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Mount Union College Department of Education Prepares for NCATE Accreditation

August 28, 2003

On February 21 - 25, 2004, the Ohio Department of Education will be visiting the Mount Union College campus to evaluate the Teacher Education Program. Dr. Linda Burkey, associate professor of education, and Dr. Pete Schneller, assistant professor of education, are co-coordinators of the program. Along with other faculty members and teacher candidates, they have been working diligently for the past four years molding the program according to National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) guidelines.

The purpose of the Teacher Education Program is to develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that candidates need to be great teachers. Both Burkey and Schneller believe that by using NCATE standards to guide the program, that goal is achieved.

In 1998, the education department began to look deeper into the purpose and direction of the Teacher Education Program by beginning work on a conceptual framework. Over the next few years and after countless meetings and scores of discussions between the education department faculty, the arts and sciences faculty, the Advisory Council, Mount Union graduates, and representatives from partner schools, SNEA, and Kappa Delta Pi, an honor society for education students, the conceptual framework has become a living and breathing document.

The main theme for the program is "Caring teachers live what they believe." The conceptual framework focuses on NCATE's six standards. The standards challenge students to become competent in subject matter areas, understand the individual needs of those they will be teaching, recognize the need for diversity, show a commitment to technology, and demonstrate a sense of care.

The Teacher Education Program, which consists of approximately 700 majors and minors, is now running according to NCATE guidelines.

Burkey mentions that this move was made for two reasons. It was required for program approval from the Ohio Department of Education and for self-assessment. "Until you step back and assess, you really don't know if you have a good program," she said.

Schneller is proud of all the work that has gone into the Teacher Education Program. "We're just looking for continuous improvement. We want whatever is best for our program," he said. Currently, coordinators of the program are putting together an evidence room that will be located in the Kolenbrander - Harter Information Center in anticipation of the February 2004 campus visit by the Ohio Department of Education's Board of Examiners.

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