The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation has given the University of Indianapolis School of Education a full accreditation with no areas of improvement, a rating they will hold for the next seven years.
Dean of the School of Education John Kuykendall said that the professors and their dedication to their students is what makes this program successful.
“I think that the faculty here at this school are really cutting edge and want to provide a uniqueness to our teachers [students] when they go out in the field. Our teachers [students] are very sought after to teach in schools, especially in central Indiana,” Kuykendall said. “Our students are very close with the faculty, they are well informed about education, they are involved with students on campus, and there is a really strong community of educators.”
For the last seven years, UIndy was accredited by another organization, the National Council for Accreditation for Teacher Education, where they held a similar accreditation. According to Kuykendall, CAEP has a more evidence based way of distinguishing the school than the past accreditor. This not only proves that the schools have programs in place to properly prepare their students, but also that those programs are doing what they are designed to.
Kuykendall said that this accreditation process was more of a challenge, because the School of Education had to prove that programs and classes they have in place create a positive impact on its students.
“I think that over time we have to change how we prepare teachers,” Kuykendall said. “I think CAEP is holding the education program to a higher standard by saying we need to know exactly how you are doing these things and what impact is it having on your graduates that are out teaching. Having to show your work is what is making this more of a rigorous process.”
The accreditation process begins with the university conducting a self evaluation and writing a report to send to the accreditation center. Once the report is received, four to five CAEP team members visit the campus to go over the report with faculty.
According to Kuykendall, this time allows for faculty to explain and show evidence of what is written in the report. It also allows the CAEP team members to see first hand what the outcomes are of the program, and get the evidence based knowledge about the program.
Junior education major Mariah Green said that she has received a number of opportunities through the program that she would not have gotten at other schools. She has been able to tutor and visit K-12 schools in the area to get accustomed to different teaching settings, such as charter, public or private schools.
“Indianapolis is a great area for future educators to visit a variety of schools. By visiting, it helps teachers decide which school system is the right fit for them [charter, private, public],” Green said. “Our education program is put higher than others because we are placed into the school systems as early as freshman year, which is beneficial because you can realize quickly if this is the right career path for you.”
“Having to show your work is what is making this more of a rigorous process.”
Green also has been a part of the Junior Scientist Mindset Program, which is an interactive program to educate students and teachers on growth mindset. She said that through this program, she has received mentorship and plays an active role in the classroom environment.
“I have received mentorship from Mary Gobbett, who is in charge of the Junior Scientist Mindset Program at Abraham Lincoln Elementary. As a future elementary school teacher, being a part of this group for my ongoing third year has been a really great experience,” Green said. “I have learned how to effectively communicate with a first grade teacher prepare weekly science lessons and experiments.”
UIndy’s School of Education has been, and continues to focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. According to Kuykendall, the program has partnered with other areas on campus to provide the education students with the most knowledge about STEM.
“We have a good feel for STEM education and we really want to have that niche focus for our students when they graduate, and that they are really able to teach in the STEM areas of K-12 education,” Kuykendall said. “We’ve got to continue to provide a generation of teachers who can teach to diverse populations. We have to continue to have relationships with schools in our area so that we can provide resources for their teachers development opportunities.”
Header photo contributed by John Kuykendall.