Olivet Nazarene University’s teacher education program — a unit responsible for nearly half of all the university’s degrees awarded annually — recently received full accreditation affirmation on every national criterion for its 15 programs from The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
NCATE confirmed that the quality of Olivet’s initial (undergraduate and graduate) and advanced (graduate) teacher preparation levels meet or exceed NCATE’s standards. Olivet was granted full accreditation without qualifications until fall 2018.
“This NCATE accreditation process is rigorous,” said Gregg Chenoweth, Olivet’s vice president for Academic Affairs. “The NCATE team reviewed more than 1,000 documents and interviewed more than 100 people — including school administrators responsible for hiring — affected by our programs during the process. This excellent result puts ONU in a special category nationally and means our students are in great hands.”
Olivet is one of 656 U.S. institutions currently accredited by NCATE, and one of an elite group of programs that has met or exceeded all criteria for accreditation.
“Every year, the student teachers our district receives from Olivet are well-prepared for this experience,” said Scott Goselin, superintendent, Bradley (Illinois) School District No. 61. “In addition, our district has hired many Olivet graduates throughout the years. And many of our faculty and staff members have chosen Olivet to continue their education and receive their master’s degrees, either in education or administration. We look forward to working with Olivet’s School of Education for many years to come. Our community is blessed to have this outstanding university in our own backyard.”
A public opinion poll conducted by Penn Schoen Berland found that 82 percent of the public favors requiring teachers to graduate from nationally accredited professional schools. In the past five years, the number of candidates for accreditation has almost tripled due to the growing demand for accountability from states and the public.
This accreditation covers the following teacher preparation programs at Olivet, including the School of Graduate and Continuing Studies:
- Initial Undergraduate Teacher Education Programs: Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, English Language Arts Education, Family and Consumer Science Education, Foreign Languages (Spanish) Education, Mathematics Education, Physical Education, Visual Arts Education, Science Education, Social Science Education
- Initial Graduate Teacher Education Programs: Elementary Education, English Language Arts Education, Family and Consumer Science Education, Foreign Languages (Spanish) Education, Mathematics Education, Physical Education, Science Education, Social Science Education, Visual Arts Education
- Advanced Graduate Teacher Education programs: Curriculum & Instruction – Education, Library Information Specialist, Principal/General Administrative, Reading Specialist, School Counselor
The accreditation does not include individual education courses that Olivet offers to P-12 educators for professional development, re-licensure, or other purposes.
“Teacher candidates must have in-depth knowledge of the subject matter they plan to teach, as well as the skills necessary to convey it, so that their students can learn,” said Jim Upchurch, dean of the School of Education. “By meeting all of NCATE’s standards, we know our programs are preparing our students well for the new, more rigorous teacher licensing standards in many states.”
The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education is a non-profit, non-governmental organization founded in 1954. More than 30 national associations representing the education profession at large make up the council. The associations that comprise NCATE appoint representatives to NCATE’s policy boards, which develop NCATE standards, policies, and procedures. Membership on policy boards includes representatives from organizations of teacher educators, teachers, state, and local policymakers, and professional specialists in P-12 schools. The U.S. Department of Education recognizes NCATE as a professional accrediting body for colleges and universities that prepare teachers and other professional personnel for work in elementary and secondary schools.
--Olivet Nazarene University