UM’s College of Education recognized for national excellence

MISSOULA – The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) announced that the University of Montana’s Phyllis J. Washington College of Education has received accreditation for its Educator Preparation programs in Teaching and Educational Leadership.

The CAEP Accreditation Council’s decision resulted in the College of Education’s full accreditation to meet all CAEP accreditation standards – rigorous, nationally recognized standards designed to ensure excellence in preparatory educator programs.

“Our students and faculty should be very proud of their work,” said Dr. Adrea Lawrence, Dean of the College of Education. “We have set the bar very high for our educator preparation programs, and CAEP accreditation validates the hard work we put in. Our students and their families invest in an educational program that is designated as nationally accredited for Preparing for Educators.”

CAEP is recognized by the US Department of Education as a program accreditor, based on peer review, that serves the dual role of assuring quality and encouraging improvement. CAEP updated the Teacher Preparation Standards in 2020 as part of its commitment to review the standards at least every seven years.

The changes to the CAEP standards reflect the board’s commitment to equity and diversity, and also emphasize the importance of technology in preparing future educators. Standards include content and syllabus, clinical partnerships and practice, candidate recruitment, progress, support, program impact, and assurance systems and continuous improvement.” These institutions maintain high standards to ensure their students receive an education that prepares them to graduate from a variety of classrooms,” said CAEP President Dr. Christopher A Koch. “Application for CAEP accreditation is a significant commitment on the part of an educator preparation provider.”

In addition to CAEP’s national accreditation, the Montana Board of Public Education establishes standards for educator programs, reviews educator preparatory programs, and grants accreditation for Montana programs based on the recommendations of a review team coordinated by the Montana Office of Public Instruction. UM’s Education College is scheduled to be accredited by the Montana Board of Public Education after meeting all standards for its teaching and educational leadership programs at both the state and national levels.

UM offers 29 instructional programs ranging from early childhood education through middle and high school programs in science, arts, math, world languages, language arts, social studies, special education, reading and library. The cumulative GPA of all students admitted to the teacher education program significantly exceeds national accreditation requirements, with the most recently admitted cohort having an average GPA of 3.36 and elementary school students scoring an average of 13 points above the required Montana score for the practice content exam.

“We believe in continuous improvement and we will use the information we have received from the accreditation process to help us better prepare future school teachers and leaders,” said Dr. Daniel Lee, Associate Dean of UM Education.