MC's teacher ed program ranked among best in nation

MC’s teacher ed program ranked among best in nation

June 30, 2017

When it comes to undergraduate programs that prepare high school teachers, Maryville College successfully shows future teachers what to teach and how to teach it.

Last month, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released its latest ratings for 717 undergraduate programs that prepare high school teachers, and Maryville College ranked in the top 10 percent nationwide. Only two other programs in Tennessee were ranked as high:  Lipscomb University and Milligan College.

The ranking is the result of a study by the NCTQ that examines programs’ admission standards, subject-area preparation, requirements for courses on instructional methods, guidance on how to manage a classroom, and whether programs provide and ensure the high quality of practice opportunities.

Maryville College scored especially high in the areas of admissions standards and secondary content in the sciences and social sciences.

The 2017 ranking is Maryville College’s third from the NCTQ. In 2015, the College’s mathematics with teacher certification program stood out for earning an “A” on the NCTQ’s “high school content standard.” In 2014, the council recognized both the College’s mathematics with teacher certification and child development and learning with teacher certification programs.

“Since its founding, Maryville College has been committed to preparing creative and effective teachers for schools, and this rating from the NCTQ highlights our success in that nearly 200-year endeavor,” said Dr. Barbara Wells, vice president and dean of the College. “As a school that values undergraduate teaching, we not only have excellent professors in our teacher education program, we have professors across campus – in all disciplines – who model teaching excellence.

“I am thrilled that Maryville College has again received this recognition,” she added.

Dr. Terry Simpson, director of teacher education at Maryville College and professor of secondary education, credited three groups of people with the recognition: his colleagues in the program, the students enrolled and the support of local school administrators.

“The quality of students has been essential to our success. I have worked with some of the most outstanding young men and women on this planet,” he said. “My teacher education faculty have a singular focus in the success of the program. It’s not my program, rather it’s our program. This makes a huge difference.

“The trust that local school administrators have placed in our graduates is amazing,” he added.

The College’s teacher education program benefits from a strong local reputation, which is expanding, Simpson said.

“I have heard this statement from more than one administrator: ‘You can tell the difference in a Maryville College graduate,’” he said. “We are working on an international reputation. We have placed student teachers in Korea, Scotland, Germany and South Korea. Next fall, we will have graduates in China and New Zealand.

“Our goal is to be among the best, and I believe we have reached that point.”

Funded by foundations and private donors, the NCTQ is responsible for the Teacher Prep Review, which “evaluates critical areas of traditional and non-traditional teacher preparation using specific and measurable standards,” according to the group’s website. Its stated mission is “to ensure that every child has equal access to effective teachers.”

Kate Walsh, president of NCTQ, called the preparation of most high school teachers “a big leaky bucket.”

“Much of what we continue to find in all of our ratings work reflects the relative anarchy in the field of teacher preparation, where every institution independently decides what it means to prepare a teacher well, whether or not it is what public schools need or where the evidence points,” she said. “That lack of coherence and a professional governance is without parallel in other fields of professional preparation.

Among NCTQ’s recommendation for teacher preparation programs: Raise their subject content requirements to require a solid education in all the subjects the future teacher will be licensed to teach, even in the broad categories of science and social studies, as well as requiring new teachers to pass licensing tests in every subject they will teach.

“It’s great to see programs like Maryville’s proving that there is a better way,” she added. “Programs in our top 10 percent understand that their most important job is to deliver well prepared teachers to classrooms by paying a lot of attention to the nuts and bolts of what it takes to become effective.”

Compiled by Karen Beaty Eldridge '94, Executive Director for Marketing & Communications

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2018 semester is 1,154.