The Inclusive Elementary Education and Inclusive Early Childhood Education programs at Cazenovia College have been reaccredited by the Accreditation Commission of the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP).

The programs were reaccredited for a full term of seven years. The Association’s determination included a review of the program’s record, a quality assurance report, virtual focus group interviews with stakeholders, and a quality review team report. The College’s program is currently one of 57 educational providers in 14 states and territories throughout the United States that have been AAQEP accredited.

Accreditation of the programs is an achievement that reflects the outstanding abilities both current teacher candidates and alumni teachers have in providing inclusive education and care for learners, as well as the positive environment the College and Cazenovia community offer students, says Dr. Jessica Essary, program director of Inclusive Elementary Education and associate professor of Inclusive Education.

“Cazenovia College has a long history of receiving teacher candidates who are curious about teaching and learning and who care about their students’ wellbeing. Our teacher preparation program coursework offers a variety of exciting opportunities that foster collaborative classroom environments. Our teacher candidates gain increased awareness of, and sensitivity to, individual cultures and identities throughout their studies. In a community where everyone is on a first-name basis, we thank our friendly faculty, staff, and administrators for the difference they make in the lives of our teacher candidates. We also thank the village and our entire regional community for believing in the power of education and supporting our degree programs.”

Dr. David Rufo, co-program director, Inclusive Education, and assistant professor of Inclusive Education, added, “The education programs at Cazenovia College place a priority on innovation, critical thinking, and creative engagement. Our teacher candidates are taught to be reflective practitioners who value the diverse cultural experiences each student brings to the early childhood and elementary classroom environments. Our classes are designed to examine pedagogical precedents while at the same time encourage progressive approaches to teaching and learning so that our teacher candidates become thought-provoking and inspiring leaders in the field of education.”

AAQEP is a membership association and quality assurance agency that provides accreditation services and formative support to all types of educator preparation providers. It is nationally recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Accreditation signifies that a program prepares effective educators who continue to grow as professionals. In order to achieve accredited status, a program must demonstrate that it meets all AAQEP standards and their associated aspects.

Cazenovia College has two program offerings. The bachelor’s degree program in Inclusive Early Childhood Education leads toward the New York State initial teacher certification in early childhood education (for students aged birth to grade 2) and teaching students with disabilities (birth to grade 2). The bachelor’s degree program in Inclusive Elementary Education leads toward New York State initial teacher certification in Childhood Education (first-sixth grade) and Teaching Students with Disabilities (first-sixth grade).

Both programs contain core liberal arts and sciences courses, professional courses, and five opportunities for supervised field experiences in urban, suburban, and rural classrooms, culminating in students having classroom teaching opportunities with students in the age groups aligned with their degree specialization. The student teaching field experiences serve diverse student populations, especially those in high-needs rural school settings.