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Accreditation Committee Decision

Niagara University - College of Education

Application for General Accreditation of the Consecutive Program of Professional Education for the Primary/Junior and Intermediate/Senior Divisions leading to a Bachelor of Professional Studies Degree


Introduction

Decision of the Accreditation Committee Regarding the Application for General Accreditation of the Consecutive Program of Professional Education for the Primary/Junior and Intermediate/Senior Divisions leading to a Bachelor of Professional Studies Degree

The College of Education at Niagara University in Ontario submitted an application on December 18, 2008 for general accreditation of the Consecutive Program of Professional Education for the Primary/Junior and Intermediate/Senior divisions, leading to a Bachelor of Professional Studies degree.

In accordance with Regulation 347/02, Accreditation of Teacher Education Programs, the Accreditation Committee appointed a seven-person panel to:

  1. conduct a review of the aforementioned program of professional education,
  2. act in an advisory role to the Accreditation Committee by,
      1. reporting to the Accreditation Committee on its findings, and
      2. making recommendations to the Accreditation Committee with respect to the general accreditation of the Consecutive Program of Professional Education with concentrations in the Primary/Junior and Intermediate/Senior divisions.

The panel was established in accordance with the criteria set out in Section 6 of Regulation 347/02.

The panel reviewed a written self-appraisal report of the program and other documentation provided by the College of Education at Niagara University in Ontario. The panel conducted an on-site review from March 29-April 3, 2009 which included an examination of artefacts, interviews with faculty and stakeholders, and a review of the resources at the facility. There was one public submission plus additional written letters of support.

The Accreditation Committee, by virtue of the authority granted under the Ontario College of Teachers Act, 1996, and Regulation 347/02, Accreditation of Teacher Education Programs, set out to determine if the Consecutive Programs of Professional Education for the Primary/Junior and Intermediate/Senior divisions, offered by the College of Education at Niagara University in Ontario, qualified for general accreditation.

In making its decision, the Accreditation Committee considered the Accreditation Panel Final Report dated June 2, 2009, and the Dean’s response to the draft report dated May 29, 2009, and the regulatory requirements of Regulation 347/02, Accreditation of Teacher Education Programs, and Regulation 184/97, Teachers’ Qualifications.


Decision of the Accreditation Committee at its Meeting of June 12, 2009

Requirements and Findings

The reasons for the Committee’s decision and the facts upon which it is based follow herein:

Requirement 1

The provider of the program is a permitted institution.

Findings

The evidence indicates that Niagara University in Ontario is a permitted institution authorized under the Post-secondary Education Choice and Excellence Act, 2000, to offer a program of professional education in Ontario leading to a degree.

On May 5, 2004, the Academic Senate and the Educational Policy Committee of Niagara University approved the proposed Bachelor of Professional Studies degree program in Teacher Education in Ontario. On June 7, 2006, following initial accreditation of the proposed program by the Ontario College of Teachers, the Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities confirmed approval for Niagara University in Ontario to offer a Bachelor of Professional Studies degree (B.P.S.) in Education for a period of five years.

Conclusion

Based upon the information provided for the Accreditation Committee to consider, it finds that Requirement 1 is fully satisfied.


Requirement 2

The program has a clearly delineated conceptual framework.

Findings

The evidence indicates that the consecutive program of professional education at Niagara University in Ontario has a clearly delineated conceptual framework.

The program has a clearly delineated conceptual framework grounded in the Vincentian philosophy and incorporating three foundational dimensions: constructivism, a process-product framework, and reflective practice. This framework has informed the selection of faculty, the selection and organization of program content, assessment practices, the design of assignments throughout the program and the processes that support ongoing program improvement.

All stakeholders demonstrated their commitment to and understanding of this conceptual framework. The conceptual framework is explicitly integrated into the organization of the program and is supported within the various courses and field components of the program.

Conclusion

Based upon the information provided for the Accreditation Committee to consider, it finds that 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

The evidence indicates that the consecutive program of professional education at Niagara University in Ontario is consistent with and reflects the Ontario College of Teachers’ Ethical Standards for the Teaching Profession and the Standards of Practice for the Teaching Profession, current research in teacher education, and the integration of theory and practice in teacher education.

