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The Caldwell University School of Education has been awarded  the 2021 Frank Murray Award from the professional accreditor, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) for its leadership and commitment to continuous improvement.  

Caldwell is one of 26 providers from 17 states and the United Arab Emirates to receive the honor.  The University and the other recipients provided evidence and data trends to achieve accreditation with no stipulations or areas for improvement. 

Kevin Barnes, Ed.D., associate dean of the School of Education, said he is  thrilled with the recognition but even more so with what the faculty do everyday in supporting Caldwell’s students on their journeys to become outstanding educators. “We deeply appreciate the professional efforts by each member of The School of Education faculty, not just on the basis of this recognition by CAEP, but also on the basis for what each professor does within the confines of their classrooms, and their offices, as they prepare future teachers and school administrators to best serve their communities.” 

Barnes detailed how his department prepared for the on-campus review by CAEP of the quality of Caldwell’s teacher preparation programs–at a time when the world was upended by COVID-19.  “Extensive and detailed arrangements were made for five CAEP representatives from multiple universities to conduct the April 2020 on-campus visit, only to have COVID change those plans to a series of sixteen virtual meetings, attended by 68 different Caldwell University students, alumni, professors, administrators, local school administrators,  and clinical teachers, and supervisors,” said Barnes.    

 “The results,” said Barnes, spearheaded by Education faculty members Dr. Edith Ries and Dr. Brian Bulger (now retired), “speak to the efforts by each member of The School of Education faculty.”     

Accreditation remains effective for seven years. The accreditation process is continuous, and is reflective of all teacher preparation activities undertaken by the institution since the prior accreditation visit in 2013.  

Education students at Caldwell University graduate with a bachelor’s degree that reflects two majors, a content major (English, Math, Science, Social Studies, or World Language), and an education major in either elementary or secondary teaching. 

The School also suggests that each education student earn a Teacher of the Student with Disabilities.  Certification during their course of study. At the graduate level, students may earn a master’s degree in Literacy Instruction, Education Administration, Curriculum and Instruction, Special Education or Higher Education.  

Certifications may be earned as reading specialist, learning disabilities teacher-consultant, school administrator, school principal, school supervisor, teacher of English as a second language, special education teacher, and post-baccalaureate teacher certification.   


The Frank Murray Leadership Recognition for Continuous Improvement is named after the founding President of the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). CAEP was created by the consolidation of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and TEAC. Murray was the founding President of TEAC, served as Chairman of the Board for TEAC and was also an initial member of the CAEP Board of Directors. He was a key advocate for a single set of teacher preparation standards to unify the profession and was instrumental in the merger that created CAEP. He also served as the Dean of the College of Education at the University of Delaware from 1979 to 1995.

 “Frank Murray was passionate about education preparation, a prominent leader in our profession, and an advocate for evidence to improve education. The providers that CAEP is recognizing are committed to continuous improvement and preparing their students to succeed in a diverse range of classrooms after they graduate,” said Karen Symms Gallagher, chair of the CAEP Board of Directors. “CAEP Accreditation is a sign of commitment to quality through purposeful use of evidence. The Murray Leadership Recognition recipients should be proud of their accomplishments.”

Recipients of the 2021 Frank Murray Leadership Recognition for Continuous Improvement are selected from the educator preparation providers (EPPs) that were granted accreditation by CAEP at the initial level from the previous year, who provided a full complement of evidence with demonstrated data trends and no plans. Recipients had no stipulations or areas for improvement. Providers selected for recognition advance equity and excellence in educator preparation through purposeful use of self-study procedures and evidence-based reporting that assure quality and support continuous improvement to strengthen P-12 learning. These EPPs have a mission driving their continuous improvement inquiry, use assessments that are relevant to the topic being informed and consequential, show the reliability and validity of the evidence provided for accreditation, have quality assurance capacities that inform their knowledge and address questions about relationships in the data.