USC Upstate Earns CAEP Reaccreditation
The University of South Carolina Upstate’s School of Education, Human Performance, and Health (SoEHPH) has earned reaccreditation with the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). USC Upstate is one of 196 institutions in the U.S. and Puerto Rico that are accredited by CAEP.
“This was a transformational experience,” said Laura Reynolds, dean of SoEHPH. “Self-examination and study helps us continuously improve our programs, which directly impacts PK-12 schools in our region. This process ensures we are providing the districts we serve with well-prepared teachers, and that USC Upstate remains on the forefront of teacher preparation in South Carolina.”
Sarah Hunt-Barron, associate dean of SoEHPH, led the university’s accreditation efforts. She is one of four USC Upstate faculty members who serves as a CAEP reviewer, traveling around the country throughout the year to examine other institutions seeking their accreditation.
“Accreditation is a rigorous process,” Hunt-Barron said. “Education programs have an opportunity to tell their story through the self-study and site visits give the reviewers an opportunity to confirm the evidence provided by the program through conversations with stakeholders.”
Formed in 2016 by the merger of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council, CAEP is the sole nationally recognized accrediting body for educator preparation.
Accreditation is a public affirmation that a particular educator preparation provider (EPP) has met state, professional, and institutional standards of educational quality. SoEHPH’s reaccreditation started with a multi-year self-study process that culminated in a self-study report submitted to CAEP in June 2017.
CAEP-accredited institutions are expected to be involved in ongoing planning and evaluation, engaged in continuous assessment and development, and involved in continuous development in response to the evolving field of education.
In February 2018, a team of national and state reviewers spent time on campus meeting with various constituent groups, including staff, faculty, current teacher candidates, recent graduates of the program who are now teaching in local schools, and employers of those graduates.
The purpose of their visit was to find evidence SoEHPH had met national standards set forth by CAEP. Reviewers then developed a report documenting the extent to which the school had provided evidence the teacher preparation program met each required standard. The report was submitted to the accreditation council, and in October 2018, the council affirmed USC Upstate’s accreditation.
“This successful accreditation cycle would not have been possible without every member of our faculty and all of our district partners participating,” Reynolds added. “Everyone contributed to this effort, which led to full recognition by CAEP.”