The Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP) has awarded the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) School of Education a full 7-year accreditation. This national accreditation assures the quality of professional preparation programs through a nongovernmental, nonregulatory process of self-study and peer review.
After reviewing the evidence collected through the self-study and peer review process, the AAQEP Accreditation Commission determined that UVI’s programs for teacher education, school counseling and educational leadership have met all four of AAQEP’s standards; therefore, it granted the UVI programs full accreditation. The commission cited the programs’ attention to workforce needs through a “grow-your-own” approach and accessible, inclusive admission practices; significant investments in improvements to benefit candidates, such as a more robust data collection and analysis system; and close collaboration with stakeholders to strengthen the education system throughout the region.
The commission also pointed out the programs’ adaptability and resilience amidst adversity. It affirmed the university’s “persistent and successful commitment to program quality in the context of numerous recent challenges” that include not only a dispersed geographic service area but also weather disasters and the loss of key staff.
“I wish to thank our faculty and staff led by School of Education Dean Karen Brown, Ph.D., for their hard work throughout this rigorous process which has reaffirmed UVI’s commitment to excellence and ongoing improvement,” said UVI President David Hall. “I commend you all for maintaining the highest level of academic standards and for the important role you play in developing future generations of educators.”
The School of Education received accreditation for the first time under the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) in 2013. “We chose to change accreditation agencies because we align with AAQEP’s values of high expectations for continuous improvement, building the culture to support this work, and considering local contexts as a form of cultural competence,” said Dr. Brown.
“Leading this process has been a labor of love! I am so proud of what we have accomplished, particularly because we are holding our own as a small academic unit in the American Caribbean alongside larger schools and colleges of education in the U.S. mainland. I am grateful to my lead authors of the graduate program Quality Assurance Reports (QARs), program directors Xuri Maurice Allen, Ph.D., (School Counseling) and Clinton Valley, Ph.D., (Educational Leadership) for their quality work.
I am also appreciative of the local practitioners and V.I. Department of Education partners that served as members of the AAQEP Quality Review Team for each program: Renee Charleswell, Ph.D., initial teacher certification; Dr. Yvette McMahon-Arnold, Ph.D., educational leadership; and Tiana Wilson-Mathew, School Counseling.
“Congratulations to the University of the Virgin Islands and to all of the faculty, staff and stakeholders who have achieved their goal of national accreditation by AAQEP,” said AAQEP President and CEO Mark LaCelle-Peterson. “The School of Education addresses the educational workforce needs of its region with a comprehensive set of programs, providing low-barrier access to quality professional preparation guided by solid evidence.”
AAQEP currently has members in 32 states and other jurisdictions with over 180 educator preparation providers participating in the accreditation system. UVI peer institutions that are AAQEP-accredited include the University of Guam. UVI Aspirational peers with AAQEP accreditation include Alfred University and the University of Hawaii – Hilo.
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