School of Education

The University of Alaska Anchorage is in full compliance with the institutional reporting requirements mandated in Title II of the Higher Education Act Amendments of 1998. Please contact the School of Education for a copy of the completed report.

The School of Education comprises a community of educators dedicated to improving the quality of education. The mission of the School of Education is to prepare educators and support the lifelong learning of professionals to embrace diversity and to be intellectually and ethically strong, resilient and passionate in their work with Alaska’s learners, families, educators and communities. School of Education programs emphasize the power of learning to transform people’s lives. Across the university, faculty members teach professional educators to work in diverse settings to form and sustain learning partnerships, and to provide learning across the life span. The School is confident that this preparation will result in educators’ significant contributions to society.

The School of Education promotes the following core values in their collegial interactions to ensure that program graduates exhibit:

  • Intellectual vitality: Professional educators examine diverse perspectives, engage in research and scholarship, contribute to knowledge and practice, and apply innovations in technology.
  • Collaborative spirit: Professional educators generate, welcome and support the collaborative relationships and partnerships that enrich people’s lives.
  • Inclusiveness and equity: Professional educators create and advocate for learning communities that advance knowledge and ensure the development, support and inclusion of people’s abilities, values, ideas, languages and expressions.
  • Leadership: Professional educators are committed to the highest standards of ethical behavior in their roles, using professional expertise to improve the communities in which they live and work, and demonstrating the ability to translate theories and principles into transformative educational practice.

The school believes that learning must be designed, delivered and evaluated within the contexts of these core values and program outcomes.

The school offers undergraduate and graduate curricula and programs designed to prepare personnel for various professional roles related to education in a variety of learning environments. The School of Education is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Our professional preparation programs are approved by the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development and are based on CAEP standards.

The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development issues certificates and endorsements under the “approved program” process for certification. UAA recommends individuals to the commissioner of Education and Early Development for certification or endorsement after successful completion of one or more of the approved programs. Only the director of the School of Education is authorized to recommend candidates for the appropriate certificate or endorsement.

In each of the school’s curricula and programs, candidates are introduced to fundamental issues of education in the contemporary world through courses designed to develop perspective and understanding of the relationship of education to society. Courses provide theory and practice in the development of instructional materials and an understanding of methods of instruction. Many courses and programs are offered through distance delivery methods. The school  offers high-quality, distance-delivered coursework in order to improve access for rural students and provide flexible scheduling for practicing educators. Additionally, the school partners with UAA community campuses in optimizing the use of technology for distance delivery through intercampus collaboration.

Students are formally admitted to an appropriate program on the basis of multiple criteria, including their ability to make a positive contribution to educational professions. Candidates who seek Alaska state licensure must successfully complete the school’s “approved program,” as well as any additional requirements that may be initiated by the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development. Only courses with a grade of C or higher will be applied to meet certification or endorsement requirements. Some programs require a minimum grade of B. In addition, candidates must demonstrate professional behaviors and dispositions consistent with the School of Education’s Conceptual Framework as well as abide by the UAA Student Code of Conduct and the Code of Ethics and Professional Teaching Standards adopted by the Alaska Professional Teaching Practices Commission. These documents are available on the School of Education website.

An advisor develops a graduate studies plan with each candidate based upon transfer credits, program requirements and elective courses. The program may or may not include certification or endorsement requirements.

The School of Education has two academic departments:

  • The Department of Graduate and Advanced Certification, 786-4450
  • The Department of Undergraduate and Initial Certification, 786-4412

Master of Education

Within the curriculum of the MEd program are several options, each with its own set of specific requirements. Each is designed to provide the student with initial or advanced preparation in professional education. Some also lead to endorsement or certification. MEd options are:

  1. Counselor Education - admission suspended
    1. School Counseling (K-8, 7-12, or both)
    2. Community Agency Counseling
  2. Early Childhood Special Education
  3. Educational Leadership
  4. Special Education
  5. Teaching and Learning

See MEd Requirements for more information on admission and graduation requirements.

