PLATTSBURGH — Plattsburgh State officially announced Thursday it has earned national accreditation for its teacher-education program.
The Teacher Education Accreditation Council informed the university this week that it granted the program accreditation for five years, the highest number of years the organization can provide to first-time applicants.
The accrediting body also found the university to be "above standard" in many areas.
"This is the single most significant event in the recent history of this college," Plattsburgh State President Dr. John Ettling said at a news conference at Angell College Center.
He pointed out that the college was formed 120 years ago to prepare teachers for the classroom.
Plattsburgh State learned in 1999 that it must earn national accreditation for the teacher-education program because the State Board of Regents was no longer handling the process. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education turned down the university's first bid at accreditation in March 2005 after visiting the campus the previous year.
"Then-Provost Robert Golden went out and found someone to help him do this," Ettling said, acknowledging Plattsburgh State Dean of Education, Health and Human Services Dr. David Hill.
Hill had helped Keene State in New Hampshire earn national accreditation when he and Golden worked there before coming to Plattsburgh State.
Ettling, Golden and Hill, all of whom had been in their positions less than a year when the first accreditation visit occurred, knew there were some problems with the program. But they had not expected a "wholesale rejection."
After reviewing improvements needed in Plattsburgh State's program and charting a new path, university officials decided to continue the accreditation process through the Teacher Education Accreditation Council, which hadn't previously been an option.
The program was altered to include earlier field experience for undergraduates, more technology, improved teacher collaboration and assessment and an increased focus on critical thinking and problem solving.