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Accreditation Committee Decision

Application for Initial Accreditation of a Proposed Program of Professional Education for the Primary and Junior Divisions (Consecutive)


Decision of the Accreditation Committee regarding the Program of Professional Education for the Primary and Junior Divisions proposed to be offered by the Faculty of Education, Wilfrid Laurier University

Introduction

The Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University submitted an application in December 2006 for initial accreditation of a program of professional education for the Primary and Junior divisions.

The Accreditation Committee appointed a panel to:

  1. conduct a review of the program
  2. act in an advisory role
  3. report to the Accreditation Committee on its findings, and
  4. make recommendations to the Accreditation Committee with respect to the accreditation of Wilfrid Laurier’s Program of Professional Education.

The panel included two elected members of Council, one of whom was a member of the Accreditation Committee, and one member appointed to the Council by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, a member of the College who was not a member of Council, a person nominated by Wilfrid Laurier University and one person drawn from a roster who had expertise in teacher education programs.

The panel reviewed documentation provided by Wilfrid Laurier University, conducted an on-site review, reviewed artefacts and conducted interviews with various stakeholders.

The on-site visit took place on March 27 and 28, 2007.

The Accreditation Committee, by virtue of the authority granted under the Ontario College of Teachers Act 1996 and Section 5 of Regulation 347/02, Accreditation of Teacher Education Programs, set out to determine if the consecutive program of professional education offered by Wilfrid Laurier University qualified for accreditation by satisfying the 15 requirements of Regulation 347/02.

The Accreditation Committee considered the final report of the panel, the response of the Interim Dean of the Faculty of Education dated May 8, 2007 to the panel’s draft report, and regulatory requirements of Regulation 347/02, Accreditation of Teacher Education Programs, and Regulation 184/97, Teachers’ Qualifications. Based on its review of this information, the Accreditation Committee decides the following.


Accreditation of Programs of Professional Education

Requirement 1

The provider of the program is a permitted institution.

Findings

In the documentation provided and in subsequent interviews with the Vice President Academic, it was confirmed that the charter of Wilfrid Laurier University permits the establishment of degree programs in any and all disciplines. On September 18, 2006, the Senate of Wilfrid Laurier University approved the proposal for a Faculty of Education to be established as of October 1, 2006 and the proposed Faculty of Education admission requirements.

Conclusion

Given the decision of the Accreditation Committee stated herein, Requirement 1 is fully satisfied.

Requirement 2

The program has a clearly delineated conceptual framework.

Findings

The documentation provided a clearly delineated conceptual framework, including goals, objectives and theory. These have informed the selection and organization of program content as well as the assessment practices and ongoing program improvement.

Conclusion

Requirement 2 is fully satisfied.

Requirement 3

The program is consistent with and reflects,

  1. the College’s “Standards of Practice for the Teaching Profession” and “the Ethical Standards for the Teaching Profession”,
  2. current research in teacher education, and
  3. the integration of theory and practice in teacher education.

Findings

Documentation was provided linking each of the Standards of Practice for the Teaching Profession and the Ethical Standards for the Teaching Profession to elements of the program’s conceptual framework which then shaped the program's overall design including the coursework, the practica and assessment practices. The documentation contained evidence that current research in teacher education has informed the program’s design and content. More specifically, the proposed program is based on the professional development school model and its associated research. In addition, the submission binder referenced multiple sources of current research in teacher education.

The documents provided, and virtually all of the interviews conducted, confirmed that the proposed program design has a basis in theory integrated with practice, not just for the teacher candidates, but also for the Faculty and the staff in the professional development schools.

The documents indicated that theory and practice will be integrated across the following four interlocking themes: learner centered, knowledge centered, assessment centered, and community centered. The interviews confirmed that the aforementioned themes would be threaded throughout the program and reflect the College’s Standards of Practice for the Teaching Profession and the Ethical Standards for the Teaching Profession.

Conclusion

Requirement 3 is fully satisfied.

Requirement 4

The program curriculum is current, references the Ontario curriculum, includes the application of current research in teacher education and represents a wide knowledge base in the divisions and components of the program.

Findings

The documentation contains some evidence that the curriculum for the proposed program is current. For example, descriptions of the required foundations courses referenced documents recently published by the Ministry of Education and Ontario College of Teachers.

The documentation indicated that all methods courses will provide an overview of the guidelines for The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1 – 8.

Although course outlines were not developed at the time of the review, the Dean explained that the faculty, to be appointed in July, will be charged with this responsibility, including the application of current research within course syllabi.

