Cameron University's Department of Education has been granted continuing accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), a national accrediting body for schools, colleges and departments of education authorized by the U.S. Department of Education. NCATE determines which schools, colleges and departments of education meet rigorous national standards in preparing teachers and other school specialists for the classroom.
"Cameron University demonstrates the high standards the profession has set for educator preparation," says Donna M. Gollnick, Senior Vice President, NCATE.
Following an on-site accreditation visit last spring by a team comprised of National and State team members, CU's Department of Education met every standard, and no areas were cited for improvement. In addition, multiple strengths were noted by the team.
"Cameron University's Department of Education has accomplished something rarely done in higher education - receiving the highest score possible on this critical accreditation review," says CU President Cindy Ross. "Not only was the assessment team unable to find any areas in our program that needed improvement, they identified numerous elements as strengths of the program. I commend Dean Ronna Vanderslice and the faculty of the education department for their continuing outstanding performance."
Upon receiving NCATE's report, the governing board for the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation voted unanimously to accept the findings and continue CU's state accreditation.
"Development of teachers for effective early childhood, elementary and secondary education is one of the functions assigned to Cameron University by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education," says Dr. John McArthur, Vice President for Academic Affairs. "The reaccreditation decision by NCATE is an affirmation that Cameron University continues to serve our regional educational community. We strive to prepare students to become high-quality teachers for southwest Oklahoma and beyond because good teachers and effective schools are vital to growth in southwest Oklahoma."
Preparing for the NCATE site-visit was truly a community effort, reports Dr. Ronna Vanderslice, Dean of the School of Education and Behavioral Sciences. "The NCATE review is extremely rigorous, but we were prepared for it," she says. "All faculty and staff in the education department were diligent in their preparation for our NCATE visit, and their efforts were matched by the tremendous support we received from superintendents and faculty from community school districts and from our students. The resulting report is evidence that our program is one of the best in the nation. Certainly we are thrilled to have done so well, but it's more important to note that our students are the ones who will reap the greatest benefit."
Dr. Sherry Labyer, superintendent of Duncan Public Schools, has first-hand knowledge of teachers who received their training and education at Cameron. "As a superintendent involved in hiring, I'm very aware of the importance of high quality teachers," says Labyer. "I'm impressed with the depth of knowledge that Cameron's graduates have and what they bring to the classroom. They are highly qualified, have an understanding of the curriculum and bring a wide variety of experiences that makes Duncan schools better."
CU student Kyle Cunningham, a senior from Lawton majoring in elementary education echoes that sentiment. "Cameron's teacher education programs are fantastic," Cunningham says. "The interactions I've had with faculty combined with the experiences provided by the university have equipped me with the skills necessary to be an outstanding teacher."
NCATE-accredited schools must meet rigorous standards set by the profession and members of the public. The college or university must maintain partnerships with P-12 schools that enable candidates to develop the skills necessary to help students learn. In addition, college and university faculty must model effective teaching practices plus retain the resources, including information technology resources, necessary to prepare candidates to meet new standards.
NCATE revises its standards every five years to incorporate best practice and research in order to ensure that the standards reflect a consensus about what is important in teacher preparation today. Continuing accreditation requires institutions to file annual reports and host an on-site Board of Examiners team every seven years.
November 21, 2008