For immediate release: March 31, 2008
BLOOMSBURG — Representatives of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) will conduct a focused visit at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania from April 13 to 15.
According to Dianne Mark, dean of BU’s College of Professional Studies, NCATE’s last accreditation review in 2005 resulted in a rating of “accreditation with condition” for the university. During the mid-April visit, a three-member board of examiners will review the university’s performance relative to the specific unmet standard, diversity.
Martha Ross, head of the department of early, elementary and reading education at James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va., will chair the three-member NCATE board of examiners visiting BU.
“The team will look at how we’re addressing diversity,” Mark said, and will interview education majors, professional education faculty, staff, administrators and BU President David Soltz.
A number of steps have been taken to provide more opportunities for education majors to have experiences related to diversity since the last accreditation visit, said Mark. For example, BU has instituted a policy that requires all education majors to have a diverse field experience. To comply with the policy, which took effect in fall 2007, some students participate in field experiences at schools in Philadelphia, Hazleton and Harrisburg, she added.
Overall, NCATE looks at six standards during the regular accreditation process: candidate knowledge, skills and professional dispositions; assessment system and unit evaluation; field experiences and clinical practice; diversity; faculty qualifications, performance and development; and unit governance and resources. These standards apply to both undergraduate and graduate teacher education candidates, including candidates for other professional school roles, such as counselors, principals and superintendents.
“Accreditation is about doing the right thing,” Mark said, “and guides us to work toward best practices.”
At BU, 1,431 students are working toward bachelor of science degrees in education; another 386 students are enrolled in education programs on the graduate level.
Mark said NCATE reaccredits programs on a seven-year cycle. A successful visit in April will mean a full accreditation review in 2012. More information about NCATE accreditation is available at www.ncate.org.
Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 8,000 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Professional Studies, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.