Accreditation and Program Approval
The Watson School of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and undergraduate and graduate licensure programs are approved by the State Department of Public Instruction (SDPI). The Watson School of Education was reviewed by NCATE and SPDI in March 2006 and had an exceptionally positive visit, receiving full approval of all programs. In fact, the Watson School of Education met all of the NCATE standards with no areas for improvement and received four commendations by the visiting team.
NCATE team members assessed the unit (i.e., Watson School of Education) on six new standards: Candidate Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions; Assessment System and Unit Evaluation; Field Experiences and Clinical Practice; Diversity; Faculty Qualifications, Performance, and Development; Unit Governance and Resources. SDPI team members evaluated 25 degree and licensure programs using new standards that parallel those used by NCATE but focus on individual program areas: Candidate Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions; Undergraduate Qualifications; Licensure-only Candidates; Assessment System and Evaluation; Field Experiences and Clinical Practice; Diversity; Faculty Qualifications, Performance, and Development; Working Conditions; Part-time Faculty; Program Governance and Resources; and Faculty Assignment. In addition, the state requires a 70% pass rate on Praxis II Specialty Area Exams, 95% conversion rate in the Initial Licensure Program, licensure of Methods Faculty, and NCATE or TEAC Accreditation. The next joint visit of teams from NCATE and SDPI will be in 2013.
The faculty and administration of the Watson School and the allied programs in the College of Arts and Sciences value the processes of accreditation and program approval. These processes are an important part of the commitment to the quality preparation of educators who can serve in leadership roles in our state and nation. The preparation for an accreditation/program approval visit encourages university personnel and public school partners to re-examine program components and coherence to ensure that state and national standards are being addressed. The feedback obtained from national and state team members are utilized to continue UNCW’s efforts to improve educator preparation programs.