Serving Working Degree Seekers

Exploratory Group Members:


  • Denise Runge, Dean, Community & Technical College (CTC)
  • Bruce Schultz, Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs


  • Lora Volden, Associate Vice Chancellor, Enrollment Services
  • Tina Teaford, Director of Alumni Engagement, Alumni Relations
  • Doug Parry, Professor, Department of Journalism & Communication
  • Molly Orheim, Director, Career Exploration & Services
  • Jamie Johnston-Eddy, Accounting Services
  • Paula Martin, Interim Director, Kachemak Bay Campus
  • Kirsten Kensinger, Success Coach
  • Amber Fullmer, Assistant Professor, Department of Human Services
  • Jeffrey Laube, Associate Professor of Process Technology, Business and Industry
  • Thomas Meyer, Term Assistant Professor, School of Allied Health
  • Ryan Hill, Associate Director/MAC Residence Coordinator, Residence Life
  • Heather Nash, Assistant Director, Instructional Design Services, Robust Online Learning Grant
  • Jody King, Contract Specialist, Alaska Procurement Technical Assistance Center



At roughly 80%, UAA has the largest percentage of working degree seeking students in the country. Despite this, in general, UAA is organized to serve more traditional students. Most classes are offered Monday through Thursday, 10am – 2pm and with the exception of the Consortium Library and some community campuses, the majority of student services are not available in the evenings or weekends. Throughout the US, the paradigm has shifted from students being “college-ready” to universities and campuses being “student-ready,” particularly ready for the students they have.



The purpose of this group is to explore, outline, define, and document various aspects of what it would mean for UAA broadly to be organized and structured specifically to serve working degree seekers. This terminology is very specific. We will also serve working professionals seeking continuing education. But for the purposes of this group, I would like you to focus on the working degree seeker segment whose needs are different from the continuing education segment. Let’s “get everything out on the table” in writing so we can begin to solve issues that have been discussed for years. I also invite the group to “think big” about potential solutions. Operate like a think tank. The outcome of this group will help me develop a more focused task force with a specific charge, ultimately leading to specific recommendations. As with other groups, we will share your final report throughout the UAA community in the spirit of transparency and to obtain broad input.

This exploratory group’s main charge is to identify characteristics of working degree-seeker friendly universities and identify issues holding us back from being the most vibrant and effective university that serves the needs of working degree seeking students and helps them complete their degrees expeditiously. Some general areas to explore might include:

  • Characteristics of our working degree seekers
  • Identification and review of other universities that are doing a good job serving this segment
  • Marketing, recruitment, advising and on-boarding needs of working degree seekers
  • Identify existing academic program offerings that are highly compatible with working degree-seekers
  • Course scheduling, including early mornings, evenings, and weekends
  • Expanding availability of student services
  • Stop out support and smooth re-entry
  • Financial support
  • Sub-awards and certificates along the pathway to a degree
  • Other issues as identified by the group



Deadline for recommendations: To be determined
Spring 2019- Group paused