Dear UAF community,

Earlier this week the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, our regional accreditor, sent a letter to the Board of Regents, the president and the chancellors. The purpose of the letter was to communicate concerns about their standards for governance, that is, how decision-making is distributed and delegated across the system. Board Chair Davies distributed the commission’s letter in a systemwide communication.

It is critical to understand that the letter sent by NWCCU raised no concerns about the quality of academic or research programs at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. It is also important to know that UAF’s accreditation is in good standing.

The letter from NWCCU identified two specific concerns. The first was about the need for clarity in governance. This standard is about the division of roles, responsibilities and authority, as delegated from the Board of Regents to the president and to the chancellors of the three separately accredited universities. The second concern was about shared governance, which is the level to which major decisions, such as restructuring, demonstrate inclusivity.

NWCCU has asked for a response from the universities, either individually or collectively, by October 31, 2019. The Board of Regents will meet later this week to discuss systemwide governance so that NWCCU’s concerns are addressed in a comprehensive and timely way.

— Dan White, chancellor
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