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Shepherd tries to reclaim accreditation

November 28, 1997

By CLYDE FORD

Staff Writer, Charles Town

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Shepherd College officials hope the school has met 600 pages of requirements so that national accreditation can be restored to the school's education program.

A team of inspectors from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education toured Shepherd College last week and met with college officials.

Shepherd College spokeswoman Valerie Owens said college officials will not know until March whether the group has restored Shepherd College's national accreditation.

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Shepherd College lost national accreditation in 1995 because of a lack of minority teachers and a scarcity of minority students in Shepherd's education department.

National accreditation is not necessary for graduates to receive teaching jobs, but it does show that the college has met high standards, thus implying that students were well-educated, said Mark Stern, Shepherd's vice president for academic affairs.

Having national accreditation restored has been a goal at Shepherd, he said.

Shepherd, which started as a teacher's college, historically has had a strong program for educating future teachers, Stern said. About 600 students are enrolled in the education program at Shepherd, he said.

Stern said that Shepherd was in the midst of starting programs to correct the problems when the national council sent inspectors to review its accreditation.

The school was criticized for not having recruited enough minority teachers and students, but the fact that the percentage of minorities in the Eastern Panhandle is about 4 percent was not taken into account, Stern said.

Shepherd has been actively recruiting to increase the diversity of the student population by placing advertisements in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., Stern said.

Shepherd has about 4,000 students, about 6.3 percent of whom are minority students, Stern said.

The college has 11 minority members on the faculty - about 9 percent of the teaching staff - he said.

Stern said the review team met with college officials before leaving last week and spoke favorably of the education programs.

Officials from the national council could not be reached for comment.

Stern said that a preliminary draft of the team's report will be sent to college officials for review and comment before the final decision is made in March.

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