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UVI's School of Education is a Candidate for Accreditation

The most prestigious national accrediting body for teacher education has granted the University of the Virgin Islands School of Education candidacy for accreditation. At its October 2011 meeting, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) approved the University's application for NCATE candidacy. Candidacy is the status granted to a professional education unit after it has successfully completed a candidacy review of preconditions conducted by the Unit Accreditation Board of NCATE.

"The unit's successful completion of the NCATE candidacy review has come as no surprise," said UVI's School of Education Interim Dean Dr. Linda Thomas. "The School of Education has long been recognized for preparing high-quality school professionals. In fact, through its excellent programs and highly competent instructors, the School of Education has dedicated itself to preparing P-12 (primary through 12th grade) teachers and school professionals that are capable of competing with the best," she said.

In preparation for the site visit, which will occur within the next year and a half, the School of Education must conduct program reviews and submit applications for approval from the programs' respective Specialized Professional Associations. "The specialized program standards are an integral part of the NCATE accreditation system because they describe the specialized content that teacher candidates should master," Dr. Thomas said.

In addition to conducting a review of its programs, the School of Education must also submit an institutional report that will document whether or not the unit has met six standards set by NCATE. The standards that are assessed by NCATE are: the candidates' knowledge, skills and dispositions; the unit's assessment system and unit evaluation; field experience and clinical practice of its students; diversity; faculty qualifications, performance and development; and unit governance and resources. "Ultimately, what will determine whether the unit is granted accreditation," Dr. Thomas said, "is the data we provide to NCATE demonstrating that these standards have been met."

Becoming NCATE accredited has many benefits for schools or colleges of Education and the professionals they prepare, Dr. Thomas said. Because of its ongoing program review, the accreditation process results in stronger programs. Strong teacher preparation programs produce graduates who make a difference in P-12 student learning. Strong teacher preparation programs produce graduates who are in high demand because they are well prepared for initial licensing and advanced board certification, Dr. Thomas said.

"Many of the students to whom I have spoken, are pleased to learn that the School of Education has been granted candidacy and they anticipate full national accreditation," said Dr. Thomas. Faculty members in the School of Education are extremely happy with the results of their efforts, she added.

UVI's School of Education was granted pre-candidacy in 2007 and began working toward obtaining candidacy in 2008. The School of Education will be expected to host an accreditation visit during the fall semester of 2013.

The University of the Virgin Islands is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.