Western Carolina University’s Secondary English Education Program has met requirements for “National Recognition” status by the National Council for Teachers of English and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation ― the only such program to do so in North Carolina.
The achievement is determined by a rigorous review by a subject-specific organization, with the program found to meet or exceed the established quality standards for teacher preparation. WCU’s degree program in secondary education (high school level) prepares graduates for careers as teachers, with a bachelor of science degree in education leading to a North Carolina teaching license in English.
“This national recognition affirms what we have long known, that WCU’s Secondary English Education Program is superior in every way,” said Carol Burton, vice provost for academic affairs. “At a time when the teaching profession can sometimes be hard to recruit candidates to, we welcome this opportunity to celebrate and honor the most noble of professions and the quality preparation students will receive as graduates of this program. I congratulate the faculty, students, and our local education partners on this honor.”
The program is part of WCU’s College of Education and Allied Professions, but is housed in the Department of English, a part of WCU’s College of Arts and Sciences, and coordinated and directed by Michael Boatright, associate professor of English. Graduates are awarded both a bachelor of arts degree in English and a bachelor of science degree in education.
“It was truly a joint effort between Catherine Carter and me in drafting the application, and I’m overjoyed by this recognition,” said Boatright. “We were supported at every step in this endeavor in both our home department of English and in the College of Education and Allied Professions.”
University officials credit the interrelationships between colleges and a university-wide for the prestigious achievement.
“The skills and perspectives that English teachers impart to high school students are critical to their intellectual development and their future success. Catherine Carter and Michael Boatright have devoted their careers to training highly qualified, passionate, and effective English teachers to schools in Western North Carolina and beyond,” said Richard D. Starnes, dean of WCU’s College of Arts and Sciences, and interim provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “Their hard work and heartfelt dedication, and that of the faculty and staff in the College of Education and Allied Professions, has created a true model for English educator preparation and a hallmark program here at WCU. This recognition is a tremendous achievement and we are very proud.”
WCU’s teacher education programs received accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation in 2016, which remains in effect until fall of 2021.
“Michael and I took the initiative to revise our content and methods curriculum and go through the application process for national recognition,” said Catherine Carter, professor of English and program coordinator. “But we certainly could not have completed the process or succeeded in being recognized without the work of our colleagues in College of Education and Allied Professions. Kim Winter, Patricia Bricker and Lee Nickles read our drafts on the application and offered feedback, and Lee guided us through the complicated online submission process.
“It takes a village to keep a teacher education program growing and thriving, and we’d all be lost without ours,” Carter said. “Amanda Chapman and Monica Miller in the Office of Field Experiences coordinate the program’s rich and diverse early field experiences and student teaching internships, and Sarah Meltzer in the School of Teaching and Learning oversees the student teaching internship seminar and the production of the capstone portfolios, a rigorous national portfolio assessment.”
The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation advances equity and excellence in educator preparation through evidence-based accreditation that assures quality and supports continuous improvement to strengthen learning.