UA Prez: Time to close UAA teaching programs - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, March 31, 2020
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UA Prez: Time to close UAA teaching programs

In a memo to the University of Alaska Board of Regents, President Jim Johnsen says it’s time to close the University of Alaska Anchorage educator preparation programs that lost their accreditation earlier this year. The regents meet on Monday.

“Based on assessment of the review provided by UAA, input from UAS and UAF, and the opinion of the General Counsel regarding the legal risks associated with seeking accreditation and, specifically, the State Board of Education approval process, at the April 8 Board of Regents Meeting, I will recommend the following changes, drawing upon accredited programmatic resources already in place elsewhere in the statewide system:

 

Read President Johnson’s recommendation to the Board of Regents here:

President Johnsen recommendation final 4-1-19

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • This is an area where cuts can and should be made. If the UA system can still provide an accredited degree using university resources from other locations then this is a no brainer and should be done across the board, not just for the teaching program. Get rid of the incompetent people who allowed this program to lose accreditation, since their jobs are no longer needed at UAA. Time for UA to responsibly use the money that is given to them.

    • I agree. Consolidation makes sense and duplicate programs seem to be a waste of money. Students have so much opportunity now with distance education. Classes could still be offered at the various campuses but have only one program. Professors can travel, teleconference, live feed, podcast etc etc. I found it a bit surprising that there were three separate schools of Ed at the three main campuses and each one has its own administration, structure and credentials. Why? It is all UA. Streamline and consolidate.

      • I agree with both of you. I’ve been saying something to you, Elizabeth. Local economists a couple years back suggested to make each campus diversify and allow them to only keep those degrees they do best. Like UAA should be Engineering and Health. UAF should focus on sciences and possibly education. UAS can take over Fisheries and accounting. Or some variation of those. They also recommended the University employee health care plan should be the same as most other state departments. That would allow employees to receive lower costs and the state would save money. Like you said, streamline and consolidate.

  • Talk about a profile in cowardice. I guess we have come quite a ways from the “we will make this right” declarations of several weeks ago. I wonder what, if any, programs at UAF and UAS will be recommended for termination?

    Or will ALL proposed cuts fall on UAA?

    Me thinks that the Prez should start exploring his career options in the telephone industry, which was where he was working before landing at the UA.

    • You are free to assume the responsibility of providing these services if you wish. (You are also fee to encourage your friends to help you provide those services.)
      But the President of the University is responsible for managing public resources, so I commend him for this recommendation and encourage the Board of Regents to adopt it.

  • I recommend taking a look at the University President’s letter at the link provided.

    The first sentence of the third paragraph of the letter does not make any sense. The words “place committed” are jibberish. Not a good performance by a university president.

    Beyond that, my perception is that much of the proposed action is smoke-and-mirrors, with folks from both UAF and UAS pretending like they are teaching courses offered at those institutions but that actually happen at UAA. Frankly, if I was with an accreditation organization, I would see this for what it is — and it ain’t honest.

  • Johnson is a jerk. The UA system is suffering and needs to be overhauled with the universities being split from each other. Watch the student stampede to other states, Washington, Oregon, Idaho. Johnson has run the whole university into the ground and it will only get worse as long as he is where he is. Time for the Governor to Fire the idiot. The Legislature just approved more for the university than the cuts would show. In other words, no cuts.

    • That is one idea I had not thought about. Although it seems to me it would make more sense to stream line and consolidate programs and not duplicate, yet keep our three main campuses. Many, if not most states have multiple state university campuses. We are a ‘small big’ state and three separate unrelated universities may be too costly.

  • With out getting to far into the weeds, it seems like a well thought, rational solution, given the current situation. From my understanding, UAS and UAF will send teachers to Anchorage to teach the accredited programs to students in Anchorage. And viola! problem solved. The only thing in limbo that I can see are students who took unaccredited UAA classes are left holding the bag, or will UAS/UAS count those classes as credit upon transfer to UAS/UAF?

  • Big steps are clearly necessary. But the data shows spending at UAF of about $32K per student. UAA is just short of $17K. UAS, without a big sports program or campus police force is even less, though relatively expensive for students to access and live off campus. Online courses help, but are not automatically more effective or cheaper without the kind of scale you get at Western Governors University or the other big online universities that invested millions in new digital capabilities over decades. So simply moving programs to UAF may take us in the wrong direction. The UA overhaul that is needed includes the attention to benchmarks Director Barnhill called out in Senate Finance, and must answer the fundamental “why” question without resorting solely to the terms “flagship” and “research.”

  • This is a collective failure. Where is the list of people that are no longer collecting a paycheck from the state?

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