Graduate Certificates

The School of Education offers five graduate certificate programs:

  1. Counselor Education - admission suspended
  2. Educational Leadership: Principal
  3. Educational Leadership: Superintendent — admission suspended 
  4. Language Education: English as a Second Language (ESL) and Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy Concentration
  5. Special Education.

Each program is designed to provide the student with initial or advanced preparation in professional education. With the exceptions of Counselor Education, successful completion of the programs leads to an institutional recommendation for a state certificate or endorsement. Admitted students must have the technological knowledge and skills to engage in distance learning.

Coursework that is applied to graduate certificates may also apply to the MEd with faculty advisor approval.

Professional Field Practice

See Field Placement for description of requirements for admission and performance in internships.

Field Placements

Most School of Education graduate programs require field experiences in school or agency settings. The School of Education works with Alaska school districts to offer diverse placements for students. Diversity of placements refers to grade levels and types of schools. It is our policy to, whenever possible, ensure students receive diverse placements in schools and grade levels. Students who live in rural district will be placed in the most diverse placements possible in their location.

See Field Placement for description of factors affecting field placements with cooperating school districts.

Continuous Progress

School of Education graduate certificate candidates must demonstrate continuous progress toward program completion. Candidates must complete at least one approved program course during any 24-month consecutive period to maintain active status in their programs. Candidates not making continuous progress and not on an approved leave of absence may be removed from certificate-seeking status.

MEd Admission Requirements

In some cases, applicants may be contacted about providing writing samples or for scheduling personal interviews with the department after their completed files are received. When all documents are received and reviewed by the department, the applicant will be notified of the department’s decision.

Applicant files are reviewed throughout the year. However, applications for admission need to be submitted by specific dates (July 1, November 1, and May 1) to qualify for financial aid.

Applicants must:

  1. Satisfy Admission Requirements for Graduate Degrees.
  2. Have a GPA of 3.00 (on a 4.00 point scale) in the last 30 credits.
  3. Satisfy the admission requirements as specified by the appropriate program. In general, programs require submission of a resume documenting professional experience, goal statements and professional references. Some programs may require teacher certification. Departments may request writing samples or interviews as part of the admission process.

Applicants who meet the above criteria are considered for program admission on a competitive basis.

Academic Requirements

Graduate students must demonstrate continuous progress toward program completion. School of Education candidates must complete at least one approved program course during any 24-month consecutive period to maintain active status in their programs. Candidates not making continuous progress and not on an approved leave of absence (see Leave of Absence in Graduate Degree Policies) may be removed from master’s degree-seeking status.

Graduate Studies Plan

An official graduate studies plan (GSP) must be approved before completion of more than 12 credits of coursework.

Graduation Requirements

Candidates completing the MEd must complete the following requirements:

  • Satisfy the General University Requirements for Graduate Degrees and master’s level graduation requirements.
  • Specific programs may require more than 30 credits. See appropriate program for credit requirements.
  • Satisfy the requirement of a comprehensive examination, comprehensive portfolio or other scholarly work as specified by the program.

Graduate courses completed prior to being admitted as a graduate student will not necessarily be applicable toward a specific graduate degree program.

Institutional Recommendation

Following are the requirements for an institutional recommendation for those programs leading to a recommendation for certification or endorsement:

  1. For endorsements, all requirements for a current teacher certificate must be successfully met.
  2. For Principal Type B Administrative Certificates, candidates must have three years of successful certificated contract experience as a teacher or special services provider (Type C). In addition, a minimum of a master’s degree is required.
  3. For the Principal Type B Certificate, the MEd must be conferred.
  4. For the Type F Special Education Administration Certificate, candidates must have three years of successful contract experience as a special services provider. The certificate is restricted to those candidates who hold a Type C Special Services Certificate with an endorsement in school psychology, speech-language pathology or school counseling. In addition, a minimum of a master’s degree is required.
  5. For the Type B Administrative Certificate with an endorsement in special education administration, candidates must have three years of successful certificated contract experience as a special education teacher. In addition, a minimum of a master’s degree is required.
  6. Demonstration of basic computer/technology competence. See specific programs for additional information.

