Higher Education and Professional Practice Committee



Johanna Duncan-Poitier



Regents Accreditation of Teacher Education Recommendation of Accreditation Action: Yeshiva University




January 23, 2007



Goals 1, 2, and 3









Issue for Decision


Yeshiva University 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 Commissioner’s Regulations, which requires New York State teacher education programs to become accredited by an acceptable accrediting organization.


Background Information


Yeshiva University 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 Yeshiva.


Yeshiva University is an independent institution encompassing three undergraduate schools and seven schools offering graduate and professional degrees, with four locations in Manhattan and the Bronx.  In addition, the University is affiliated with more than a dozen educational institutions and health care entities.  The Board of Regents chartered the institution in 1897 as the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, which later merged with Yeshiva Eitz Chaim.  Liberal arts programs began with the establishment of Yeshiva College in 1928, and the Regents granted the institution University status in 1945.  The University, as a whole, has over 7,200 students and employs more than 5,000 faculty members.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       


The University’s mission is “to bring wisdom to life.”  As described in the institution's Self Study, “the University’s guiding vision is the belief that the best of the heritage of contemporary civilization—the liberal arts and sciences—is compatible with the ancient traditions of Jewish law and life.”  In bringing that mission and guiding vision to life, the University emphasizes both scholarship and moral action.  


The University's Stern College for Women offers majors in 19 arts and sciences disciplines leading to the Bachelor of Arts and houses the University’s two teacher education programs.  In recent years, the number of graduates has ranged between 10 to 18 Early Childhood candidates and 6 to 13 Childhood candidates per year. A partnership with the Lincoln Center Institute is one example of a unique collaboration that continues to grow in its outreach to both private and public schools.  The Yeshiva University Museum also provides an excellent connection to area schools.  Between 2002 and 2005 the annual candidate pass rates on both the LAST and ATS-W certification examinations were 100 percent.


Accreditation Review Process


The RATE review process at Yeshiva University consisted of the following steps:








The RATE team visited the University from March 5-8, 2006 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 21 discrete areas for improvement across 6 RATE standards relating to program registration, teaching effectiveness of graduates, assessment of candidate achievement, resources, advertising, and candidate complaints.  


Through classroom observations, the team found program graduates to be kind, caring, and nurturing; they knew each child’s personality, strengths, and weaknesses very well.  Field experiences are frequent and often correlated with coursework, and syllabi and candidate work show reflection on those experiences.  Faculty members are highly regarded by students and those with whom they work in the field for their expertise, accessibility, and commitment to teaching.


Candidates and faculty appear to thrive in a small program within a large university.  The team found that relationships, agreements, and processes are often informal.  As a result, one common thread in the cited areas for improvement can be traced to a relative lack of formal evidence or data.  Another recurring theme was the availability of resources (e.g., in terms of space, administrative support for the program, and on-site materials for candidates).


The University's response is summarized in the Summary of the Application for Accreditation.  The PSPB reviewed all materials and, on November 16, 2006, voted unanimously (with one abstention) to recommend accreditation as follows:


Accredit the programs offered at Yeshiva University for three years with the condition that the institution submits a compliance work plan within the 60 days following Regents action to accredit the institution.  The actions described in the work plan must produce full compliance within the three-year term of accreditation, address each area for improvement in detail, and provide evidence of work in high-needs schools.  




It is recommended that the Regents accredit for three years the teacher education programs offered by Yeshiva University, 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.