Accreditation Renewed For University of Alaska Southeast
July 18, 2019
The University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) is pleased to announce that the Northwest
Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) has reaffirmed its accreditation.
This status enables a university to award credit, grant degrees, and access federal financial aid for students. NWCCU is one of seven regional accrediting bodies empowered by the federal government to assure quality in higher education. Retaining accreditation requires careful attention to fulfilling the institution’s mission and meeting published standards. Normally NWCCU revisits each institution every seven years. Accreditation ensures quality control, assessment of outcomes, and a focus on continuous improvement.
The Commission took action to reaffirm the UAS accreditation at its June 19-21 meeting
after careful consideration of evidence presented, including a self-evaluation, peer
evaluation, and information received as part of the institutional representative meeting
with Commissioners. Chancellor Rick Caulfield attended June meeting in person, accompanied
by Provost Karen Carey and Ronalda Cadiente Brown, Associate Vice Chancellor for Alaska
In the accreditation report, UAS received five commendations. The university was lauded
for its recognition and inclusion of Alaska Native languages, arts, and cultures in
its curriculum, working with partners like Sealaska Heritage Institute and Tlingit
and Haida Central Council. The Commission recognized the important work underway to
make UAS campuses places of cultural safety and equity. UAS was commended for its
success in optimizing online education opportunities across vast geographic areas,
providing student access to strong programming, as well as providing meaningful experiential
learning opportunities across all three campuses.
The commitment of UAS to student retention and success was another point of commendation.
This was demonstrated by the efforts of its Student Success Committee, and the creation
of a Strategic Enrollment Plan. Using these tools, UAS is able to identify barriers
to student access, as well as operate more efficiently within a framework which measures
student needs and achievement.
The NWCCU peer review team expressed appreciation for the robust participation of
faculty, staff, students, and community partners in the site team’s April visit, and
the positive message these participants shared about their experiences with UAS. The
team commented that they were particularly impressed by the input they received from
students. The report commended UAS for its success in integrating the three UAS campuses—Juneau,
Ketchikan, and Sitka—into one regional university with shared vision and values. The
team observed that the level of collaboration in this regional approach is “remarkable.”
Despite Alaska’s recent budget challenges, UAS continues to focus on its mission which emphasizes student learning and success. It includes providing students with special opportunities for research and for internships experiences in the workplace. It involves partnerships with business, industry, and government. It involves statewide leadership in high need areas like teacher preparation, maritime training, and business and public administration. It includes offering degrees and programs that build on the cultures and environment of Southeast Alaska.
Chancellor Rick Caulfield commented, “The University of Alaska Southeast exists to support our students, improve the economic vitality of our communities, and build a future workforce for all of Alaska. As Chancellor, I’m especially appreciative of the strong community support UAS receives: from employers who hire our graduates, business leaders who serve on our community advisory councils, donors who contribute scholarship funds that make college affordable, and partners who support UAS leadership statewide.”