The Lenoir-Rhyne University undergraduate elementary teacher preparation program has been named one of the top programs in the country by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) for its strong commitment to quality clinical practice experiences aimed at preparing aspiring teachers for the classroom.
LR's program is 1 of 33 out of 1,184 evaluated to receive an A rating due to strong clinical experience requirements that serve as a model for others.
"This ranking reflects the intense work that our faculty has undertaken to ensure that LR's teacher candidates receive the highest quality academic and clinical experiences," said Dr. Hank Weddington, dean of the College of Education and Human Services. "I could not be more proud to serve with this exceptional group of professionals."
The NCTQ Clinical Practice standard evaluates teacher prep programs on whether they require candidates to spend a minimum of 10 weeks in an experienced teacher's classroom, whether they screen mentor teachers for skill and instructional effectiveness as measured by student learning and whether they require program supervisors to give student teachers written feedback based on observations at least four times during the clinical practice experience.
A National Research Council report said that clinical practice experience is 1 of 3 aspects of preparation that have the highest potential for effects on outcomes for students. Recent research has found that having a high-quality clinical practice experience can mean a first-year teacher starts out as effective as a typical third-year teacher.
A number of Lenoir-Rhyne's courses are actually taught on site at local school district partners where teacher candidates can turn right around and use what they learn in an actual classroom environment.
Dr. Monica Campbell oversees the program as chair of the School of Education, while Dr. Janet Painters serves as coordinator of middle grades education. Dr. Michael Lemke is the coordinator of elementary education, and Alyssa Reinhard is the director of teacher education at Lenoir-Rhyne.
"National recognition of our educator preparation programs is a point of pride for our faculty, current students and alumni," Weddington said. "Accolades at this level of public visibility provide an added value to the degrees our students earn and our alumni already possess."
It is the second national recognition for the College of Education and Human Services at Lenoir-Rhyne after the NCTQ recognized the university in January as 1 of 15 schools nationwide to receive an A+ rating for its ability to produce highly qualified teachers of reading.