Education program receives NCATE reaccreditation

Northwestern College’s teacher education program has received continuing accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Only three other colleges’ education programs in Iowa (Graceland, Luther and Wartburg) are accredited by NCATE. The association currently accredits 623 institutions, which produce two-thirds of the nation’s new teacher graduates each year.

“We were pleased to receive this affirmation of our program,” says Laura Heitritter, faculty member in the education department. “Accreditation means we’ve met national standards of excellence. In addition, one of the things I like about the accreditation process is that it drives you to improve all the time. It develops a habit of mind to continue to look at improvement.”

Heitritter says NCATE reviewers were impressed by the department’s students, particularly by the fact that they led the first session of the evaluation team’s visit last fall. The reviewers also reported hearing very good comments on the program from alumni and area educators and remarked about the warm welcome they received and the campus’ beautiful facilities.

Northwestern’s program first received NCATE accreditation in 1971. Its most recent continuation of accreditation was in 2004. The next on-site accreditation visit is scheduled for the spring of 2016.

The teacher education program has also been granted approval by the State Board of Education, which had a team on campus during the NCATE site visit. The next state review will take place in 2013–14.

Members of the state team commented on the program’s efforts to expand students’ understanding of and experience with diversity and said they were impressed by the number of hours and kinds of work the education students do prior to their student teaching placement.

Northwestern’s education department includes six full-time faculty members and several adjunct professors. The department offers majors in elementary education and secondary education, along with endorsements in coaching, early childhood education, middle school, reading, special education and teaching

English as a second language. In the fall of 2008, about 270 students were enrolled in the teacher education program; approximately 60 percent of them were elementary education majors.