KFOX14 - kfoxtv.com - Search Results
UTEP president confident College of Education is rebounding
By: Bill Melugin
EL PASO, Texas --
The College of Education at University of Texas, El Paso, was given a warning by the state that it could lose its accreditation over low teacher certification exam scores in May, but university president Diana Natalicio is confident the program is already turning around.
"We have an interim dean, Steve Riter, who has been working very hard, he's an experienced administrator, and he's a problem solver," Natalicio said. "He's done a lot of work to take a look at what the issues are, we think we do understand them now, I don't they're as complicated as we initially might have believed , I think they're addressable, and he is taking steps now with the faculty in the College of Education."
Natalico told KFOX14 there had been some issues when it came to communication with the Texas Education Agency, but that Riter has gone to Austin to meet with officials about how to solve those problems.
"The first thing you have to do when you've fallen short, and that's disappointing, is to understand why?" Natalicio said. "Our performances are very close to the thresholds
and I don't think we're going to have any problem meeting those standards going forward."
According to KFOX14 media partner The El Paso Times, another year of low passing rates on the exams could result in probationary status for the college, according to the board's Accountability System for Educator Preparation. A probation status for three consecutive years -- or two if the state determines it's necessary -- could lead to the college having its accreditation revoked. A degree from an accredited college or university and a passing grade on the certification examination is needed to become a certified teacher in Texas. Accreditation ensures that programs and universities meet state standards of quality and could determine a school's eligibility for participation in federal and state financial aid programs.
"We take this very seriously, were very disappointed in the results that we had in a couple of specific areas," Natalicio said. "Most of what we've done is absolutely fine, but there are a few specific areas where we have to improve, I think we understand that, and we're well on our way."
For any current or future students who have doubts about the program, Natalicio told KFOX14 they shouldn't be worried.
"We have a long tradition of producing quality teachers, and we've done it for a long, long time," Natalicio said. "Two-thirds of the teachers in our schools are graduates of UTEP, I think they can be very assured that we are going to ensure their success as teachers. If you look at the performance of students in the El Paso district over the past 25 years, they've improved tremendously, they're much more college ready now, and those teachers are our product, so we stand by that."