School of Education’s English as a Second Language Teacher Education Program receives national recognition

The School of Education’s English as a Second Language teacher education program received national recognition from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, assuring that future graduates from the program will be successful when teaching.

A young ethnic female professor stands at a large whiteboard and writes down Spanish verbs to conjugate. The shot is over the shoulders of several students.The ESL program, within the School of Education, was lauded by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. The School of Education and UAB join 92 other universities in 28 states for this recognition of ESL teacher preparation programs. UAB is the only university in Alabama with this distinction.

“Our ESL program’s national recognition is of great importance to current and prospective graduate students who wish to learn how to effectively teach English learners in their classrooms,” said Susan Spezzini, Ph.D., program director of the ESL teacher education program at UAB. “As teacher candidates in our program, they’ll receive quality preparation, and their prospective employers will hold their skills and knowledge in high regard.”

The ESL Master of Arts in Education degree prepares teachers to effectively teach students who are in the process of learning English in Alabama’s increasingly diverse schools. This degree program, now available online, offers three tracks. In the traditional and alternative tracks, teacher candidates earn a master’s degree and are also eligible for state-issued certification to teach ESL in grades pre-K through 12.

“National recognition establishes a strong reputation for our ESL teacher education program,” said Jennifer Ponder, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. “National recognition is awarded for a program’s evidence-based practices for continuous improvement and offers assurance to all stakeholders in Alabama regarding the quality of our program graduates.”

Shortly after a program receives this honor, faculty begin a new review process. Spezzini calculates that UAB’s ESL teacher education program will be able to receive its next national recognition in 2026 and aims to seek national recognition every seven years.