UMD education programs approved

Some students on the University of Minnesota-Duluth campus feared their education lost value last week after local media reported the state had suspended their college’s licensing.
The school later emailed the students in the College of Education and Human Service Professions that the school had not been suspended by the Minnesota Board of Teaching, and only some of its programs are now under conditional approval. No students’ degrees will be affected by the delay in approval, the announcement clarified.
Board of Teaching Executive Director Erin Doan said every two years, all education facilities are required to report their programs and request continuing approval.
The University contacted the board earlier this year and said it had found errors in its own reporting that it wanted to correct, she said. The board then suspended some of the college’s programs.
“I think at this point [University officials have] already started the process of doing a very thorough program review, and we’ll continue to work with them to make sure we’re reviewing their programs as quickly as possible,” she said. 
But between the media coverage and college’s clarification, many students worried about the value of their degrees.
“There’s quite a bit of hype up here,” UMD student body president Jacob Froelich said. “But I think [the college has] done a pretty good job of clearing the air and making sure everyone knows exactly what’s going on.”
For now, Doan said the board will grant temporary teaching licenses to students who are graduating and will eventually allow the school to recommend those students for full licensure.
She said the board felt those students shouldn’t be held responsible for errors made by the school.
Incoming students also won’t be affected because they don’t enter the licensure portion of the program until later in their academic career.
The college has been granted conditional approval for some of its education programs and will try for full approval next April. 
Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Andrea Schokker said while the school has until 2016 to complete a written report and site review, she set an internal deadline of August 1, 2015
Schokker said the suspension of some of the programs was due to miscommunication between the board and the school when submitting the necessary materials for approval.
To avoid similar situations in the future, she said, the school plans to include more liaisons between the two groups.
Schokker said the original media attention surrounding the issue impacted students and faculty more severely than what actually is happening within the school’s operations.
The situation is more of an internal issue, she said, and students and faculty members won’t be directly affected by the problem.
“Students are undoubtedly being impacted by the stress,” Schokker said, adding that students will still be guaranteed their degrees and licenses once they complete their programs.
Although the situation will have a small impact on students, Froelich said student leaders plan to hold administrators accountable for what happens next. 
“We’re saying, ‘Hey, you set these deadlines, and we’re going to hold you accountable so that these deadlines are met to make sure that what’s being said is being done,’” he said.