The School of Education has had its accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education reaffirmed by the Unit Accreditation Board (UAB), at its April 21-24, 2013 meeting in St. Louis, Missouri; an action Dean, Dr. Valerie E. Harrison feels is crucial in moving the school to greater heights.
“This was a challenging process. We had great cooperation from our faculty and support from the entire Claflin family and success is the result,” Harrison said. “This really reinforces our teacher preparation efforts, and benefits our students because upon graduation, they’ll be able to teach anywhere.”
Harrison noted that NCATE and the UAB, the accrediting groups for university education programs, decided to continue the accreditation of the School of Education at Claflin University. This accreditation decision indicates that the unit and its programs meet rigorous standards set forth by the professional education community. An NCATE on-site team, along with officials from the South Carolina Department of Education, visited Claflin last fall, reviewed required documentation and interviewed key stakeholders for evaluation of the School of Education. In addition to determining that the School of Education met the six required standards, the UAB also made a distinct decision to recognize that the unit is moving toward target (exceeding standards) in the areas of candidate knowledge, skills and professional dispositions, assessment system and unit evaluation, and field experience and clinical practice. Additionally, no areas for improvement relative to any of the standards were cited.
President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale noted that this accreditation is a central part of the University’s efforts to be strategically positioned among the top undergraduate teaching and research universities in the world. “The School of Education is a critical part of our academy,” Tisdale said. “Through it, we are able to provide exemplary training for the next generation of educators and continue an honored tradition of producing visionary leaders in this field. Because of this reaffirmation by NCATE, the School will progress and expand its mission even further through the implementation of SMART classrooms, innovative teacher education programs and the strength of our superb faculty.”
Recently, the School received several high profile grants including a U.S. Department of Education award potentially worth $1.5 million that aims to develop a curriculum to effectively instruct children who speak English as a second language. The initiative is called the National Professional Development program and is fast becoming a national model for teaching English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students.
And last year, the Children’s Defense Fund awarded Claflin $50,000 to establish a six-week summer program to enhance the academic and cultural growth of local elementary school African-American male students. The 2012 Claflin Freedom Schools program drew rave reviews from parents and local school districts.
The next step is to keep moving the School of Education forward, Harrison says. She noted the demand for increased teacher accountability demands a more rigorous curriculum and that is what the School of Education will bring to Claflin. “We will pursue every avenue to effectively prepare our students to teach anywhere with excellence,” she said.