After a recent visit by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) the Loyola University Chicago School of Education received a notice of continued accreditation through 2018.
The rigorous accreditation process by the NCATE contains six overarching standards by which schools and colleges of education are assessed: 1. Candidate knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions; 2. Assessment system and unit evaluation; 3. Field experience and clinical practice; 4. Diversity; 5. Faculty qualifications, performance, and development; 6. Unit governance and resources.
The first four standards are assessed through coursework, field experience, comprehensive assessments, and state licensing examinations. The last two standards are assessed at the school level.
According to Associate Dean of Academic Programs at Loyola’s School of Education, Dr. Beverly Kasper, the process of evaluation and assessment for national accreditation “never ends.” The School is accredited through 2018 but by that point it will be time for another review from the NCATE.
“The School of Education is engaged in a continuous process of assessment, analysis, and improvement,” Kasper said. “Maintaining the status quo is not acceptable, continuous examination and revision is expected.”
Having the national accreditation means a variety of things for the faculty and students at Loyola.
“National accreditation means that the School of Education is committed to achieving and maintaining high quality programs that meet the rigor of the national standards,” Kasper said.
For the future teachers currently enrolled in the program at Loyola the national accreditation means that they will be certified to teach anywhere in the United States.
“The value to our graduates is that they know that by completing a program in the School of Education they have completed a program that meets rigorous national standards of excellence,” added Kasper.
There are many present and future impacts of the School of Education’s national accreditation by the NCATE, but for Kasper it signifies something more.
“The overarching impact of continuing national accreditation is the recognition and validation of the combined efforts of SOE students, faculty, adjuncts, school and community partners, alumni and administration to sustain our programs at the highest level of quality possible,” she said. “It prepares professionals to have an impact on the world in which they work.”