will generally find it easier to apply for licensure when they move out of state due to the reciprocity agreements that have been reached with states and with CAEP, according to CAEP.