Knowledge and understanding of the standards is integral to the program. Each of the Standards of Practice and the Ethical Standards is linked to the program’s conceptual framework. The three main qualities that are emphasized throughout the program are: professional commitment, professional relationships and reflective practice.

Current research in teacher education informs the program’s design and content, and supports the emphasis on constructivism, a process-product framework and reflective practice. Current research on best practices in teaching and learning informs instructors in their own classroom practice. Faculty members are engaged in research projects.

The design of the consecutive program is based on theory integrated in practice. This emphasis on integration guides the practice of teacher candidates and faculty in both classroom and field experiences.

Conclusion

Based upon the information provided for the Accreditation Committee to consider, it finds that 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 evidence indicates that the program curriculum of the consecutive program of professional education at Niagara University in Ontario 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 programs.

Required and suggested readings used in course work include the writings of current educational writers. Course syllabi indicate that current foci in education practice, such as differentiated instruction and balanced literacy, are included in required course work. Current Ontario Ministry of Education directives and policies, such as those related to Literacy and Numeracy, Individual Education Plans, EQAO and Ontario Curriculum Exemplars and Achievement Charts are referenced in the syllabi. The resources and documentation made available to teacher candidates in the program’s school-based locations, in the field placements, in the school boards’ and schools’ libraries as well as online, are up-to-date.

The Ontario Ministry of Education curriculum documents are used as required materials in all methodology curriculum courses. Paper copies of Ministry documents are available on-site but faculty and candidates mainly use the electronic version. These documents are used in field-based assignments.

Current research in teacher education is evidenced in the course syllabi that include a detailed description of the constructivist-based method of teaching, as well as recommended texts and references that list recent publications by, among others, Niagara University faculty.

Teacher candidates have access to a wide range of data and resources through Niagara University in Ontario, as well as through the school boards and host schools for field placements. Two of the distinctive features of the program – the school setting for course work and the five required field placements – provide opportunities for candidates to be exposed to a wide knowledge base in the divisions and components of the program. The Primary/Junior concentration includes the Kindergarten program and the Grade 7/8 curriculum is included in the Intermediate/Senior concentration.

Conclusion

Based upon the information provided for the Accreditation Committee to consider, it finds that Requirement 4 is fully 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 evidence indicates that the course content of the program includes theory, method and foundation courses and appropriate provision for the application of theory in practice.

The theory and foundations courses required during Term One of the program provide candidates with essential knowledge of the theoretical concepts of Ontario educational law and policy, human development, learning and motivation, foundations of literacy, and teaching students with special needs.

The methods courses provide teacher candidates with the knowledge necessary for effective teaching. Each methods course provides an overview of the related Ontario curriculum policy and resource documents. The methods courses also include a study of related theory and instruction in planning, teaching and assessing within the subject area. 

Both the foundations and methods courses provide various opportunities for candidates to apply educational theory in practice. For example, teacher candidates are required to develop a culminating portfolio which includes artifacts that address academic research, and field experiences.

Conclusion

Based upon the information provided for the Accreditation Committee to consider, it finds that Requirement 5 is fully satisfied.


Requirement 6

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

Findings

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

The program is structured around the theory of constructivism, including a process-product framework and the integration of reflective practice, and the Vincentian philosophy. In keeping with constructivist principles, the program develops progressively over three terms: theory informs practice, and practice in turn informs theory. Vincentian philosophy emphasizes the service aspect of teaching.

The sequence, combination, and scheduling of courses and field experience, demonstrating a progression of course based and field based experiences during the three terms, is consistent with the conceptual framework and appropriate for the program.

The program begins in August and extends across three terms of study. Each term focuses on a specific element of study in teacher education and has a field experience integrated with the course work.

Term One Foundations and Theory courses provide candidates with the requisite theoretical background. During this term, while Teacher Candidates experience a mainly observational field placement (called “Learn and Serve”), they are encouraged to identify opportunities to contribute to the school community through activities such as tutoring and coaching.

