Towson teacher education wins OK

University lost national accreditation for program in 1991

April 28, 2001|By Mike Bowler | Mike Bowler,SUN STAFF

Towson University's teacher education program, which lost its national accreditation nearly a decade ago, has won it back after a review.

The Washington-based National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education said Towson, the largest trainer of teachers in Maryland, met all of its standards during a site visit last fall and an examination of school records.

An NCATE review in late 1991 faulted Towson for its large number of part-time faculty members and the excessive course loads of some professors. The council also said Towson needed more minority students and faculty members. Towson appealed and won a review on procedural grounds, but President Hoke L. Smith was so annoyed with the accrediting agency that he refused to participate.

NCATE accreditation was voluntary and largely symbolic until 1998, when the General Assembly required teacher education programs in the state to be nationally accredited by 2004.

Smith called the NCATE action, which took three years of preparation, a "milestone." Dennis Hinkle, dean of education, said, "There's been a complete turnaround."

Among other requirements, the council expects colleges to collaborate with local school systems, use technology wisely and teach students from diverse backgrounds.

Towson graduates about 500 new teachers a year, more than any other Maryland college. The school joins 520 other U.S. institutions with NCATE approval.

Other Maryland teacher education schools with the council's approval are the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; the University of Maryland, College Park; Bowie State University; Morgan State University; Salisbury University; and Coppin State College.

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