UAA education program axed by board of regents - Must Read Alaska
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Wednesday, October 23, 2019
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UAA education program axed by board of regents

In a 6-5 vote, the University of Alaska Board of Regents discontinued seven teacher development programs at University of Alaska Anchorage, effective Sept. 1.

The programs had lost their national accreditation in January.

University President Jim Johnsen, facing budget cuts that could be substantial from the Legislature or by the governor’s veto pen, proposed discontinuing the teaching programs rather than trying to rehabilitate them and reapply for accreditation.

Regents voting to discontinue the programs were Board of Regents Chairman John Davies, Gloria O’Neill, Karen Perdue, Mary Hughes, John Bania, and Stephen Sweet. Darrol Hargraves, Lisa Parker, Andy Teuber, Sheri Buretta, and Dale Anderson voted to save the following programs, which are currently without accreditation:

Bachelor of Arts, Elementary Education
Post‐Baccalaureate, Elementary Education
Master of Arts in Teaching, Secondary Education
Bachelor of Arts, Early Childhood Education
Post‐Baccalaureate, Early Childhood Education
Graduate Certificate, Special Education (initial licensure)
M.Ed, Early Childhood Special Education (initial licensure)

UAA has had the largest education program in the state, with more than 250 students currently enrolled. Some of the students may be transitioned to other campuses, either Fairbanks or Juneau, to complete their degrees.

[Read: University Prez: Time to close UAA teacher programs]

In January, UAA Chancellor Cathy Sandeen wrote to the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation: “I wish to assure you, the Council and all of our stakeholders that we are rapidly taking steps to address areas noted by the Accreditation Council for improvement and stipulations. While our first concern must be –and is –to address the needs of our current students, I also want to bring to your attention the major steps we are taking to address deficiencies and to fully prepare these programs to regain accreditation at the earliest opportunity.”

But the university would not be able to even reapply for accreditation for another year, and meanwhile, students in the program would be studying without assurances that their degrees would be useful.

To date, no University of Alaska college administrator has lost his or her job over the debacle. Three administrators who were on payroll at the time of the accreditation review have been replaced.

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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

  • Good, now it’s time to fire those who cause the lost accreditation. After that they need to looking at doing this in all departments, where there is duplication in the UA system it needs to be removed. Time to cut the budget.

  • How did these programs lose accreditation?

  • At UA we don’t fire the responsible President: we give him a yearly performance bonus

  • As the subsidy to the UA is decreased – and it will happen either rapidly or slowly over time – the vast majority of the cuts will fall on UAA. Fairbanks and the UAF have never accepted the establishment of UAA; this is the opportunity to cut it down to size. Fairbanks has long recognized the centrality of the UA to Fairbanks and quietly but passionately maintains majority support on the UA Board of Regents. This majority will tolerate the UAS as a minor alternative and a play-thing for political types in Juneau. The UAA, on the other hand, is an impediment to the full build-out of UAF. UAA will be sliced-and-diced, as necessary, to feed and protect the queen bee in Fairbanks.

    • So true. In the past the chances that your first two years of a 4 year degree classes you took at UAA would not be recognized when you transferred to UAF to finish was high, requiring them to be retaken, meaning the students have to pay even more into the coffers.

  • Now let’s get rid of the Men’s Studies Program. Useless!

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