The Interim Dean, Primary/Junior Program Developer and professional development school principals indicated that the school-based experiences will provide opportunities for candidates to be exposed to a wide knowledge base in the Primary and Junior divisions.

The panel found that the teacher candidates will, through their field placements and the ongoing, shared professional development opportunities in the professional development schools, have a wide variety of experiences related to the Primary and Junior Divisions. However, the panel was unable to examine course outlines, including resources, to determine that the requirement has been fully satisfied.

Conclusion

Requirement 4 is substantially satisfied.

Requirement 5

The course content of the program includes theory, method and foundation courses and makes appropriate provision for the application of theory in practice.

Findings

The documentation describes the curriculum studies courses as helping teacher candidates to develop the knowledge necessary for effective teaching. Each methods course provides an overview of the related Ontario curriculum policy and resource documents. The curriculum studies courses also include a study of related theory and instruction in planning, teaching and assessing the subject area.

Additionally, the program includes a required course, EU 400: Professional Learning Seminar, which provides opportunities for candidates to bridge theory and practice. Through group discussion, the seminar course provides candidates with strategies to manage the teaching and learning problems encountered in practice.

Conclusion

Requirement 5 is substantially satisfied.

Requirement 6

The program’s format and structure are appropriate for the course content.

Findings

The documentation indicated that the proposed program will be structured around four themes: learner centered, knowledge centered, assessment centered and community centered. These themes will be embedded within the courses and the practicum. The format and content within each course will reflect the Ontario curriculum and concepts relevant to the Primary and Junior divisions.

Conclusion

Requirement 6 is fully satisfied.

Requirement 7

Students are assessed and informed of their progress on an ongoing basis throughout the program.

Findings

It is the intention of the Interim Dean to inform faculty that will be hired that they assess and inform teacher candidates on an ongoing basis. There is to be consistency of assessment practice maintained throughout the program.

Conclusion

Requirement 7 is substantially satisfied. To fully satisfy this requirement the Faculty of Education must submit completed course outlines or other acceptable documents to the Accreditation Committee of the Ontario College of Teachers.

Requirement 8

The program includes a practicum that satisfies the requirements set out Regulation 347/02, Subsection 9. (2). The requirements for the practicum portion of the program are as follows:

  1. The practicum must include observation and practice teaching in an instructional setting in schools or other situations that use the Ontario curriculum or in situations approved by the College.
  2. The practicum must be completed in accordance with the requirements of Ontario Regulation 184/97.
  3. The practicum enables every student to participate in settings related to each division and at least one of the subject areas of the program that are relevant to the student.
  4. An experienced teacher supervises the students and assesses their practicum.
  5. A faculty member is appointed as an advisor for each student.

Findings

The proposed program plan indicates that teacher candidates will be provided opportunities to observe and practice in publicly funded elementary schools under the supervision of qualified and experienced associate teachers. The associate teachers and the faculty advisors will assess candidates in each of the practica placements. The Practicum Handbook outlines the role of the associate teachers in assessing teacher candidates.

The documentation indicates that teacher candidates will have placements in both the Primary and Junior divisions.

The program requires teacher candidates to exceed the number of days of teaching practice required in regulation. The full-time faculty members, once hired, will be assigned as faculty advisors.

Conclusion

Requirement 8 is fully satisfied.

Requirement 9

Successful completion of the practicum is a requirement for successful completion of the program.

Findings

All teacher candidates must successfully complete the practicum to be recommended for certification to the Ontario College of Teachers.

Conclusion

Requirement 9 is fully satisfied.

Requirement 10

The teaching method courses in the program are appropriate in relation to the divisions to which they relate.

Findings

Teaching methods courses cover all aspects of all of the curriculum subject areas required for teachers in the Primary and Junior divisions. They include: Mathematics and Science & Technology; Language, Literature and Social Studies; Health and Physical Education; and The Arts.

Course outlines will be developed in detail, once faculty have been hired in July 2007.

Conclusion

Requirement 10 is substantially satisfied. To fully satisfy this requirement the Faculty of Education must submit completed course outlines or other acceptable documents to the Accreditation Committee of the Ontario College of Teachers.

Requirement 11

The teaching theory and foundation courses in the program include courses on human development and learning and on the legislation and government policies relating to education.

Findings

The documentation contains descriptions of a compulsory theory and foundation course on human development and learning, EU 401 Learning and Child Development, and two courses addressing legislation and government policies relating to education: EU 402 School and Society and EU 403 Teaching for Equity and Diversity.

The Committee is assured that there will be appropriate courses written. The Faculty of Education plans to develop these courses once appropriate staff have been engaged. Once written, the teaching theory and foundation courses covering human development must be submitted to the Accreditation Committee of the Ontario College of Teachers for consideration.

