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Mercy Earns Full Accreditation for Ten Professional Programs in Education

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In May, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) announced that Mercy College’s Education Unit (EU) had earned full accreditation for promoting and maintaining excellence in preparing educators and school professionals.

Ten professional education-related programs, comprising eight in the School of Education (SOE) and two in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SSBS), received full CAEP reaccreditation for seven years. The demanding process culminated in a comprehensive site visit last December, held virtually for the first time.

The effort was spearheaded by SOE and overseen by Dr. Eric Martone, interim dean of the School of Education and associate professor of History and Social Studies Education. Two programs in the SSBS — School Counseling and School Psychology — were included as part of Mercy’s Education Unit (EU). The result: “Mercy successfully demonstrated its ability to meet and sustain the rigorous standards necessary to prepare graduates to be caring, competent educators of the future,” said Martone.

More than five years of planning and preparation, performed by dozens of participants and requiring multiple phases and reports over a hundred pages long, went into the reaccreditation process, which concluded in the spring of 2021. Most of the programs under review required an independent report by a professional organization working with CAEP specialists in the specific area being evaluated. Following these reports came the institutional self-study, another round of feedback from CAEP and follow-up responses, and finally the site visit.

An EU typically applies for full reaccreditation every seven years. During evaluation, CAEP officials may discern one or more areas for improvement. “This means all CAEP standards were met, but there’s room for growth in certain areas. The unit is expected to focus on those areas in the next accreditation cycle,” Martone explained. EUs may also be awarded accreditation with stipulations, which require remedial action and an additional site visit, or put on probation, which can result in revocation of accreditation. “The fact that Mercy earned full reaccreditation with only minimal areas of improvement means we excelled in the review process,” said Martone. 

The campus-wide undertaking involved several faculty, students, administration, alumni and staff members. Leading the effort under Martone’s oversight was Dr. Matthijs Koopmans, Professor of Educational Leadership who served as the assessment director. For the first time, site visits were conducted in a virtual space to ensure safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dozens of interviews and focus groups were organized, hosted and conducted on virtual platforms.

“The department chairs and associate deans deserve a shout-out as well,” said Martone. “We couldn’t have accomplished this positive result without the sustained efforts and commitment of everyone at Mercy, but especially the contributors from the programs under review. This accomplishment represents is a major victory for the entire Mercy community.”