A study as to whether the University of Alaska should pursue single accreditation or remain three separately accredited universities has been delivered to UA President, Jim Johnsen, completing the first step in a review process.
The report, conducted by Dr. Dana Thomas, a former university vice president of academic affairs and research and incoming interim University of Alaska Fairbanks chancellor, provides his assessment of the pros and cons of either choice. The report will serve as part of a collection of information provided to President Johnsen and the Board of Regents as they deliberate whether to remain three separately accredited universities or move towards single accreditation.
The Thomas Report finds that there are options to consider in lieu of single accreditation that might achieve some of the same outcomes as single accreditation including adopting and implementing a common course catalog, a single transcript and “more consistent policies and procedures across all of its campuses.”
President Jim Johnsen commissioned the report in mid-April after being been asked to examine the university’s accreditation by the Board of Regents and state leaders. “We were asked to look into it, and so in order to better understand what other universities and systems are doing across our country, and particularly in the Northwest region, I asked former Vice President Dana Thomas to conduct an assessment to consider whether three separate or one single accreditation would allow us to best serve our state,” Johnsen said. “The report raises important issues, and I look forward to engaging in further discussions about its findings with the UA community and with the Board of Regents.”
The Thomas Report lists a suite of reasons that favor single accreditation, ranging from the momentum for change to shared instruction, as well as reasons to maintain three separately accredited institutions. Among reasons to remain separately accredited includes the disruption to the university structure that administrative consolidation would require with no guarantee that the accrediting organization would accredit the single university.
The report is available at https://www.alaska.edu/research/ and the upcoming September 15 & 16 Board of Regents meeting will include a robust discussion of accreditation, including a discussion of the Thomas Report.
For more information contact:
Roberta Graham, Assoc. Vice President of Public Affairs