Following a meticulous review process, the Virginia Tech professional education unit has once again been accredited by the National Council for Teacher Accreditation (NCATE). The unit is defined as all programs that lead to initial or advanced licensure for teachers, administrators and school counselors. The professional education unit is situated within the new College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

Institutions that gain NCATE accreditation meet national standards in areas such as design of curriculum, assessment of candidate performance, faculty qualifications, supervision of classroom experiences, and adequate and up-to-date resources. NCATE accreditation is based on results -- results that demonstrate that teacher candidates know the subject matter and can teach it effectively. It is a mechanism to ensure high quality teacher preparation.

"The whole emphasis is on program quality," said Jerry Niles, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. "Accreditation is the result of intense conversation on the national scene. Our education programs have once again passed a rigorous assessment and planning process."

"Virginia Tech is one of the best professional education packages going," said Susan G. Magliaro, director of the Center for Teacher Education at Virginia Tech. "Our teacher education students graduate with an undergraduate degree in a content area plus extensive practical field experience with a degree of readiness and responsibility for the enterprise. Feedback from principals of our graduates rate our program completers as mature and confident with a firm knowledge base with regard to SOLs."

One of the first universities in the nation to present its material electronically, Virginia Tech offered all information to the NCATE Board of Examiners in a totally on-line format, data that literally used to fill crates in paper format. Its assessment is also available to the public at

"Having NCATE accreditation is a selling point for our program," Magliaro said. NCATE is the gold standard for professional education programs. Virginia Tech has been NCATE-approved since 1973 and the latest accreditation is good for five years, with annual reports required over that time frame. "NCATE accreditation is a clear indicator that we pay close attention to program quality. As part of the accreditation process, the Center for Teacher Education, in close collaboration with faculty in professional education programs, our K-12 partners, and our students who collect an enormous amount of data provide evidence of our quality, and indicate areas for constant improvement. The accreditation process as a whole also provides a venue for us to be in conversation about what we do with our partners in the field."

The accreditation process not only prompts dialogue with regional school personnel but also promotes alliances throughout the entire university as the review includes one-on-one meetings with the university president, provost and fiscal agents as well as those members of departments with concentrations in teacher education. "Our university partners are crucial to our success," Magliaro said. "And, we take seriously our contribution to the overall reputation of Virginia Tech by our provision and stewardship of high quality professional preparation programs."

The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences embraces the arts, humanities, social and human sciences, and education. The college nurtures intellect and spirit, enlightens decision-making, inspires positive change, and improves the quality of life for people of all ages. It is home to the departments of apparel, housing and resource management, communication, educational leadership and policy studies, English, foreign languages and literatures, history; human development, interdisciplinary studies, international studies, music, philosophy, political science, ROTC, science and technology in society, sociology, teaching and learning, and theatre arts.

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech has grown to become the largest university in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Today, Virginia Tech's eight colleges are dedicated to putting knowledge to work through teaching, research, and outreach activities and to fulfilling its vision to be among the top 30 research universities in the nation. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 170 academic degree programs.