USF Sarasota-Manatee College of Education earns specialized accreditation

BRADENTON -- After a six-year process, the accrediting agency for teacher education has awarded University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee's College of Education its own separate accreditation within the USF system.

The College of Education here was previously accredited under the USF system.

"It is the gold standard of accreditation," Bonnie Jones, assistant vice president for institutional research and effectiveness at USF Sarasota-Manatee, said in a statement.

The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education's board of examiners, which conducted the review, found the college met all standards for categories in bachelor's and post-graduate educator programs. The St. Petersburg and Tampa campuses also have their own accreditations within the USF system.

USFSM's College of Education was accredited under NCATE standards covering all educator programs, whether in public, private or charter schools or in online programs.

Six factors weigh into reaching accreditation, according to university officials:

Candidate knowledge, skills and professional dispositions: Teacher candidates must demonstrate in-depth knowledge of their subject areas and the ability to convey that information to students.

Assessment system and unit evaluation: The college must establish a procedure to evaluate the knowledge and skills of its teacher candidates as well as its own teacher programs.

Field experiences and clinical practice: The institution must form partnerships with

pre-K to 12th-grade schools to enable teacher candidates to develop their skills.

Diversity: Candidates must be prepared to understand and work with diverse student populations.

Faculty qualifications, performance and development: College faculty are qualified and must demonstrate effective teaching practices. Faculty undergo professional development and performance evaluation.

Unit governance and resources: The college must have the resources to effectively prepare teacher candidates to meet professional, state and institutional standards.

"This accreditation decision indicates that the educator preparation provider and its programs meet rigorous standards set forth by the professional education community," Christopher Koch, interim president of CAEP, wrote in a May 15 letter to Sandra Stone, regional chancellor for USF Sarasota-Manatee.

NCATE's examiners visited the Sarasota-Manatee campus last fall, according to the university.

NCATE, founded by teaching professionals in 1954, was already the largest accrediting organization nationally before it merged with the Teacher Education Accreditation Council in 2013 to form the Council for the Accreditation for Educator Preparation.

Within the CAEP system, 169 institutions and 224 educational programs are accredited under Teacher Education Accreditation Council standards while 846 institutions are accredited nationally under NCATE standards.

"Earning accreditation through NCATE is so important for our College of Education. It puts us on par with the top educational programs throughout the world and shows the terrific work that is being done by our faculty and students," Stone said. "This recognition also means that USFSM will continue to provide top-notch teachers and educators to our local schools and communities."

Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter @MeghinDelaney.