Teacher preparation program receives national reaccreditation
Contact: Rene Abadie
HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University’s teacher preparation program has received a seven-year national reaccreditation, university officials have announced.
The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the primary accrediting body for teacher preparation programs, approved the university’s undergraduate and graduate programs after a site visit and comprehensive review conducted earlier this year.
“The program met or exceeded all national standards and received no recommendations for changes or improvements,” said Southeastern Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Tammy Bourg.
NCATE is an alliance of 33 national professional organizations of the teaching profession and education policy community. The organization currently accredits more than 630 institutions which produce approximately two-thirds of the nation’s new teacher graduates each year.
“Today’s teachers must be effective educators, with a strong depth of content knowledge in the areas they teach and knowledge of the general principles of effective teaching and learning,” said Interim President John Crain. “Achieving this reaccreditation ensures Southeastern teacher candidates are engaged in a rigorous process to prepare them for a career in teaching.”
“Reaccreditation means our program meets or exceeds the national standards of academic quality needed to produce the teachers of today,” said Diane Allen, dean of the College of Education and Human Development.
Southeastern is one of the largest producers of teachers in the state, graduating about 300 each year. The program has approximately 1,450 undergraduate students and another 400 studying at the graduate level. Southeastern’s doctoral program in educational leadership, the first at the institution, now has more than 60 students enrolled with its first graduates anticipated in spring 2009. The program has been nationally accredited since 1976.
One of the strongest elements of Southeastern’s teacher education programs is the emphasis placed on student field experiences and clinical practice, Allen said. Southeastern requires education students to undergo extensive screening interviews, gain significant classroom experience in area elementary and secondary schools, and participate in service learning projects prior to beginning their student teaching. The university maintains partnerships with 26 area school systems and more than 320 area schools for student teaching and clinical experience.
“This helps us evaluate a student’s potential as a teacher, as well as provide the students with real-world experiences that aid them in deciding whether or not teaching is a profession they want to pursue,” she said.
Southeastern was the first university in the state and one of the first in the nation to institute a “teacher guarantee” program, ensuring its education graduates know their subject matter, can teach to a diverse student population and can infuse technology throughout the curriculum.
The Southeastern education program has benefited from significant external funding in ecent years, including a $1.2 million grant from the Wallace Foundation to a state partnership of four universities that is focused on the redesign of educational leadership preparation and $600,000 in grants from the Library of Congress to encourage the use of the Library’s vast online resources in teaching.