May 13th, 2009 @ 1:11 pm | Author:
The School of Education and Graduate Studies at Valley City State University (VCSU) has received full accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the organization responsible for professional accreditation of teacher education.

Dr. Gary Thompson, Dean of the VCSU School of Education and Graduate Studies, said, "With this decision, VCSU continues our track record of uninterrupted NCATE accreditation, the gold standard of teacher education, ever since NCATE was founded in 1954. This consistent achievement is a clear sign of a quality teacher education program, and we are proud to be able to offer this quality to K-12 schools in North Dakota, the Midwest, and throughout the U.S. and Canada."

NCATE granted accreditation to VCSU at two levels. VCSU's undergraduate teacher education programs were accredited at the initial teacher preparation level which applies to programs that prepare students for their first license to teach. In addition, VCSU's new online Master of Education program received accreditation at the advanced level which includes post baccalaureate programs for teachers who have completed initial preparation.

To receive accreditation from NCATE, 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 as well as the skills necessary to convey that knowledge to students. The college or university must carefully assess student knowledge and must have partnerships with P-12 schools to help students learn. Candidates must be prepared to understand and work with diverse student populations. Faculty must model effective teaching practices and the school must have 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.

In their report, the NCATE Board of Examiners identified several key strengths of VCSU's programs. The report recognized VCSU's faculty for its high quality as evidenced by both faculty credentials and evaluation by students and colleagues. VCSU's field experience program was recognized as giving students opportunities to learn by participating in live classroom settings. The report also noted VCSU's centralized assessment system that helps students develop and model professional dispositions, as well as recent improvements to that system developed by faculty and the VCSU IT staff. NCATE also named as a strength VCSU's technology rich environment, including its laptop initiative in which every full-time student is issued a laptop computer.

NCATE is a national accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education that determines which schools, colleges, and departments of education meet rigorous national standards in preparing teachers and other school specialists for the classroom. Consisting of a coalition of 33 professional and policymaker organizations representing millions of Americans committed to quality teaching, NCATE currently accredits 632 institutions which produce two-thirds of the nation's new teacher graduates each year.

Valley City State University (VCSU) prepares people for life through visionary leadership and exemplary practices in teaching, learning and service. VCSU is nationally acclaimed for attracting and retaining talented individuals who advance quality learning opportunities and economic growth through technology and innovation.