Mercer’s Professional Education Programs Earn National Accreditation

May 7, 2008

Mark Vanderhoek
(478) 301-4037
(800) 837-2911, ext. 4037

MACON/ATLANTA — Along with its regional and state accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, Tift College of Education of Mercer University has received national accreditation for all of its programs from The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.  NCATE, the national organization responsible for professional accreditation of teacher education, notified the College of its new status on May 1.

“Receiving NCATE accreditation is an important achievement for any institution.  We are particularly proud that the review team found that we met all six of NCATE’s rigorous standards – an unusual accomplishment for an institution seeking initial accreditation,” said Susan Malone, Ed.D., the College’s NCATE coordinator and associate dean for Accreditation, Assessment, and Administration. “Engaging in the process of evaluating ourselves and documenting the quality of our programs has enhanced our commitment to ongoing improvement and strengthened our preparation programs for teachers and school leaders.”

The College received full accreditation on all of its programs, from its teacher certification to its Ph.D. in Educational Leadership. The accreditation extends to all five of the College’s locations, including Macon, Atlanta, Douglas County, Henry County and Eastman, as well as a sixth in Savannah, where a cohort of the College’s Specialist in Education Leadership program will begin this fall. The College currently has more than 1,500 students, and it will award more than 270 bachelors’, masters’ and specialists’ degrees this month.

“Earning NCATE accreditation is a testament to the high caliber of the Tift College of Education's faculty, staff and students,” said University Provost Horace Fleming. “The College has long been committed to training tomorrow's educators and this accreditation is another indicator of Mercer's continued commitment to that goal.”

The NCATE Board of Examiners report commended Mercer for its excellence and thoroughness:  “Because of the comprehensive data summarized from the myriad of instruments used to examine standards, there is a commonly held belief expressed by the unit, the programs, the candidates themselves, the employers in the field, and now by this review team that Mercer candidates are transformational and reflective practitioner/leaders who will leave a positive mark on the teaching profession.”
 
“The exemplary report we received from NCATE is indicative of the strength of our programs, students, faculty, and staff,” said Dean Carl Martray, Ph.D. “The report is also reflective of the strong support and collaboration of the Mercer community as a whole.  We are pleased to be recognized as an NCATE-accredited institution.”

Adding national accreditation will further expand the opportunities available to Mercer education graduates. When Martray arrived at the Tift College of Education in 2003, he began the process of national accreditation through NCATE, with Malone joining the College a year later to help head up the effort.

The effort has paid off, with the College’s programs all receiving full accreditation, and Malone being invited by NCATE to present at its twice-a-year orientation for institutions preparing for an accreditation visit. The organization invites presenters from institutions that have done a good job with their own accreditation visits and who can share their best practices. Malone traveled to Washington, D.C., in April at NCATE’s expense to do two presentations for the AACTE/NCATE Institutional Orientation, which is co-sponsored by NCATE and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

The NCATE accreditation will allow the Tift College of Education, already Georgia’s largest private preparer of teachers, to extend its reach throughout the nation. Many states have reciprocity agreements based on graduation from NCATE-accredited schools, so that graduates from NCATE-accredited institutions will generally find it easier to apply for licensure when they move out of state.

About Mercer University:
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University has 7,300 students; 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies; major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah; three regional academic centers across the state; a university press; two teaching hospitals — Memorial Health University Medical Center and the Medical Center of Central Georgia; educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta; an engineering research center in Warner Robins; a performing arts center in Macon; and a NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit www.mercer.edu.
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