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State board suspends UMD college of education

The Minnesota Board of Teaching on Friday suspended the ability of a University of Minnesota Duluth college to offer teacher preparation.

The College of Education and Human Service Professions — with the exception of its approved special-education programs — has been given a probationary status through April 10, 2016, while it undergoes review. That means it can continue to offer current programs, but it can't enroll new students. UMD informed students Monday night via an email from Andrea Schokker, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs.

The board in March disapproved all of the college’s secondary education programs, after the discovery that UMD had submitted inaccurate information about them.

In January, two dozen students learned they wouldn’t be able to obtain a regular teaching license because UMD failed to document changes to their program in 2012, making the program nonexistent. Those who had job offers could apply for temporary licenses.

On Friday, the board also disapproved UMD’s early-childhood special-education program — for the same reason as the secondary programs — and gave UMD a variance to allow the December graduates of the dual-licensure elementary and special-education program to obtain their teaching licenses.

UMD also will seek a variance for that program’s May graduates, along with secondary and early-childhood education students.

All of the students enrolled in those programs would be able to apply for a regular license under the variance.

UMD expects few students will be turned away from its education courses during the review process, which is needed to reapprove the programs.

Schokker wrote that entering freshmen and students in their first couple of years of study “are not expected to be impacted by any of the actions taken to date by the Board of Teaching.”

She said the college is working to submit the programs for approval, noting she has set an internal deadline for an Aug. 1 submission to the board.

Classes will take place as usual during the probationary period.

Students have expressed worry that their job prospects will be affected by the employee mistakes, and UMD officials have said they are concerned about losing potential students. UMD maintains that the problem is not with the curriculum, but with recordkeeping.  

Schokker and officials from the Board of Teaching couldn’t be reached Monday night.

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