'It's imperative to us to rebuild trust:' UAA releases more CAEP details
The University of Alaska Anchorage is releasing more details on how seven of its education programs lost their accreditation, amid a series of hearings during this year's state Legislature.
On Friday morning, UAA's School of Education posted the latest Council for the Accreditation of Education Preparation report on the accreditation failures, which have put the school's future in jeopardy.
Accreditation is not a pass-or-fail grade and can be issued for varying periods of time including two, five or seven years. In 2016, staff assembling UAA's CAEP report thought it was sufficient to achieve one of those levels.
"The people who were working the hardest on this at the time absolutely felt that they had provided enough evidence to demonstrate continued improvement, and that UAA would be recognized at a two-year level," said Claudia Dybdahl, the School of Education's interim director. "The thought was they would get a two-year probationary accreditation, to be given two years and then to finish or complete the remaining pieces in that time."
As UAA officials have said before, the university didn't provide enough data. They did what they had always done and hoped it would be enough to get by, despite being told by CAEP what was lacking or missing.
"It's complex and there are many factors," Dybdahl said. "It wasn't shoddy work, there just wasn't enough. Nothing submitted was bad, there just wasn't enough."
Since word came out that the School of Education lost its accreditation, a lot has happened. The State Board of Education approved the University of Alaska’s request to consider spring and summer 2019 graduates to be eligible for licensure, and to have graduated from a state-approved program.
Students not slated to graduate this spring or summer have had to make some hard choices. So far, 15 students have decided to transfer to still-accredited programs at UA's Fairbanks and Southeast campuses, with more possibly doing so in the near future.
"Both UAF and UAS have stepped up to help the program here in Anchorage, whether that is help with transfers or support with some of the CAEP processes," said School of Education Dean Steve Atwater.
The UA Board of Regents is also watching closely.
"Overall, the system has worked very hard to accommodate the students from UAA," Atwater said. "The system is waiving fees and holding the students harmless. It's really important the students don't feel an impact to their finances for this. The system has come out and said they will pay for the cost of transfer and if more classes are needed that were not anticipated, the system would cover that cost too."
"It's imperative to us to rebuild trust with the public, and the students," Dybdahl said. "One way of doing that is to say this accreditation was a two-year, more than a two-year cycle, and here are some of the documents that were submitted along the way; here's some of the feedback the unit received; and here's where we are today."
As for what the future holds at the UAA School of Education, no one has a solid answer. It took UAF five to regain their accreditation, UAA is hoping they can't get theirs back in three years, if they choose to reapply in January of 2020. UAS is currently in the process with CAEP to renew their accreditation.
The Board of Regents will meet with School of Education students from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday at UAA's Wendy Williamson Center.
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