Conclusion

Requirement 11 will be satisfied once appropriate courses of study are prepared and submitted to the Accreditation Committee of the Ontario College of Teachers.

Requirement 12

The faculty members teaching the program are an appropriate combination of,

  1. persons with appropriate academic qualifications,
  2. practitioners with appropriate experience in the field of education, and
  3. persons with appropriate expertise in the divisions and components of the program.

Findings

The Committee accepts as evidence that there is an intention to hire both full-time and part-time faculty with appropriate academic and practical experience. However, it also concludes that fully satisfying this requirement is contingent upon the Accreditation Committee examining faculty academic profiles, which summarize the qualification and experience of the educators hired to teach the program, in order to ensure that an appropriate combination of teaching faculty have been hired for the preparation of teachers in the Primary and Junior divisions.

Conclusion

Requirement 12 will be fully satisfied on the provision of the above documents to the Accreditation Committee of the Ontario College of Teachers.

Requirement 13

The permitted institution maintains adequate internal controls to preserve the integrity of student records relating to the program.

Findings

Documentation confirmed that Wilfrid Laurier University employs computer software, to maintain internal controls security. An internal auditor has the responsibility of ensuring that records are properly maintained and protected. The security of the electronic records is audited annually by an external auditor. Wilfrid Laurier University is a member of the Association of Education Registrars of Ontario Universities and adheres to its established protocols.

The Faculty of Education will maintain and protect teacher candidate records in a similar way to other student records at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Conclusion

Requirement 13 is fully satisfied.

Requirement 14

The permitted institution is committed to continuous improvement and quality assurance of the program and, if the program is an existing program, has implemented measures demonstrating that commitment.

Findings

Wilfred Laurier University has created an environment that encourages continuous improvement through collaboration with local school boards and other education stakeholders. In addition, the faculty will be engaged in ongoing collective reflection about the program. Finally, the university has its own cyclical review process directed at quality assurance.

Conclusion

Requirement 14 is fully satisfied.

Requirement 15

The program has a Teacher Education Advisory Committee (TEAC) or similar body that functions in an advisory or liaison capacity in relation to the program.

Findings

There is a commitment to ongoing involvement by stakeholder groups through the establishment of a TEAC. The stakeholder groups, including system and school administrators from the four partner boards, teacher federation representatives and St. Jerome’s University have been involved in the planning and development of the program. The program description indicates ongoing involvement by all of these groups.

Conclusion

Requirement 15 is fully satisfied.


Decision of the Accreditation Committee

For the reasons set out above, the Accreditation Committee finds that the proposed Program of Professional Education for the Primary and Junior divisions to be offered by the Faculty of Education, Wilfrid Laurier University, substantially satisfies the requirements of Regulation 347/02, Accreditation of Teacher Education Programs and grants initial accreditation with conditions as noted below, for a period of two years (May 31, 2009) or the period of time ending on the graduation of the second class of students enrolled in the program, whichever is the longer period of time, not to exceed three years (May 31, 2010).

To be subject to the following conditions:

  1. The Dean of the proposed program provide, within six months of the Accreditation Committee issuing its decision, a plan outlining the proposed methods and estimated time for providing evidence acceptable to the Accreditation Committee of the course content for each of the required courses in the program, such as course outlines. If the evidence submitted is acceptable to the Accreditation Committee, requirements 4, 5, 7, 10, and 11 will have been fully satisfied and the Accreditation Committee will issue an order to remove the conditions.

  2. The Dean of the proposed program provide, within six months of the Accreditation Committee issuing its decision, a plan outlining the proposed methods and estimated time for providing evidence acceptable to the Accreditation Committee of the qualifications and experience of the full-time and part-time faculty hired to teach the program, such as faculty academic profiles. If the evidence submitted is acceptable to the Accreditation Committee, Requirement 12 will have been fully satisfied.

Accreditation Committee
Ontario College of Teachers
May 31, 2007


Removal of Conditions

At its November 5, 2007 meeting, the Accreditation Committee considered the request of the Faculty of Education, Wilfrid Laurier University to remove the conditions imposed on the initial accreditation of its consecutive Program of Professional Education for the Primary and Junior divisions.

In making its decision, the Accreditation Committee reviewed additional documentation submitted by the Faculty of Education and determined that all conditions were satisfied.  In accordance with Section 16 (2) of Regulation 347/02, Accreditation of Teacher Education Programs, the Committee issued an order to remove the conditions of initial accreditation.

Accreditation Committee
Ontario College of Teachers
November 5, 2007

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