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IU South Bend School of Education Recognized for Excellence in Educator Preparation

Aug 4, 2020

School of Education meets rigorous accreditation standards to better prepare the teachers of tomorrow

South Bend, IN Indiana University South Bend is pleased to announce that its School of Education has earned accreditation for its educator preparation programs (EPPs) from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), meeting rigorous, nationally-recognized standards developed to ensure excellence in educator preparation programs.

We are extremely proud of our School of Education’s high standards, providing our students an education that prepares them to succeed in a diverse range of school environments after they graduate, said IU South Bend Chancellor Susan Elrod. Seeking CAEP Accreditation is a significant commitment and we know this will make our students most of whom go on to teach in our region after graduating well prepared to help the K-12 students in our community succeed.

The IU South Bend School of Education goes through the rigorous peer review and analysis every seven years. The credential of accreditation is required by the Indiana Department of Education for all colleges and universities offering EPP programs. All education programs at IU campuses statewide are fully accredited.

According to Dean Hope Smith Davis of the School of Education, the process of on-going program review and evaluation through CAEP is challenging to maintain, but it ensures that we are constantly looking at how we can better serve our candidates, and ultimately the students they will teach in their own classrooms one day. CAEP review leads to stronger programs and outcomes, and maintaining a CAEP-approved designation is a sign to the community that we are working hard to help our candidates meet the challenges in ever-changing school contexts. All of the degree-granting programs offered through the School of Education are vetted through national accrediting bodies, and the school is proud to have maintained consistent accreditation since we began these processes decades ago. In addition to CAEP, which is designed to evaluate programs for the preparation of teachers and school leaders, programs in the Counseling and Human Services department are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs or CACREP.

The standards from CAEP review the school in much greater depth and scope than the preceding accrediting body, the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). NCATE merged with another accrediting body several years ago to become CAEP, and this was the first time the South Bend School of Education underwent CAEP review. More so than NCATE, CAEP requires extensive data analysis that is examined granularly. There are five standards, and the programs are reviewed three years prior to the official accreditation visit. Review occurs for programs in elementary education, special education, secondary content education, and more.

For every program or concentration in education we offer, we must submit and analyze data from all assessments in each program area documenting how effectively we are addressing each of the standards for each, separate special program and accrediting body. Accreditation is an all-hands-on-deck, continuous process, Davis said. Our accreditation with CAEP began with program reviews three years out from the actual site visit. Following the program reviews to ensure content standards were met in 2016-2017, the recently-concluded CAEP review evaluated the educator preparation programs from a more holistic perspective to affirm that, regardless of major, our future educators meet common and rigorous standards for the education profession at large.

Our students and their families are investing in an education program that is designated as nationally-accredited for teacher preparation, Davis said. I am proud of all of our students and the work of our faculty. Our alumni are consistently recognized for being in the top educators in the region. We have graduated successful local teachers, counselors, principals, and superintendents, and every year IU South Bend alumni are recognized with numerous honors and awards. We know there is a high bar to meet in order to attract the best students from year to year. This CAEP Accreditation validates all the hard work of our faculty and students over the last seven years Davis said.

Standard 2 examines the school’s partnerships and collaborations. Accreditation requires that the university work closely with the schools in their regional districts, and that these working relationships are intensely interactive. In passing this standard, Davis points to a six-figure state grant enabling IU South Bend to work with Mary Beck Elementary School. Both K-12 students and teacher candidates there have demonstrated exceptional progress under the partnership, allowing for 25% of teacher candidates to receive field training at the school each semester since the program’s inception.

Standard 3 involves teacher candidate selection and diversifying the education field of the future. While nationally and regionally school systems have struggled to attract and retain teachers of color, and specifically male teachers of color, in recent years, thanks to generous support from our donors, the IU South Bend School of Education has been able to provide multiple, renewable scholarships of up to $1400 per year to encourage enrollment for underrepresented teacher candidates who will teach in our local schools in the future.

Standard 4 requires that the school track graduates after leaving the program. Part of this tracking includes closely monitoring state-level evaluations of our graduates’ performance in the classroom and the impact of their instructional practice on K-12 student learning. Analysis of these on-the-ground data helps us to connect what we are teaching in the pre-service classes to real-world contexts, and ensures that what we are teaching has a direct relationship to what works in the classroom.

IU South Bend School of Education looks forward to continuing to deliver quality teacher preparation and is dedicated to its continuous improvement efforts. We are proud to have earned an accreditation that signifies our commitment to every student’s right to a strong educational foundation, said Dean Davis.

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