STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY
OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234
Committee on Higher Education and Professional Practice
Accreditation of Teacher Education Recommendation of Accreditation Action:
Goals 1, 2, and 3
Vassar College has applied for Regents accreditation of its teacher education programs. Should the Board of Regents accredit these programs?
The question will come before the Committee on Higher Education and Professional Practice at its December 2005 meeting where it will be voted on and action taken. It will then come before the full Board at its December 2005 meeting for final action.
The Board of Regents adopted a new teaching policy, "Teaching to Higher Standards: New York’s Commitment," in 1998. As a result of that policy, in 1999 the Board adopted Section 52.21(b)(2)(iv)(c)(1) of the Commissioner’s Regulations which requires New York State teacher education programs to become accredited by an acceptable accrediting organization by December 31, 2006.
Vassar College has applied for accreditation of its teacher education programs by Regents Accreditation of Teacher Education (RATE). The attached Summary of the Application for Accreditation lists the registered, teacher certification programs offered by Vassar.
Vassar College is an independent institution
located in Poughkeepsie, New York.
The College’s primary mission is to furnish “the means of a thorough,
well-proportioned and liberal education.” Founded in 1861 as a women’s college, it has
admitted both men and women since 1969 and now serves about 2,400
Consistent with the College's philosophy that
a broad liberal arts education is the best foundation for teaching, teacher
education students graduate with bachelor's degrees in liberal arts majors. They
prepare for certification under the guidance of Vassar's Department of
Education, working within an interdisciplinary framework that includes
professional methods courses and a balanced course of study in a concentration.
Those pursuing certification must take prescribed education courses concurrently
with courses in their major.
Small class sizes, discussion groups, and seminars that allow faculty to interact closely with students are hallmarks of the education programs. During the four academic years reported (beginning with 1999-2000), all Vassar candidates passed the Liberal Arts and Sciences Test (LAST) and Assessment of Teaching Skills-Written (ATS-W). The College averaged four Adolescence Education and eleven Childhood Education program completers per year during that time.
The Department consists of six full-time
faculty and five part-time faculty, and all tenured and tenure-line education
faculty hold earned doctorates in education. In addition, all full-time
faculty in the Department teach and supervise fieldwork courses and/or student
A peer review team visited Vassar College in April 2004 to conduct an on-site review of evidence, including documents in the exhibit room and interviews with College and school-based faculty and administrators, candidates, and alumni. Admission to Vassar is highly competitive, and admission standards appear to be uniformly applied. The institution makes a concerted effort to attract students from underrepresented populations. The team found that Vassar provides sufficient resources to support effective teaching and scholarship by faculty and candidates. Interviews with teacher candidates, education faculty, and liberal arts and sciences faculty indicated that education and liberal arts and sciences programs and faculty are intertwined, in keeping with the college's mission.
schools located near the Vassar campus reflect a lower-income, largely minority
population with diverse needs. According to PreK-12 school personnel on campus and at
individual schools, the college's involvement with Poughkeepsie's schools is
longstanding, regular, ongoing, and mutually beneficial. Vassar candidates do fieldwork and
student teaching in city and area classrooms. Other experience opportunities exist for
teacher education students as well.
For example, special programs include a one-semester program in urban education at
Bank Street College; a one-semester internship in Oxfordshire, England, which
features work in schools near Oxford and study at Oxford University; and a one-semester program at the Collins
Field Station on the Vassar Farm, where candidates work with faculty to provide
educational experiences to second and third grade students from local schools.
Elementary and high school teachers are frequent guest speakers in methods and
The peer review team identified areas for
improvement in three Regents standards: Standards for Program Registration,
Teaching Effectiveness of Graduates, and Assessment of Candidate
Achievement. Overall, however, the
team found that Vassar's teacher education programs comply with the standards
defined in Regents Rules, Subpart 4-2.
As is done with all RATE accreditation visits, the team shared its draft
report of findings with the institution, received the institution's comments on
the draft, and then prepared the final compliance review report for
consideration by the Higher Education Subcommittee of the State Professional
Standards and Practices Board for Teaching. That report, the institution's self
study, and related materials are available in the Regents Office. Vassar responded to the peer review
team's findings with "specific curricular changes and data management
strategies," as well as revised curricular
At its October 20, 2005 meeting, the Higher
Education Subcommittee of the State Professional Standards and Practices Board
for Teaching recommended that the teacher education programs offered
by Vassar College be accredited for a period of seven years, with the following
Consistent with the recommendation of the Higher Education Subcommittee of the State Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching, it is recommended that the following action be taken:
VOTED, that the Board of Regents accredit the teacher education programs offered by Vassar College, as listed in the attached Summary of the Application for Accreditation and including the stipulation made by the Higher Education Subcommittee of the State Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching, effective December 9, 2005, for a period beginning immediately and ending on December 8, 2012.
