Feature Story

Southern Virginia University’s Teacher Education Program Recognized for National Excellence

Student in teacher licensure track.

The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) recently announced the accreditation renewal for the Rockbridge Teachers Education Consortium (RTEC), a partnership between Southern Virginia University and Washington and Lee University. 

“The RTEC program at SVU has been one among the most successful programs for students and for our community,” said Provost James Lambert. “But even more than that, it demonstrates the benefit of two excellent higher ed institutions coming together to serve students. I couldn’t be prouder of our professors Kim Kearney and Jordan Clark, who lead this program with an eagerness to serve.”

The Spring 2024 review by the CAEP Accreditation Council resulted in 38 educator preparation providers receiving accreditation, bringing the total to 559 providers approved under the CAEP Accreditation Standards—rigorous, nationally recognized standards developed to ensure excellence in educator preparation programs.

“These institutions meet high standards so that their students receive an education that prepares them to succeed in a diverse range of classrooms after they graduate,” said CAEP President Dr. Christopher A. Koch. “Seeking CAEP Accreditation is a significant commitment on the part of an educator preparation provider.”

According to the CAEP, educator preparation providers seeking accreditation must pass a peer review which are based on two principles: 1) solid evidence that the provider’s graduates are competent and caring educators, and 2) solid evidence that the provider’s educator staff have the capacity to create a culture of evidence and use it to maintain and enhance the quality of the professional programs they offer.

Since first receiving accreditation in 2017, Southern Virginia University students enrolled in the RTEC program can earn a Virginia teaching license in one of nine different endorsement areas. Because RTEC is nationally accredited, students who meet the requirements for a Virginia teaching license are also eligible to apply for an initial teaching license in other states due to reciprocal agreements among state departments of education.

“I am grateful for the connections with Washington and Lee University and the partnerships we have created with the Buena Vista City, Lexington City, and Rockbridge County Schools,” said Kim Kearney, Director of Teacher Education at Southern Virginia University. “We encourage our RTEC students to build relationships not only on both university campuses, but also to embrace the relationships they form within the local schools and surrounding communities throughout their undergraduate experience.”

CAEP is a nationally recognized accrediting body for educator preparation and accredits providers at the initial and advanced levels. Accreditation is a nongovernmental activity based on peer review that serves the dual functions of assuring quality and promoting improvement. CAEP is a unified accreditation system intent on raising the performance of all institutions focused on educator preparation.

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