Campus News

UK earns National Accreditation of Educator Preparation Programs 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 2, 2024) — The Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP) has awarded full 7-year accreditation to educator preparation programs at the University of Kentucky, with no areas for improvement. 

“This marks a significant achievement and shows to our communities that our graduates are well-prepared for their roles as educators. We were pleased the accreditors noted the level of active collaborations in place with schools and other partners. They also highlighted how our model builds teacher candidates’ capacity for their own professional engagement and continued growth,” said UK College of Education Acting Dean Danelle Stevens-Watkins, Ph.D. 

The AAQEP Accreditation Commission issued the decision in a recent meeting, noting UK’s programs prepare education candidates to work effectively as professional educators who can adapt to different contexts and continue to grow professionally. The commission referred to the programs’ significant commitment to partnerships with multiple stakeholders, locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally, to strengthen the P-20 education system. The review also noted the university maintains program quality by analyzing evidence of effectiveness and making revisions to benefit teacher candidates while demonstrating capacity to sustain a robust quality assurance system. 

“Congratulations to the University of Kentucky and to all of the faculty, staff, and stakeholders who have achieved their goal of national accreditation by AAQEP,” said AAQEP President and CEO Mark LaCelle-Peterson. “The program partners widely to create diverse and meaningful experiences that promote candidates’ professional agency and growth.” 

Nationally accredited since 1954 when the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) was founded and began accrediting institutions, UK is proud of its history of being continuously, nationally accredited. National accreditation assures the quality of professional preparation programs through a nongovernmental, nonregulatory process of self-study and peer review. This standards- and evidence-based process serves two broad aims: accountability and continuous improvement. The AAQEP model is also designed to honor local context and foster innovation and collaboration among institutions.  

“Through this process, we were able to demonstrate the impact of our focus on collaboration with schools and other community partners, along with the ways we meet workforce needs for teachers and educator personnel,” said Margaret Mohr-Schroeder, Ph.D., UK College of Education Senior Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Partnerships. “We also demonstrated how we continuously respond to the needs of our candidates and the communities they will serve by creating programs that are high-quality, learner-centered, and that offer opportunities for early field experiences, paid field experiences, and collaborative learning experiences.  

Founded in 2017, AAQEP is a membership association and quality assurance agency that provides accreditation services and formative support to all types of educator preparation providers. AAQEP currently has members in 37 states and other jurisdictions with over 190 educator preparation providers participating in the accreditation system. The organization promotes excellent, effective, and innovative educator preparation that is committed to evidence-based improvement in a collaborative professional environment. AAQEP is nationally recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.  

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.