Georgia Southern University College of Education has earned national continuing accreditation for all its initial teacher preparation and advanced preparation programs from the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The College of Education’s programs were singled-out for special recognition by the council, noting that the rigorous review process found “no areas for improvement relative to any of the standards,” according to a letter from James G. Cibulka, president of NCATE. In an additional acknowledgement of the high level of the College of Education’s programs, the NCATE visiting team commended the College for its strengths associated with four standards: Standard 2-Assessment System and Unit Evaluation; Standard 3- Field Experiences and Clinical Practice, the College’s target standard; Standard 5-Faculty Qualifications, Performance and Development; and Standard 6- Unit Governance and Resources.
“NCATE’s continuing accreditation is a testament to the consistent focus on quality and assessment advanced by all our faculty and staff at the College of Education, and it demonstrates once again that our highest priority is teacher effectiveness and student success,” said Thomas R. Koballa, Jr., Ph.D., College of Education dean.
He continued, “I am extremely proud of our entire College for the hard work that went into the year-long review process. As always, our students and their parents are assured that our programs meet the highest state and national standards for academic excellence as a result of NCATE’s national continuing accreditation.” Georgia Southern’s educator preparation programs have been NCATE accredited since 1954 when NCATE was incorporated as an accrediting body. While on-site accreditation takes place every seven years, the College must meet rigorous reporting requirements annually to stay in compliance with NCATE’s accreditation.
Georgia Southern University President Brooks Keel congratulated the College of Education. “The College of Education exemplifies the standards of excellence that are the hallmark of our University,” he said. “NCATE has once again affirmed the College of Education’s longstanding reputation as a regional leader in educator preparation.”
Georgia Southern has a rich history of preparing education professionals. The bachelor’s degree in education is the oldest professional degree at Georgia Southern, and from 1924 to 1955, the entire institution focused exclusively on preparing future teachers. Today, the College of Education offers bachelor’s degrees in early childhood, middle grades, special education, and health and physical education. The bachelor of music education degree is offered by the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. The College of Education leads the University in awarding the highest number of master’s and doctoral degrees, providing the region, state and nation with education professionals prepared to meet the needs of the 21st century’s dynamic, diverse and technology-rich society.
The College of Education has also been a leader in offering online and hybrid-format degree programs to meet the changing needs of students and professionals. Today, the College offers online M.Ed. and Ed.S. programs in early childhood, middle grades, special education, secondary education, instructional technology and reading; the M.Ed. in educational leadership; and endorsement programs in reading and online teaching and learning. The M.A.T. in special education is the only initial teacher preparation program offered totally online. For the past two years, the College of Education has ranked among the nation’s best in U.S. News & World Report’s “Top Online Graduate Education Programs.”
Koballa said the focus of all educator preparation programs continues to be providing many and varied opportunities for hands-on professional experience in the classroom. “Our partner schools are the cornerstone of our College,” Koballa said. “Our student educators get the experience they need to make them effective teachers and education professionals, and are highly desirable in the job market.”
The College of Education has more than 100 full-time and part-time faculty and three departments: Leadership, Technology and Human Development; Teaching and Learning; and Curriculum, Foundations and Reading.
NCATE is in the process of merging and changing its name to the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). The College of Education will use the NCATE accreditation logo until its next accreditation visit, using CAEP standards, in spring 2020.
Georgia Southern University, a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers 125 degree programs serving more than 20,000 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s, specialist’s, and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. Georgia Southern is recognized for its student-centered approach to education. Visit: www.georgiasouthern.edu.
COE’s Goizueta Distinguished Chair, Alejandro Gallard, is co-principal investigator of a $2.5 million, 5-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, for a project that helps middle school students with learning disabilities learn science content with online sources. Gallard said part of the project will focus on Latina/o populations.
Project ESCOLAR (Etext Supports for Collaborative Online Learning and Academic Reading) is a collaborative effort between the Center for Advanced Technology in Education at the University of Oregon, Georgia Southern University’s College of Education and the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study group. Gallard’s sub-award totals more than $300,000 over the period of the grant.
The project intends to increase opportunities for students with learning disabilities to become 21st century innovators, to excel with the general curriculum and be prepared to succeed in college and careers through the use of Collaborative Online Projects in science. These projects are built in an electronic environment that fosters reading comprehension of scientific text and ultimately improves science learning and literacy. Photo: Dr. Alejandro Gallard
Two COE doctoral alumni have been named Georgia’s 2013 National Distinguished Principal through the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). This year’s Georgia winners are Jesse Davis, principal of Feagin Mill Middle School in Houston County and Amy Duke, principal of Springdale Elementary School in Bibb County.
The program, begun in 1984, was established to recognized and celebrate elementary and middle-level principals “who set high standards for instruction, student achievement, character and climate for the students, families and staffs in their learning communities” according to NAESP. They will be honored in late October in Washington, DC, as part of National Principals Month. The award-winning principals will also have an opportunity to share best practices during the event. NAESP Executive Director Gail Connelly said of the honorees, “only a principal can move a school from good to great, simultaneously championing children and uplifting the communities they serve.”
Jesse Davis received his Ed.D. in Educational Leadership in 2006 from the College of Education. Davis served as assistant principal of Feagin Mill Middle for three years before being named principal. He also served as an athletics coach and special education teacher at the school. Davis promotes shared leadership as his management style. During his tenure as principal, Feagin Mill has had the most Master Teacher inductees for any school in the state. The school also received the Bronze Award in 2010 for excellence in student achievement.
Duke received her Ed.D. in Curriculum Studies in 2007 from the College of Education. Prior to joining Springdale, she was a teacher in Houston County. She also served as assistant principal at Springdale Elementary before being appointed principal, a position she has held for seven years.
Some of Duke’s accomplishments include receiving the Bronze Award three times for student achievement, and receiving both the Georgia Association of Elementary School Principals’ School Bell Award and Patron Award. She also was asked to serve on the Governor’s Principal Advisory Committee and is a participant in the National Principals Mentoring Certification Program.
She is a native of Dublin where she will be principal at Northwest Laurens Elementary School in Dudley next year.
Criteria for selection of the principals is set by NAESP and the U.S. Department of Education and requires that the honorees be selected by their colleagues for achievements above and beyond those expected in a school program.