College of Education Receives National Reaccreditation

USFSP students in the labThe University of South Florida St. Petersburg College of Education recently earned reaccreditation for seven years under the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) standards through the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Accreditation System. NCATE’s performance-based accreditation system for teacher preparation ensures that teacher candidates are prepared to make a difference in P-12 student learning.

“Meeting all standards and receiving the maximum number of years’ continuation is a very significant accomplishment that reflects the high quality of the College’s faculty, staff and students,” said Bill Heller, dean, College of Education. “No other teacher education program in Pinellas County has met the rigorous standards required for national accreditation.”

The six standards that weighed into reaffirming accreditation included:

  1. Candidate Knowledge, Skills and Professional Dispositions
  2. Assessment System and Unit Evaluation
  3. Field Experiences and Clinical Practice
  4. Diversity
  5. Faculty Qualifications, Performance and Development
  6. Governance and Resources

In addition to achieving the maximum continuation of accreditation, USFSP also received high remarks on their assessment from the visiting accreditation team. The team, which visited the campus for three days in November 2014 to meet with students, faculty and administrators, was very impressed by the participation shown at all levels throughout the accreditation process.

“I am incredibly proud of our College of Education team, which persevered through this rigorous process,” said USFSP Regional Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska. “This achievement was a collaborative effort that speaks volumes to the quality of our program.”

The accreditation team also was impressed by the university’s intrepid approach in choosing to focus on one of the most difficult standards: Diversity.

“We selected diversity because we believe in it,” Heller said. “We were able to show how diversity permeates everything we are and do, from our faculty and curriculum to the schools we choose to work with in the community.”

The College of Education at USFSP is recognized as a premier institution for the preparation of teachers and school leaders. It prepares future educators with a dual certification in Elementary Education (K-6) and Exceptional Student Education (K-12) and endorsements in reading and English for speakers of other languages (ESOL). The College of Education, which is served by 19 full-time faculty members and many adjunct professors, has an enrollment of 227 undergraduate and 253 graduate students.

“Continuing our national accreditation will assure any student interested in becoming a teacher or an education professional seeking advanced degrees that USFSP College of Education has met the highest standards possible,” Heller said, “It is a distinction enjoyed only by the best programs in the nation.”

“USF St. Petersburg continues to pursue these prestigious accreditations in a number of programs – including in business and journalism,” said Interim Regional Vice Chancellor V. Mark Durand. “Meeting such high standards assures that our students receive the same high quality academic experiences as they would at any other major university.”

More than 40 colleges and universities from around the state have some form of educator preparation program. However, according to Tiffany Erickson, Director of Communications and Public Relations at CAEP, USFSP is one of 13 providers throughout the state that is nationally accredited by NCATE, including the University of South Florida Tampa and USF Sarasota-Manatee.

Providers accredited under NCATE standards, as well as those accredited under the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) Quality Principles, are now served by the single specialized accreditation system for educator preparation in the United States, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). More than 900 educator preparation providers participate in the CAEP accreditation system.