The Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP) has granted full 7-year accreditation to Teachers College’s educator preparation programs following a rigorous self-study, peer review process and evaluation that determined all required standards had been met. The accreditation decision, issued with no recommendations for improvements, was also accompanied by an official commendation.
TC “made a clear case for the quality of its programs and was commended by the Accreditation Commission for its deep, responsive, inquiry-based engagement with schools and learners in New York City,” AAQEP President and CEO Mark LaCelle-Peterson said in an award statement.
“The extensive breadth and scope of the ongoing work of the faculty, staff, and students at Teachers College in this area is both impressive and worthy of note,” wrote the Accreditation Commission, which further commended Teachers College “for its dedication and continual efforts in working with community stakeholders and schools in support of reducing educational disparities in regard to student outcomes.”
The recognition comes after a two-year process coordinated by TC’s Office of Accreditation & Assessment, and executed in collaboration with the Teacher Education Policy Committee, the Office of Teacher Education and others across the College. The accreditation process included a rigorous self-study by numerous TC faculty and staff that resulted in a publicly available Quality Assurance Report, as well as a peer-review.
The AAQEP accreditation validates our standard of substantive educator preparation for our students that touches every corner of the Teachers College community. The Accreditation Commission’s commendation stands as a testament to our values and commitment to advancing educational equity, serving the public good, and, just as importantly, to the unlimited possibilities that await the beneficiaries of a TC education in the future.
The Commission specifically recognized TC’s excellence related to several AAQEP standards, including: preparation for culturally responsive practice; completer engagement with local school and cultural communities; engagement with diverse community contexts; meaningful clinical partnerships; effective engagement with stakeholders; support for equity; diversifying the education workforce; and supporting the improvement of the P-20 education system.
The accreditation for TC's 29 Master's and 2 doctoral-level educator preparation programs is effective through 2028. Like other accrediting bodies, the Association sets guidelines to ensure that institutions maintain high academic standards and comply with all government regulations. Distinctly, the AAQEP also prioritizes recognizing institutions engaged in innovative work and with a data-driven track record for yielding results for graduates.
“The AAQEP accreditation validates our standard of substantive educator preparation for our students that touches every corner of the Teachers College community,” said President Thomas Bailey. “The Accreditation Commission’s commendation stands as a testament to our values and commitment to advancing educational equity, serving the public good, and, just as importantly, to the unlimited possibilities that await the beneficiaries of a TC education in the future.”
While the College has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education since 1921, additional accreditation from AAQEP, founded in 2017, serves as further recognition of TC’s exemplary educator preparation programs, including teacher education, school counseling, school psychology and school leadership programs.
“The recognition by AAQEP’s Accreditation Commission speaks to a commitment to excellence by Teachers College faculty and students that transcends the classroom or the lab,” said Stephanie Rowley, Provost, Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “Whether in the field of education, health or psychology, our graduates are having a positive impact on schools, students and the lives of community members in our surrounding neighborhood and the world beyond.”
The College met AAQEP’s accreditation standards, stating that:
- “The program’s completers are prepared to work effectively as professional educators and are able to adapt to different contexts and to grow professionally.”
- “The program has the capacity to analyze and provide evidence for sustained actions and revisions on behalf of candidates”
- “and [the College] engages with stakeholders and partners to strengthen the P-20 education system.”
An AAQEP Quality Review Team, composed of two outside academics and one local practitioner, conducted a site visit — virtually as a result of the pandemic — with members of the TC community in March. The participants included TC administration, faculty, staff, students, graduates, as well as principals and teachers at TC-affiliated New York City schools. Based on final reports, the AAQEP Accreditation Commission this spring determined that Teachers College met the four standards with no identified concerns or conditions that require remediation.
"It takes an incredible amount of determination and stamina by the College's entire community of teacher educators and Sasha Gribovskaya's team in the Office of Accreditation and Assessment to make it through a successful accreditation in normal times,” said Katie Embree, Senior Vice Provost and Assistant Professor of Higher Education and Post-Secondary Education. “It required this, and more, to have done so under the extraordinary circumstances we have experienced during the pandemic."
In addition to meeting the Commission’s standards, the commendation singled out the TC commitment to social justice and its efforts to improve learning in the neighborhoods beyond the Morningside Heights campus. TC was applauded for “its dedication and continual efforts in working with community stakeholders and schools in support of reducing educational disparities in regard to student outcomes. The extensive breadth and scope of the ongoing work of the faculty, staff, and students at Teachers College in this area is both impressive and worthy of note.”
We got the best possible result we could hope for — accreditation with no room for improvement. It shows that TC prepares students to be teachers from day one.
Recognition of TC’s distinct commitment to social justice aligns with the urgent demand for advancements in education, health and psychology at this particular moment throughout the world.
“We got the best possible result we could hope for — full accreditation with no concerns or conditions that require remediation,” said Sasha (Alexandra) Gribovskaya (Ed.D. ’99, Educational Administration), Director of the College’s Office of Accreditation & Assessment. “It shows that TC prepares students to be teachers from day one.”
Headquartered in suburban Washington, the AAQEP promotes “excellent, effective, and innovative educator preparation that is committed to evidence-based improvement in a collaborative professional environment.” The organization has member institutions in 27 states and territories, and received formal recognition from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation earlier this year.
The specialized professional organizations separately accrediting TC programs include the American Psychological Association, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the Association for Behavior Analysis International, the Council on Education for the Deaf, the Council on Education for Public Health, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the National Association of School Psychologists.
— Steve Giegerich