University of Wisconsin-Stout

May 19, 2010

The School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Stout has achieved full accreditation from the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

“This is a sign to the nation of the high quality of teacher education programs at UW-Stout,” said Chancellor Charles W. Sorensen. “We now join a distinguished list of colleges and universities that have been granted this accreditation because of the quality and rigor of our education programs.”

“Our School of Education administrators, faculty and staff have worked tirelessly to achieve this accreditation,” said Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Julie Furst-Bowe. “This accreditation will help our students immensely as they seek positions in their fields of study.”

“At a time when state and national leaders are calling for more rigorous standards and greater accountability for education professionals, institutions that have been nationally accredited carry a mark of distinction,” said Mary Hopkins-Best, dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Services. “Achieving national accreditation represents an important milestone in the transformation of professional education at UW-Stout. However, our focus on improvement is ongoing.”

The School of Education was formed in 2003, bringing together programs that were housed in various colleges. It is part of the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences.

“Receiving NCATE approval means that our teacher education, pupil services and administrative programs were rigorously reviewed by a national accreditation agency and were found to be highly effective in preparing educators for the schools,” said Jackie Weissenburger, director of the School of Education. “This national recognition indicates our graduates are well prepared to provide instruction and to offer services that will optimize PK-12 student learning.”

James G. Cibulka, NCATE president, informed Sorensen of the accreditation decision in a letter. “This accreditation decision indicates that the unit and its programs meet rigorous standards set forth by the professional education community,” Cibulka wrote.

The NCATE Board of Examiner’s report also indicated that “instruction and course satisfaction in the School of Education is quite high. Alumni described their preparation as rigorous; they felt ready for the challenges of schools and communities.”

The School of Education has more than 800 undergraduates and 300 graduate students enrolled in nine teacher education programs, two pupil service programs, three technical college education programs, seven teaching minors, nine special certification/certificate programs and two administrative programs.

The Bachelor of Science majors include art education; career, technical education and training; early childhood education; family and consumer sciences education; marketing and business education; science education; science and technical education; special education; and technology education.

Master’s degrees are offered in career and technical education; education; education online; technology education; school counseling; and school psychology. Ed.S. degrees are offered in school psychology and career and technical education.

NCATE-accredited schools must meet standards set by the profession and members of the public. 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 students learn. The college or university must carefully assess this knowledge and skill to determine that candidates may graduate.

The institution must have partnerships with P-12 schools that enable students to develop the skills necessary to help students learn. Students must be prepared to understand and work with diverse student populations. College and university faculty must model effective teaching practices.

Furthermore, the school, college, or department of education must have the resources, including information technology, necessary to prepare students to meet new standards.

The NCATE Board of Examiner’s report made additional observations about the School of Education and its students. For example, the report said that the school’s faculty “serve as role models” in the field of education, and they “typically share their own experiences and reflections with (students) and model best practices within their classroom communities.”

The report complimented UW-Stout on the professional knowledge students displayed. “Interviews with (students), cooperating teachers and school partners verified the proficiency of (the students),” the report said. The School of Education also has a well-defined student-assessment program, the report said, and a well-organized field experience program.

The school offers “systematic approaches within the curriculum, campus-based activities and field experiences to provide all (students) with opportunities for diverse experiences,” the report said. Furthermore, the report said, faculty work collaboratively and the school “has a strong commitment to the recruitment and development of faculty as evidenced through the ample programs, resources and opportunities devoted to faculty development.”

The School of Education also recently passed the professional education program review conducted by the state Department of Public Instruction.

For more information, contact Hopkins-Best at hopkinsbestm@uwstout.edu or 715-232-1168; and Weissenburger at weissenburgerj@uwstout.edu or 715-232-1088. For more on the School of Education, go to http://www.uwstout.edu/soe/.

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