6a.1. How does the unit manage or coordinate the planning, delivery, and operation of all programs at the institution for the preparation of educators?
The University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) and the College of Education (COE) organizational charts illustrate the relationships and relative ranks of the positions within the organization (Std6a.Exh2). Details related to the governance of UAA may be found on the Governance web site. Details related to the governance of COE may be found in the COE Handbook (Std6a.Exh1). Relationships with the community campus sites with regard to teacher preparation are detailed in the College of Education & Community Campus Partnership Guidelines brochure.
The Conceptual Framework is a key document guiding the development of all curriculum and programs. COE’s hallways, which display our core values and pay tribute to our conceptual framework, is but one demonstration of how it is embedded into the College’s work. In addition, the Conceptual Framework is the first document that appears in the COE Handbook, and its cohesive influence extends through the curriculum (in course syllabi and teaching) and beyond. It is consistently referenced and appealed to in meetings, discussions, strategic planning, and interviews for hiring. In addition to this theoretical grounding, COE is organized to provide leadership at multiple levels. The Dean is the head of the College, reports directly to the UAA Provost, and is vested with budgetary, personnel, and curricular authority. The Dean is supported by the Associate Dean of Student and Curriculum Affairs, 3 department chairs (Departments of Teaching and Learning, Educational Leadership, and Counseling and Special Education), the Fiscal Manager, the Data Manager, the Director of Clinical Services and Certification, and the Director of the Alaska Educational Innovations Network (AEIN) who also oversees Professional and Continuing Education (PACE). These individuals form the Leadership Team. The scope of their duties includes review and oversight of all matters relating to governance of the College including conducting on-going monitoring and review of scheduling, budgeting, enrollments, personnel, and all other matters related to the operation of the College; serving as a conduit between central administration and departments; and using feedback from departments, College committees, central administration, and advisory boards to shape the College’s direction (Std6a.Exh3). The Leadership Team includes representatives from across COE programs and services and is well positioned to provide direction with regard to recommendations for new programs, the targeted pursuit of grant monies, the development of distance delivery, and the recruitment of candidates. It is also concerned with coordination efforts that include various colleges, departments, and service units across campus and at community campuses, as well as stakeholders off campus, including the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development and the sites that host our candidates in field experiences. Inclusive entities, such as the Teacher Education Council, the College Advisory Board, and the Professional Education Faculty bring further cohesion to the unit.
Department chairs are supported by an administrative assistant. Within departments, some programs, in consideration of size, resources, and/or need, have faculty serving as program coordinators charged with the responsibility of facilitating and planning program meetings, coordinating schedules of classes, tracking the program assessment plan, coordinating curriculum planning/revision, and addressing issues that impact candidate advising.
Regarding curriculum, COE has procedures that integrate seamlessly with those established by UAA. The COE Course and Curriculum Committee is responsible for conducting a constructive review of courses, curriculum, and related policies. Any curriculum, admission and exit requirements, or other information provided to candidates in the UAA catalog or course schedules must be reviewed through the Course and Curriculum Committee prior to being sent to the next level for review. The Committee’s meeting schedule is coordinated with University-level review committees to facilitate the process as efficiently as possible. In brief, approval of revised and new curriculum, or other catalog changes, either at the course or program level, is accomplished by a system of review that proceeds through a sequence of faculty committees and administrative reviews beginning at the program level and extending through the Office of Academic Affairs and, in the case of new degrees, through the UA Board of Regents. The COE Course and Curriculum Resources web page is an invaluable resource that brings together materials from both UAA and the College. The rigorous and time-consuming process results in a highly coordinated effort and programs that address need and best practices and that meet high standards of cohesion. The fact that so many COE programs achieved national recognition attests to the effectiveness of the process.
6a.2. What are the unit's recruiting and admissions policies? How does the unit ensure that they are clearly and consistently described in publications and catalogues?
Admission practices and policies in COE are guided by UAA policy (Std6a.Exh5). Any changes to program admissions policies must be reviewed through the UAA curriculum process. This process ensures that changes are clear and receive consistent description in the catalog. The Office of Academic Affairs, under the leadership of the Provost and in conjunction with reviews by the deans or designees, authorizes the publication of the official catalog. Admission policies are published in three forms: the UAA catalog, the COE web site, and various recruitment and advising print materials produced by departments. While specific admission criteria vary across programs, initial programs share some common criteria include GPAs and scores on required exams, and advanced programs share some common criteria, including GPAs, demonstration of appropriate experience, and recommendations attesting to professional experience and dispositions. Program publications and recruitment materials are reviewed by department chairs to ensure that candidates receive consistent and accurate information across these resources.
Similarly, COE’s recruitment practices and policies are guided by UAA’s policy. UAA’s recruitment web page addresses the needs of freshmen; UA Scholars; and transfer, graduate, and international students. COE’s Recruitment and Retention Coordinator works closely with UAA Enrollment Management and provides COE with a visible presence at events held at UAA, locally, and around the state. Most recruitment efforts for initial programs are facilitated by Enrollment Management and coordinated by the COE coordinator, while most efforts for advanced programs are facilitated by the Graduate School and coordinated at the COE department level.
6a.3. How does the unit ensure that its academic calendars, catalogues, publications, grading policies, and advertising are accurate and current?
