UA Board of Regents to hold listening session for students affected by School of Education's loss of accreditation
by Michelle Saport |
Update, 1/24/2019: The University of Alaska's Board of Regents plans to meet with UAA education students on Feb. 12 to hear directly from them about their educational concerns. The meeting is set for Tuesday, Feb. 12, 4-6 p.m. in the UAA Wendy Williamson Auditorium. Read the full story.
Original story, 1/18/2019:
The Board of Regents focused its Jan. 18 meeting to discuss the loss of the University of Alaska Anchorage School of Education accreditation of its School of Education initial licensure programs, the status of the FY20 budget, progress toward greater cost effectiveness, and the impacts of the partial federal government shutdown.
UA President Jim Johnsen apologized to the UAA students enrolled in the affected education program and pledged to do everything possible to support them.
"We dropped the ball on arguably the single most important responsibility we have, which is to provide students with high quality accredited programs," said UA President Jim Johnsen. "I personally apologize to students for this failure and breach of trust and I will support the new team that Chancellor Sandeen has put together as we do everything possible to assist affected students."
Regents questioned the president and chancellor for information on how it happened and what is being done to assist students in the affected programs.
"As a regent, citizen and parent I look at this different ways," said Regent Andy Teuber. "We need to ensure that the steps we take aren't perfunctory and that the actions we take are meaningful to address the needs of these students and their families."
Teuber asked, and the board agreed, to hold a listening session so that students and their families could meet with regents on this issue. A date for that meeting will be set shortly.
Regents also decided the board would reconsider hearing public testimony during its scheduled meetings. The statewide public call in will still be held on Feb. 19.
Johnsen and UAA Chancellor Cathy Sandeen both noted the state Department of Education and Early Development announced Friday that it would accept a recommendation for licensure for graduates of the program this spring and summer and will meet with the university next week to discuss a framework for working out a longer-term solution. In the meantime, university leadership is developing a process for transfer to the accredited education programs at UAF or UAS, as well as addressing other student needs.
In other action, Johnsen briefed the regents on the steps being taken and the planned initiatives toward one of their five strategic goals, cost effectiveness. Strategies being used across the system include automation, technology, reduced facility operating costs, shared resources, expanded program delivery options, optimized faculty workloads, increased enrollment, and diversifying revenue. The presentation highlighted ways in which the campuses are implementing these strategies to reduce expenses and make internal funding available for strategic investment in key growth areas.
"There are things on this list that are achievable but have been plaguing us for many years," said Regent Karen Perdue. "Hopefully with the increased collaboration across the system we can tackle these issues at last. This will only make our institution stronger."