Univ. of Alaska Anchorage gives first doctorates

ANCHORAGE — The University of Alaska Anchorage campus gave out its first two doctorate degrees over the weekend.

Psychology students Cody Chipp and Jaymes Gonzales will be the first to receive Ph.D.’s from the campus that traces its history back to Anchorage Community College, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

UAA, which started in 1954, for years has had the largest enrollment of any campus in the state. Last week, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, the college’s accrediting body, decided to allow the campus to grant Ph.D.s.

“This is a major step forward for UAA and educational opportunities in Anchorage,” Provost Michael Driscoll said.

Chipp and Gonzales’ degrees are both in clinical-community psychology and will carry the names of both UAA and the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Psychology departments at the two campuses proposed a joint program in 2005 as a way to maximize their strengths.

The program started the next year. But until now, Ph.D.s were only awarded by UAF.

With its new status, UAA can consider granting doctorates in other disciplines in the future, not only as joint degrees but as diplomas awarded solely by UAA. The next degree is likely to be in nursing and a doctorate in educational leadership may be offered in the future.

“There’ve been some discussions already,” he said. “UAA has the only school of nursing in the (University of Alaska) system. Going into the future, the next level of nurse practitioner will really require a doctorate,” Driscoll said.

Chipp and Gonzales were given their doctorate “hoods” during a ceremony Saturday morning at Wendy Williamson Auditorium. During the event, those receiving masters and doctoral degrees are vested with a stole-like hood. Like the graduation gown and mortarboard hat, the ornate garment harks back to the Middle Ages.

“It welcomes the new graduate into the society of their esteemed colleagues and peers,” Driscoll said. “The master’s hood is fancy enough. The doctorate hood is even fancier.”


Information from: Anchorage Daily News, http://www.adn.com


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