Elizabeth City State University has learned that both its master of elementary education and master of school administration degree programs have received advanced accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

ECSU Provost Farrah J. Ward announced the news to the university’s Board of trustees during its quarterly meeting on Tuesday.

Ward said both programs were previously accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, but accreditation responsibility has now moved to the CAEP, which had accredited ECSU’s undergraduate teacher education program and master’s of elementary education’s initial licensure track two years ago.

“We received both of these accreditations (for the master programs) without recommendation,” Ward told trustees. Without recommendation means that CAEP is 100 percent satisfied that ECSU’s program meets its standards, she said.

According to CAEP’s standards for advanced accreditation, programs considered are defined as “educator preparation programs at the post-baccalaureate and graduate levels leading to licensure, certification, or endorsement.”

Advanced level programs such as those at ECSU are designed to develop teachers in pre-K through grade 12 who “have already completed an initial preparation program, are currently licensed administrators, or other certificated school professionals for employment” in K-12 schools and school districts.

Accreditation means that ECSU shows “evidence that the provider’s graduates are competent and caring educators,” and shows “solid evidence that the provider (ECSU) has the capacity to create a culture of evidence and use it to maintain and enhance the quality of the professional programs they offer.”

Dr. Joy Smith, dean of the School of Education and Business, said the CAEP standards represent a “sea change” in the way programs are assessed by the accreditation organization. Programs that are CAEP-accredited have shown how they assess their students and have “developed metrics that document evidence of the education received by their students,” she said.

“Achieving CAEP advanced-level accreditation shows the evidence of the focused and rigorous learning undertaken by graduates of these programs,” Smith said.

ECSU began offering its first online master of education degree program in January 2019. In addition to the master of elementary education teacher leader track that prepares students to seek National Board Certification, the university also offers a master of elementary education initial certification program for anyone with a bachelor’s degree that chooses to become an elementary school teacher.