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UAF School of Education in the News



UAF School of Education is
accredited by CAEP.  More
information here:
UAF Recognized for National Excellence

Special Education program recognized for high quality standards

     University of Alaska Fairbanks has become the first online special education program in the nation to earn the Quality Matter's
 Online Program Design Certification. 

Quality Matters (QM) is an international, US-based non-profit organization that is recognized as a leader in quality assurance for online education.

The Online Program Design Certification recognizes higher education programs that are designed around measurable learning objectives or competencies.  UAF'S special education degree is just the fifth (of any descipline) to earn this program-level certification from Quality Matters.

Joanne Healy, special education program chair, and UAF eLearning began the certification process in 2016.  The rigorous review process included:

  • Aligning course-level objectives for all 15 course withe program goals
  • External course reviews by three independent (not within the University of Alaska system) QM-certified peer reviewers of eight courses.
  • Internal course reviews by QM-certified UAF eLearning staff of 15 courses.
  • External program wide review by three QM-certified reviewers.

"This was truly a herculean feat on Joanne's part, requiring hundreds of hours of her effort as well as a great deal of support from the UAF eLearning instructional design team," said Owen Guthrie, UAF eLearning associate director of online programs. "The time and effort invested will pay significant dividends for future students of the online Master of Education is Special Education in terms of the quality of their learning experience. 

An Open reception celebrating the program's success will be held on August 23 at 4 p.m. in 131 Bunnell (the eLearning office).

UAF offers an online Master's of Education in Special Education as well as on Initial Special Education Teacher Certification and a Teacher Endorsement in Special Education.

"All courses are modeling accessibility, which is what special education is all about," Healy said. Next, she plans to pursue Quality Matters certifications for Teaching Support and Leader Success.  UAF would be the first university to earn program certification in three areas.


School of Education

     July 3, 2018 

        As the School of Education transitions to
        become part of the College of Natural
Science and Mathematics, some administration,
        faculty, and staff changes are
taking place.

        Dr. Steve Atwater is now the Executive Dean
        of the new Alaska College of Education housed
        at the University of Alaska Southeast.

        Dr. Amy Vinlove is the new Directorof the
        UAF School of Education, replacing former
        Interim Dean Atwater.

        The School of Education says goodbye to long
        time staff members Jessica Jones and Kelly
        Mendez and welcomes Salena Bias as the new
        Elementary Program Internship Year Coordinator. 
        We also say goodbye to counseling faculty member
        Dr. Heather Dahl.

        Students, school districts, other university
        departments, and the public can expect
        same professional and timely response to
        inquires throughout the transition
        We look forward to a productive 2018-19
        academic year.

School of Education
Move to CNSM Will Not Affect Our Students

    November 15, 2017

      In July, the School of Education will move to
      become part of the UAF College of Natural
      Science and Mathematics.
      This move, while significant to UAF,
      will not impact our students.
      Students will still enroll, faculty will teach,
      advisors will advise and students will
      graduate with UAF education degrees
      and certificates.
      If you would like more information about
      this move, then please contact the
      School of Education.

School of Education Faculty at ICASS IX

September 22, 2017

Five School of Education faculty presented their research at the ninth International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences at Sweden’s Umeå University in June. More than 800 scientists, researchers and stakeholders representing 24 nations attended the event.

Ute Kaden presented “Preparing GeoStem Teachers for the Arctic Region,” the results of a three-year NSF project to increase the number and diversity of STEM teachers in Alaska. Kaden and Joanne Healy also presented results from their NSF teacher-retention grant. Teacher retention rates (2009-2013) vary widely over time, showing no significant trends in Arctic Alaska Native communities. Results confirm that teacher turnover in rural districts is higher than in urban school districts. Teacher retention and attrition are multidimensional issues requiring better communication patterns and shared responsibilities between rural school districts, local administrators, teachers, community members and university-based teacher preparation programs.

Jerry Lipka chaired a session and presented “The Center and the Beginning of Everything: Mathematics Emerging from Indigenous Knowledge,” which connected Yupiaq epistemology and spatial-locomotive systems with standards-based mathematics instruction.

Sean Topkok presents during the June 9 opening plenary on education’s role in the Arctic. Photo by Joanne Healy.

Sean Topkok presented a plenary session titled, “What Is the Role of Education and Education Research in Advancing Understandings of the Arctic?” Topkok also presented on cultural atlases as a pedagogical tool.

Douglas Cost presented on a research project called “Arctic Futures Makers,” which engaged Northwest Arctic Borough high school students in thinking about their and their communities’ health, resilience and futures to 2040.

ICASS X will take place at Northern (Arctic) Federal University in Archangelsk, Russia.

UAF School of Education recognized by national organization
The National Council on Teacher Quality has ranked the elementary education program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks among the best in the United States. The Washington D.C.-based think tank ranked UAF in the 99th percentile among undergraduate programs that prepare elementary teachers, weighing factors such as admissions, content knowledge and quality of practice opportunities. More details about the rankings are available at

School of Education 

The School of Education (SOE) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks faculty and staff strive to model, in their interactions with candidates at both the preservice and graduate levels, the three critical characteristics that our candidates embody when they leave the program: professional, culturally responsive, and effective. These characteristics form the basis for our graduates’ continued professional development and the formation of healthy and respectful relationships with their students, families and communities in which they live and work.

In this spirit, the School of Education is committed to preparing and retaining the best possible K-12 educators for this far north, geographically, culturally and linguistically diverse state. View video testimonials

Alaska Native People

“Our people used to come to this hill to pick troth. They would paddle up the creek, Troth Yeddha’ No’, and camp by the lake, Troth Yeddha’ Mene’. Troth Yeddha’ was an important meeting place. The grandfathers used to come to talk and advise one another. When they learned this place would be used for a school, the university, they came here one last time. They decided that the school would be good and would carry on a similar traditional use of the hill. The hill would continue being a place where thinking and working together would happen.”
—   Chief Peter John of Minto, 1994 Rural Student Summit, UAF

From a high point on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus, visitors see a panorama of the central Tanana River valley and Alaska Range. Athabascan residents of Interior Alaska enjoyed that panorama for many millennia. The ridge called Troth Yeddha’ served as a place to meet and survey the inspiring place in which they lived.That legacy continues in modern times as the university brings people together and inspires them to follow pathways to knowledge. 

Learn to Teach.  Alaska needs teachers who want to make a difference in the lives of our children. Learn how to become a teacher in the state of Alaska.

Academic Programs Overview -  Come and join us!


Contact Us
Physical Address: UAF School of Education, 7th Floor Gruening Building, 1747 S. Chandalar Dr., Fairbanks, AK 99775
Mailing Address: UAF School of Education, Box 756480, Fairbanks, AK 99775-6480
Department Email: Fairbanks Tel: 907-474-7341, Department Fax: 907-474-5451
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Since 2011, UAF's educator preparation programs in the School of Education have been nationally recognized for high quality teacher preparation. The Elementary, Music Education, Secondary and Special Education initial licensure programs are nationally accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) through 2024.




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