BY HOLLY FISHER
Staff Writer, UAS Whalesong
In a follow up to my last article at the end of Fall semester, I am pleased to announce that the University of Alaska Southeast has been allowed to maintain the School of Education (SoE)! And what’s more, the entire multi-branched SoE system will be moved to base out of our Southeast campus. An implementation plan for the newly consolidated College of Education will go into effect no later than July 1, 2017, pending approval by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Just before the winter break began, the University of Alaska Board of Regents made their final vote regarding the ultimate direction for the SoE. Previously, the proposal was to move it to be based at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), with UAS and the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) each maintaining satellite programs run through the headquarter campus. The vote came up as part of the ongoing shift to consolidate and streamline the entire UA system by cutting redundancies and unnecessary elements. While it was easy to see why only one campus needed to maintain the SoE, the original choice of UAF caused outcry due to UAS’ impressive track record with the programs and certificates offered through the SoE. Southeast programs have the most students and graduates per faculty member, including the most Native Alaskans, and the second best student-to-cost ratio. With its record, and the positive impact it has had all throughout the surrounding regions of Alaska, the announcement of the possible move sparked a wave of support for the school, and protests against the relocation.
At the Board of Regents meeting on Dec. 14, UA President Jim Johnson reversed his previous recommendation, and put UAS up as the target campus for the consolidation move. The change was prompted by an outpouring of letters and emails opposed to the removal of the School from UAS, and by the many residents who came to speak in support of UAS at public meetings several days before the vote. The majority of comments did not focus on issues with UAF, but rather with on fact that the SoE has long been a top priority for UAS. With its focus on Native and local students, it is a source of growth and development for the entire state, especially rural areas. UAS’s SoE was supported thoroughly by both the student body and the community of Juneau.
Following the president’s new recommendation, the Regents voted 11-0, placing the UA System’s College of Education unanimously and permanently at UAS Juneau campus.
The Whalesong would like to congratulate all who showed their support and made their voice heard during the decision making process. Because of you, UAS will continue to expand through its dedication to, and expansion of, the University of Alaska College of Education.