Ashland University Schar College of Education Receives 'Glowing' NCATE Report

5/14/10 ASHLAND, Ohio --The Ashland University Schar College of Education has been recognized as one of the elite teacher education schools in the country after receiving all positive marks following its continuing accreditation review by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the organization responsible for professional accreditation of teacher education.

"We received official word that we met all six standards of accreditation without any area designated for improvement, and there are only a small percentage of schools in the country that receive this kind of a glowing report," said Ashland University Provost Dr. Frank Pettigrew. "This is the first time in the history of the College of Education that we have received the NCATE report without any areas designated for improvement.

"Dean (James) Van Keuren, his faculty and staff are to be commended for the work they do in the preparation of teachers and school administrators," Pettigrew added.

The continuing accreditation under the performance-oriented standards of NCATE was approved for Ashland University at the initial teacher preparation and advanced preparation levels. The next NCATE visit to Ashland is scheduled for fall of 2016.

The U.S. Department of Education recognizes NCATE as the professional accrediting body for schools, departments and colleges of education. On-site visits, document review and accreditation decisions are carried out by professionals from the education community, including teachers, school specialists and teacher educators, as well as members of the public and education policymakers.

Dr. James Van Keuren, dean of the Ashland University Schar College of Education, said, "We are very excited to have received this continuing accreditation from NCATE. This recent action affirms that Ashland University continues to offer school professional preparation programs that satisfy high national standards. We are proud of the fact that Ashland holds one of the longest standing NCATE accreditations in the state of Ohio, being first accredited in the early 1970s."

Ashland University's Schar College of Education has a comprehensive program, offering 30 program areas across the undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, master's and doctorate levels. Most of these education programs are offered at its main campus as well as its regional centers in Columbus, Elyria, Massillon and Cleveland.

Van Keuren said the accreditation report noted that the NCATE team was very impressed with the University's program centers. "They were impressed with the fact that what we offer here on the main campus is duplicated at the programs centers," he said.

Van Keuren said the entire campus deserved credit for its help in this continuing accreditation process. "This was a massive effort and it was something that brought the whole university together - all faculty and staff from across the campus, specifically the faculty involved in licensure programs; undergraduate and graduate students; graduates of the programs; adjunct and cooperating teachers as well as administrators from surrounding schools," he said.

Van Keuren praised the efforts of Associate Dean Linda Billman and the College's NCATE steering committee, which had prepared for the fall 2009 visit for the past two years.

According to Van Keuren, meeting NCATE accreditation standards helps institutions prepare new, more rigorous licensing standards in many states. Standards for teacher preparation in accredited schools of education are compatible with new, more rigorous emerging state licensing expectations. Schools seeking NCATE accreditation must meet high standards in areas including program design and delivery, and quality of faculty and graduates. The standards also require the college of education to design a conceptual framework for each program that is based on current and established research and best practice.

NCATE-accredited schools must meet rigorous standards set by the profession and members of the public. Teacher candidates must have in-depth knowledge of the subject matter that they plan to teach as well as the skills necessary to convey it so that students learn. The institution must have partnerships with P-12 schools that enable candidates to develop the skills necessary to help students learn. Candidates must be prepared to understand and work with diverse student populations. College and university faculty must model effective teaching practices. And the school, college or department of education must have the resources, including information technology resources, necessary to prepare candidates to meet new standards.

Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.