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College of Education Prepares for National Accreditation of Teacher Education Team Visit

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS –APRIL 3,2014-– The College of Education is nearing the end of what will be a five-year quest to reach accreditation by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the highest accreditation available in the United States for a university’s school of education.
This week, a site team representing NCATE will visit the campus for meetings with students, area superintendents and faculty.
Representatives from NCATE meet with faculty during their visit to the campus.
The first event for the NCATE team will be a community event hosted by the College of Education at 4:30 p.m. in Salon Cassia in Main. The event will showcase some of the programs the College of Education has been involved from faculty seminars to outreach programs. 
“This is culmination of our work brought about because of the many contributions of the faculty whose long hours each semester include the reviewing and revising curricula, collection and analysis of data and alignment of standards to national expectations,” said Dr. Miguel Escotet, Dean of the College of Education.
It was almost five  years ago the College of Education began the preplanning phase in order to even become an official candidate to apply for accreditation. Once the official candidacy was received, each individual program, or degree, within the college underwent a rigorous internal review.
Every faculty member in the College of Education has been on two or more committees or working groups. Each team has had to meet various standards after which the program was reviewed externally by the respective Specialized Professional Associations (SPAs).  
“We learned a lot about ourselves in the process,” said Dr. Olivia Rivas, Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership. “We are often so busy with our classes and our students that we frequently work in isolation, and this process fostered a more integrative working environment. We found a lot of common ground; we were all behind this common goal.”
The NCATE accreditation process includes a review of each program by the governing body for that discipline. For example, the Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (EC-6th grades) Bilingual Generalist is examined by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). The English Language Arts degree for both grades 4-8 and 8-12 is governed by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).
“National recognition by specializing organizations is what determines the gold standard in teacher education,” said Dr. Laura Jewett, Assistant Professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Innovation. “Program review is the cornerstone of NCATE accreditation.” 
To date, 19 of the 21 programs in the College of Education have received full national recognition by their respective Specialized Professional Associations (SPA) – a critical juncture in the entire process.
After their April visit, the representatives will make their recommendation to the NCATE Board of Examiners. The process should be complete by the fall, at which time the UTB College of Education will join the 15 others in the state of Texas – and the only university south of Houston and San Antonio – with this coveted accreditation.
For more information on NCATE, read the NCATE brochure.
A video on NCATE is available at UTB NCATE story.


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