UA Board of Regents votes to discontinue UAA initial teacher licensing programs

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) — The UA Board of Regents voted to discontinue seeking re-accreditation of University of Alaska Anchorage's School of Education initial teacher licensure programs Monday following the loss of accreditation of the program in January, but university officials say there are options for students who want to pursue the same initial licensure programs while staying in Anchorage.

According to UAA, of the 489 students enrolled in the UAA School of Education, 335 or nearly 70% are enrolled in initial teacher licensure classes whose futures will be directly impacted by Monday’s decision.

The initial teacher licensure program will effectively be discontinued by Sept. 1, 2019, but students currently enrolled in the program who are due to graduate this spring or summer will finish out at UAA.

"We've been working really hard to make sure students understand they can stay at UAA to pursue education degrees under the direction of UAS and UAF faculties," said UA spokeswoman Robbie Graham.

Graham confirmed that, although they are still in the planning phase, University of Alaska Fairbanks and University of Alaska Southeast will send faculty members to Anchorage to maintain face-to-face interaction with UAA education students. Other coursework will be supplemented with online classes. All of this will allow students to continue pursuing their initial teaching licensures without leaving Anchorage.

According to UA Office of Public Affairs, as of Friday, more than 100 students have transferred their academic records to the UAF and UAS programs being offered in Anchorage.

Steve Atwater, executive Dean of the Alaska College of Education, says recent news is prompting more concern from students.

"I think there's some more inquiries about what this means. I think people are waiting to see what happens today, and then go forward from there," Atwater said.

Atwater says the discontinuation of advanced teacher licensing programs, which lead to an additional endorsement, for example, a Principal's License, would be considered at the Board of Regents meeting scheduled for May. Atwater says approximately one-third of the students at UAA are in these advanced programs.

The costs of transfers and coursework that School of Education students may need to retake would be covered by the university according to UA officials. Funding for those transfers would come specifically from the UAA budget according to Atwater.

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