Butler University’s College of Education (COE) has received a glowing review from a five-member National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) Board of Examiners.
The examiners said the College of Education met all six standards examined during its site visit Nov. 4-6. A final decision on COE’s continuing accreditation from NCATE is expected in spring 2013.
“They could not say enough about how smart our students are and about the dedicated leadership of the faculty,” COE Dean Ena Shelley said Tuesday after an exit interview with the board. “They said that Butler COE’s brand of teacher preparation was a national model that needs to be taken forward and scaled up for other schools.”
“I want to thank Associate Dean Deb Lecklider, who led the NCATE process for the COE, and every faculty member in the college for their contributions to writing our NCATE report,” Shelley said.
She shared credit for the good reviews with faculty who teach education concentrations in the College of Liberal Arts and Science and Jordan College of the Arts music programs. “This is a celebration for the entire university,” she said. “Every person had a role in this.”
Board members are current education faculty and administrators from both public and private institutions of higher education from across the United States.
During their campus visit, the team interviewed administrators, faculty, staff, teacher education candidates, alumni, and K-12 school partners. They viewed Butler courses being taught at Shortridge Magnet High School and the Indianapolis Public Schools/Butler University Laboratory School, magnet programs that Butler developed with IPS.
“The examiners loved our efforts at diversity in our partnerships with the IPS at Shortridge and the Lab School,” Shelley said. A visit to the IPS/Butler Laboratory School “blew away” one of the examiners, who told the dean she wanted to bring colleagues from her university to see the program.
Sunday evening, COE students met the examiners and shared stories of what they are learning in the college’s undergraduate and graduate programs. Senior Ashlyn Morrill presented on the elementary education program.
“The NCATE officials were looking for evidence of our classroom and field experiences, of our use of technology and involvement with diversity,” Morrill said. “We talked with them about our placements in urban and suburban schools, in private and public schools, and the many cultural backgrounds of the students we work with. They were really impressed by how undergraduates and graduate students are a close unit.”
Senior Abby Soltis told visitors that her time in COE, including student teaching in science at Shortridge, “has been filled with opportunities, provocations, and challenges that have pushed me to find my passion in teaching and in learning.”
Students and alumni tweeted and blogged their support for COE in digital comments displayed throughout the evening.
Before coming to Butler, the Board of Examiners members reviewed seven years of COE’s institutional data and program materials, compiled by faculty led by COE Accreditation Coordinator Karen Farrell.
COE’s accreditation efforts were also boosted by recent favorable SPA (Specialized Professional Association) assessments. SPAs set national standards related to teaching content areas—such as math, physical education, and English—and recognition by SPAs is considered in NCATE accreditation reviews. COE has received the designation of national recognition from all 13 SPAs related to its curriculum.
Media contact: Mary Ellen Stephenson