Term Two Methods courses offer candidates a combination of the professional knowledge and skills that underlie classroom practice in specific divisions and curriculum areas. Teacher Candidates experience a more rigorous field placement (called “Teaching Assistantship”) with specific expectations regarding classroom contribution.

Term Three consists of an extensive practicum interspersed with a mandatory professional seminar that emphasizes reflective practice.

The Niagara University in Ontario consecutive program is offered in an actual school setting. This assists candidates to acclimatize quickly to the routines and culture of a school environment. The cohort model of candidate groupings supports the emphasis on reflective practice.

The format and content within each course reflects the Ontario Curriculum and concepts relevant to the Primary/Junior or Intermediate/Senior divisions.

Conclusion

Based upon the information provided for the Accreditation Committee to consider, it finds that Requirement 6 is fully satisfied.


Requirement 7

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

Findings

The evidence indicates that the teacher candidates are assessed and informed of their progress on an ongoing basis throughout the program.

Teacher candidates are assessed in formative and summative ways based on assessment schema and rubrics submitted by the faculty. Teacher candidates are regularly informed of their progress in course work and in field experiences. A program portfolio is assessed as a culminating activity in each term. This portfolio, based on Niagara University in Ontario program standards, is an ongoing record of the teacher candidate’s professional growth and development throughout the program.

Teacher candidates who disagree with any assessments during the program have recourse through an appeals process.

The Practicum Handbook lays out the evaluation process conducted by associate teachers and faculty advisors during the field experiences and practicum. Ongoing formative and summative feedback is received from associate teachers and university field supervisors during the practicum.

Conclusion

Based upon the information provided for the Accreditation Committee to consider, it finds that Requirement 7 is fully satisfied.


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 evidence indicates that the practicum includes observation and practice teaching in an instructional setting in schools that use the Ontario curriculum, and that a Niagara University in Ontario faculty member is assigned as an advisor for each teacher candidate

The program at Niagara University in Ontario provides teacher candidates with multiple opportunities to observe and practice in publicly-funded elementary and secondary schools in Ontario. In these placements, teacher candidates are supervised and evaluated by experienced teachers certified by the Ontario College of Teachers.

The duration of the practicum, which takes place during the third term of the program, and constitutes a minimum of 14 weeks/70 days in length, exceeds the 40 days required in Regulation 184/97. Teacher candidates also participate in approximately 150 hours of additional field experiences which include observation, teacher assisting and the opportunity to plan and deliver a minimum of two lessons.

Primary/Junior teacher candidates receive practicum placements in both divisions and Intermediate/Senior candidates receive placements in both divisions and both subject areas in which they specialize. The Field Experiences/Practicum Handbook delineates the assessment methodology, sequence and instruments for both associate teachers and faculty advisors. 

Conclusion

Based upon the information provided for the Accreditation Committee to consider, it finds that Requirement 8 is fully satisfied.


Requirement 9

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

Findings

Evidence confirmed that successful completion of the practicum is a requirement for the Bachelor of Professional Studies in Education degree and is requisite for recommendation to the Ontario College of Teachers for certification.

Conclusion

Based upon the information provided for the Accreditation Committee to consider, it finds that 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

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

The program includes methods courses covering all of the curriculum subject areas required for teachers in the Primary/Junior divisions. A selection of curriculum subject areas from Schedule A in Regulation 184/97 are offered for candidates in the Intermediate/Senior divisions. All teacher candidates complete a teaching method course in assessment.

Each course is framed by a plan for instruction and assessment of student achievement, as delineated in the Ontario Curriculum expectations and the achievement charts for the specific division of study.

Conclusion

Based upon the information provided for the Accreditation Committee to consider, it finds that Requirement 10 is fully satisfied.


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

The program includes a compulsory course on human development and learning entitled Human Development, Learning and Motivation.  There is a mandatory course on legislation and government policies relating to education entitled Foundations and Legal Principles of Education in Ontario.

Compulsory courses such as Teaching Students with Special Needs and Foundations of Literacy provide connections to key Ontario Educational policies and initiatives.

Conclusion

Based upon the information provided for the Accreditation Committee to consider, it finds that Requirement 11 is fully satisfied.


