NORTH NEWTON, KAN. -- The Bethel College teacher education program has been accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) for the first time in its history. Teacher education was previously accredited with the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE). A team from KSDE and NCATE conducted a site visit on campus over several days last spring and formally notified Bethel of the accreditation in late October.
In order to earn accreditation, the department had to meet a set of six standards. For example, teacher candidates must show they have in-depth knowledge of the subject they plan to teach as well as the skills necessary to convey their knowledge to students. The college must indicate its ability to effectively assess its teacher candidates’ skills, and that it has strong partnerships with schools that provide student teaching experiences.
Other standards deal with diversity, faculty qualifications, and resources, including information technology, that the college offers its students.
Allen Jantz, associate professor of education, said, "The chair of the [KSDE] team told me in no uncertain terms that I was not to downplay the outcome of the visit--it was ‘exceptional.’ I don’t believe we could have done better."
Meeting NCATE accreditation standards helps teacher education institutions prepare prospective teachers for the new, more rigorous licensing standards that now exist in many states. The United States Department of Education recognizes NCATE as a specialized accrediting body for schools, colleges and universities and departments of education.
John Sheriff, academic dean, said on receiving news of the accreditation, "Thanks especially to the education faculty and staff and all the faculty who supported this effort to achieve for the first time in Bethel’s history NCATE accreditation.
"All together, we educate teachers who carry with them a high level of competency, a liberal arts education, a global perspective, willingness to participate in purposeful communities and an alignment of professional goals with values consistent with the mission of Christ," he continued. "How gratifying it is to excel through collaborative efforts."
Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and has been named a Top Tier college by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1998. For more information, see the Bethel web site at www.bethelks.edu.