Higher Education and Professional Practice Committee


Richard P. Mills


Regents Accreditation of Teacher Education Recommendation of Accreditation Action: Touro College


January 23, 2007


Goals 1, 2, and 3






Issue for Decision


Touro 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


This 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


Touro College 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 Touro.


At its September 2006 meeting, the Board of Regents considered conditional accreditation of the institution's programs but deferred action pending further documentation of the College's satisfaction of RATE standards.  In response to that charge, a team of peer reviewers and staff conducted a focused site visit on November 28 and 29, 2006.  Staff are available to answer questions about the focused-visit findings and the proposed accreditation action.




Consistent with the recommendation of Deputy Commissioner Duncan-Poitier, it is recommended that the Board of Regents accredit for three years the teacher education programs offered by Touro College, as listed in the Summary of the Application for Accreditation, effective February 13, 2007, for a period beginning immediately and ending on February 12, 2010.


Information in Support of Recommendation


Chartered in 1970, Touro College is a multi-layered, independent institution based in New York City.  Its schools, divisions, centers, campuses, and branch campuses in and outside New York offer undergraduate and graduate instruction in traditional classroom settings and through distance learning.  The preparation of education candidates at Touro College is the responsibility of the School of Education and Psychology.  In recent academic years, enrollment in teacher education programs has ranged between 1,900 and 2,700.  The School's framework includes a “commitment to the goals of universal education at the highest levels, and a dedication to advance learning and educational opportunities for members of the Jewish community and students from underserved groups throughout the New York metropolitan area and its outlying districts."  Between 2000-2001 and 2003-2004, 11 to 30 Touro candidates per year took the State certification exams, with annual pass rates ranging from 89 to 100 percent.


Accreditation Review Process Summary


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











The initial RATE team visited the College from March 6 - 9, 2005, as part of the accreditation review process.  The team identified 24 areas for improvement across 8 RATE standards relating to commitment and vision; philosophy, purposes, and objectives; program registration; teaching effectiveness of graduates; assessment of candidate achievement; resources; support services; and advertising.  Key concerns focused on the number of full-time faculty, the lack of program alignment with the conceptual framework and the New York State Learning Standards, and inconsistencies in the curriculum, including fieldwork and student teaching.


The PSPB reviewed all materials and considered the application on November 17, 2005, at which point it tabled action pending review of new information.  At its January 19, 2006, meeting, the PSPB voted to recommend denial of accreditation.  After reviewing the PSPB's recommendation and the entire record of the accreditation process, Deputy Commissioner Duncan-Poitier recommended denial of accreditation.  The institution submitted its appeal in May 2006. 


The Deputy Commissioner found that the College had satisfactorily addressed 13 of the 24 areas for improvement and that the College's responses signaled substantive efforts and demonstrable improvements to address key concerns identified by the PSPB and the Department. On that basis, in September the Board of Regents considered a proposal to accredit the programs for three years with conditions.  The Board deferred action on the accreditation and charged staff to return with information to confirm the status of the College's satisfaction of RATE standards.


Department staff and College representatives met to identify the information needed from the College and to begin preparations for a focused site visit.  A team of peer reviewers and staff conducted that site visit on November 28 and 29, 2006, and focused on the elements identified in the attached Actions to be Taken by Touro College to Meet Regents Standards.


Focused Site Visit Findings - Highlights


The November 2006 site visit team found the following:


1)     Assessment:


˛          Touro has hired a new Associate Dean of Faculties to oversee faculty evaluations and related program improvements.

˛          A Director of Assessment was appointed and charged with ensuring collection of assessment data aligned with the mission and goals of the programs and with supplying data reports for faculty analysis.

˛          The College has contracted with a company specializing in evaluation and data collection; it has worked with faculty and administration to develop strong assessment tools aligned with goals and objectives.

˛          Programs have been refined as a result of data analysis.

˛          Systematic and ongoing assessment of all candidates provides a sound measure of quality assurance.


2)     Syllabi:


˛          Faculty have developed syllabi that align with State Learning Standards and the goals and objectives of the programs.

˛          All syllabi have clear objectives that support the College's ability to collect data for analysis and program improvements.


3)     Culminating Experiences:


˛          All field experiences and student teaching requirements are clearly delineated in documents provided to candidates, cooperating teachers and field supervisors.

˛          Faculty use a newly developed instrument to improve the quality of culminating projects, to evaluate those projects, and to monitor consistency among candidates.  The instrument includes a detailed rubric tied to project objectives.


4)     Diversity:


˛          To increase candidate diversity, a director has been appointed to network with organizations and visit schools serving underrepresented groups to provide information on teacher preparation programs and recruit new students.

˛          The College is actively engaged in outreach to underrepresented groups and historically has served the Hispanic community.


5)     Resources:


˛          The College has made significant improvements to facilities, including remodeling classrooms, improving technology resources, acquiring new properties for instructional use, and consolidating course offerings to fewer venues.

˛          A large number of educational publications and journals are available through the many libraries supported by the College; a new tracking system provides information to inform decisions about the acquisition of new resources.


The Department confirmed through the recent focused site visit that the College is addressing all identified areas for improvement.  Considering the recent findings from the focused site visit and the progress that continues to be made by the institution to address the issues identified by the Department and the PSPB, the Department recommends accreditation for a period of three years.  This is consistent with recommendations on other institutions that have shown evidence of progress to address areas for improvement and where continued monitoring will help sustain that progress.  If accredited as recommended, the College would be required to submit annual reports to the Department to provide evidence of progress on all areas for improvement identified in the Compliance Review Report.