Thursday, April 24, 2008

Gordon College Early Childhood Education Program Passes First Step to Obtain Accreditation

The Gordon College Early Childhood Education program is one step closer to being fully accrediting after a successful site visit by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

All eight standards were met which included, candidate knowledge, skills and disposition; assessment system and unit evaluation; field experiences and clinical practice; diversity; faculty qualifications and performance; unit governance and resources; specific requirements and standards and appropriate program content standards.

While all eight standards were met, three were met with areas for improvement noted. Those included diversity, faculty qualifications, performance and unit governance and resources.

“Meeting these standards means that our first graduating class of teachers in May, 2009 will have completed an NCATE accredited program and will be eligible to obtain their teaching certificates,” said Jerry Stinchcomb, interim chair of the division of education at Gordon College. “We knew that with this being a new program there would be areas for improvement and we will work hard to make the recommended improvements.”

“This ‘developmental accreditation’ is the first step for new programs like ours,” Stinchcomb added. “In two years, when we have data from our graduates, Gordon College will then be eligible for ‘initial accreditation’ which will cover the next seven years.”

Stinchcomb, a Fayette County native, taught for many years in Fayette County and is a former Superintendent of the Fayette County school system.

The Georgia Professional Standards Commission, PSC, and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, NCATE, are the professional accrediting organizations for schools, colleges, and teacher preparation programs in Georgia. NCATE is the accrediting body for programs across the United States. It is a coalition of more than 30 organizations representing teachers, teacher education, policymakers and the public. NCATE currently accredits 632 colleges of education with 78 more seeking NCATE accreditation.

The five-day visit involved meetings with teacher-candidates as well as administrators, instructors and representatives of the Teacher Education Council, a group of local educators assisting in the development of the Gordon program.

Review team members included representatives from Albany State College, Augusta State University, Columbus State University, Florida State University and Georgia Southern University.

There are currently 30 teacher-candidates in the first class that will graduate in spring 2009 with degrees in Early Childhood Education, Gordon's first baccalaureate degree. The second class of juniors will begin this fall.

Gordon College, in Barnesville, is a residential state college of the University System of Georgia and offers more than 80 programs of study to more than 3,700 students. There are more than 350 students from Fayette County enrolled at Gordon College.

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