FMU School of Education receives national accreditation
The Council for the Accreditation of Education Preparation, the nation’s premier accrediting agency for college and university education programs, has extended accreditation for the Francis Marion University School of Education through 2027. FMU’s re-accreditation by the Council for the Accreditation of Education Preparation (CAEP) is for the seven-year cycle running through 2027. The accreditation is for both the initial (baccalaureate) and advanced (master’s) level of instruction. CAEP’s mission is to “advance equity and excellence in educator preparation through evidence-based accreditation that assures quality and supports continuous improvement to strengthen P-12 student learning.” FMU’s School of Education has been successively accredited by CAEP and its predecessors throughout its history. Fred Carter, president of FMU, says the CAEP accreditation is evidence of the ongoing excellence of the School of Education. “FMU’s School of Education has been preparing superb educators for our region and our state for 50 years,” says Carter. “It is one of FMU’s trademark programs. Accreditation by CAEP is a distinctive honor, but it’s no real surprise. Educators across South Carolina are familiar with the quality of our program and the educators it produces. My compliments to Dean Cal Johnston and our fine education for their hard work during the accreditation process, but more importantly, for the work they do every day in the classroom preparing the next generation of teachers.” Callum Johnston, interim dean of the FMU School of Education during the past year, says the rigorous CAEP accreditation process gives students — and school districts across the state and the nation — confidence and assurance. “We go through a lot of scrutiny, both during this accreditation process and others at the individual program level,” says Johnston. “Completing and receiving accreditation means we have met standards that are recognized not just in South Carolina, but across the nation. This assures schools and school districts that our graduates are well prepared. And, it gives our students confidence that they can teach effectively anywhere they choose to work.” Teacher preparation has been an important part of FMU since its founding. Thousands of teachers have earned undergraduate or graduate education degrees, or both, over the years. FMU’s School of Education offers an array of programs. Undergraduate programs include Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Middle School Education, Secondary Education in four different academic disciplines, and Art Education. Graduate programs include Masters of Education (M.Ed.), M.Ed. Learning Disabilities, Masters of Arts in Teaching Learning Disabilities, and Specialist Degree in School Psychologist (in conjunction with FMU’s Department of Psychology). All of these programs are also accredited individually by special area accrediting agencies outside of CAEP. FMU is also home to two Centers of Excellence in Education, as part of Centers of Excellence Program established by the South Carolina Legislature in 1984. The Center of Excellence for Teaching Children of Poverty was formed in 2004, and the Center of Excellence for College and Career Readiness was formed in 2014. Both are led by FMU education faculty and are closely affiliated with FMU’s School of Education. FMU houses a South Carolina Teaching Fellows program and is also home to the largest Teacher Cadet program in the state. FMU sponsors Teacher Cadet programs in high schools across the region, allowing hundreds of high school students to explore the teaching profession before attending college. Many of those students matriculate at the FMU School of Education because of that experience. FMU’s School of Education is expecting to continue its legacy of excellence with new leadership this fall. Courtney Clayton will assume duties as the new dean of the School of Education at FMU in July. Clayton comes to FMU from University of Mary Washington’s College of Education where she was an associate professor and associate dean for Academic Progress, Assessment, and Accreditation.