UNC Pembroke's School of Education received its third consecutive exemplary rating on the state Department of Public Instruction's comprehensive performance report of teacher education programs.
UNCP joined six other universities in obtaining the highest ranking. Only one other of the state's 48 colleges and universities that train teachers has received the highest state Board of Education rating every year of the report.
UNCP is the only public university with enrollment under 7,000 to achieve an exemplary rating, making the achievement all the more significant, administrators said.
Also raising the degree of difficulty is UNCP's status as the fastest growing teacher education program in the state. The school has increased the number of students seeking teacher certification by 78 percent since 1999.
"This is the ultimate stamp of approval for one of our most important academic programs," said Chancellor Allen C. Meadors. "We are very, very proud of our School of Education because it demonstrates the high quality programs that this entire university is well-known for."
"Through history, UNC Pembroke has made it mark as a premier training ground for public school teachers," Chancellor Meadors said. "With a crisis in teacher availability looming, we are playing an important role in solving this problem for our state."
New interim Dean of the School of Education Warren Baker said he is extremely proud and pleased with the rating and praised the teacher education staff and faculty for their efforts in the achievement.
"I think it validates our faculty's commitment to quality as well as our obligation to support our public schools," Dr. Baker said. "This rating also reflects a consistency in the overall quality of our teacher education program because UNCP is only one of two institutions that has earned exemplary status for three consecutive years."
UNC Pembroke scored 126 points on a comprehensive battery of evaluations, that include state and national accreditation, student scores on national competency tests, student and employer satisfaction and more.
Rounding out the list of universities with exemplary ratings were East Carolina, Appalachian State, Western Carolina, UNC Greensboro, UNC Wilmington, and Elon.
State Board of Education Chair Phillip Kirk Jr. said the report is an important accountability tool to help teacher education programs improve.
"This is our report card on how well the teacher education programs in North Carolina are performing," Kirk said. As North Carolina moves forward to comply with the federal 'No Child Left Behind' legislations with is focus on high quality teachers, we especially need our teacher education programs to be as strong as possible."
For more information on the program, visit www.ncpublicschools.org.