SEHS receives accreditation for continuous improvement


Maggie Willard

Dean of OU SEHS, Jon Margerum-Leys.

The School of Education and Human Services (SEHS) at Oakland University is one of 26 educator preparation providers (EPPs) from 17 states and the United Arab Emirates to receive 2021 Frank Murray Leadership Recognition for Continuous Improvement.

According to the Council for the Accreditation for Educator Preparation (CAEP), the Frank Murray Leadership Recognition for Continuous Improvement recognizes (EPPs) that demonstrate advanced equity and excellence in educator preparation assuring the quality of continuous improvement of P-12 education.

The accreditation process includes annual reporting, self-study process, formative review and visit. Through this thorough review process, each provider is evaluated based on the completeness, quality and strength of evidence for each standard.

Dating back to December in 2020, OU’s SEHS received a perfect score on the accreditation report from the CAEP by receiving the highest rating for all standards including content and pedagogical knowledge, clinical practice, candidate recruitment and support, program impact, quality assurance system and continuous improvement and administrative capacity.

“We don’t do anything because of accreditation,” Jon Margerum-Leys, dean of OU’s SEHS, said. “This is a recognition by other professionals that we are doing the right things. We do it because what we are doing is the right thing.”

According to Margerum-Leys, OU’s SEHS is one of the first few university programs in the country to conduct virtual visits

He also shared some positive points made by CAEP during their visit to OU. One of them is the relationship the SEHS has with local public schools primarily in Avondale, Pontiac, Chippewa Valley and Hazel Park.

“I think what impresses the accreditors the most is the relationships we have with other [local community] schools,” Margerum-Leys said. “For instance, all of the classes about how to teach kids how to read are embedded in elementary schools. So, if you’re taking one of those classes, you’re not just hearing about it here in Pawley Hall, but you’re in other schools and can watch what happens as it happens.”

Another important key feature that the SEHS impressed the accreditors with was its system where the school analyzes data and applies them in decision making for improvement.

Despite some of these positive features, Margerum-Leys said one of the most concerning problems is that the students’ pass rate of the first attempt on the teacher performance assessment reported by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) – which, according to Margerum-Leys is commonly known to have anti-teacher education perspectives – is only at around high 30% to low 40%. While the eventual pass rate is similar to that of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, he said the numbers could be higher.

“These numbers do not look good,” he said. “But we’d like that to be better.”

To improve these rates, the SEHS has redesigned a new teacher preparation program this fall. With the redesign, he hopes to enhance development of the following:

1) curriculum programs

2) clinical experiences related to classes

3) more scholarship opportunities

4) social justice

Lastly, he shared a piece of advice for any students interested in becoming a part of the program.

“You’ll be spending almost a quarter of your life here,” he said. “You have the opportunity to change your life. What we’re trying to do is to set up and be purposeful about ways in which you have the opportunity to achieve your dreams in ways that matter along the four lines. We believe in this place.”

With a variety of curriculums and clinical experiences as well as with the hope for improvement on statistical outcomes especially on the teacher performance assessment, OU’s SEHS continues to support its students with their career paths.