Higher Education and Professional Practice Committee



Johanna Duncan-Poitier



Regents Accreditation of Teacher Education Recommendation of Accreditation Action: Roberts Wesleyan College




January 23, 2007



Goals 1, 2, and 3









Issue for Decision


Roberts Wesleyan College has applied for Regents accreditation of its teacher education programs.  Should the Board of Regents accredit these programs?


Reason(s) for Consideration


Required by State regulation.

Proposed Handling


The question will come before the Higher Education and Professional Practice Committee at its February 2007 meeting, where it will be voted on and action taken.  It will then come before the full Board at its February 2007 meeting for final action.


Procedural History


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 Commissionerís Regulations, which requires New York State teacher education programs to become accredited by an acceptable accrediting organization.


Background Information


Roberts Wesleyan College (RWC) has applied for accreditation of its teacher education programs by Regents Accreditation of Teacher Education (RATE).  The Summary of the Application for Accreditation, available in the Regents office, lists the registered programs leading to certification offered by Roberts Wesleyan.


Roberts Wesleyan College is an independent institution located in suburban Rochester, New York.  The College, originally Chili Seminary, was founded by Benjamin Titus Roberts in 1866.  He and other founders of the Free Methodist Church affirmed the view of Christian teaching, personal piety, and social action taught by John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.  RWC, a liberal arts college "with a Christian world view," had a total enrollment of 1,926 during the 2004-2005 academic year.  It offers more than 50 undergraduate programs and more than 20 graduate programs.


The Division of Teacher Education works in cooperation with four other divisions to offer teacher education programs at RWC.  That division provides candidates with the pedagogical core courses, the Division of General Education provides courses in the general education core, and the Divisions of Natural Science & Mathematics, Fine Arts, and Religion and Humanities provide the content core courses.  In 2004-2005, the Teacher Education Division had a total enrollment of 670, including 201 part-time students.  The mission of the Teacher Education Division at RWC is to send moral, caring, and competent women and men into the world to educate children and adolescents from all cultural, linguistic, ethnic, and economic circumstances in public and private schools.  Between 2002 and 2005 the annual candidate pass rates on both the LAST and ATS-W certification examinations ranged between 96 and 100 percent.


Accreditation Review Process


The RATE review process at Roberts Wesleyan College consisted of the following steps:







The RATE team visited the College from November 13-16, 2005, as part of the accreditation review process.  The team reviewed documents; visited classrooms; inspected facilities and resources; and interviewed administrators, department chairs and faculty, candidates and graduates, principals, and cooperating teachers.  The team identified 37 areas for improvement across 5 standards relating to program registration, teaching effectiveness of graduates, assessment of candidate achievement, resources, and advertising.


Strengths of the programs include the caring and commitment faculty display towards candidates, strong partnerships with local schools, and the high regard with which principals and teachers hold RWC candidates.  Key areas for improvement related to faculty overloads, the percentage of courses taught by full-time faculty, various matters of curriculum content, and the lack of data on program performance and its use to inform program improvements.      

The College's response is summarized in the Summary of the Application for Accreditation.  The PSPB reviewed all materials and, on September 20, 2006, voted unanimously to deny accreditation of all Adolescence Education programs and to accredit for three years the remainder of the teacher education programs, with the condition that the annual report "focus on necessary areas of improvement or compliance, with particular attention to the assessment of teaching effectiveness of graduates and candidate achievements, faculty, curriculum (including collaboration between Teacher Education faculty and Liberal Arts and Sciences faculty) and resources."  The recommendation for denial of the Adolescence Education programs was based in the finding that those programs contained only three credits in language acquisition and literacy development, instead of the minimum of six required under Commissioner's Regulations.

On November 1, 2006, Roberts Wesleyan submitted additional material to the Deputy Commissioner to address the Adolescence Education programs and other concerns identified by the PSPB.  The College's response included the submission of a curriculum proposal to add a three-credit literacy course to the Adolescence Education programs.  This new information was considered along with the entire record that went before the PSPB.  Based on a review of the entire record and the information provided after the PSPB's deliberations, the Deputy Commissioner finds that the institution has a sound plan in place to comply with the regulatory requirements for the Adolescence Education programs. As a result, the Deputy Commissioner recommends accreditation for three years with conditions for all of the institution's teacher education programs. 




It is recommended that the Regents accredit for three years the teacher education programs offered by Roberts Wesleyan College, as listed in the Summary of the Application for Accreditation, with the following condition:



Accreditation will be effective February 13, 2007, for a period beginning immediately and ending on February 12, 2010.