WBU Education Program Receives Prestigious Honor

WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. – The education program at Williams Baptist University has received a prestigious honor from its accrediting agency. The Williams Teacher Education Program (WTEP) was notified recently that it is one of only 21 higher education institutions to be awarded the 2023 Frank Murray Leadership Recognition for Continuous Improvement.

The award is presented by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), and it is given to colleges and universities that achieve accreditation with no stipulations or areas for improvement noted. CAEP gave the WBU education program a full extension of its accreditation earlier this year, following a site visit last fall.

“The Williams Teacher Education Program received a spotless review during its accreditation visit, and that is a rare achievement,” said WBU President Dr. Stan Norman. “We extend our congratulations and our deepest appreciation to Dr. Charlotte Wheeless, the chair of WTEP, and the others at WBU who worked so hard to help us reach this elite level.”

The team involved with the CAEP accreditation effort was recognized at the WBU Board of Trustees’ meeting on Sept. 26. Certificates of appreciation were presented to Wheeless, as well as Dr. Chris Hair, chair of the division of arts & sciences; Carol Halford, chair of the department of health and physical education; and Lynn Pennington, instructor of music education. All four were involved with the successful CAEP accreditation visit.

The Frank Murray Recognition is named after the founding President of the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). CAEP was created by the consolidation of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and TEAC. Murray was a key advocate for a single set of educator preparation standards to unify the profession and was instrumental in the merger that created CAEP. He also served as the Dean of the College of Education at the University of Delaware from 1979 to 1995.

“Providers selected for recognition advance equity and excellence in educator preparation through purposeful use of self-study procedures and evidence-based reporting that assure quality and support continuous improvement to strengthen P-12 learning,” said a statement from CAEP. 

CAEP says its accreditation serves the dual purposes of accountability and continuous improvement. Some 541 educator preparation providers in 43 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have been accredited under the CAEP Standards. The CAEP accreditation process evaluates the performance of providers and focuses particularly on whether candidates will be prepared for the challenging responsibilities that educators face in classrooms. 

“There is a reason WBU graduates are so highly regarded by school districts across our region,” Norman said. “The Williams Teacher Education Program produces graduates who are fully equipped for the challenges of teaching. This high honor from our accrediting agency is yet another recognition of the excellence of this program.”

WBU is a private, Christian university in Walnut Ridge. The university offers more than 25 baccalaureate majors, including seven in the field of education.

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