CAEP Q&A With Mary Brabeck (Video)

When Mary Brabeck, dean of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University, agreed to grant me a recorded in-person interview (see link below) regarding her new role as board chair of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), I was thrilled.

It is fair to say that I have a long-standing relationship with Mary Brabeck. In 2005, Dean Brabeck chaired the Board of AACTE when I was selected to be the president and chief executive officer.

As I think back to that time, I recall the points of concern that had divided our professional community over the competing accrediting agencies, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education(NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). Dean Brabeck and the AACTE search committee heard me express my deeply held conviction that we must unify the professional community in order to articulate one set of professional standards, and that we must come together to help each other reach those standards. But, at that time, it seemed that educator preparation providers supported different definitions of accreditation, with different views on what the standards should be and on how programs should be reviewed.

In truth, during the early days of my tenure in this position, we spent as much time policing the politics of competing accrediting agencies as we did on our professional obligations to our members. We gradually saw the tide turn as we pursued our vision for unification, and members rallied behind redirecting the energy and discourse toward articulating and operationalizing accreditation standards with validity, reliability, and integrity. Now, after years of careful deliberation and the hard work of building professional consensus, we have a unified accrediting agency, CAEP, with new, rigorous standards resulting from intense debate and ongoing engagement with education stakeholders.

At this stage in CAEP’s development, members of AACTE have several questions on the top of their mind, which I brought to Dean Brabeck in our interview. (And based on my interview with her, it is clear to me that she continues to serve the professional community and CAEP well through her leadership as board chair.) We discussed issues such as these:

  • How do we ensure that all types of institutions are represented in CAEP’s governance structure and deliberations?
  • How do we determine quality evidence of continuous improvement and impact for educator preparation programs?
  • What is the role of accreditation regarding accountability and continuous improvement for educator preparation programs?
  • What outcome measures are valid and reliable for high-stakes decision making in the program evaluation process?
  • As a CAEP member, what role should AACTE play in service to our members?

Dean Brabeck and I will continue to dialogue as we identify and work to address the next set of challenging questions that our profession will inevitably encounter as it advances. Please join me at the AACTE Town Hall Meeting in Indianapolis as we extend the discussion on these pressing matters and address other professional issues on Sunday, March 2, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Here is my interview with Dean Brabeck:

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Sharon Robinson

President and CEO, AACTE