Until recently United Tribes Technical College (UTTC), a tribal college in Bismarck, North Dakota, only offered two-year associate degrees of certificates of completion, but the school’s Teacher Education Program was granted approval in March from the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board (ESPB) to offer a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.
Before this approval UTTC partnered with Sinte Gleska University in Mission, South Dakota to offer students on the UTTC campus access to four-year degrees in teacher education.
“Based on the success of that partnership, we initiated the process of preparing a program to offer and confer bachelor degrees by United Tribes,” said Lisa Azure, UTTC Teacher Education chair, in a press release. “We moved forward with the leadership of United Tribes President Dr. David M. Gipp and the support of other campus personnel and staff.”
With ESPB’s approval, the next step is getting approval from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
To get ESPB’s approval, a program review was held by a team of eight education professionals. The three-day evaluation included interviews with students, faculty and members of college administration. The team determined that the program and college met the six unit standards of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.
Azure said the ESPB approval is provisional and will be reevaluated in 2014.
“Members of the Teacher Education department are grateful for the support of a large number of United Tribes staff members and faculty who helped prepare for and participated in the site visit,” said Azure. “Most important, we thank the past graduates of the program, all licensed professional educators, and current teacher candidates who shared their experiences with the team.
“There are external entities that determine an institution’s capacity to prepare and graduate high quality teachers. Ultimately, we feel the success of our program is measured by the success of its graduates, of whom we couldn’t be more proud.”