SOE News

Full accreditation granted by NCATE

The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) has announced that the School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has received full continuing accreditation, at both the initial teacher preparation and the advanced preparation levels. The decision was based on a comprehensive self-study report submitted by the School of Education to NCATE in October 2008 and an on-site visit by an accreditation team in November 2008.

“This accreditation decision indicates that the unit [the School of Education] meets rigorous standards set forth by the professional education community,” wrote James Cibulka, president of NCATE, in a May 8, 2009, letter to UNC’s Chancellor Holden Thorp.

NCATE revises its standards every five years to incorporate best practice and research on teacher preparation. In the past decade, NCATE has moved from an accreditation system focused on curriculum and what teacher candidates were offered, to a data-driven performance-based system dedicated to determining what students learn and are able to do.

NCATE's current standards—all met by the UNC School of Education—focus on:

  • Candidate [student] knowledge, skills and professional dispositions
  • Assessment system and unit evaluation
  • Field experiences and clinical practice
  • Diversity
  • Faculty qualifications, performance and development
  • Unit governance and resources

“The accreditation process ideally enables us to take a reflective look at our programs and evaluate what we are doing well and what areas of improvement might be needed,” said Deborah Eaker-Rich, assistant dean and coordinator of the School's accreditation efforts. “Having external teams look at us with a ‘fresh eye’ is a further validation of our strengths and commitment to excellence in training teachers and other school professionals for the state of North Carolina. Finally, this successful accreditation attests to the outstanding faculty, students and public school partners we have in the School of Education.”

At this time, NCATE accredits 623 institutions, which produce two-thirds of the nation’s new teachers every year. Nearly 100 more are seeking accreditation.

The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation officially recognize NCATE as the organization responsible for professional accreditation of teacher education in the United States. NCATE notifies the Secretary of Education of the outcome of its accreditation activities. When an institution fails to meet NCATE standards, that institution is at risk of losing its eligibility to receive funds through the Higher Education Act.

The UNC School of Education was among the institutions first accredited by NCATE when it was initially incorporated as a nonprofit accrediting body in 1954. The School has maintained its accreditation continuously since that time.

In this most recent accreditation review, the UNC School of Education was granted continuing accreditation for a period of eight years, the maximum length possible at this time. The next accreditation review will take place in the fall of 2016.