Fairmont State University’s teacher education program has a long history of national and state accreditation and program approval. At the national level, we are currently accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Fairmont State University has been accredited continuously since 1954 by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)/CAEP. NCATE/CAEP has been the leading accrediting agency for the preparation of education professionals and the accreditation of more than 630 colleges of education. NCATE merged with the other major national accreditation organization to form CAEP. West Virginia has signed its first partnership agreement with CAEP and the Educator Preparation Program (EPP) is engaged in the process to maintain national accreditation. The accreditation continuous improvement process has supported the EPP’s commitment to maintaining high quality undergraduate and graduate programs for the preparation of educators.
The scope of CAEP’s work is the accreditation of educator preparation providers having programs leading to certification/licensure, bachelor’s, master’s, post-baccalaureate, and doctoral degrees in the United States and internationally.
Simply put, accreditation is quality assurance through external peer review. When an institution or specialized program is accredited, it has demonstrated that it meets standards set by organizations representing the academic community, professionals, and other stakeholders.
Professional accreditors review departments, schools, and colleges usually within a higher education institution. An institution, especially a larger university, might simultaneously maintain accreditation from a regional accreditor as well as from several professional accreditors. CAEP is a professional accreditor because it reviews departments, schools, and colleges, which prepare teachers and other educators. After completing a program, teachers seek licensure or certification from the state in which they wish to teach.
Standards serve as the basis for any accreditor’s review.
The CAEP Standards and their components flow from two principles:
The five CAEP Standards flow from these principles and the standards of evidence that define them are the backbone of the accreditation process. They define quality in terms of organizational performance and serve as the basis for accreditation reviews and judgments.
These drivers of accreditation spring from a broad consensus across a very diverse group of stakeholders: providers, teachers, parents, critics, unions. They were also widely circulated and reviewed.
The CAEP Standards reflect the voice of the education field – on what makes a quality educator.
The EPP’s mission is to prepare reflective and responsive educators who possess the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to help all students learn. The EPP integrates the mission across the curriculum, field experiences, clinical practice, and assessments of candidates. The mission provides the structure and guiding principles that are necessary to prepare reflective and responsive educators.
The West Virginia Professional Teaching Standards (WVPTS), the Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) Standards, and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Standards establish and represent the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that candidates must possess in order to facilitate learning for all students. The mission includes the cross-cutting themes of diversity and technology.
Demonstrated competencies within the standards empower candidates to develop and function as reflective and responsive educators who help all students learn. The EPP’s research-based mission incorporates educator best practices that apply to teacher candidates at the initial level as well as accomplished teachers at the advanced level. The mission and the respective standards are also central guiding elements of the Fairmont State University Professional Development School (PDS) Partnership. The PDS Partnership provides for an exemplary collaboration with P-12 schools that allow candidates multiple, quality field experiences/internships as well as professional development opportunities for all stakeholders. The EPP’s shared values and beliefs include reflective habits of practice; culturally responsive teaching stance; content knowledge; pedagogical knowledge and skills; commitment to and dispositions for renewal of self, curriculum, school, profession; broad definition of diversity; and, technology as an opportunity for learning.
The EPP outcomes relate to the shared values and beliefs and incorporate the WVPTS and InTASC Standards. The EPP assesses the outcomes in a systematic and coherent manner throughout the program. Additionally, the EPP reports, analyzes, and shares the results of these outcomes with the purpose of continuous improvement.
The EPP Program Outcomes are: