College Accreditation Update
The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) recently redesigned their accreditation process in order to make the reviews more helpful and more cost-effective to university-based teacher preparation programs. Responses to an opinion research study conducted in the fall of 2008 by the McKinley Group addressed the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the NCATE process. A summary of the survey results indicated institutions perceived NCATE’s documentation requirements to be excessive and that the system was very compliance-oriented, rather than an opportunity to engage in reflective self-study to inform ongoing program improvement. UNC will be a pilot Institution during the fall 2010 onsite reaccreditation visit. Piloting the new process allows the university to submit a streamlined institutional report and electronic (online) exhibits in advance of the scheduled visit. A new pre-visit Board of Examiner Committee will review the institutional report and the electronic exhibits in order to provide feedback to UNC on areas of concern to be addressed at the on-site visit. In a three-day on-site visit in fall 2010, a Board of Examiner Team of three to five members will validate that standards are met and address any concerns identified in the electronic pre-visit review. In addition, the new process includes a self study component so the unit can identify one or two “continuous improvement” initiatives that will move the unit beyond the “acceptable” level in meeting standards to the “target” level performance. We are developing initiatives for the diversity standard and are contemplating initiatives for the unit governance standard. The CEBS Diversity Committee is designing components of the initiative that will include adopting a new unit-wide Diversity Framework, establishing baseline data on student and faculty proficiencies, and reviewing how and when the Diversity Framework is taught in the curriculum and used to guide the quality of diverse field experiences. The Professional Education Council (PEC) will be considering initiatives to include greater representation of the NCATE-approved graduate/advanced programs on the Council and to increase the leadership capacity of the Council in educator preparation across the unit.