When it comes to preparing undergraduate students to become teachers, Regent University recently received a high ranking. The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) takes an in-depth look annually into the particulars of teacher preparation for hundreds of colleges and universities nationally. A 2016 report places Regent University’s pre-kindergarten through 6th grade Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS) teacher preparation program at 95 percentile, the best in Virginia.
“When you look at its standards, the NCTQ is a powerhouse nationally when it comes to evaluating teacher prep,” said Dr. Kurt Kreassig, department chair and assistant professor. “The organization defines research-based best practices. Regent incorporates these which builds legitimacy and confidence for our students and faculty. We want to produce game-changers so our graduates can have a positive impact on students and communities. We have to provide evidence of this to the NCTQ just as we would for accreditation.”
Providing this evidence includes submitting syllabi and other materials. The NCTQ consults experts to devise specific, measurable standards intended to identify what teacher education programs will best equip their students to become effective teachers. Regent’s program scored particularly high in early reading and classroom management. Kreassig, a former public school principal, communicates closely with current school administrators to see what they are doing to professionally develop their staff. He implements what he finds into Regent’s IDS program so graduates know what to expect in their future careers.
“As a teacher, you may have to teach anything,” said Kreassig. “That’s why our program is interdisciplinary. You learn about all topics. We want our teachers to have an effective skillset so when they leave Regent, they can be immersed in a school and be effective from day one.”
Kreassig says, as a principal, he has seen teachers struggle and acknowledges the teaching profession is under a lot of scrutiny. He says teachers need to be able to make decisions based on data for their classrooms, and that’s why he consults with district superintendents to see what they are looking for in future teachers. Through purposeful planning, looking at best practices, and providing evidence, the IDS program’s NCTQ ranking has steadily increased since Kreassig arrived at Regent four years ago. He and Dr. Cheryl Gould, director of student teaching, intentionally worked to accomplish this.
“We were excited,” said Kreassig. “It is a testament to the faculty in the program who share their expertise. It’s also a testament to the quality of our students. Regent attracts a special student who is called to do the best they can academically. You have quality students who work hard, show up for class, and are all around really good students. That shows well.”
Kreassig is confident that IDS graduates will reflect positively on the program when they become teachers. He has received positive feedback from human resources departments in public schools requesting more Regent graduates to apply for teaching positions with their districts.