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Notre Dame's Education Program Receives National Accreditation

There’s good reason to celebrate at Notre Dame College. The Education Division recently achieved accreditation with the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) – considered the most prestigious national accreditation for schools that train teachers. Accreditation under NCATE’s performance-oriented standards indicates the College’s commitment to preparing quality teachers for the classrooms.

The significance of the accreditation is great. The State of Ohio gives approval for all teacher licensure programs based on an institution’s NCATE accreditation. NCATE-accredited schools of education do not need to apply for any other state accreditation. Another advantage is that some public and private school districts do not accept credit from non-NCATE accredited programs. And, finally, this gives the students an advantage. For NCATE, everything is standards-based to ensure that students are getting the best possible training and will subsequently become the best possible teachers.

The Education Division is delighted with the recognition. According to Dr. Bruce Jones, Director of Undergraduate and Graduate Education, “NCATE accreditation is evidence of our aspirations to meet the highest acknowledged national standards for the preparation of teachers. We worked hard for this achievement and made many improvements along the way. The process has forced us to be more organized, accountable, effective and efficient resulting in many improvements to the program.”

Of the 50 colleges of education in Ohio, Notre Dame is the 23rd to receive this much sought-after accreditation. This places Notre Dame College with the education schools that are reputed to be the best at training teachers.

The accreditation took six years to achieve, beginning with Dr. Jones’ initial meeting with NCATE. During a three-day seminar in Washington D.C., it was determined that the College should pursue accreditation. So a self-study process began that generated an initial institutional report. After acknowledging that their pre-conditions were met, NCATE accepted Notre Dame College as a candidate for the application process. The next step was to complete a self-study that demonstrated the program was doing exactly what it claimed in our education program.

The formal application process is outcomes-based and required many hours of compiling information from student records. As all the records were stored in a hard copy format, this was an extremely time-consuming exercise.

NCATE’s team of examiners then visited the College and met with all the stakeholders involved, including partner schools that accept Notre Dame students in field placements, graduate and undergraduate students, and art and science faculty. After additional preliminary and final reports, NCATE finally granted Notre Dame College provisional accreditation for two years. The College failed to meet only one standard (Assessment) out of the required six only because the hard copy storage of the records makes it almost impossible to evaluate according to the standardized criteria. A focused visit in two years will look at Assessment. The results of that visit will determine if the College will receive full accreditation.

The College and all graduate and undergraduate education majors now subscribe to TK20, an assessment system that accesses assignments and students‚ electronic portfolios, and enables students to submit assignments. This is a giant step forward as far as the assessment standard is concerned, as the system is in alignment with NCATE standards. At this time Notre Dame College is the first and only college in Ohio to be online with TK20.

For more information about Notre Dame College’s teacher education program, call 877.NDC.OHIO or visit www.NotreDameCollege.edu. More information about NCATE is available at www.ncate.org.

Mary Ann Kovach is the Director of Public Relations at Notre Dame College.