The Minnesota Board of Teaching has decided to suspend the University of Minnesota Duluth’s College of Education and Human Service Professions from offering teacher preparation programs.
The college was granted temporary approval to continue to offer the programs until the review is complete.
While Board of Teaching executive director Erin Doan contends that it is “too soon to tell” whether national accreditation status will be affected, she believes it is probable that it will be.
“The board is required to communicate this information to (the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation), but what they do with the information is completely up to them,” she said, noting that only state approval, meaning the teaching board, is required in Minnesota to offer teacher preparation.
Fifteen colleges and universities are accredited across the state by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. The status shows that a school has met national standards.
According to Stevie Chepko, senior vice president of accreditation for that council, the college had last been accredited in 2011. That accreditation was set to last for seven years with the next scheduled visit set for 2017.
Any institution that receives accreditation from the council must submit an annual report including any change in their state status. If such a change exists, a review will then take place, which could cause their accreditation to be stripped or a campus visit to take place.
The college will remain on probation through next April, while a review of the teacher preparation programs occur and a site visit by the state teaching board is conducted. It is possible that the college will be reapproved before that time, assuming all proper documentation for their programs are turned into the board. The university plans on doing so by August 1.
During the review, the college will be allowed to continue the operation of its programs, but will not be able to enroll any new students. Students that are not currently enrolled in an affected education program will be allowed to take program courses, but cannot officially become part of the program until the college receives approval from the state teaching board.
It is believed that incoming freshmen will not be affected, as the issue may be closed by the time they need to enroll in the upper-level courses affected.
All 20 of the university’s secondary education programs had been disapproved by the state teaching board earlier this year after it was found that the university had released inaccurate information pertaining to them. Two dozen students had discovered this January that they would be unable to receive a regular teaching license because the school had not made 2012 changes to its dual-licensure elementary education and special education program known, which in effect made the program non-existent. Students with job offers were allowed to apply for a temporary license, writes Jana Hollingsworth for The Duluth News Tribune.
More recently, the board disapproved the school’s early childhood special education programs for the same reason. A variance was given to the institution, allowing December graduates of the program to receive their teaching licenses.
“After the disapproval of the majority of programs that had been incorrectly reported by Duluth … the board has to consider whether or not there is still evidence they are meeting … standards,” said Doan.