Years of preparation paid off for SUNY Cortland’s teacher education programs during a recent weekend, when a team of five outside reviewers gave the College unofficial approval for national accreditation under a new regime of toughened standards.
When the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Accreditation Council issues its formal decision in October, SUNY Cortland — home to New York’s largest comprehensive teacher education program — is likely to become one of only eight New York colleges with CAEP’s rigorous seal of approval.
“This fall, we’ll be one of only a handful of colleges in New York to have earned this honor,” said Andrea Lachance, dean of SUNY Cortland’s School of Education. “But for now, the teacher education faculty can take pride that a team of outside reviewers found what they already knew: teacher preparation at SUNY Cortland is truly outstanding.”
The CAEP team visited campus April 8-10 to take a closer look at various aspects of teacher education at the College. This included a welcome reception and poster session that highlighted a variety of innovative partnerships and strategies used in SUNY Cortland’s teacher education program. The event, featuring presentations by students and faculty, attracted about 100 members of the College education community, Lachance said.
The reviewers also conducted interviews with 17 different stakeholder groups, ranging from student teachers to regional host teachers to the school administrators who hire SUNY Cortland graduates, she said.
The site visit was the final step in a multi-year process designed to hold America’s colleges accountable for providing effective teacher preparation and recognizing the nation’s highest quality programs. Prior to the visit, the College submitted a 100-page self-study describing the many ways SUNY Cortland’s teacher education programs meet all five of CAEP’s primary standards. The College had to demonstrate continuous improvement, quality assurance, credibility, equity and a strong institutional foundation.
In 2016, CAEP’s rigorous standards replaced those of the National Council for Teacher Accreditation (NCATE) for national accreditation. Cortland was, and will remain, fully accredited by NCATE until the CAEP accreditation becomes official.
“SUNY Cortland has been a respected institution for teacher education for more than a century and a half, and this positive review demonstrates that we will continue to be a leader in this field for years to come,” SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum said. “The faculty and staff of the School of Education worked very hard to be an early adopter of the new standards and we should all be proud of their accomplishment.”