The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education has awarded continuing accreditation to West Virginia University at Parkersburg’s education program. In a letter to President Dr. Marie Foster Gnage, NCATE President James G. Cibulka stated, “This accreditation decision indicates that the unit and its programs meet rigorous standards set forth by the professional education community.”
“The team examined both the teacher preparation program and the institution as a whole. We did very well in both areas thanks to dedicated faculty and staff,” said WVU Parkersburg senior vice president for academic affairs Dr. Rhonda Tracy.
WVU Parkersburg offers a bachelor of arts in elementary education. The program emphasizes the practical model, which focuses on the theoretical, development, and technological aspects of the knowledge base that are prerequisites to the daily demands required to be a professional educator in a school environment.
The program is based on the premise that the best place for future teachers to learn is in public school classrooms. For this reason, the field experiences component of the program requires students to begin working in classrooms from their first education course during the freshman year. As the student works through the coursework associated with the program, more and more time is spent in the public school.
WVU Parkersburg’s education program has been in existence since 1991. Approximately 15 to 18 students graduate from the program each semester, and approximately 83 percent of graduates from the 2011-2012 academic year were reported to be employed within their field. Dr. Cynthia Gissy is chair of the Education and Humanities division at WVU Parkersburg. The National Association of Community College Teacher Education Programs recently selected Gissy to be its new ambassador for the Mid-Atlantic region.
Founded in 1954, NCATE is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a specialized accrediting body for schools, colleges, and departments of education. NCATE and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council have consolidated and are now transitioning into the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.