September 2017
Source: CAEP Connections Newsletter 

University of Dayton

How did addressing the components of the CAEP Standards help you envision and define your goals?

We divided the standards into four working groups with all faculty participating in one of the groups. The working groups looked at the standards, the rubrics, the assessment, and the data. Presentations were made to the whole group for discussion, analyzing and discussing data and implications for the program. The discussions centered on evidence-based practices, valid and reliable assessments, and candidate outcomes. From these discussions goals were defined and developed across the various licensure programs. These conversations were critical in the development of our goals.

What stories are you now able to tell about your programs and work that you weren’t able to tell before going through the accreditation process?

We want to share two UD stories as a direct result of engaging in the accreditation process:

1. A story that demonstrates our commitment to the community and increasing our diversity of candidates involves the invitations we extended to local teacher academies to visit campus, tour, sit in on an education class, discuss our program options and meet our faculty and students.

It was during one of these visits that the students from Thurgood Marshall School in Dayton Public Schools came to participate. In addition to the campus visit, Thurgood Marshall is also one of two local high schools that we have partnered with to offer our introduction to education course in order to attract potential diverse candidates.  For many, it was their first time on a college campus. Several of the students expressed excitement about UD and going to college. One female student in particular expressed this sentiment, but added that she had never thought she would be able to be a student on a campus like UD. “If I could come to a school like this, I know I’d be making a good decision for my life”.  She also expressed concern about the tuition costs. After speaking with several of our faculty and department chair she decided that she would apply to UD. Following her visit to UD, she became a more active participant in the UD introduction class and finished the course strongly (B+). With a strong recommendation from her UD professor she was accepted to UD majoring in Early Childhood. She was also selected to become one of our nine inaugural SEHS Scholars, which enables her to attend the university and pursue a teaching degree with a scholarship that will cover her all four years. During this past summer, she replied to me that she has “never had so many people care about who she was and what she wanted”. She is currently on campus as a first year student and also has taken a student worker position in the department. The manner in which the process worked to have her now as a student is by design. Providing access and opportunity will enable more students of color to become our program graduates. It is our intention that this story will not be just one story, but that this process will become the norm for how we attract many more students in the future.

2. Our CAEP site visit started Sunday evening with a very effective gathering of field partners, candidates, alumni and faculty who assembled at round tables to talk informally about how the University of Dayton prepares teachers. The passion of our stakeholders became apparent and the relaxed conversation allowed the team to ask questions while candidates, field partners and faculty shared their experience with our programs. We had representatives from all licensure areas and constituent groups at each table, which were organized by standard and cross cutting theme. Members of the site team sought out the table and conversations that would inform their work on the site visit report.  

The next day, one member of the site team toured our demonstration school, the Bombeck Family Learning Center.  He learned about the work of the Center for Early Learning that oversees early childhood initiatives and sponsored projects. The site visitor made connections from the round table discussions the night before and the practice that he observed the next day.  He heard our field partner talk about the impact of such initiatives as the Family Engagement Collaborative, the Executive Function Think Tank and the Build the Brain Contest on Sunday evening and then saw the documentation of these to efforts at the demonstration school the following day.  He watched our sophomores support executive functioning skills in the classrooms under the guidance of our strong mentor teachers, and commented on how the evidence had come full circle. 

We felt that the time spent to make obvious connections between programs, partners, clinical experiences and candidate performances paid off.

What is the one thing that you want the world to know about your CAEP-Accredited provider?

We were successful with our CAEP accreditation because of the total commitment of our faculty and staff to continuous improvement. Our faculty realized that we needed to ask ourselves tough questions, gather meaningful data and engage in thoughtful analysis in order to identify our strengths and also target specific strategies for improvement. Faculty buy-in was the key to our success. 

Many EPPs seeking accreditation are familiar with legacy accreditors NCATE & TEAC, but CAEP’s process is quite different. What advice do you have for EPPs beginning the CAEP accreditation process for the first time?

Our accreditation efforts at UD benefitted from the experience of faculty and staff members who have volunteered in different capacities with CAEP. For example, our Accreditation Director, Pam Young, was initially trained as a BOE team member and team lead on NCATE visits, and is now a trained site visitor and team lead for CAEP visits. Also, Amy Jennings participated in the early CAEP initiative reviewing assessment instruments as a trained team member and team lead. The insight and perspective from the work of those serving as CAEP volunteers was invaluable to our team as we planned and conducted our accreditation work. A particular area where this perspective benefitted UD was for Standard 4. We were able to make/submit plans and conduct focus groups and interviews, supplementing the available evidence of completer impact from our state data systems. In all our continuous improvement efforts, we appreciate the collaboration from our partners in the field. In addition to the robust efforts of our faculty and staff, the involvement of our partners was essential in our making the case for meeting CAEP’s standards.

What does being CAEP accredited mean to you – your staff, candidates, and even the students your candidates will teach?

For us at the University of Dayton, CAEP accreditation means excellence in educator preparation and a commitment to continuous improvement of our programs. Being CAEP accredited represents meeting standards established by the academic community that are deemed important for candidate and student success. For our P-12 partners, it represents a highly qualified teacher in the classroom. And for our candidates and their parents, it represents a program that prepares educators who are hired because they meet the needs of P-12 students.

Contributors: Dr. Kevin Kelly, Dean of the School of Education and Health Sciences (SEHS) and Professor; Dr. Connie Bowman, Chair of the Department of Teacher Education and Associate Professor; Dr. Shauna Adams, Executive Director of the Center for Early Learning, Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education, and Leary Professor for Ethics and Community; Dr. Rochonda Nenonene, Interim Assistant Dean, First Year Experience Coordinator, Co-Program Director of the Urban Teacher Academy, and Clinical Faculty; Lisa Warren, Assistant Director of the Office of Career Services and SEHS Liaison; Dr. Pam Young, Assistant Professor, Educational Administration and Director of Accreditation; Amy Jennings, Data Coordinator and CAEP Co-Coordinator

More about the University of Dayton (UD) School of Education and Health Sciences Accreditation Office