JUNEAU, Alaska — The University of Alaska’s board of regents has decided to consolidate the university system’s three schools of education into one that will be based at University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau.
The board voted Wednesday to approve the change recommended by UA President Jim Johnsen, The Juneau Empire reported. Johnsen had amended his initial recommendation, which was for the Fairbanks campus to be the administrative head of a single college of education.
Johnsen said the change of heart came after he received a great deal of opposition to the original plan from members of the Juneau community, including UAS faculty, Juneau Mayor Ken Koelsch and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott.
“What I learned from that input was that this program was really existential to the University of Alaska Southeast, that the loss to the campus would be enormous at Southeast compared to the loss of leadership of teacher preparation at the other two universities,” Johnsen said.
Under the new plan, UAS will be the administrative lead for teacher education but teacher education programs and faculty will still remain at all three universities. A detailed implementation plan for UAS, the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the University of Alaska Anchorage is expected to be released in July.
Regents on Wednesday thanked Johnsen for his recommendation, saying that placing the School of Education’s administrative center at UAS would help preserve and support the efforts in teacher education that have been underway at the Juneau campus.
“When we started Strategic Pathways this past January, University of Alaska Southeast was identified as a core for providing quality teachers here in Alaska and that was one of the strengths that was identified, that we were going to place teaching in Southeast and that we were going to build on that,” said regent Lisa Parker.
Regent Deena Paramo said there’s been area where the state has struggled with its teacher education programs and that Wednesday’s decision wasn’t about “selecting one place or the other because one is better.”
“The results are what’s going to speak for whether we’ve made the correct decision, and the results matter,” Paramo said.