Supporting accreditation efforts to include environmental education in college and university teacher preparation programs 

NAAEE Accreditation formally recognizes high-quality college and university programs that consistently prepare well-qualified environmental educators. The purpose of Accreditation is to provide a third party, standards-based review process that encourages and recognizes excellence in the preparation and professional development of environmental educators. The accreditation process facilitates the in-depth, continual assessment and improvement of environmental education preparation and professional development programs within higher education institutions. Accreditation helps institutions:

Y1 Update

Five college/university programs submitted applications for Accreditation in 2017. An Accreditation Review Team, consisting of current or retired environmental education faculty members, was recruited, trained, and formed. Of the five program applications received, four were accredited:

  • Antioch University New England
  • Colorado College
  • Hamline University
  • The University of Minnesota – Duluth

A one-day workshop for faculty members interested in learning more about how to apply for accreditation was held January 4, 2018 at Eastern Kentucky University. A team of six faculty members from four accredited institutions designed and implemented the workshop. The workshop was designed to help faculty members understand how they can design their environmental education programs to meet accreditation standards.

  • market their programs to students;
  • provide evidence of excellence for employers, funders, and donors;
  • document program impact for university-wide reviews;
  • demonstrate to the public, governing boards, and others that the program is using best practices and preparing well-qualified graduates; and
  • assure alumni and other supporters that the program maintains high standards. 

Accredited institutions provide evidence that their programs are aligned with the Guidelines for the Preparation and Professional Development of Environmental Educators. In addition, they demonstrate through assessment data that their students meet these standards.

In order to ensure that the Accreditation program reaches its potential audiences effectively, UO is drafting a strategic plan on marketing accreditation to college and university faculty and administrators. UO is in the process of working with a consultant to gather research and write a report on recommendations.

Through mentoring, a strategic marketing plan, and a one-day workshop, NAAEE and Dr. Bora Simmons will ensure that preservice faculty members understand how they can design their environmental education programs to meet Accreditation standards.