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LSUA Education Department Earns NCATE Accreditation

Released: 05/26/2010

The Department of Education at LSU Alexandria has earned accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), announced Dr. David Manuel, chancellor.

“Accreditation represents an academic milestone for the university as a whole and the Department of Education in particular,” said Manuel. “It requires a commitment to excellence that is peer reviewed and based on outcomes, and it is a prominent indicator of the quality of the department and the readiness of LSUA’s teacher education graduates.”

NCATE is a professional accrediting organization for schools preparing elementary and secondary educators in the United States. Approximately two-thirds of the nation’s teacher preparation candidates are enrolled in the 657 NCATE-accredited schools, which are certified only after meeting rigorous performance-oriented standards. LSUA was required to provide “compelling evidence of (teacher education) candidate knowledge and skill in the classroom. Candidate qualifications are assessed upon entry (to the program), and candidate competence is assessed throughout the program as well as prior to student teaching and before program completion.”

LSUA has awarded 177 bachelor’s degrees in elementary education since 2003, which is the most from any academic department and 21 percent of the university’s total. Another 59 students have earned associate degrees in early childhood education or care and development of young children.

Counting those who have completed secondary education and alternative certification programs, 196 students have earned teacher certification from LSUA. More than half are employed in Rapides Parish, and 91 percent are teaching in 18 parishes, nearly all of which are in Central Louisiana.

The LSUA accreditation quest began seven years ago when the university achieved four-year baccalaureate-degree granting status. LSU (Baton Rouge) prepared teachers on the LSUA campus prior to that under a “senior college” arrangement.

“We were required to develop teacher education programs that were unique to LSUA and approved by the Louisiana Board of Regents and the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education,” said Dr. Judy Rundell, chairwoman of the Department of Education. “NCATE standards require 26 measurable elements designed to ensure ‘caring, competent and qualified’ teachers are in every classroom. These assessments are mandated to assure that candidates who complete any of LSUA’s teacher education programs possess in-depth content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, instructional skills and professional dispositions which positively impact the growth and learning of all students.”

There are 11 programs at LSUA that lead to teacher certification – elementary, secondary in biology, English, mathematics and history, and health and physical education. “In each of these programs accreditation was achieved by a team that remains focused on the need for teacher education in Central Louisiana, on the importance of LSUA students completing a nationally recognized program, and on the inherent right of all students in kindergarten through 12th grade to be taught by highly qualified, proactive educators who have an unwavering commitment to their success,” said Rundell.

Tioga Elementary School principal Becky Pippen said she “hires every LSUA teacher education graduate I can.” Tioga Elementary serves as a laboratory for LSUA elementary education students in science and mathematics methods courses. “It’s a wonderful relationship,” said Pippen. “We provide a real-world experience for LSUA students, and our students and faculty get the benefit of the latest teaching techniques. I’m very impressed with the quality of LSUA students, and that’s the reason why more than half of my faculty is comprised of graduates of the LSUA teacher education program.”