Published on February 7, 2022 by Leighton Doores  

Samford University’s teacher education program in Orlean Beeson School of Education has been approved for educator pre-service program affiliation by the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC). It is the first undergraduate program in the United States to earn this affiliation.

“Being the first institution approved for affiliation with an association like IMSLEC represents the commitment to excellence that characterizes Orlean Beeson School of Education faculty,” said Orlean Beeson School of Education Dean Anna McEwan. “Each day, they strive to provide future educators with high-quality preparation for today’s classrooms. Our school, programs, pre-service teachers, and most importantly, P-12 students benefit from their dedication.”

IMSLEC accredits quality training courses for the professional preparation of multisensory structured language education specialists. It maintains high professional standards in the preparation of clinicians and teachers of students with dyslexia and related disorders.

Samford’s teacher education programs consistently seek to provide excellent teacher training that is rigorous, evidenced-based and adaptable. The goal is to equip future teachers with the skills they need to reach all of their students.

“When the Alabama legislature passed the Alabama Literacy Act in 2019 to improve the reading proficiency of kindergarten through 3rd grade students in the state, Samford’s teacher education programs were eager to enhance reading courses ensuring their future teachers were prepared to meet this goal,” said Amy Hoaglund, professor and assistant dean of Orlean Beeson School of Education.

A reading task force was convened that included stakeholders from the P-12 community. The task force, led by alumna Lindsay Self, offered suggestions and guidance for the development of curriculum and coursework clearly aligned with The Science of Reading.

Associate professor Tarsha Shepard, along with program faculty, helped lead the charge in redesigning literacy courses across all elementary and special education programs. The redesign of courses ensures that Samford’s teacher candidates receive essential training based on current research on how children learn to read, while pairing the training with structured, authentic practical application in field experiences.

While all teacher preparation programs in Alabama were asked to review reading courses, Samford took the review a step further. Faculty determined that the best way to ensure the coursework and requirements met rigorous standards was to partner with IMSLEC to create a process for teacher preparation affiliation. Prior to Samford’s work with IMSLEC, the organization only accredited graduate programs. Partnering with IMSLEC resulted in Samford earning the distinction as the council’s first affiliate in the nation.

Samford’s teacher education faculty’s efforts paved the way for other teacher preparation programs to seek affiliate status with IMSLEC. This prestigious affiliation raises the bar for teacher preparation programs when teaching The Science of Reading.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.