Accrediting agency issues warning to University of Alaska

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) A university accrediting agency has urged the University of Alaska to address what it sees as a failure to meet critical standards, officials said.

The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities has detailed concerns in a letter to university system administrators, The Anchorage Daily News reported Saturday.

The letter from commission President Sonny Ramaswamy made public Friday is addressed to university President Jim Johnsen, Board of Regents Chairman John Davies and the chancellors of the University of Alaska Anchorage, University of Alaska Fairbanks and University of Alaska Southeast.

The Board of Regents will likely hold an emergency meeting Wednesday, Davies said.

“I know they’ve been a little bit concerned about the dialogue that’s going on, but to get a letter like this with some pretty harsh language in it is worrisome,” Davies said.

Accreditation is required for federal student aid and is key for students who want to transfer courses or faculty seeking grant funding or research publication. Many employers and graduate schools require proof of graduation from an accredited institution.

The system’s three universities, which are separately accredited, have failed to meet standards related to governance and decision-making processes, Ramaswamy said. The agency head asked the institutions to provide a combined report or separate reports on efforts to make changes no later than Oct. 31.

Ramaswamy underscored the need for “clarity around the authority, roles, and responsibilities of the University of Alaska System and its respective institutions and their leadership.”

A written response from the administrators said they will not jeopardize accreditation and noted the agency did not raise concerns about academic or research program quality.


Information from: Anchorage Daily News,

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