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Randolph College Receives National Accreditation from Teacher Education Accreditation Council

LYNCHBURG — Randolph College is the first school in Lynchburg to receive national accreditation from the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). Officials with TEAC announced the decision Friday, March 26.

TEAC is recognized as a national accreditor by the United States Department of Education (USDE) and by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Randolph College is one of more than 100 accredited programs from 21 states with TEAC-accredited educator preparation programs. There are only 9 others from Virginia.

“Only a bare majority of the of the nation’s college and university teacher education programs and programs for professional educators in the United States are nationally accredited,” said Frank B. Murray, president of TEAC. “We welcome Randolph College to this select group.”

Founded in 1997, TEAC is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving academic degree programs for professional educators–those who will teach and lead in schools pre-K through grade 12. Accreditation by TEAC is a voluntary system of quality review for educator preparation programs. It is designed to assure both education professionals and the public of the institution’s commitment to academic quality and fiscal integrity as well as stimulate on-going improvement in its educator preparation program.

To be accredited by TEAC, a teacher education program must have solid, independently verifiable evidence of its graduates’ competence. In particular, the program must show that its graduates understand the subject matter they are certified to teach, understand the process of learning and teaching, and possess teaching skills that lead students to appropriate levels of achievement. The program must also have an ongoing process for reviewing and improving itself, and must demonstrate that it has the capacity to offer quality education.

The TEAC accreditation process includes two levels of decision-making, culminating in a decision by TEAC’s Accreditation Committee, which includes representatives of both the public and the education profession. Randolph College education faculty members have been preparing for the TEAC accreditation for more than two years. TEAC requires schools to examine goals and student outcomes in addition to creating a brief that shows graduates meet the criteria quantitatively and qualitatively. TEAC then sends an audit team to ensure the data is correct.

“We congratulate the Randolph College program on this significant accomplishment and appreciate their dedicated work for students and educators in Lynchburg,” Murray said.

Randolph College’s education program includes a four-year program for teacher endorsement and licensure and a five-year program which results in a master’s degree in either curriculum and instruction or special education.

“I always thought our program was good,” said Consuella Woods, education professor. “But TEAC gave us an opportunity to make it even better. Accreditation means that we have proven by national standards that we are a quality program for teacher education. We are producing competent, caring, and qualified teachers. As prospective students and parents of those students look at our program, they will know that we have documented proof that our program can be compared, not just with other institutions around the state, but also at the national level.”

Randolph College’s education program offers a unique opportunity for students to gain in-the-classroom experience from the first year.

“Our program is heavily based in practical experiences, and partnerships with schools are extremely important,” said Gail Brown, education professor. “The number of practical experiences and the action research conducted by teacher candidates throughout the program were elements viewed by the TEAC auditors as somewhat unique in their experience and beneficial.

“Students are excited to be able to tell future employers that they graduated from a nationally accredited teacher education program,” Brown added. “The reputation as a college that prepares its students to be highly qualified, caring, and competent teachers is extremely important to our students as they enter today’s job market.”

Though the TEAC accreditation process was intense, faculty members said the time and effort was worth it.

“This national recognition is a proud distinction for Randolph College,” said Peggy Schimmoeller, education professor. “Through the TEAC process, the audit team undertook an exhaustive and objective review of Randolph College’s education program pedagogy, faculty and most importantly–our results in preparing men and women to teach in a variety of educational settings.

“TEAC accreditation further validates the quality of Randolph’s teacher education program, its comprehensive curriculum and the committed faculty and highly qualified teacher candidates,” she added.



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