Happy Howl-i-days from UAA!
Fall Commencement is approaching and I'm thrilled for the 1,069 * students who are graduating and will be the first to have the opportunity to celebrate this milestone in UAA's new Alaska Airlines Center! Nobel laureate and former Rasmuson Chair Vernon Smith will take part in the festivities as well, to receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree and Meritorious Service Award for his many accomplishments in the field of experimental economics.
Sixteen of the graduates will be students who launched nursing careers with the help of UAA's Recruiting and Retention of Alaska Natives into Nursing RRANN program. Last month, I felt privileged to take part in RRANN's 15th anniversary celebration, one of several UAA events set during November to recognize Alaska Native Heritage Month.
Another prominent new feature on the UAA campus is about to take shape above Providence Drive. Neeser Construction is welding together 36-inch-diameter steel pipe to form two arches supporting the Health Campus Pedestrian Bridge, which will span Providence Drive and link the new Engineering & Industry and Health Science buildings. The bridge will become not only a practical structure, but also an excellent symbol of UAA’s dynamic biomedical engineering initiatives.
This work will take place from Dec. 20 to Jan. 4, closing Providence Drive between Spirit Way and Seawolf Drive, so if you're planning to visit campus at that time, please use Piper Street and Spirit Drive as detours. The new engineering building is scheduled to open next summer and the bridge is scheduled for completion next fall.
After everyone moves into the new building next summer, Neeser will begin renovating the existing Engineering building.
Neeser has also completed most of the site preparation and foundation construction for a new 485-space Engineering parking garage, where work will resume in the spring.
* Number of Fall 2014 graduating students listed, as of Dec. 5, 2014.
Last month, we invited UAA's student, staff, faculty and alumni veterans to share their active-duty photos with us to commemorate Veterans Day. The response was impressive—here is a slideshow of some photos we received. We’re so proud of all the veterans who take part in life at UAA and enrich our community with their expertise and experience!
Prospective law school students who want to reduce the cost of their undergraduate education and contain their burden of student debt will be happy to hear they have a new educational option at UAA that will streamline their entry into the work force. UAA and the University of Washington School of Law recently agreed to collaborate in providing qualified UAA students the opportunity to earn a baccalaureate degree and law degree on an accelerated schedule, typically in six years rather than the usual seven. UAA has a similar 3+3 program agreement with Willamette University College of Law in Salem, Ore.
UAA's nationally ranked men’s and women’s cross country teams are flying to Louisville, Ky., to compete at the NCAA Division II Championships this weekend. The men’s team enters at No. 6 in the pre-NCAA rankings and is looking to upset Grand Valley State, No. 2 Adams State and No. 3 Colorado Mines. On the women’s side, the No. 11 Seawolves enter as the No. 3 seed in the West Region and hope to beat No. 1 Grand Valley State.
UAA Volleyball made it to the first round of the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in five years and finished the season with school records for best winning percentage of .778 and fewest losses in a season.
Eleven out of 22 scheduled Alaska High School Application Day events have occurred, producing a 124 percent increase in applications. Service High School produced the largest increase, with 63 more applicants than last year. Bethel and North Pole high schools are new Application Day locations that both offered UAA a warm welcome.
I'm excited to announce the Alaska chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals recently named UAA's Tlisa Northcutt, development director for Athletics, as the Outstanding Fundraising Professional of the Year. The organization recognized Tlisa at its annual National Philanthropy Day luncheon on Nov. 21. Congratulations, Tlisa!
The Rasmuson Foundation recently gave a $300,000 grant to the UAA/APU Consortium Library to expand the Alaska Joint Library Catalog. The Joint Library Catalog encompasses UAA, UAS and Mat-Su College libraries, Anchorage’s municipal libraries, Juneau Public Library and the Alaska State Library.
The $avvy $eawolf Financial Literacy Series has expanded to include sessions on investing and homeownership, preparing Seawolves for life after UAA. The Office of Student Financial Assistance has launched brown-bag lunch workshops to increase staff and faculty knowledge of financial aid. The next one is scheduled for Jan. 23, "Financial Aid 101: Introduction to the Application and Awarding Process," from noon-1 p.m. in the Lyla Richards Room at the Student Union.
Natasa Masanovic, professor and chair of the UAA Department of Languages, received the YWCA/BP Women of Achievement Award last month. The awards recognize the leadership qualities and community contributions of individuals and are "a way for women and girls to see women in their community as a moving force," said YWCA board member Betsy Haines, a Woman of Achievement in 2004.
UAA's Dr. Angelia Trujillo's "A Practical Guide to Prevention for Forensic Nursing," co-authored with Dr. Tina DeLapp and Dr. Thomas Hendrix and published in the Journal of Forensic Nursing's January-March 2014 issue, became the second-most viewed on the Journal's website between January and October.
UAA's Nordik Language Klub is opening the world of Icelandic and Norwegian cultures to UAA students who get together every week at the ConocoPhillips Integrated Science Building.
Nordik Language Klub meets from 7-8 p.m. in CPISB—Wednesdays for Norwegian and Thursdays for Icelandic. The evening hours are intentional, as the club is open to the whole city. They’re always eager to meet new members, and it’s strictly for fun and practice.
UAA's Office of Alumni Relations celebrated its last decade of momentum during a party commemorating the 10th anniversary of the UAA/APU Consortium Library's Foucault pendulum. Dozens of alumni and friends who donated to the pendulum fund in 2004 returned to campus in 2014 for a reception at the new Alumni Center and a Q-and-A session about the pendulum with Steve Rollins, dean of the library.
The Alaska Association of Nurse Practitioners recently gave “Preceptor of the Year” honors to UAA’s Student Health & Counseling Center. Read more.
The College of Business and Public Policy's new class of Leadership Fellows is working with community mentors to talk business, swap ideas and find solutions to entrepreneurship challenges. To read more, visit our website.
The new faculty guide to student academic integrity is now available on the Dean of Students’ website.
I hope you and your families enjoy a warm, happy and safe holiday season!