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Regents to Consider New Program Tracks

Submitted by Kate Ripley
Phone: (907) 450-8102

12/07/05

The University of Alaska Board of Regents is considering two new program tracks that would, if approved, enhance UA's community college mission and better position the university to respond to state workforce needs.

Board members will consider the proposed Occupational Endorsement and Workforce Credential program tracks when it meets Dec. 7-8 at the University Commons on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus.

"We're already offering the classes that make up these program tracks, but they aren't currently counted as official programs. At some campuses, a departmental 'Certificate of Completion' is offered, but at others it isn't," said Craig Dorman, UA's vice president for academic affairs and research. "Students who successfully complete these classes-which can and often do result in direct workforce promotions and job placements-are often shown in our system as being 'non-completers,' for having less than what is required for a certificate or associate's degree."

Dorman said if the regents approve the new program tracks, students who complete the programs will have them included on transcripts, which could later count toward a higher degree, such as an associate's or bachelor's. "This is about responding to the workforce training needs of the state in a new and innovative way," Dorman said.

The Workforce Credential track, which would not qualify for financial aid, includes quick turn-around classes-both credit and non-credit-that directly respond to specific workplace requirements. This track could include, for example, sexual harassment training or a special course on mine safety and health.

The Occupational Endorsement track includes credit courses in the areas of law enforcement and emergency response, medical and dental assistants, early childhood professionals, mechanical and technical fields and others. If the board approves the plan, these programs would be eligible for financial aid.

Also included in the packed agenda are the following items up for consideration:

" A graduate certificate in clinical social work practice and social work management at UAA;

" Establishment of a University Transportation Center, headquartered at UAF;

" Establishment of an Arctic Engineering Research Center, under the Institute of Northern Engineering in the College of Engineering and Mines at UAF;

" Formal project approval of the state virology lab on the UAF campus;

" Formal project approval for a classroom addition at Kenai Peninsula College;

" Proposed changes to the Optional Retirement Program and UA Pension Plan for new employees hired after July 1, 2006;

" Review of FY 05 audited financial statements;

" Election of board officers.

Public testimony will be taken both days. For a complete agenda, go to www.alaska.edu/bor and click on "agendas."

CONTACT: Kate Ripley, (907) 450-8102 or email kate.ripley@alaska.edu