USM Education Programs Earn Accreditation

5/21/2012 12:00:00 AM

National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education Finds USM Meets Profession’s Standards


(Leavenworth, Kan.)—The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) has awarded professional accreditation to the education programs at the University of Saint Mary. The announcement means USM’s programs meet rigorous accreditation standards and that the university’s education students graduate with the in-depth knowledge and skills necessary to help students learn.


Studies show that teacher quality is the most important factor in Pre-K–12 student achievement. Professional accreditation is one way to ensure the public that schools of education are graduating well-qualified teachers ready for today’s classrooms. USM’s education programs have proven their commitment to producing quality teachers for our nation’s children by achieving accreditation this month under NCATE’s performance-oriented standards. 


NCATE is a professional accrediting body for educator preparation, and currently accredits 670 institutions which produce two-thirds of the nation's new teacher graduates each year. Sixty-three institutions are candidates or precandidates for accreditation.


About the accreditation: NCATE-accredited schools must meet rigorous standards set by the profession and members of the public. Teacher candidates must have in-depth knowledge of the subject matter that they plan to teach as well as the skills necessary to convey it so that students learn. The college or university must carefully assess this knowledge and skill to determine that candidates may graduate. The institution must also have partnerships with P-12 schools that enable candidates to develop the skills necessary to help students learn. Candidates must be prepared to understand and work with diverse student populations.  College and university faculty must model effective teaching practices. And the school, college, or department of education must have the resources, including information technology resources, necessary to prepare candidates to meet new standards. 


NCATE revises its standards every five years to incorporate best practice and research in order to ensure that the standards reflect a consensus about what is important in teacher preparation today. In the past decade, NCATE has moved from an accreditation system that focused on curriculum and what teacher candidates were offered, to a data-driven performance-based system dedicated to determining what candidates know and are able to do.  The new system expects teacher preparation institutions to provide compelling evidence of candidate knowledge and skill in the classroom. Multiple types of performance assessment are expected throughout the program of study. Candidate qualifications are assessed upon entry, and candidate competence is assessed throughout the program as well as prior to student teaching/internship work, and before completion of the program.  


Meeting NCATE accreditation standards also helps institutions prepare new teachers for new, more rigorous licensing standards in many states. NCATE accreditation standards incorporate the model state licensing principles developed by a task force of the Council of Chief State School Officers.  


“This show of approval from NCATE underscores what we’ve always believed about our education programs: that we prepare excellent teachers, ready to face the unique challenges of a modern classroom,” said Dr. Bryan Le Beau, vice president for academic affairs at USM. “We’re proud of the efforts of our education faculty for meeting these rigorous standards.” 


The University of Saint Mary is committed to inspiring students from all walks of life to realize their God-given potential. Teacher education is of particular importance at Saint Mary, as it hearkens back to one of the original missions of the university’s sponsors, the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth.


The U.S. Department of Education recognizes NCATE as a specialized accrediting body for schools, colleges, and departments of education. NCATE is composed of more than 30 professional and policymaker organizations representing millions of Americans committed to quality teaching.  It was founded in 1954 by the teaching profession and the states. NCATE continues its mission today:  the profession and the states working together for excellence in teacher preparation and development. 


Go to for more information about USM’s teacher education program. Visit for more information on NCATE. 



The University of Saint Mary is a Catholic co-educational applied liberal arts university founded and sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth. The University of Saint Mary is located at 4100 South 4th Street, Leavenworth, Kan., with additional locations in Overland Park and Kansas City, Kan. Visit for more information.