UAA Teacher Education Students Must Transfer
By MELISSA SCRIVEN
Staff Writer, UAS Whalesong
The University of Alaska Anchorage will not seek re-accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.
On April 8, the University of Alaska Board of Regents voted 6 to 5 in favor of discontinuing initial teacher preparation programs at UAA. This comes after CAEP in January revoked accreditation of initial licensing programs for the UAA School of Education.
UA President Jim Johnsen sent a message to UAA Education students April 9, stating, “If you plan to seek a degree that leads to initial licensure to become a teacher you will be able to complete your program in Anchorage, but you will need to transfer to a UAF or UAS program.”
Steve Atwater, Executive Dean of the Alaska College of Education, discussed UAS impacts in an interview for the Whalesong.
“Our programs were unaffected by this,” Atwater said. “If you’re inside of a program, there’s really no change as a student.”
The number of UAA students transferring to UAS could lead to the addition of more sections to existing courses, Atwater said.
The majority of programs that will have a physical presence in Anchorage will be facilitated through the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
UAF has been given more programs because the education school has a greater capacity, Atwater said. UAF recently completing CAEP re-accreditation may also be a factor.
UAS will only be offering face-to-face Anchorage courses for the Masters of Arts in Teaching Secondary program.
Atwater said teaching faculty could be hired in Anchorage to meet student needs further down the line. He also said it is likely that a faculty position will be added in Juneau in response to UAA transfers.
“We recognize we’ll need people on the ground. It’s not clear how many we’ll need to hire, because enrollment is just starting to happen,” Atwater said.
CAEP Accreditation Process at UAS
UAS is currently accredited and seeking re-accreditation. A self-study was sent to CAEP for review in February.
Atwater said a reaction to that study, called an informative feedback review, will arrive in late June or early July. UAS will then have 60 days to respond with additions or corrections, called an addendum.
A team from CAEP will visit the UAS campus Nov. 3 through 6. At that point, the university can again possibly introduce new information.
“The process is back and forth and open-ended until that site visit,” Atwater said.
The review team will write a report that is sent to the CAEP board of directors, who make the final accreditation decision. The UAS report goes before the board in March 2020.
“We’re anticipating that we’ll know what’s going on about a year from now, in April 2020,” Atwater said.
Atwater pointed out that not all education programs at UAA were affected by accreditation.
Eight advanced programs will continue to be offered through June 2020, including Educational Leadership Masters of Education and Special Education MEd.
Atwater said the biggest effect of the Board of Regents decision to not seek CAEP re-accreditation was the ability to offer UAA students a certain path to licensing.
Conversation could shift when the state budget is finalized. The budget may have been in the background of the decision but was not the main focus, Atwater said.
“Right now we’re all waiting to see what’s going to happen” in terms of UA funding,” he said. “UAA would need to start from scratch if it were to seek CAEP accreditation in the future.”