UAS College of Education on the Horizon

holly-fisher-1BY HOLLY FISHER
Staff Writer, UAS Whalesong

As of March 2017, The College of Education Implementation Plan Steering Committee has begun to hold meetings to decide how to best facilitate the transition from individual Schools of Education into the consolidated College of Education at UAS.

The Committee is chaired by UAS Chancellor Rick Caulfield, and consists of the Provosts from the three UA campuses, as well as two faculty members from each school.

“What the president wants is a plan of how this is going to come about by July 1,” said UAS Provost Dr. Karen Carey, in an interview earlier this month.

“We’re going to have to put together work groups of faculty … to really come up with the curriculum, come up with the courses, … with the student learning outcomes,” Provost Carey said, when asked about the first focus of the Steering Committee.

Staff on each campus who work with the Master of Arts in Teaching program, or specialize in elementary education, special education, etc, will be assigned to design the new curriculum for their area. Members of the library system will also be involved, so that resource allocation for each branch will be properly considered. Focus will also be put on the facilities and resources available to the College, so that student goals can be placed first in the long run. Both a benefit and a goal of this arrangement is that the faculty of each campus will have serious input on the new College programs and offerings.

“…the faculty from the three campuses have an opportunity to… really design the ideal model of what they would like to see a College of Education look like.” said Provost Carey.

This ‘ground up’ design approach has sparked healthy exchange between the three campuses, and is a point of great excitement for the involved staff.

UA President Jim Johnson will also be appointing an External Advisory Committee to assist the Steering Committee. It will be made up of superintendents, principles, and other education specialists who work in schools outside of the University. Their input will help shape the programs and curriculum on a practical, applicable level.

“It’s great that we have faculty very involved, but you want to make sure you have … teachers who are actually out in the schools providing us with input as we move forward, because we want to get this right,” said Provost Carey.

It is hoped that they will be assigned and begin meeting in the next few months.

Once the implementation plan is competed, the Steering Committee’s next priority is the completion of a Substantive Change Form for the Northwest Commission. Without the Commission’s review and approval of the form, the College changes cannot be accredited or implemented.

The Commission meets twice a year, in January and in June. The Steering Committee’s goal is to have the one hundred plus page form to them by January of 2018.

“We’re really hoping we can get approval in January, so that we can begin to offer some programs in the fall of 2018,” said Provost Carey.

Students will begin to see changes, depending on when the form can be submitted, and the process moved past this first phase.

“Once we get approval from the Commission, then we will go about the process of hiring a dean, who will be the dean over the whole University of Alaska College of Education.” said Provost Carey.

Though the UA system is open to all qualified applicants, they are especially interested in the possibility of filling the position with an Alaskan-based educator.

These arrangements have been designed to allow for active conversation between UAS, UAF, and UAA.

The intention is for the interests of the students of all three schools to be evenly addressed, and for a program to be designed to the benefit of everyone in the UA system.

Provost Karen Carey can be reached at

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