OBU Teacher Education Program Maintains National Accreditation

ARKADELPHIA — Following an in-depth evaluation process, Ouachita Baptist University’s Teacher Education program has earned continued national accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

According to NCATE President James Cibulka, Ouachita “has met rigorous professional standards for the preparation of teachers and other school specialists and is a nationally accredited institution.”

In a letter to Ouachita President Rex M. Horne, Jr., Cibulka affirmed the decision of NCATE’s Unit Accreditation Board “to continue the accreditation of the Michael D. Huckabee School of Education at Ouachita Baptist University at the initial teacher preparation level.”

The accreditation encompasses 12 education degree programs offered at Ouachita in the areas of biology, chemistry, English, mathematics, kinesiology and leisure studies, music education, social studies, Spanish, speech communications and theatre arts as well as early childhood education, middle school education and art education. Those programs involved approximately 250 Ouachita students.

Noting that Ouachita’s Teacher Education program has been accredited consistently since the 1960s, Dr. Merribeth Bruning said, “The accreditation process is ongoing. Preparing for the accreditation visit gives us the opportunity to celebrate the positive aspects of our work and to enhance the overall quality of our programs. The process makes us examine our course objectives, outcomes and delivery as we prepare our teacher education candidates for the P-12 students of today.”

Dr. Bruning, who serves as director of Ouachita’s Teacher Education program, also is dean of the Huckabee School of Education. She works closely with the university’s 12-member Teacher Education Council which represents teacher licensure areas throughout campus.

Maintaining accreditation “doesn’t happen in isolation,” Bruning emphasized. She said the Teacher Education Council and other faculty members and administrators “work together to make it happen.”

The Teacher Education program met all six of NCATE’s assessment standards, including candidate knowledge, skills and professional dispositions; assessment system and unit evaluation; field experiences and clinical practice; diversity; faculty qualifications, performance and development; and unit governance and resources. Based on NCATE’s findings, Ouachita’s current accreditation will be maintained for seven years, with the next NCATE evaluation set for 2016.

“Being granted continued accreditation from NCATE is no routine matter,” said Dr. Stan Poole, Ouachita’s vice president for academic affairs. “It involves an intensive review process and demonstrates that our teacher education program has met NCATE’s rigorous standards for quality.

“Dean Merribeth Bruning, the faculty and staff in the Huckabee School of Education, and colleagues from across campus who participated in the review process are to be commended for their hard work and collaborative efforts to ensure our program’s success,” Poole added.

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