URI School of Education earns national accreditation for educator licensure programs

The University of Rhode Island’s School of Education has been awarded full, 7-year accreditations for the initial and advanced educator licensure programs from the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP).

The AAQEP Accreditation Commission issued the accreditation decisions at its July meeting, after reviewing evidence collected through its self-study and peer review processes.

The review determined that all four of AAQEP’s standards were met for both undergraduate and graduate level programs, leading to state licensure for early childhood, elementary, and secondary teachers, as well as several specialist areas.

“Teacher candidates are prepared to work effectively as professional educators through a robust program of study, extensive clinical practice opportunities, and a dynamic assessment system aligned to state and national standards,” according to a statement issued by the Commission on its decision for the initial licensure programs.

For the advanced programs, the Commission’s statement read: “Master’s candidates are prepared for advanced certification by developing their professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions to support success for all learners, with particular attention to high-need areas. Program graduates are able to work, adapt, and continue to grow in a variety of contexts.”

The Commission also cited evidence of the School of Education’s ability to sustain high-quality educator preparation. “The School of Education maintains and enhances program quality by analyzing evidence of its effectiveness and taking targeted steps to drive improvement. It engages in systematic and mutually beneficial partnerships to strengthen the P-20 education system in both local and international settings.”

National accreditation assures the quality of professional teacher preparation programs through a nongovernmental, nonregulatory process of self-study and peer review. This standards and evidence-based process serves two broad aims: accountability and continuous improvement.

“Not only does this accreditation recognize the quality of our initial and advanced licensure programs, it also provides us with opportunities for innovation and continuous improvement in order to best meet the evolving needs of our students and K-12 partners,” said Danielle Dennis, interim dean of URI’s Feinstein College of Education and Professionals which houses the School of Education.

Diane Kern, interim director of the School of Education, added that School of Education faculty voted unanimously to engage in the AAQEP national accreditation process to “achieve our goal of continuously improving our excellent and innovative educator preparation programs.”

“The school did not do this work alone. We appreciate the innumerable contributions of students, alumni, members of the URI President’s Leadership Council, staff, PK-12 school partners, faculty, and college administrators in this important work to prepare teachers and educators for work in schools today,” Kern said.

The AAQEP model is also designed to honor local context and foster innovation and collaboration among institutions. AAQEP currently has members in 31 states and other jurisdictions with over 180 educator preparation providers participating in the accreditation system.

“Congratulations to the University of Rhode Island and to all of the faculty, staff, and
stakeholders who have achieved their goal of national accreditation by AAQEP,” said AAQEP President and CEO Mark LaCelle-Peterson. “These programs provide strong initial teacher preparation and enhance the capabilities of in-service educators by offering comprehensive student supports as well as responsiveness to local workforce needs.”