State reaccredits education department

Northwestern’s teacher education program has been officially reaccredited by the Iowa Board of Education through 2009-10. Evaluators visited the campus last fall.

The Board of Education said Northwestern met all six of its standards: governance and resources, diversity, faculty performance and development, clinical practice, assessment of candidate knowledge, and assessment of the unit. “In many ways, this program serves as a model for standards- and performance-based practitioner preparation programs,” the board said in its report. “The institution is to be commended [for its] excellent program and contributions to the state of Iowa.”

Reviewers praised Northwestern’s education faculty, saying they provide highly individualized assistance to students and are respected across the campus and in area schools. They also cited as strengths the department’s extensive field experience requirements as well as the college’s facilities, supportive administration and commitment to diversity. Evaluators noted that the education program’s conceptual framework, “Teacher as Servant,” is well-aligned with Northwestern’s mission and pervasive throughout the department.

Last spring, the education program received continuing accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Only four other colleges’ education programs in Iowa (Graceland, Luther, Morningside and Wartburg) are accredited by NCATE.

Northwestern’s education department includes five full-time faculty members, three part-time faculty and several adjuncts. 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. Approximately 33 percent of Northwestern’s graduates each year are enrolled in the teacher education program. Of those, about two-thirds are elementary education majors and one-third are secondary education majors.