School of Education faces restructure

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A single UA school of education, headquartered at UAF, will be proposed by UA President Jim Johnsen at the upcoming Board of Regents meeting this weekend.

The proposal, which was developed as part of Johnsen’s Strategic Pathways cost-saving effort, was announced by Johnsen in an email sent Nov. 4.

“While UAF would become the administrative home for the College of Education, it would build on the programs currently being delivered by UAF, UAA and UAS,” Johnsen wrote in the email. “Classes and programs will continue to be offered on all three campuses by faculty at those locations.”

This proposal is a result of a recent review of the UA’s teacher delivery system as part of Strategic Pathways and there are several reasons behind that choice, Johnsen said.

The focus of this program will be to increase enrollment, ensure participation in and completion of education degrees and the retention of those students for Alaskan teaching jobs following graduation, Johnsen said.

“[Among those reasons are] the need for a sharper focus on the state’s needs for more Alaska-prepared teachers and education leaders, and a greater accountability to meeting those needs,” Johnsen wrote. “Other key reasons include the importance of increasing consistency in the degree and endorsement programs, supporting more faculty collaboration and innovation, and increasing productivity and cost effectiveness.”

This plan for the school of education is loosely based off of the UA’s current approach to the nursing program, with the headquarters based at UAA but supplementary programs offered at UAF and UAS.

If this proposal is approved by the regents, it will then need to be approved by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, which separately accredits UAA, UAF and UAS, according to Johnsen.

Johnsen plans to put together a team to plan and execute this program change, chaired by Dan White, UA vice president for academic affairs and research, and supplemented with education faculty from each campus, the Faculty Alliance, the deans of education, the Alaska Department of Early Education and Development, the National Education Association-Alaska and the Alaska Council of School Administrator.

The Board of Regents meetings held Nov. 10 and 11 will be open to the public for comment.

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