Senator introduces bill on credit transfers

On Jan. 23, shortly after UAA’s School of Education announced its loss of accreditation for certain programs, Sen. Gary Stevens introduced Senate Bill 31.

If enacted, the bill will amend Alaska Statute 14.40, which refers to the University of Alaska, the Community Colleges and the Alaska Aerospace Development Corporation, by adding a new section relating to course credit transferability.

The bill outlines how the University of Alaska shall establish a foundational curriculum for the first year of lower-division courses to ensure the transferability of completed course credit between programs within the University of Alaska.

The bill also states that the Board of Regents shall publicly disclose the criteria used to establish the foundational curricula and major areas of study.

SB 31 will be heard in the Senate Education and Finance committees before going to the floor for consideration.

Chancellor Cathy Sandeen has repeatedly mentioned the possibility of “seamless transfers” from UAA to either UAF or UAS for School of Education students.

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One-third of degree credits are still required to be taken at the receiving university in the event of a transfer, UAS Dean of the Alaska College of Education Steve Atwater said in a forum with UAA education students.

If enacted, the bill would, in theory, allow for a more efficient transfer of first year, lower division course credits within the UA system.

SB 31 comes nine days after the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development announced in a press release that its certification office will accept recommendations from UAA’s School of Education for students completing their initial licensure during the spring 2019 and summer 2019 semesters.