Summary of the Application for Accreditation
of Teacher Education Programs and the Department’s Preliminary Recommendation on
College, Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, New York, has applied for accreditation
of its programs of study leading to teacher certification under the Regents
Accreditation of Teacher Education (RATE).
Recommendation for Accreditation Action:
with term and conditions, if any, to be recommended by the Higher Education
Subcommittee of the New York State Professional Standards and Practices Board
Education Programs to be Accredited:
teacher education programs are not degree programs at Vassar, but programs of
courses, offered within the Department of Education, that lead to certification.
Consistent with the College's philosophy that a broad liberal arts education is
the best foundation for teaching, students graduate with bachelor's degrees in
liberal arts majors. They prepare for certification within an interdisciplinary
framework of professional methods and a balanced course of study in a
concentration. Those pursuing certification must take prescribed education
courses concurrently with courses in their major. Appropriate coursework leads to New York
State teacher certification in Childhood Education or Adolescence Education:
Biology, Chemistry, Physics, English, Languages other than English (French,
German, Spanish, Russian), Mathematics, and Social Studies. Teacher certification is at the initial
the four academic years reported (beginning with 1999-2000), all Vassar
candidates passed the Liberal Arts and Sciences Test (LAST) and Assessment of
Teaching Skills-Written (ATS-W).
The College averaged 4 Adolescence Education and 11 Childhood Education
program completers per year during that time.
class sizes, discussion groups, and seminars that allow faculty to interact
closely with students are hallmarks of the education programs. The Department
comprises six full-time faculty and five part-time faculty, and all tenured and
tenure-line Education faculty hold earned doctorates in education. Faculty vitae reflect competence to
teach education courses, supervise student teachers, and fulfill other academic
full-time faculty in the Department teach and supervise fieldwork courses and/or
of Findings and Institutional Response:
a review of the institution’s Self-Study, a RATE team visited Vassar College
from April 25-28, 2004, as part of the accreditation review process. The team conducted an on-site review of
evidence, including documents in the exhibit room and interviews with College
and school-based faculty and administrators, candidates, and alumni. It was the team’s overall assessment
that the College is in compliance with the standards found in Regents Rules,
Subpart 4-2. The team, however,
identified areas for improvement in three standards: Standards for Program
Registration, Teaching Effectiveness of Graduates, and Assessment of Candidate
Achievement. The institution's
response includes "specific curricular changes and data management strategies,"
and they have applied their "revised curricular requirements immediately to the
incoming Vassar College Class of 2009."
to Psychology does not include sufficient and appropriate mathematics
content to prepare candidates to teach to the State Learning
math and science content labs will be added to Education 240 and Education
361, respectively, in conjunction with content faculty (fall 2006). Vassar is reviewing the
quantitative analysis content in Psychology 105/106 and is developing a
"Mathematics for Teaching" proficiency exam for certain candidates.
Education and Adolescence Education pedagogical cores do not include the
required instruction in special education.
Department of Education will now require that all candidates complete
Education 250, Introduction to Special Education. Starting in the 2006-07 academic
year, the course will be offered every
Adolescence Education pedagogical core does not include the required 6
credits in literacy.
Department will now require that all adolescence education candidates
complete two courses (six semester hours equivalent) in literacy. This will include a new, required
course, Education 380, Adolescent Literacy--Reading in the Content
Fields. Vassar also intends
to fill a new tenure-track position in Adolescent Education and Teacher
Education by August 2006.
is no formal Education program evaluation
Dean of the Faculty and the College President critique annual Department
reports. Vassar will
implement systems for program evaluation, including candidate focus
groups, reviews by teacher educators from peer institutions, and tools for
is no system for documenting course outcomes and objectives on syllabi as
they correspond to Department goals and program
institution will ensure that all syllabi contain clearly articulated goals
and objectives aligned with programmatic priorities and themes. Every course is evaluated through
course evaluation questionnaires, which contribute to curricular and
is no system for documenting the points at which candidates work with
high-need students in their field experiences.
extensive file is kept on each student, including all field work
experiences and the assessments of those experiences. Vassar will ensure that advising
protocols reflect the need for and documentation of field work with
is no organized system or method to provide adequate evidence that the
institution prepares effective teachers.
recognizes the need to formalize the feedback loop from candidates,
graduates, cooperating teachers, and principals. (See #4,
institution needs to document the mastery of learning outcomes at the
student level, so it can be aggregated in some fashion to develop insight
into program strengths and areas that need
results indicate mastery of learning outcomes; in addition, Vassar
education faculty observe their student teachers at least once per week
during the practicum. Vassar
has instituted a required senior portfolio course for all