Certification is awarded by the State of Alaska Department of Education and Early Development (EED) in Juneau. Graduates must meet all requirements specified by EED at the time of application for the certificate.

Professional Field Practice

Prior to permitting the candidate to enter the final stage of preparation, which is characterized in most options by participation in a practicum or internship, a faculty committee will evaluate the candidate’s performance in the program. Admission into this final phase of professional preparation is a faculty decision and is separate from entry into the graduate program. Difficulties, including inadequate academic performance, unprofessional behavior, unsatisfactory field reports or other factors, may result in denial of entry to practicum or internship. Performance in practicum and internship is closely monitored, with stated minimum competencies and the development of individual objectives. Since this is the practice and application phase of professional development, it is assumed that candidates will demonstrate appropriate professional dispositions with respect to their professional actions, attitude and performance.

The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development issues certificates/endorsements as a result of successful program completion as verified by the director and department chair.

Field Placements

Most School of Education graduate programs require field experiences in school or agency settings.

Criminal History Background Clearance

The School of Education requires compliance with specific background clearance policies and procedures for candidates participating in university-sponsored fieldwork and those enrolling in coursework offered at the Providence Early Learning Lab (PELL). In some cases, criminal history background clearance is required for admission to a department or program. In addition to self-disclosure of criminal history to the School of Education and its partners, a check of the Alaska and national sex offender registries, a fingerprint-based check by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and a name-based check through the Alaska Public Safety Information Network may be required. Various agencies and centers may have additional requirements.

Failure to comply with the School of Education background check requirements will result in denial of access to field placement settings or PELL. Failure to pass the criminal history background check will result in removal from the program. More information is available on School of Education website.

Cooperating School/Agency

Practica, internships and other field placements are made only in cooperation with participating school districts and agencies. The school districts and agencies that work with the School of Education reserve the right to request additional information and/or preparation from candidates in accordance with their established policies/practices. Cooperating districts and agencies also determine the number of available spaces and placements for candidates. Placements may become competitive if the number of applicants exceeds the number of spaces. Districts and agencies also reserve the right to refuse or terminate placements when candidates do not meet an acceptable standard of performance. Thus, while the university makes every effort to find appropriate field placements for candidates, admittance to a degree/certificate/endorsement program does not guarantee acceptance by cooperating school districts or agencies. Unacceptable academic performance, an unprofessional attitude, unsatisfactory field reports, violation of professional ethics or other factors may result in removal from the field placement.


Candidates who have taken all or part of an approved program at another university must take at least 9 credits of approved education courses at the University of Alaska prior to being admitted to an advanced practicum or internship.


Jonathan Bartels, Assistant Professor,
Ginger Blackmon, Assistant Professor,
Ellen Brigham, Term Assistant Professor,
Leah Brown, Term Assistant Professor,
Cathy Coulter, Associate Professor,
Kitty Deal, Term Assistant Professor,
Hattie Harvey, Assistant Professor,
Wei-Ying Hsiao, Professor,
Hsing-Wen Hu, Assistant Professor,
Eileen Hughes, Professor Emerita
Krista James, Term Assistant Professor,
Tim Jester, Associate Professor,
Agatha John-Shields, Term Assistant Professor,
Ed McLain, Associate Professor,
Mike Mueller, Professor,
Kathleen O’Dell, Professor Emerita
Kathryn Ohle, Assistant Professor,
Paul Ongtooguk, Term Assistant Professor,
Irasema Ortega, Assistant Professor,
Gina Pastos, Term Assistant Professor,
Karen Roth, Term Assistant Professor,
Debra Russ, Associate Professor,
Grant Sasse, Assistant Professor,
Hilary Seitz, Professor,
Peggy Spencer, Term Assistant Professor,
Donna Gail Shaw, Professor Emerita
Peter Snow, Assistant Professor,
Cassie Wells, Term Assistant Professor,