The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) is an independent, non-profit membership organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as the regional authority on educational quality and institutional effectiveness of higher education institutions in the seven-state Northwest region of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. Salish Kootenai College is accredited by NWCCU to offer the degree programs listed in its catalog.
Salish Kootenai College has been involved in teacher preparation for many years. In the late 1980s, SKC began offering coursework toward credentials in Early Childhood Education. In the mid 1990s, SKC embarked on a partnership with the University of Montana Western (then Western Montana College) to create a “2 plus 2” program, wherein students would complete their bachelors degree from UMW in Elementary Education. In 2007, SKC’s Education Department was approved by NWCCU and the State of Montana to offer its own independent elementary education degree program… the ninth elementary education teacher preparation program in Montana, and the first new program in the state in decades. It is also the only tribal college in Montana to offer a bachelors degree in education.
SKC’s Division of Education Teacher preparation programs are fully accredited by the Montana Board of Public Education and approved by the MT Office of Public Instruction.
SKC’s Division of Education relies on a number of measures to assess and evaluate both its students and its program. Students maintain “Teacher Education Program (TEP) Portfolios” which serve as archives of their educational progress. Students are assessed in three stages that span throughout their academic career. Student Portfolios are organized around ten program outcomes. These outcomes are aligned with the ten principles of the Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC).
Assessment of students within courses is addressed in many diverse ways, including (but not limited to) projects, presentations, research papers, portfolio assessments, group work, and many other traditional and alternative assessment strategies.
The SKC DOE uses the data from Portfolio assessments along with other sources of information to establish assessment reports that detail its overall impact on education at the state and regional levels. A current Academic Program Review was presented to SKC’s Board of Directors in summer 2013. This document summarizes much of the data relevant to the DOE’s programs and is available to view here (requires MS Word):