Education Programs Receive National Accreditation

Anthony Proia, Director of Media Relations
Bryanna Benvenuti '19, MA '20, psychology/dual certification special education (1-6), assists a student during her student teaching placement at an elementary school in Rhinebeck, NY. Photo by Carlo de Jesus/Marist College.

January 22, 2024 – Noted national accreditor, the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP), has awarded full 7-year accreditation to the educator preparation programs at Marist following an exhaustive review.

This accreditation covers all Marist teacher education programs, including Childhood/Students with Disabilities Education (grades 1-6) program, Birth - Second Grade certification, 5-year MSEd program, the BA-BS/MAT Adolescence/Students with Disabilities Education (grades 7-12) programs in eight content areas (biology, chemistry, earth science, English, French, history, math, Spanish), and MS in Education, Contemporary Curriculum and Instruction.

The AAQEP Accreditation Commission, which promotes and recognizes educator preparation, found that Marist’s programs met all standards, emphasizing the readiness of candidates to effectively work as professional educators adaptable to diverse contexts, providing experience in varied clinical placements. The accreditor also commended Marist for actively engaging with stakeholders and partners, especially in high-need schools, to strengthen the P-20 education system.

“Our teacher education programs truly stand out,” said Deborah Gatins, Dean of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences. “The faculty members are exceptional, demonstrating unwavering dedication to preparing future educators for the challenges of a complex and diverse world. The students, in turn, embody the same level of excellence, mirroring the passion and commitment exhibited by our outstanding faculty.”

Dr. Olga DeJesus-Diaz, Assistant Dean for Teacher Education, said one of the highlights of the teacher education program is its emphasis on inclusion and the education of students with special needs.

The Childhood/Students with Disabilities Education (grades 1-6) program, 5-year MSEd program, and the BA-BS/MAT Adolescence/Students with Disabilities Education (grades 7-12) programs are designed for dual teacher certification in the content area and students with disabilities. Candidates commit to earning both certifications upon entering their program.

“Candidates are explicitly prepared to work in special education settings and with strategies for supporting inclusive classroom environments,” said Dr. DeJesus-Diaz. “Given that the teacher education community is so vested and committed to a quality teacher preparation program, with teaching candidates who are committed to learning and expanding pedagogical skills to become innovative contemporary educators, it has been truly a joy to have become a part of this community.”

Gatins and DeJesus-Diaz expressed gratitude to the program’s exceptional full- and part-time faculty, cooperating teachers, advisory board members, teacher education candidates, and staff. They gave special acknowledgment to Dr. Carol Rinke, Assistant Provost for Student Success, who oversaw the accreditation process over the past five years until its successful culmination this fall. And, their appreciation was extended to Leala Munson, department administrative assistant, for her logistical work during the accreditor's on-site visit.

National accreditation serves the dual purposes of accountability and continuous improvement. It ensures the quality of professional preparation programs through a non-governmental, non-regulatory process of self-study and peer review.

The full accreditation by AAQEP extends through 2030.

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