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Eastern's teacher preparation programs receive Frank Murray Recognition

Published on October 12, 2022

Eastern's teacher preparation programs receive Frank Murray Recognition

Education Professor Kwangwon Lee leads a discussion with students.

Education Professor Laura Rodriguez leads a discussion with students.

Eastern Connecticut State University’s teacher preparation programs recently received the 2022 “Frank Murray Recognition for Continuous Improvement” by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). The award is presented to colleges and universities that display dedication toward innovation, leadership and educational advancement. Approximately 471 schools achieved CAEP accreditation worldwide, but only 32 programs from 16 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and Jordan were granted the Murray Recognition.  

This is the first time that Eastern has received the Frank Murray Recognition. The commemorative award represents the legacy of Frank Murray, the founding president of the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) and one of the first members of the CAEP Board of Directors.  

“Frank Murray was passionate about education preparation, a prominent leader in our profession, and an advocate for evidence to improve education,” said Yuhang Rong, chair of the CAEP Board of Directors. “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.” 

Sudha Swaminathan
Education Professor Sudha Swaminathan, former CAEP coordinator for Eastern.

During CAEP’s 2021 assessment, Eastern’s teacher preparation programs received zero stipulations or areas for improvement (AFIs) and met the five necessary standards to receive accreditation. CAEP judges a program’s worthiness for accreditation based on the content of its courses; diversity, recruitment and support of its candidates; the effectiveness of clinical experiences; and the use of data to track program improvements. 

“Our programs must be accredited because it is a commitment to the children and their families that the education they are receiving is solid, robust and it’s what they need,” said Sudha Swaminathan, professor of early childhood education and Eastern’s former CAEP coordinator. 

“This award is a better acknowledgement than saying you are the best,” said Swaminathan. “It means that we have recognized and demonstrated that education is a process, and we have a system in place to continuously improve upon our standards. This honor is an acknowledgment of the dynamic improvement that our school has demonstrated in terms of faculty growth, recruitment of diverse candidates and our dedication toward teaching the children,” said Swaminathan. “The persistence in implementing and following these programs is a signature trait of Eastern. It’s also one of our keys to success. We just won’t give up.”

Swaminathan predicts that Eastern will continue to provide well-prepared teachers and innovative educational techniques for students as they await their accreditation reevaluation in 2028. Throughout the next seven years, the program aims to grow its faculty base, form a mutually reciprocal partnership with local school systems and continue to improve digital equity. 

Although Swaminathan was an integral reason for the program’s recent acknowledgements, she has passed her role as CAEP coordinator to Professor Tanya Moorhead. Xing Liu, associate chair for the Education Department, will continue to conduct statistical analyses of data from all assessments as the program’s assessment coordinator. 

“Even though we are still awestruck, we are very aware of the areas we need to continue to work on,” said Swaminathan. “In fact, we have already begun improving on them. We are already on track to receive the award again, so we do not plan on sitting back and relaxing. We want what's best for our students.” 

Written by Jack Jones