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January 17, 2002

Blue Ribbon Commission gives ULM programs top marks

A designated team of experts working for the state's Blue Ribbon Commission on Teacher Quality today recommended approval of all 16 proposed alternative teacher certification programs to be offered by the eight institutions in the University of Louisiana System.

The programs at the University of Louisiana at Monroe were the only ones that earned approval without stipulations from the external evaluators. Seven other ULS universities' programs were recommended for approval with stipulations.

ULM is distinguished as one of three from Louisiana's 19 Universities, which had programs approved without stipulation.

Dr. Dale Johnson, Dean of the College of Education and Human Development at ULM said, "I am very proud of our ULM faculty and administrators in the College of Education and Human Development, who worked tirelessly to create alternative certification programs that make sense. The quality of these programs recommended for approval will go a long way toward helping reduce some of the teacher shortage for the northern part of Louisiana."

ULM submitted eight programs. Three were master's degree alternatives: one in elementary education, one in special education, and one in secondary education (these were recommended for approval without stipulation). Three were alternative teacher practitioner programs, one in elementary education, one is special education, and one in secondary education (these were also recommended for approved without stipulation).

Dr. Johnson also said, "ULM submitted two non-master's degree alternative certification programs as well, but the program reviewers did not address those, or any others in the state, because they are going to re-examine their entire certification structure."

"This is great news that all of our universities' programs were recommended for approval after months of close scrutiny by external evaluators. Collectively, these programs will offer 53 options, as early as this summer, for alternative teacher certification. This effort is critically important as we work to produce more high-quality teachers for Louisiana's classrooms that are facing teacher shortages," said ULS President Dr. Sally Clausen.

Dr. Clausen said the recommendations of approval are important first steps in the state's overall examination of teacher certification programs. "Our Universities have worked hard over the past several months to ensure top quality programs. Today's report affirms those efforts."

Alternative teacher certification programs prepare non-education majors to teach in Louisiana's K-12 classrooms. There are certain objectives that persons who enter alternative certification programs must meet including passing the reading, writing, mathematics and specialty content PRAXIS examinations required for state certification.

Currently in Louisiana, unqualified or uncertified teachers teach about 100,000 elementary and secondary students. Nationally, at least two million more teachers will be needed for classrooms over the next 10 years.

Commissioners of Higher Education E. Joseph Savoie said the evaluators examined the universities' programs based on several issues, including curricula, course descriptions, measurable objectives, materials, program assessments, field experiences for students, expertise of faculty, and resources available to students. The programs were also scrutinized on how well they use the Louisiana components of effective teaching standards.

The evaluators of the programs were Craig Frisby, Ph.D., University of Missouri; Martin Kozloff, Ph.D., University of North Carolina - Wilmington; Kathleen Madigan, Ph.D., National Council on Teacher Quality; and Douglas McLeod, Ph.D., San Diego State University.

The programs evaluated were: The Practitioner Teacher Program, an 18-30 hour program with an intensive summer program, seminars in the fall and spring and an internship while working full-time as a teacher. The Master's Degree Program Alternative Path, a 36-hour master's degree program for persons who teach full-time, attend the university full-time or attend the university part-time. The Non-Master's/ Certification-Only Program which contains 15 hours of coursework and up to 12 hours of internship/student teaching. The program is designed for people working full-time (not teaching) and who want to complete their coursework at a slower pace before entering student teaching and becoming a full-time teacher.

The Blue Ribbon Commission evaluators will also examine undergraduate teacher education programs this spring. The full report on alternative certification programs is available on the Regent's website under "Teacher Education Initiatives" at

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