Aug. 21, 2018


College of Education building on the MSUB university campus


MSU Billings recognized for national excellence in educator prep

College of Education receives national accreditation through CAEP



University Communications and Marketing, 657-2266


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — The College of Education at Montana State University Billings recently received confirmation of full accreditation through the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). The college was recognized as part of the fall 2017 accreditation class. This full accreditation is secure until December of 2024.


CAEP is the sole nationally recognized accrediting body for educator preparation. Accreditation is a nongovernmental activity based on peer review that serves the dual functions of assuring quality and promoting improvement. CAEP was created by the consolidation of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). It is a unified accreditation system intent on raising the performance of all institutions focused on educator preparation. Currently, more than 800 educator preparation providers participate in the CAEP accreditation system, including many previously accredited through former standards.


“These institutions meet high standards so that their students receive an education that prepares them to succeed in a diverse range of classrooms after they graduate,” said CAEP President Dr. Christopher A. Koch. “Seeking CAEP Accreditation is a significant commitment on the part of an educator preparation provider.”


Educator preparation providers seeking accreditation must pass peer review on five standards, which are based on two principles:

  1. Solid evidence that the provider’s graduates are competent and caring educators, and
  2. Solid evidence that the provider’s educator staff have the capacity to create a culture of evidence and use it to maintain and enhance the quality of the professional programs they offer.

If a program fails to meet one of the five standards, it is placed on probation for two years. Probation may be lifted after the two-year probationary period if the program provides evidence that it meets the standards for accreditation.


The College of Education at MSU Billings has held accreditation since the 1970s through NCATE, but the university believes that the programs offered through the College of Education have held accreditation since the 1950s. The college attracts students from northern Wyoming and throughout Montana while the graduate programs in the college appeal to students nationally and internationally due to their online presence.


original education building at MSUB
Long known for its strong teacher prep program, the university, first known as Eastern Montana State Normal School, has been offering programs for educators since its founding in 1927. Initially, the Normal School was authorized to offer a two-year certificate for elementary teachers. One hundred forty-nine students were enrolled (140 women and nine men). In 1949, the school name changed to Eastern Montana College of Education. Outside of the bachelor’s degrees offered soon after the school’s establishment, MSU Billings also offered master’s degrees in education beginning in the 1950s. The first Master’s Degree in Elementary Education was conferred on June 1, 1956, to Chester A. Jensen.


While the name has since changed from Eastern Montana College of Education to Eastern Montana College and then to MSU Billings, the success of the College of Education can still be seen through the accreditation of CAEP and the achievements of the students enrolled.


MSU Billings was at the end of early adopters of CAEP.  The college regularly sends representatives to attend CAEP conferences in order to maintain currency with evolving standards.  Accreditation is a continual self-assessment process that continues throughout the years between official review visits.


The College of Education currently offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Two hundred sixty-three undergraduate students and 240 graduate students were enrolled in the college during the fall semester of 2017. 


MSU Billings is one of 101 providers accredited through CAEP. This spring, it was announced that 46 additional providers had met the requirements for accreditation. Overall, 147 preparation providers from 36 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have received CAEP Accreditation.


“It is a credit to our faculty, strength of programs, and those in the professional community who work with us (such as schools and other places we depend on for field experience),” said Dr. Mary Susan Fishbaugh, dean of the College of Education. “We have to have faculty who know what they are doing and partners who can help us in order to provide excellent preparation for future educators.”


For more information, contact Dr. Mary Susan Fishbaugh, Dean of the College of Education, at 406-657-2286 or