Celebrating 50 Years of NCATE Accreditation
On September 18, students, faculty, staff
and friends joined to celebrate 50 years
of continuous accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) of Longwood's College of Education and Human Services. The celebration did so with a theme that
has driven Longwood's education program since 1839: "Longwood Teachers Shape
Dr. Wheelan challenged Longwood as an institution preparing teachers, to keep up its good work in helping the Commonwealth reach its goal for all students.
"The accreditation of colleges of education by the profession itself was quite an idea in 1954," said NCATE President Arthur E. Wise. "It was quite a move by then Longwood College to join in what was a novel undertaking."
"Other professions had developed accreditation systems long before," continued Wise. "The idea that teaching would be like the other professions, a self-governing profession in which leaders in the field decided what teachers should know and be able to do, well that was quite a radical thought back then, just like medicine was in 1890. Each state had its own unique approach to deciding what kind of medical institutions should be allowed to operate within their borders. Most observers and scholars would agree that the day when the medical profession decided that there should be more or less a uniform set of expectations for what a new physician should know, that was the day that medicine turned into a profession."
Six Longwood education alumni representing each decade of accreditation gave their own insights into Longwood's tradition of preparing high quality education professionals. Each alum's message echoed the quality of their instruction and the dedication of Longwood faculty.
Representing the decade of the 1950s, Board of Visitors member Dr. Helen Page Warriner-Burke '56, said, "The experiences that left their tread marks on me in '54-56 were those made by reality. I believe then and believe now that those tread marks were most indelibly imprinted by the classroom experiences and by the analysis of those teachers who knew the disciplines - the content - that I was trying to impart to my students. I valued highly the involvement of the discipline specialists and still think of Miss (Emily) Barksdale, Dr. (R.C.) Simonini and the classroom teachers as the ones who gave me my professional start."
Representing the decade of the 1960s, Dr. Rebecca White Adams '67, principal of Great Bridge Intermediate School, said, "Teachers modeled their expectations of their students. They did not announce that you should have high expectations for your students. They modeled that expectation, and if you did not meet it, you were shown how to do it. You were not left to flounder alone."
"When you reached the self-confidence level necessary to do a job, you were given the freedom to succeed," continued Dr. White. "There were countless opportunities for leadership. … To this day, I try to hire the best people possible and then let them do their job. I look for visionaries who are flexible and can look into the soul of their students. They accept no less than the best of themselves and therefore have the same expectations of their students. That was the picture of my education at Longwood. I trust that foundation still exists. If it does, in 50 years from today, perhaps another group will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of NCATE accreditation. If I can hobble, I'll try to be here."
2004 National Teachers Hall of Fame inductee Barbara Bannin Kelley '74 represented the decade of the 70s. She said, "Longwood was ahead of its time throughout the 70's where I learned side-by-side with the science majors in anatomy class and now Longwood has a formal partnership between the colleges of education and arts and sciences that could serve as a model for the nation."
Representing the decade of the 1980s, Prince Edward County third grade teacher, Janice Nash Goode '86 (B.S.), '01 (M.S.) said, "Longwood has a knack for acquiring highly qualified, most dedicated, and wonderful professors, especially in the education department. Two who stand out who helped me immensely during my master's program were Dr. (Luther) Kirk and Dr. (Barbara) Chesler."
Steven L. Turner, a current doctoral student in curriculum and instruction, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia, and a 1998 Longwood liberal studies/special education graduate, now a CEHS adjunct professor teaching a behavior management course, represented the decade of the 1990s. Mr. Turner said, " ... we [were] invited to study with some of the finest education faculty in the South. Some of them are here today ... part professor, part magician, part last line of defense for a society that is not always defensible."
Lastly, representing the decade of the 2000s, 2004 graduate Lesley Murphy said, "Longwood's education program has that impact on every education student who walks through these halls. We know what we are in for before we ever walk across that stage on Wheeler Mall. We know the things that will face us every day in the classroom, whether good or bad, and we are ready to face them head on without a spark of fear in our eyes."
The NCATE celebration brought together many rewarding memories and accolades for an education program that has affected the lives of countless students. It also reaffirmed Longwood's reputation for the best teacher preparation program in the Commonwealth.