University of Cincinnati Honored with National Award for Its Preparation of Teachers

University of Cincinnati meets the rigorous performance-based standards to achieve the endorsement of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

By: Dawn Fuller

The No Child Left Behind Act – signed into law by President George W. Bush – requires that by the next school year, there is to be a “highly qualified teacher in every classroom.” The University of Cincinnati teaching program is now recognized for meeting the high standards of preparing tomorrow’s teachers. The College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services achieved accreditation under the performance-oriented standards of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the organization responsible for professional accreditation of teacher education.

The recognition is another glowing review for a college that just broke the top 100 graduate school rankings in education, at number 78, in U.S. News & World Report. Around the nation, NCATE-accredited schools must meet rigorous standards set by the profession. Teacher candidates must demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the subject matter they will be teaching in the classroom, as well as show a variety of teaching skills to reach the diverse learning styles of their students. The colleges also must have partnerships with pre-kindergarten through 12-grade schools so that teacher candidates can perfect their skills in classrooms. UC has had a long-standing partnership with Cincinnati Public Schools, and UC teacher candidates are also gaining teaching experience in 31 other school districts in southwest Ohio.

Faculty must model effective teaching practices to achieve accreditation through NCATE, and colleges must have the resources, such as information technology, to prepare candidates for the new education standards. A team representing the NCATE Board of examiners visited the college last fall to explore the college’s reputation among students, faculty, the university and outlying communities.

“The NCATE team report noted that the assessment of our undergraduate program was the best the team had seen,” says Lawrence J. Johnson, dean of the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services. “The report also praised the significant improvement of our programs.”

Johnson is a member of the state Educator Standards Board, which collaborates with the Ohio Board of Regents to develop and recommend standards for Ohio teachers and principals, renewal licenses for educators, and professional development standards. Johnson is also co-chair of the Teacher Quality Partnership, a statewide study of Ohio’s 50 teacher education programs. The $10-million study is following graduating students into their teaching jobs to explore the qualities of an outstanding teacher and how these high standards can improve the math and English performance of schoolchildren. University of Cincinnati, The Ohio State University and the University of Dayton are leading the partnership.

NCATE revises its standards every five years to continually strive for best practices. In the past decade, the accreditation organization has moved from a system that focused on curriculum and what teacher candidates were offered to a data-driven performance-based system, dedicated to determining what candidates know and what they’re able to do. Multiple demonstrations of their high performance are expected through the program of study in order to win accreditation. NCATE currently accredits 602 institutions which produce two-thirds of the nation’s teacher graduates each year.

The NCATE unit at UC is comprised of the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services; McMicken College of Arts and Sciences; College-Conservatory of Music; College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning; College of Allied Health Sciences; Clermont College and the School of Social Work.

“Preparing skilled, effective and caring teachers is a fundamental component of the mission of higher education,” says Anthony J. Perzigian, UC senior vice president and provost for baccalaureate and graduate education. “Through NCATE’s accreditation, UC has earned important distinction and validation in an area vital to our nation’s development. It’s a proud day, and we should celebrate the achievements of our teacher preparation programs.”

The U.S. Department of Education recognizes NCATE as a specialized accrediting body for schools, colleges and departments of education. Founded in 1954, NCATE is composed of more than 30 professional and policymaker organizations representing millions of Americans committed to quality teaching.

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