Reaches Major Milestone on Path to National Accreditation of Teacher Education
process of accreditation has been a long and arduous journey for our faculty,
and although we are close, it is not over yet,” said Dr. Miguel Ángel
Dean of the College of Education. “Among many benefits, this important
achievement will give national recognition to the excellence of UTB’s teacher
date, 19 of the 21 programs of the College of Education have received full
national recognition by their respective Specialized Professional Associations
(SPA) – a critical juncture in the entire process.
A student on stage at the UT Brownsville Winter Commencement at the Student Union lawn.
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.”
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).
the field of Special Education, for example, UTB offers four degrees, each reviewed by the
Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). These are the Bachelor of Arts in
Special Education for EC-12 and a Master’s of Special Education in three areas
– Advanced Special Education, Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and
next step in the accreditation process involves a visit to the UTB campus by
NCATE representatives, April 6-9. The representatives will make assessments
that are best done in person, such as impromptu interviews with students in the
College of Education. The group will also visit Cameron County public schools
to evaluate processes in the student teaching program.
Karla Lopez with the UTeach program leads a geometry exercise at Pace High School.
have been patient during this long and rigorous process,” said Dr. Olivia Rivas,
Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership. “It took
almost two years for the College of Education to work through the preplanning phase
in order to even become an official candidate to apply for accreditation.”
the official candidacy began three years ago, each individual program, or
degree, within the college has undergone 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 SPAs.
learned a lot about ourselves in the process,” Rivas said. “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.”
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