Standard 6A Exhibit 6 includes documents related to academics and unit advertising. The Dean, in collaboration with the COE Course and Curriculum Committee, department chairs, and Associate Dean, is responsible for ensuring academic calendars, catalogs, and grading policies are accurate and current. Members of the faculty, across colleges and units, are required to adhere to the University calendar in their course syllabi and to provide candidates with explicit information on the course grading practices that are in compliance with the UAA grading policy as specified in the catalog. Catalogs are available on-line and in print form and are used for advising purposes. The Associate Dean is charged with the task of reviewing catalog copy each year before the catalog goes to print, and coordinates this review with the department chairs. The Associate Dean is also responsible for coordinating all catalog changes and revisions and reviews all requests for catalog changes prior to those requests leaving the College. Any discrepancies, errors, or misprints are noted and corrected in the next edition.
Advertising is coordinated by the Dean’s office. Any brochures or recruitment materials developed by programs must be reviewed by that office and are generally developed with the assistance of the UAA Advancement Office. Department chairs and program coordinators are responsible for maintaining the accuracy of web pages and printed information, such as handbooks and advising materials.
6a.4. How does the unit ensure that candidates have access to student services such as advising and counseling?
In accordance with UAA Collective Bargaining Agreements, faculty members’ professional responsibilities include maintaining office hours and providing student advisement. The assignment of faculty advisors is a formal process managed by the department chairs. Candidates are provided with the name of their faculty advisor in writing and urged to make advising appointments. Additionally, 4 staff positions provide invaluable and extensive services to candidates: the Student Information Specialist for all COE programs, the Academic Success Coordinator for initial programs, the Recruitment and Retention Coordinator for initial programs, and the MAT Program Coordinator. The 4 incumbents have hundreds of encounters with candidates each year, and candidates have expressed appreciation for their services. In addition, a part-time faculty member advises all initial special education candidates and teaches some of the prerequisite course work for the program. For advanced programs, program faculty serve as the major advisement resource for candidates, while the Graduate School provides additional resources as it relates to registration, graduation, and theses. The COE Office of Clinical Services and Certification also plays a key role in working with candidates who are participating in field and clinical experiences and who are submitting applications for institutional recommendations for licensure.
COE advising efforts are one small part of the services available at UAA (Std6a.Exh4). Candidates are also encouraged, when appropriate, to take advantage of various campus resources, including the Advising and Testing Center, the Student Health and Counseling Center, the Learning Resources Center, Disability Support Services, and the Graduate School, to name a few. Aggregate data from candidate exit surveys across programs in the College demonstrate that candidates are generally satisfied with the level and quality of services provided.
6a.5. Which members of the professional community participate in program design, implementation, and evaluation? In what ways do they participate?
COE recognizes that excellent educator preparation can be accomplished only in conjunction with P-12 school district partners and other stakeholders and has established both formal structures and informal practices to maximize discussion and invite participation. The two formal structures for eliciting participation include the Teacher Education Council (TEC) and the College Advisory Board (CAB). TEC is an advisory council that reviews and recommends policy, programs, curricular, and programmatic assessment matters related to COE. It is composed of COE leadership, College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and Community and Technical College (CTC) faculty, a candidate, and a public school representative. CAB is composed of members representing the university, P-12 schools, and other community partners. It meets quarterly and informs COE of educational needs in the community and state, serves as a sounding board on curricular and programmatic issues, and provides feedback on the College’s image.
Members of the professional community who participate in program design, implementation, and evaluation include:
- mentor teachers through mentor workdays for initial programs,
- community campus education faculty through Teaching and Learning program/department meetings,
- College of Arts and Sciences faculty and Community and Technical College faculty through participation in program meetings, ad hoc committees, and/or advisory councils,
- school district leadership who host educational leadership cohort groups,
- clinical faculty and adjunct instructors who provide feedback on curriculum,
- stakeholders who participate in advisory board meetings and other periodic stakeholder meetings,
- Alaska Department of Education and Early Development through policies and regulations that impact programs,
- Alaska Board of Education and Early Development through feedback on licensure programs prior to Board approval, and
- alumni and their employers through feedback on surveys.
6a.6. How does the unit facilitate collaboration with other academic units involved in the preparation of professional educators?
COE also recognizes that excellent teacher preparation occurs in conjunction with the faculty of CAS and CTC, which provide content preparation for initial candidates. Consequently, COE is committed to an ongoing, dynamic partnership with these entities. For example, CAS faculty and administration’s commitment to the content preparation of Elementary and Early Childhood Education candidates is extraordinary. CAS created and offers liberal studies courses designed specifically with education candidates in mind. CTC offers excellent content preparation for physical education teachers, and CAS offers excellent preparation in such content areas as music, mathematics, science, and English. Ad hoc committees, composed of COE and CAS faculties, are formed as needed to discuss initial program revision and the effectiveness of the academic preparation for candidates.
Formally, the Professional Education Faculty (PEF) includes those “individuals who teach Education courses, provide services to candidates, supervise clinical experiences, and administer the Unit. It serves as the representative body of the Unit across the University.” This caucus reviews, supports, and operationalizes the conceptual framework of COE at UAA. It meets at least once a year and comprises COE faculty, including community campus education faculty, as well as faculty in CAS and CTC who teach Education courses required for initial programs. Additionally, TEC, another formal structure, includes representation from other units on campus that have the responsibility for providing content coursework to COE candidates.