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Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education Earns Full Accreditation

May 21, 2020

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education at St. John Fisher College received a full six-year accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Education Preparation (CAEP). Fisher is among just 21 colleges in New York State with CAEP accreditation.

An teacher candidate works with a kindergarten student.

Formerly the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), CAEP is the sole nationally recognized accrediting body for educator preparation, and is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education. Fisher’s accreditation process included a self-evaluation and peer review, as well as a site visit. This is the second time the School has received continuing accreditation since its initial NCATE recognition in 2006.

“I’m incredibly proud of the work the faculty, staff, and stakeholders did throughout this rigorous process,” said Dr. Joellen Maples, interim dean of the School. “To be fully accredited in both our initial and advanced programs without any areas for improvement is quite a rare accomplishment and speaks to the quality of our programs.”

Logo for the CAEP, the Council for the Accreditation of Education Preparation.

CAEP accreditation assesses teacher and leader preparation programs against five standards: (1) the curriculum’s content and pedagogical knowledge; (2) strength and effectiveness of partnerships for clinical practice and field experience; (3) the quality of candidates recruited and selected into programs; (4) graduates’ ability to have a positive impact on the classrooms and schools in which they teach and lead; and (5) the program’s capacity for quality control and continuous improvement.

The School was established in 2003 and offers baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs rooted in the mission of creating educators who are also advocates. The philosophy of its teacher and education leadership programs, which aligns well with CAEP’s standards, includes collaborating with the P-12 schools and the broader community; providing high-quality faculty, services, and experiences that prepare candidates to work effectively with all students; and working towards continuous improvements. Since its opening, more than 3,200 teacher candidates have graduated from the College, and work in school buildings across the country.

The School offers two undergraduate teaching programs in inclusive adolescence and childhood education. In addition to classroom learning, students engage in 150 hours of field experiences, putting theory into practice as they work with students from diverse backgrounds in a range of grade levels. Student teaching is the culminating experience of the program, where students apply their knowledge and skills in the classroom and exhibit the dispositions necessary to be effective with students. The accreditation also reviewed the School’s Master's in Childhood and Special Education, Master's in Adolescence and Special Education, Master's in Library Media, and Master's in Educational Leadership.

Dr. Kevin Railey, provost of the College, offered his gratitude to the faculty and staff at the School, and the more than 100 stakeholders who participated in the accreditation process. The stakeholders included teachers, principals, and superintendents from area districts as well as alumni and current students.

“The results of this accreditation process are due to the hard-work and commitment of our faculty and staff,” he said.  “It is a high honor indeed to be recognized in this way, and it is a testament to the high standards our School of Education has for the experiences they provide for our students.”

About the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation
The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation ( advances excellence in educator preparation through evidence-based accreditation that assures quality and supports continuous improvement to strengthen P-12 student learning.