UA to Offer Accredited Teacher Education Program Through UAF, UAS
ANCHORAGE –The University of Alaska Board of Regents voted 6-5 to provide initial teacher preparation programs in Anchorage through UAF and UAS. Education students will be able to remain in Anchorage to pursue their teaching degrees from accredited and approved programs. The programs would come under the direction of the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the University of Alaska Southeast, both of which offer accredited teacher preparation programs.
The recommendation from the UA President Jim Johnsen was the result of an expedited program review of the UAA teacher preparation programs completed in March. The recommendation did not support UAA’s request to seek reaccreditation of its teacher education programs, which lost accreditation in early January due to uncertainty regarding the the proposed accreditation and approval process. Johnsen stated that his recommendation “is the only way to provide a certain path for our students to licensure as a teacher from an accredited and approved program.
The board voted on Johnsen’s recommendation to discontinue only the initial licensure teacher education programs at UAA as of August 31, 2019 when State Board of Education licensing approval expires; and, it set up accredited teacher education programs in Anchorage – both face-to-face and online – through UAF and UAS.
“This path forward provides access to excellent education programs for students at all levels,” Johnsen said. “In the expedited program review, both UAF and UAS demonstrated the competence, capacity and creativity required to accommodate current and future student demand for all initial licensure programs affected by UAA’s loss of accreditation.”
“Resolving how best to provide this path has been our highest priority and we still have much work to do,” Johnsen said. “As of today, we can tell you that if you plan to seek a degree that leads to initial licensure for becoming a teacher, you can stay in Anchorage at UAA but you’ll need to transfer to either UAF or UAS depending on your program.”
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Johnsen said details will need to be worked out in the coming weeks and there will be a forum on April 12 for UAA students with UAF faculty to explore options and answer question. “Our goal is to give every student an optimal pathway to graduation and licensure in the State of Alaska. I have full confidence in our faculty’s ability to meet those needs,” he said.
The decision does not affect advanced teacher preparation programs.
The board also discussed the university’s FY20 budget and options under various funding scenarios including reductions, increased revenue
generation and restructuring possibilities. The board did not take action on the options proposed, and will meet again as the budget advances through the legislative process.
“Looking forward we have tied our goals to meet the state’s needs and opportunities while at the same time we prepare for the budget we might get, Johnsen said. “But there is huge uncertainty right now making it hard to plan.”
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Few large foundations support “the general good” or social service projects in Alaska, so the Last Frontier has a pretty thin philanthropic layer, according to United Way of Anchorage Vice President Cassandra Stalzer. However, the oil and gas industry has a history of stepping in and filling the gaps in Alaska communities by providing money and volunteers for myriad charitable efforts in the state.