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 evidence indicates that the faculty members teaching in the program are an appropriate combination of persons with appropriate academic qualifications, practitioners with appropriate experience in the field of education, and persons with appropriate expertise in the divisions and components of the program.

Evidence confirms that there is a strong emphasis on teaching at Niagara. Tenure stream and full-time faculty hold doctoral degrees. Niagara provides incentives to engage in research relevant to the conceptual framework of the program. 

Evidence confirms that the full-time and part-time faculty have both experience and expertise in the divisions and components of the program. Most faculty members hold membership in the Ontario College of Teachers and have experience teaching in an Ontario elementary or secondary school, or both.

Conclusion

Based upon the information provided for the Accreditation Committee to consider, it finds that Requirement 12 is fully satisfied.


Requirement 13

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

Findings

The evidence indicates that the College of Education at Niagara University maintain adequate controls to preserve the integrity of student records relating to the program.

Niagara University employs a system of both internal and external controls to maintain the security of student records. Original student records are kept for five years, then copied to microfilm and backed up electronically. Measures are taken to maintain and protect electronic information. An external audit of all processes takes place on an annual basis.

Conclusion

Based upon the information provided for the Accreditation Committee to consider, it finds that 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

The evidence indicates that the College of Education at Niagara University is committed to continuous improvement and quality assurance of the program and has implemented measures demonstrating that commitment in its consecutive teacher education program.

Niagara University in Ontario has established a continuous cycle of self-examination and reflection that supports a culture in which continuous improvement occurs.

The College of Education holds two annual faculty retreats. Faculty identify areas for improvement and establish goals for continuous improvement. Faculty members review and track progress on goals set in September. The Ontario faculty hold monthly staff meetings to further discuss identified goals. The Dean conducts classroom visitations of all faculty members as part of the commitment to continuous improvement.

Candidates and associate teachers have regular opportunities to provide feedback about the program. Alumni from the first graduating class have also been surveyed about the program.

Conclusion

Based upon the information provided for the Accreditation Committee to consider, it finds that Requirement 14 is fully satisfied.


Requirement 15

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

Findings

The evidence indicates that the College of Education at Niagara University in Ontario has a Teacher Education Advisory Council (TEAC) that functions in an advisory capacity in relation to the program.

There is a commitment to ongoing involvement by stakeholder groups through the Teacher Education Advisory Committee (TEAC). The TEAC includes school administrators, professors from other education faculties, student alumni and teacher representatives. Minutes of the TEAC meeting confirm that recommendations for program improvements are made and implemented by Niagara University in Ontario.

Conclusion

Based upon the information provided for the Accreditation Committee to consider, it finds that Requirement 15 is fully satisfied.


Decision of the Accreditation Committee, Consecutive Program of Professional Education - Primary/Junior and Intermediate/Senior Divisions

For the reasons set out above, the Accreditation Committee finds that the Consecutive program of professional education offered by the College of Education at Niagara University in Ontario, leading to a Bachelor of Professional Studies degree, with concentrations in the Primary/Junior and Intermediate/Senior divisions, fully satisfies the requirements of Regulation 347/02, Accreditation of Teacher Education Programs.

The Accreditation Committee grants general accreditation for a period of seven years (June 12, 2016) or such shorter period of time as may be requested by the provider or agreed to by the Accreditation Committee and the College of Education at Niagara University in Ontario.

Accreditation Committee
Ontario College of Teachers
June 12, 2009


Decision Regarding the Enhanced Teacher Education Program Verification Report

Read the Full Decision

Confirmation of Accreditation

The Accreditation Committee finds that the following program of professional education offered by the College of Education, Niagara University fully satisfies the accreditation requirements of Regulation 347/02, Accreditation of Teacher Education Programs as they read on September 1, 2015:

  • Consecutive program of professional education with areas of study in the Primary/Junior and Intermediate/Senior divisions, leading to a Bachelor of Education degree

The Accreditation Committee confirms general accreditation of this program to continue until June 12, 2016.

Accreditation Committee
Ontario College of Teachers
April 7, 2016

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