SPRINGFIELD, Ohio - The Wittenberg teacher education program is among Ohio's best according to two recent indicators.
In April, the education department became the first small liberal arts college in the state to be recommended for full accreditation by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Those national accreditation standards have recently become more stringent, more performance-based.
Wittenberg education majors this year also continued its record of 100 percent passage of Ohio teacher licensing exams. How Wittenberg compares with other programs will be released Sept. 15.
The team of examiners from NCATE was most impressed with the department's performance due to the extensive documentation and presentation led by Charles Novak, professor of education, and Lora Lawson, assistant professor of education. The Council will consider the recommendations on Oct. 12.
The department was recommended for full approval in all six categories, with only two areas of improvement cited. Those are both unusually positive outcomes for any accreditation site visit, according to Robert Welker, professor of education. The six standards evaluated were:
Knowledge of content and pedagogy for teaching -- passed;
Assessment system to measure student-teacher performance -- passed;
Field experience -- passed; (one area of improvement -- more interaction needed with a diverse higher education faculty).
Diversity, preparing teachers to succeed in diverse environments -- passed;
Faculty qualification, performance and development -- passed; and
Facilities -- passed (one area of improvement -- improve handicapped accessibility in Blair Hall).
The site examiners were particularly impressed that the education department has adopted its own mission statement, based on the Wittenberg mission statement, Welker said. This gives the accreditation body a firm understanding of the conceptual framework on which to evaluate performance.
The department's mission is to "produce educational leaders as a force for constructive social change."
"What's important to me," Welker continued, "is that we believe in preparing teachers that not only have confidence, but they have character, and they care enough about their communities to try to change things for the better."
"Liberal arts schools have a very important place in preparing good teachers because we care about those three things."