Chancellor Sandeen responds to 9/26 NWCCU letter

by Cathy Sandeen, UAA Chancellor  |   

Update - Sept. 30, 2019: Watch the latest Just the Facts video for answers to questions about the 9/26 NWCCU letter.

Dear UAA Community, Alumni, Friends and Supporters,

By now most of you are likely aware of governance concerns raised by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), our regional accreditor, in a letter dated Sept. 26, 2019. This was shared systemwide yesterday coupled with a response provided by the University of Alaska statewide office. The information was also shared last night by local media.

It is critical to understand the letter sent by NWCCU raised no concerns about the quality of academic or research programs at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

UAA's accreditation was reaffirmed by NWCCU in January 2019, marking 45 years of continuous institutional accreditation. This reaffirmation process involved an exhaustive review of every facet of the university, establishing UAA has met rigorous standards of quality, effectiveness and sustainability while meeting its mission to serve the needs of the state of Alaska. In addition, UAA also received four commendations, two of which were focused on inclusivity and a third on community engagement.

The letter from NWCCU focuses specifically on accreditation standards related to governance of the University of Alaska system. Specifically, it identifies concerns about the appropriate division of authority and responsibility between the statewide office and UAA, UAF and UAS as separately accredited universities. Another NWCCU concern focuses on the need to demonstrate shared governance and inclusive processes in critical decisions such as restructuring that affect the university and its service to students.

NWCCU has asked for a response from the chancellors-either individually or collectively-by Oct. 31, 2019. I assure you, to the best of my ability, I will work diligently on this response to ensure UAA is in compliance with all NWCCU governance standards.

As always, I want to hear your questions, concerns or ideas. You can email me at

As always thank you,
Cathy Sandeen
UAA Chancellor

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