Date of Press Release: April 18, 2008
At its meeting in Ketchikan, the University of Alaska Board of Regents approved four new degree and certificate programs for the University of Alaska Southeast, including Masters degrees in Math Education and Educational Leadership, an Associate of Business degree and a certificate in Pre-Engineering.
The programs will allow UAS to serve a broader spectrum of students and put more Alaskans to work in high demand, well-paying jobs in Alaska.
The M.Ed. in Mathematics Education is the only program of its kind in the state. “The new M.Ed. will provide the opportunity for more teachers to become highly qualified as mathematics teachers in the public schools,” said UAS Dean of Education Larry Harris. Records from the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development show nearly 30 percent of Alaska students below proficiency in mathematics. The new UAS degree will “respond to state workforce needs for highly qualified math teachers to meet federal No Child Left Behind guidelines,” said UAS Chancellor John Pugh. The program will be delivered live, asynchronously (which allows for student-teacher interaction) through the internet. “This distance delivered program will better meet the needs of teachers in the rural and remote schools of Alaska,” said Harris.
The addition of a second Masters of Education, with an emphasis in Educational Leadership (MEd) will prepare more educators to fill leadership positions in Alaska schools. “This one year program is modeled after our highly successful Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) programs. It will allow a teacher to complete all of the requirements for becoming a principal in one calendar year,” said Dean Harris.
A cohort of 20 teachers will be selected for participation annually. The cohort will spend five weeks on the Juneau campus for two consecutive summers. During the school year they will return to their schools to complete 640 hours of practicum experience in educational leadership and participate in weekly audio and web based conferences. The program is geared to ameliorate a dearth of Alaskan principals and other leaders in rural and remote schools. “We have support for this from superintendents in Southeast and from all over the state,” said Chancellor Pugh.
The Associate of Business (AB) is a transfer degree program to the UAS’ Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree program. The program will allow for on-site courses to attract more residential students to Juneau. All UAS business courses at this point are distance delivered. Three new courses will be added to the business administration curriculum for the AB. “The goal is to re-energize the program in Juneau and have lots of face to face time and more successful candidates for the BBA,” said UAS Provost Robbie Stell. According the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, management and accounting are among the state’s top 25 fields for job-openings and higher than average wages.
A certificate in Pre-Engineering (CPE) will better prepare students for transfer to Bachelor of Science in Engineering programs. “We see our role to prepare students to enter a bachelor’s program at a higher level,” said Stell. Regent Carl Marrs believes the program will help retain students who might otherwise drop out at the beginning stages of challenging engineering programs. The new pre-engineering courses will be on-site Juneau campus. “We are very pleased to begin offering this new option for students to begin a degree program in Engineering by taking their first year of classes at UAS. After the first year, students will transfer to UAA or UAF to continue their engineering degree. This program was created to meet a shortage of engineers in Alaska and we believe that this program will help Alaska educate the engineers it will need in the future," said UAS Dean of Arts and Sciences Patrick Brown.