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The Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation recently granted Northwest educator preparation programs full accreditation through 2027. Profession-based learning experiences, such as the practice Northwest education majors receive at Horace Mann Laboratory School, pictured above in this 2018 photo, have helped 98 percent of graduates find employment or continue their education within six months of completing their degrees since 2017. (Photos by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

The Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation recently granted Northwest educator preparation programs full accreditation through 2027. Profession-based learning experiences, such as the practice Northwest education majors receive at Horace Mann Laboratory School, pictured above in this 2018 photo, have helped 98 percent of graduates find employment or continue their education within six months of completing their degrees since 2017. (Photos by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Oct. 6, 2020

Education programs earn accreditation through 2027


The Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP) recently awarded full seven-year accreditation to Northwest Missouri State University’s educator preparation programs.

After reviewing evidence collected through a process of self-study and peer review, the AAQEP Accreditation Commission determined Northwest’s educator preparation programs meet all AAQEP standards.

Evidence showed program completers are prepared to work effectively as professional educators and they adapt to different contexts to grow professionally. Program capacity to analyze and provide evidence for sustained actions and revisions on behalf of candidates was evident and sufficient to meet AAQEP standards. Northwest’s program also engages intentionally and effectively with stakeholders and partners to strengthen the P-20 education system locally and across their region.

In addition, the Accreditation Commission noted the University’s long-standing investment in and commitment to high-quality clinical partnerships. The program intentionally cultivates relationships with a broad network of P-12 schools and districts of varying sizes and community profiles across a wide geographic region. The effort provides valuable opportunities for the program’s educator candidates to practice in diverse urban, suburban and rural settings and provides schools with access to diverse educator candidates.

“Congratulations to Northwest Missouri State University and to all of the faculty, staff and stakeholders who have achieved their goal of national accreditation by AAQEP,” Mark LaCelle-Peterson, the accrediting agency’s president and chief executive officer, said. “The University’s commitment to working with a wide range of school partners, noted by the Commission, is marked by extensive collaboration on program renewal and revision. The program’s graduates stand out for their relationship-first approach to instruction, as is modeled by the faculty.”

Dr. Tim Wall, the dean of Northwest’s School of Education, said, “Having continuous national accreditation through 2027 is wonderful, and surely a sense of pride. We have our sights set on several key initiatives to continue making Northwest the best place to learn to teach and lead. The entire campus supports the growth of teachers and leaders, and the AAQEP recognition shows that. Northwest was commended by AAQEP commissioners for excellence in partnerships and longstanding and significant work with schools to prepare outstanding educators. We are the first institution to earn this commendation, a testament to institution-wide excellence and our commitment to real partnerships.”

Northwest was founded in 1905 as a regional teacher training institution, and its education programs have been fully and nationally accredited since 1954. While teacher preparation remains one of the University’s signature programs, students pursuing undergraduate or graduate education degrees represent 24 percent of the University’s total enrollment this fall. Further, 98 percent of Northwest education program graduates since 2017 have found employment or continued their education within six months of completing their degrees.

Enhancing Northwest’s teacher preparation programs, the Horace Mann Laboratory School and its early childhood programs on the University campus have facilitated profession-based learning for education candidates with the guidance of master teachers since 1906. Today, the Horace Mann Laboratory School serves students in kindergarten through sixth grade, and the Phyllis and Richard Leet Center for Children and Families serves preschool children ages 3 to 5.

In 2018, Northwest became one of only three universities in the nation to call itself a two-time recipient of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ Christa McAuliffe Excellence in Teacher Education Award; the University received its first McAuliffe Award in 2006. The national recognition highlighted Northwest’s reimagined, social-justice infused curriculum and abundant clinical field experience placements for education majors. Within the School of Education’s curriculum, teacher candidates observe and practice their teaching in urban, suburban and rural settings with students from diverse backgrounds.

National accreditation assures the quality of professional preparation programs through a nongovernmental, nonregulatory process of self-study and peer review. AAQEP’s system also is designed to honor local context and foster innovation and collaboration among institutions. The organization’s membership includes 120 educator preparation providers in 22 states and territories; 13 are now accredited.

Founded in 2017, AAQEP is a membership association and quality assurance agency that provides accreditation services and formative support to all types of educator preparation providers. The organization promotes excellent, effective and innovative educator preparation that is committed to evidence-based improvement in a collaborative professional environment. For more information, visit aaqep.org.


Media contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704