UAF is First University to Earn QM ‘Exemplary’ Status
Quality Matters (QM), which promotes high-caliber online education, designated UAF’s online special education and teaching program as “exemplary.” UAF is the first university to earn that status from QM in any field.
Exemplary programs are those that earn QM certifications in four areas within three years. UAF’s special education and teaching program earned its fourth certification—in online learner success—in June. It previously was recognized for program design, teaching support and learner support.
“I completed a master’s degree in special education completely online through UAF while I was teaching full-time,” said Kristy Robbins, principal and teacher at Eagle Community School in eastern Alaska. “The quality of the program was first-rate all the way. While the coursework was often challenging, I always felt supported. The flexibility of the teaching staff and their understanding of my unique situation made my experience very personal.”
QM’s exemplary program distinction confirms that UAF provides the key parts of a high-quality online program where students learn what they need.
“Our goal is for every online student to maximize their achievement and obtain the tools and knowledge needed for success in today’s world. Having key program components in place assists them in doing that,” said Anupma Prakash, UAF provost and executive vice chancellor. “And attaining Quality Matters exemplary program status reinforces to stakeholders—including students and parents—that we have those components in place and are committed to providing the highest quality online education and services for our learners.”
QM’s rigorous review process examines the components that students need to succeed in online learning, from aligned measurable course objectives to student and faculty support in learning and teaching online. The criteria are based on research-supported evidence, as well as knowledge gained from reviewing several thousand courses, from hundreds of institutions, over more than a decade. QM also reviews external comparisons and benchmarks to determine if program participants succeed at a high rate.
“Earning Quality Matters exemplary program status is an outstanding achievement that should be commended,” said Deb Adair, QM’s executive director. “In today’s competitive online learning landscape, it serves as a differentiator and highlights University of Alaska Fairbanks’ resolve to set students up for success—now and in the future.”
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Spreading the Word
When Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) first aired TV commercials featuring the tagline, “A Place That’s Always Been,” the reaction was surprising. Not only because they received numerous accolades and marketing awards for the campaign but because, at the time, it was rare for Alaska Native corporations to market themselves through the media.