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Binghamton University teacher prep program first to earn accreditation

By : Katie Ellis

Binghamton University’s Division of Education has become the first in the SUNY System to receive accreditation from the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC), one of three national accrediting agencies for teacher preparation programs.

The TEAC Accreditation Committee recently notified Ernest Rose, dean of the School of Education and Human Development, that the “teacher education program at the State University of New York at Binghamton is granted Initial Accreditation status.”

“It’s a validation of the excellence of our teacher education programs,” said Rose. “For some time, we’ve had a belief, internal to the University and certainly through the Middle States review, in the quality of our teacher preparation programs, but now with this acknowledgement from TEAC, the rest of the country knows it as well. It acknowledges that we have met the standards for accreditation and that’s something we couldn’t say in the past. “More and more, students will be looking to make sure that the institutions they enroll in are nationally accredited, because that means something on their resume — that they’ve come from a program that has a national reputation for quality,” he said.

According to Robert Carpenter, director of the Division of Education, the TEAC accreditation committee unanimously approved the accreditation for five years. “This is complete accreditation for the longest possible period of time,” he said. “This is the best case scenario we could have hoped for.”

Carpenter said accreditation for teaching prep programs in the northeast has never been particularly popular, and in New York state very few programs were ever accredited. However, the New York State Education Department has mandated that teacher preparation programs become accredited by Dec. 2006.

With three possible accrediting agencies to choose from, the Division of Education selected TEAC, and began the accreditation process about two years ago, said Carpenter. “We picked TEAC because we thought it allowed us more freedom to make decisions about what we thought teachers should look like and be able to do,” Carpenter said. “Then we developed an inquiry brief and conducted an internal audit and began to collectively decide what we were going to make as claims.”

Carpenter credited the faculty for making the process go smoothly. “We made our claims and went about proving them to the accrediting agency’s satisfaction,” he said. “It’s really very gratifying. We have 15 different programs in teacher preparation and all 15 of them were successfully defended and accredited.”

An added benefit, he said, are the connections that have been made with faculty across programs and throughout the division. “We’ve improved ourselves in the sense that we’re closely aligned with each other’s thinking,” he said.

The accrediting process was extensive. “Administrators from local schools and teachers from the community were interviewed, there were site visits where accreditors attended classes on campus and alumni were surveyed,” Carpenter said. “They reviewed mountains of materials from student work which was randomly selected from classes. They reviewed all kinds of materials and assignments as well as our grading and critiquing of students’ work, especially from student teaching and practicum experiences. “It was as thorough as you could expect. In teaching there’s a lot of materials that you can ask for and they did,” he said. “It’s helped us to think through and to think more completely about what we’re doing and the ways we ought to be doing it. It was a good exercise for us here. We’ve always been confident about the quality of our graduates. The accreditation reifies our confidence.”
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Last Updated: 10/14/08