(Ashland, Ore.) — The seven teacher preparation programs offered by Southern Oregon University’s School of Education, Leadership, Health & Humanities have achieved accreditation from the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation, meeting the Oregon Legislature’s mandate that all programs in the state that offer licenses to teachers or administrators must be nationally accredited by July 2025.
All teacher preparation programs in the state are working through the accreditation process, which at SOU entailed four years of work to develop a 550-page report to AAQEP that details the university’s education programs. AAQEP accreditors made a site visit to the SOU campus in April, and the agency – one of two that is nationally recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation – granted an unconditional seven-year accreditation for the SOU programs in July.
“National accreditation is very beneficial for our graduates, as there are some states and districts that require a new hire to have been prepared by a nationally-accredited program,” said Susan Faller, a senior instructor and accreditation coordinator for SOU’s School of Education, Leadership, Health & Humanities.
National accreditation assures the quality of educator preparation programs through a nongovernmental, nonregulatory process of self-study and peer review. The standards- and evidence-based process is intended to ensure accountability and continuous improvement.
AAQEP – which currently has about 190 member programs in 36 states and other jurisdictions – uses a model that honors local context and fosters innovation and collaboration among institutions.
“Congratulations to all of the faculty, staff and stakeholders of Southern Oregon University who have achieved their goal of national accreditation by AAQEP,” said Mark LaCelle-Peterson, the agency’s president and CEO. “The program’s strong support for candidates and long-standing P-12 partnerships ensure that the teachers it prepares are ready to meet the challenges of today’s classrooms.”
The SOU academic programs that were accredited by AAQEP include four initial licensure programs, two advanced programs and one added endorsement. The initial licensure programs are:
- Bachelor of Science in Education Studies – teaching license with a multiple subjects endorsement
- Master of Arts in Teaching – teaching license with a multiple subjects endorsement.
- Master of Arts in Teaching – teaching license with a single subject endorsement.
- Master of Arts in Teaching – teaching license with a special education endorsement.
The advanced programs are SOU’s Initial Administrator (principal) License and the Continuing Administrator License; the added endorsement is for the English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program.
“Accreditation by a well-regarded, nationally recognized agency is an honor for the school and the university,” said Vance Durrington, director of the SOU School of Education, Leadership, Health & Humanities. “It demonstrates our commitment to preparing the outstanding educators who in turn will provide positive learning experiences for future generations of our state and region.”
SOU will work during the seven years of the current accreditation to prepare materials that will support the education programs’ annual reports and reaccreditation in 2030.