State commends UHV School of Education & Human Development’s curriculum for teachers

The University of Houston-Victoria School of Education & Human Development learned earlier this week that the state has recognized its teacher curriculum as outstanding and has re-accredited the school’s undergraduate programs.

The Texas Education Agency Division of Educator Standards sent a formal letter to the school on Tuesday after conducting a five-year compliance review at UHV from March 10 to 12. The agency reviews universities and other entities that certify Texas teachers every five years.

Mary Natividad

“The School of Education & Human Development faculty and staff worked very hard to get ready for this review,” said Mary Natividad, the school’s interim dean. “We are extremely pleased with the results and especially the commendation.”

Two TEA representatives spent three days at UHV interviewing 46 advisory board members, faculty, staff, students and area school districts teachers about all areas of the school’s initial teacher certification program, she said. In order to remain accredited, the school had to be in compliance in five areas: commitment and collaboration; admission criteria; curriculum; program delivery and evaluation; and on-going support.

Randy Vivian, president and CEO of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce, is a member of the school’s community advisory board, and spent some time talking to the TEA representatives about the importance the school plays in the region.

“I had a chance to tell them how valuable it is for us to have the ability in this region to produce teachers,” he said. “UHV education students are snatched up as soon as they graduate by school districts in this area. The program is incredibly important for this area.”

The TEA commendation for curriculum was based on the School of Education & Human Development incorporating 17 new rules in the Texas Administrative Code into course syllabi, Natividad said. The state rules, which went into effect in January, require that specific curriculum areas be taught in courses for aspiring teachers. These curriculum areas include teaching gifted and talented students and other special populations, motivating student teachers, and incorporating instructional technology.

The School of Education & Human Development faculty made sure that the new rules were incorporated into course syllabi before the TEA visit, Natividad said. The TEA staff now has requested that the education faculty work on specific strategies that they will use to teach each curriculum area. Once that is completed, the TEA staff is interested in using the information as a “best practices” example to universities across the state.

“I’m just so excited that the state wants to partner with us on our curriculum to make it even better and to hold us up as an example of outstanding work to universities and other certifying groups,” Natividad said.

UHV president Tim Hudson said he was proud of the hard work of the education faculty and staff.

“Our students know that we have a high quality School of Education & Human Development, and this is just further proof to the community that UHV is the place to come if you want to be teacher,” he said.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Paula Cobler