UAA Officials hold Q&A after some education programs lose accreditation

Anchorage, January 16, 2019:   At a standing-room only meeting Monday, tensions ran high as students voiced their concerns and demanded answers from the University of Alaska Anchorage School of Education Interim Director Claudia Dybdahl and Chancellor Cathy Sandeen, while more students filled two overflow rooms to watch the meeting online.

The tense meeting and many questions stem from news that came on Friday when UAA learned that several programs involving its School of Education are no longer accredited according to reports published in ktuu.com

The announcement comes on the heels of UAA receiving the results of an assessment from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) back in August of 2017.

The affected programs include the Early Childhood Education Bachelor of Arts and post-baccalaureate programs, Elementary Education Bachelor of Arts and post-baccalaureate programs, Secondary Education Master of Arts in teaching, and initial licensure programs in special education and early childhood special education, according to a press release from the school.

The interim director says the lack of accreditation is primarily the result of a failure to maintain consistent data by the School of Education.

“It (CAEP) is very different from our past accrediting agency. They really focus a lot on assessment and data,” Dybdahl said. “We really didn’t have enough data — enough consistent data and analysis of that data to meet their criteria. It’s a new focus and that was the primary problem.”

Dybdahl says that since 2016, the school has been making changes to bring its program up to par with CAEP standards. Those measures include joining Stanford University’s Teacher Performance Assessment program as a means of bringing UAA’s data collection practices into compliance.

The chancellor said that the school would hold as many meetings as necessary to properly inform the affected students.

UAA has confirmed that undergraduate students who have previously graduated from UAA with education degrees won’t be affected by the decision.

UAS and UAF are not impacted by the recent news.

UAA School of Education officials are planning a meeting with the Alaska State Board of Education & Early Development, which will ultimately decide whether or not students receive an in-state teaching license, with or without the CAEP accreditation.

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