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Meeting of the Board of Regents | May 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010 - 11:40pm

sed seal                                                                                                 




To:                                             Higher Education Committee


From:                                        Joseph P. Frey


Subject:                                    Discussion regarding the continuation of the Regents Accreditation of Teacher Education (RATE)


Date:                                         May 6, 2010    






Issue for Decision

Should the Board of Regents continue offering the Regents Accreditation of Teacher Education (RATE) option to teacher and school leader preparation programs in the current New York State fiscal environment and in consideration of the impact of the number of high priority Department teacher and school leadership reform initiatives on the staff assigned to the Office of College and University Evaluation’s Teacher Education Team?


Reason(s) for Consideration


Required by State regulation.


Proposed Handling

This item comes before the Higher Education Committee for discussion.

Background Information

              In 1998, the Board of Regents adopted a new teaching policy, “Teaching to Higher Standards: New York’s Commitment.”  As a result of that policy, in 1999, the Board adopted Section 52.21(b)(2)(iv)(c) of the Commissioner’s Regulations, requiring that all New York State teacher education programs be accredited by an acceptable accrediting organization.  Teacher education programs accredited by the Board of Regents are required by Commissioner’s Regulations to maintain continuous accreditation once initial accreditation is achieved.


              In May 2009, the Department requested that the Board extend the accreditation periods of two colleges whose accreditation would end before the Department could receive the necessary budgetary approvals to conduct the accreditation site visits required by Commissioner’s Regulations to determine if the colleges’ accreditation should continue.  This was the second request during the last fiscal year to extend the accreditation period for colleges accredited under the Board of Regents accrediting process, Regents Accreditation of Teacher Education (RATE), because of budgetary constraints.  Of the five colleges that required accreditation visits during the 2009–2010 year, two were completed.  Accreditation visits to Roberts Wesleyan College, St. Francis College, and Yeshiva University were postponed due to staffing and budgetary restraints.  Four additional colleges, Boricua College, Mercy College, Skidmore College, and Touro College, have accreditation periods that expire during fiscal year 2010–2011. 

We anticipate similar staffing and budgetary restraints in 2010–2011 that occurred during 2009–2010, which creates the very real possibility that the three colleges whose accreditation visits were postponed from the last fiscal year and the four colleges scheduled during this year will be impacted and postponed again.  For this reason, and to ensure that these colleges are able to remain in compliance with Commissioner’s Regulations, we requested, and the Board approved, to extend the accreditation periods of the seven colleges to June 30, 2011. 

An additional result of the lengthy, but necessary, extension periods is the decreasing number of site visitors available for visits, as cuts to the budget eliminated our ability to pay for additional site visitor training.  When OHE receives the needed budgetary approval, all or some members of the original peer review team no longer may be available, and sometimes there is too little time to assemble a new team of reviewers before the end of the college’s term. 

At its April 2010 meeting, the Regents Higher Education Committee requested an opportunity to discuss the viability of continuing the Regents Accreditation of Teacher Education (RATE), given the continued extensions, State fiscal environment, and assignment load of the Teacher Education Team (TET).  TET members act as site visit coordinators in RATE accreditation visits, and are responsible for all aspects of scheduling, organizing, and conducting RATE site visits to ensure that teacher education programs in the State comply with Commissioner’s Regulations and Regents Rules.  Duties of the RATE site visit coordinator are extensive and include: managing all travel, documents and communications related to the accreditation before, during, and after the site visit with the Team, the institution, the Department, the Higher Education subcommittee of the Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching, and the Board of Regents.  The RATE site visit coordinator collects draft section reports from the Team at the close of the site visit and assembles and edits the draft section reports into the Team’s Draft Compliance Review Report.  The approximate time required to complete the duties of RATE site visit coordinator is 119 hours (16 days).  With seven potential accreditation visits during 2010 – 2011, the RATE site visit coordinator activities would require a total of approximately 833 hours (111 days) for which TET staff time would need to be allocated, impacting staff capacity to meet the expectations of the high priority Regents and Department initiatives focused on teaching and school leadership reform.


Staff has contacted the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) for timelines necessary for institutions to obtain first-time accreditation through these accreditors.  The typical time period is two years.  Based on results of our conversations with the leadership at NCATE and TEAC, and the need to provide sufficient time for our RATE institutions to meet the expectations and standards of a new accreditor, it will be necessary to allow the institutions sufficient time to do this.  This will require, should the Board decide to cease offering RATE as an accreditation option, necessary amendments to both Commissioner’s Regulations and Regents Rules be developed to extend the accreditation periods for all RATE institutions for a minimum of two years and to establish a termination date for the RATE accreditation.  This process could result in some teacher preparation programs not having had an accreditation site visit for over nine years from the date of their original accreditation visit.  Attached is a list of RATE institutions with their current expiration dates. 


It is recommended that, due to the budgetary and staffing constraints of the State’s current fiscal environment, the Regents provide guidance regarding whether to discontinue the Regents Accreditation of Teacher Education as an accreditation option for teacher and school leader preparation programs in New York State and what date would be an appropriate termination date for such accreditation. In order to meet the regulatory program accreditation requirement in Commissioner’s Regulations, RATE institutions will be required to achieve their accreditation through one of the two nationally recognized teacher education accreditation options, NCATE or TEAC, within two years of the expiration date of their RATE accreditation period. 





RATE Accredited Colleges and Accreditation Expiration Dates


RATE Accreditation Expiration

Bank Street College of Education


Barnard College


Boricua College


Cazenovia College


College of New Rochelle


D’Youville College


Daemen College


Elmira College


Hobart and William Smith Colleges


Ithaca College


Keuka College


Marist College


Marymount Manhattan College


Mercy College - Bronx


Mercy College - Main


Mercy College - Manhattan


Mercy College - Yorktown Heights


NYS College of Agriculture & Life Sciences at Cornell


Pratt Institute


St. Francis College


St. Joseph’s College - Brooklyn


St. Joseph’s College - Suffolk


Sarah Lawrence College


School of Visual Arts


Skidmore College


Touro College - Main


Touro College  - Brooklyn


Vassar College


Wells College


Yeshiva University