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The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

Utica University Educator Preparation is now AAQEP-accredited

Kyle Riecker holding the AAQEP Certificate of National Accreditation for the Utica University Educator Preparation Program
Kayden Lamphere
Kyle Riecker holding the AAQEP Certificate of National Accreditation for the Utica University Educator Preparation Program

With the changing of the seasons from summer to fall, and the reintroduction of students back to campus, renewal and continuation is a major theme currently at Utica University. 

Coinciding with that motion is the recertification of the Utica University Educator Preparation Program, though this time under a brand new organization, that being the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP). 

According to Ahmed Radwan, dean of Health Professions and Education at Utica University, while the particular program may be new, that does not mean the high standards of the program have changed. 

“When we hear that a program is accredited nationally, that is a sign of it being trustworthy,” Radwan said. “It means the program graduates quality and operates with evident quality.”

Radwan said the process of gaining accreditation from a new organization as a “period of reflection for staff and all those involved.” 

“We needed to submit to the accreditor an intense document known as a self-study report,” Radwan explained, “Where we truthfully assessed ourselves and what we accomplished over the past 10 years. The accreditor then reads and studies that report, and they come back to us for a site visit in order to make sure what was written is accurate, interviewing all of us all the way to the president.”

After the lengthy process, which occurs every seven years, a final decision was made on whether the program is up to the standards of the accreditor, which Radwan was proud to report as an emphatic approval from AAQEP. 

Kyle Riecker, coordinator of education partnerships and clinical practice at Utica University, said the program has been adapting over this process. 

“We passed accreditation with flying colors,” Riecker said. “But we definitely have our marching orders moving forward in terms of what we need to improve on in the future.” 

As for the future goals of the program, both Radwan and Reicker noted the major accomplishments and strides they have already taken, such as the addition of education as a major. In addition, Radwan also pointed out that the apprenticeship program for education at Utica University is receiving a lot of attention and development. 

“The apprenticeship program, also referred to as the transitional program, is for those who do not have an education background yet, but do have a degree in a content area that is found in schools,” Radwan said. “Schools in need will recommend people, and we help teach them to be teachers.” 

This is a great time for students going through the education program, Reicker said, and that isn’t going to slow down. 

“We are anticipating 180,000 teacher vacancies in New York State coming up in the next five years, which is a great opportunity for teacher candidates, as there will be so many job opportunities,” Riecker said. 

For more information about the Utica University Educator Preparation Program, contact Kyle Reicker ([email protected]), Ahmed Radwan ([email protected]), Chair of the Educator Preparation Program Laurence Zoeckler ([email protected]) or stop by the Office of the School of Health Professions and Education at 252 White Hall. 

 

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Kayden Lamphere, Special Assignment Reporter

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