School of Education Achieves National Accreditation from CAEP

November 17, 2023 (Jackson, Miss.) - The Belhaven University School of Education has achieved Accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), marking a significant milestone in the University’s history. This is the first time Belhaven’s School of Education has earned national recognition from a specialized accreditation association. This prestigious recognition was approved at the CAEP Board of Directors semi-annual meeting in October 2023.

"The entire School of Education faculty, the broader Belhaven University community, our stakeholders, and the current teacher educator candidates should take immense pride in this accomplishment,” said Belhaven University President Dr. Roger Parrott.

Vice President of Academics and Provost Dr. Audrey Kelleher also shared, “CAEP accreditation is a testament to our commitment to excellence in educator preparation. This achievement reflects the dedication and hard work of our faculty and staff in providing the highest quality education for our teacher candidates.”

Belhaven University, originally established in 1883, has consistently upheld rigorous standards for the development of teachers. The University remained steadfast in its commitment to providing Mississippi with highly qualified teacher educators. Over its nearly 140-year history, the School of Education has expanded to offer not only a Bachelor's degree in Teacher Education but also the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), a Master's degree in Education (M.ED.), an Education Specialist Degree (ED.S.), and, as of 2017, Belhaven's first doctoral degree, the Doctor of Education (ED.D.) in Educational Leadership.

Dr. David B. Hand, dean of Belhaven University’s School of Education, acknowledged and thanked the commitment of team members, highlighting their dedication to quality, teaching and learning professional skills, their dedication to a Christian worldview, and their desire for ongoing program improvement. He emphasized that Belhaven University's teacher candidates are well-prepared to be effective, caring educators and servant leaders in the educational environment.

In 2020, the CAEP Board of Directors updated educator preparation standards and established a partnership with the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) to evaluate and approve Teacher Educator Provider Programs (TEPP) within the state. Belhaven University's School of Education was an early adopter of the current CAEP accreditation process. The revised CAEP standards emphasize the need for TEPPs to establish a robust quality assurance assessment system to collect data and conduct assessments and evaluations to inform and enhance program quality.                                                      

These standards also highlight a commitment to diversity, partnerships with school districts, and the importance of technology in preparing future educators. Belhaven University emerged from the CAEP review process with a recommendation for full accreditation for all programs leading to initial teacher educator licensure and advanced administrator licensure. Importantly, the final CAEP report for Belhaven University's School of Education found no areas in need of improvement, indicating a clear and clean report. 

Dr. Christopher A. Koch, President of CAEP, emphasized the rigorous standards that institutions must meet to ensure their candidates are thoroughly prepared to excel in diverse classrooms upon graduation. Koch indicated that the pursuit of CAEP represents a substantial commitment by educator preparation providers, underscoring the significance of this recognition for the Belhaven University School of Education.

The CAEP reviewers recognized the positive partnerships and relationships that Belhaven University has cultivated with school administrators and mentor teachers hosting candidates for field and clinical internships. CAEP also noted the strong connection the School of Education had with teachers, administrators, districts, and other stakeholders. The attainment of CAEP accreditation underscores the School of Education's unwavering commitment to high standards in teacher educator preparation.

For more information about Belhaven University's undergraduate and graduate education programs, please visit To learn more about the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, please visit