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In March, Liberty University’s School of Education (SOE) passed a critical mile marker on the rigorous road to accreditation, leaving one last hurdle between the school and the most coveted blessing in the field of education. Last week marked the finish line, as the SOE received full accreditation from the Unit Accreditation Board of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The school received initial NCATE approval in 2003.
“This accomplishment is due to the vision and leadership of Dr. Parker,” the school’s dean, said Dr. Beth Ackerman, associate dean of the School of Education. “She has always wanted LU's School of Education to stand and be among the best of all colleges and universities while also being true to who we are by training Champions for Christ.”
Because there are other online institutions that do not have national accreditation for teacher education, this “sets us apart,” Parker said, and “really speaks to our value.”
Parker explained that while a state-approved program is very important in Virginia, “We have teacher candidates who go everywhere, so we also felt it was important to have national accreditation to support that … especially in a field [like education] that requires licensure.”
Dr. Ron Hawkins, Vice Provost for the Graduate School and Online Programs, expressed gratitude and congratulations to “everyone who worked so hard for the achievement of this goal … Our students will benefit, and our freedom to operate in several states is enhanced.”
Parker said, “When I became dean, my goal was to get our program to be NCATE accredited. And there were many others who said, ‘You can’t do that; being a Christian program, you will have to compromise, and you don’t want to.’” Yet she insists that “we have not sacrificed our mission or who we are in order to gain accreditation.”
School of Education graduates leave the degree program with a certificate from the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) and a teaching license from the Virginia Department of Education (VA DOE) and are eligible for public or private school instruction.