January 2013



Dear UAA Community,

Welcome to the spring 2013 semester!  Ice and snow presented challenges our first week of classes and  I'm glad to see everyone taking the time they need to get safely from one part of campus to another.

We kick off spring semester each year with Civil Rights Month. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech. Visiting Distinguished Professor of Business and Public Policy, Willie Hensley,  an architect of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971, and Alaska leader, heard Dr. King's speech in person.  "The words of Dr. Martin Luther King helped me frame my own thoughts," Willie told those gathered at UAA's Civil Rights month kick off last week. To see a video of Dr. King's historic speech go here.

Civil Rights Month

In December I traveled to Washington, D.C. to present UAA's experience with the American Council on Education (ACE) Internationalization Laboratory at the Leadership Network for International Education. The Leadership Network brings together leader from universities across the country to talk about best practices integrating international education into higher education. ACE has commended UAA for its inclusive methodical process, involvement of community campuses and focus on learning outcomes for international and intercultural education. UAA's focus on integrating international and intercultural education is a direct reflection of our commitment to promoting and strengthening our diverse community.

Weather withstanding, the semester is off to a great start.


Faculty and staff notes

Bear BarkerAfter a nine-month national search, Elisha "Bear" Baker, Ph.D., was selected and has accepted the position of provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs.


Pat Shier has accepted the position of chief information officer. Pat has more than 20 years of experience including CIO and director of Enterprise Technology Services with the State of Alaska.

The second group ofInnovate Awardees were announced in December and include faculty from Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Economics, Theatre and Dance, Physics and Astronomy and more. Click here to see the whole list.

clear, yo!

Astronomy and physics professor Travis Rector, Ph.D., has produced one of the largest astronomical images ever made. Read more…

Director of Creative Writing and Literary Arts, David Stevenson won the first annual Montana Prize for Fiction. The $1,000 prize was awarded by the Whitefish Review, a literary journal based in Whitefish, Montana for his "luminous story, 'The Bear Outside the Door.'"

Dr. Sharon Chamard, Justice Center faculty was appointed to the Municipal Airports Aviation Advisory Commission and reappointed to a third term on the municipality's Public Safety Advisory Commission.

Alumni notes
Leila Kimbrell, B.A., Justice and Paralegal Certificate '02, has been tapped by Senator Lisa Murkowski to serve in her Washington, D.C., office. Read more about Leila.


Three Justice alums were among the 18 new law enforcement officers who graduated from the Alaska Department of Public Safety Training Academy in Sitka on Nov. 16.

Seawolf Athletics notes
UAA is ranked 6th in the nation in the Director's Cup after the fall season, men's cross country finished #3 in the nation, women's cross country #6 in the nation and volleyball completed its 5th consecutive winning season.


UAA student-athletes have a cumulative 3.21 GPA from the fall 2012 semester, the highest ever. The mark tops last year's combined GPA of 3.16 and becomes the 16th time in the past 19 years that UAA's student-athletes have eclipsed a 3.0 GPA. For the fourth year in a row, the women's ski team was the top-ranked team for spring and fall semesters with a 3.46 GPA.
clear, yo!

Alumni note
The Western Association of Graduate Schools (WAGS) Executive Board has selected Chris Barnett, a recent graduate student from the UAA Biology department, as the winner of the 2012 Distinguished Thesis Awards for STEM and Humanities & Social Sciences. Chris' winning master's thesis was titled "Williams Syndrome Transcription Factor is Critical for Neural Crest Cell Formation in Xenopua Laevis," and his thesis advisor was Professor Jocelyn Krebs. The 2012-2013 WAGS Distinguished Thesis Award consists of a certificate and $1,000 to the recipient, with travel expenses for the student and the student's advisor to attend the awards ceremony at the annual meeting in Tucson, Arizona.

Public Square note
Project LEAP (Language Equity and Academic Performance) is a partnership between the College of Education and the Mat-Su Borough, Anchorage and Juneau school districts that is funded by a $1.5M grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The project's mission: to train in-service teachers to be leaders in their districts when working with English language learners. The outcome: an 18-credit graduate certificate in teaching ESL for elementary education that supports academic performance while sustaining cultures and language identity. Read more…

Sustainability note
The Office of Sustainability organized UAA's America Recycle Day event collecting  and displaying one day's worth of trash at UAA. Theresa Cho, Stephanie Kuhns Oliver Petraitis, Mary Logan's Honors 192 class, Herminia Din's Art Appreciation class and Facilities personnel Edwin Delatorre and Glenn Brown helped. A video of the event is here.

clear, yo!

Kenai Peninsula College notes
The Kenai Peninsula College (KPC) Kenai River Campus Fall Mini Health Fair drew 12 major health education exhibitors and more than 150 participants. More than 250 high school students attended KPC's 23rd Annual Career Day.

Development notes
A generous anonymous donor recently committed to a $2M gift to UAA, which will  establish the First Generation Endowed Student Scholarship and also go toward the Alaska Endowment for Excellence - (the intent of this fund is to help stop the "brain drain" by supporting programs and academic endeavors to ultimately keep students in Alaska).

MicroSurvey Software made an in-kind donation of 50 software package licenses to UAA Geomatics, valued at over $500,000.

Icicle Seafoods made a gift of $300,000 to the University of Alaska, with $150,000 benefitting UAA campuses. Their contribution will support the Institute of Social Research, the Kachemak Bay Learning Resource Center, KPC Kachemak Bay Technology Staff and Student Support, KPC Icicle Seafoods Endowed Scholarship and Kodiak College General Support.

For a list of other recent donations, click here.

Publication notes

A manuscript written by UAA undergraduate student Vitaliy Kaminker, Jerzy Maselko (UAA Professor of Chemistry) and James Pantaleone (Professor of Physics) was published in Volume 137 Issue 18 of the premier Journal of Chemical Physics. A photo from their manuscript, "Chemical precipitation structures formed by drops impacting on a deep pool," was selected as the journal cover. The Journal of Chemical Physics ranks number one by the Institute for Scientific Information with an impact factor of 2.920 in the category of Atomic, Molecular and Chemical Physics.
clear, yo!

The Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center (AJSAC) released the first issue of its new monthly Fact Sheet publication series that addresses crime and criminal justice topics.  Firearm Use in Violent Crime in the U.S. and Alaska, 1980-2011 is the December issue topic. Dr. Brad Myrstol, Justice faculty, is the AJSAC director and fact sheet editor.


We celebrated the grand opening of the new BP Asset Integrity and Corrosion Lab in December, made possible with a $1M gift from BP and vision from engineering professor Matt Cullin.. Read more…

Professor Matt Cullin at grand opening of the BP Asset Integrity and Corrosion Lab

Pick. Click. Give.ExxonMobil has committed to match all Pick. Click. Give. gifts to support higher education in Alaska, up to $100,000. This year, all donations to UAA will go directly to student scholarships, and will be matched 1 to 1.  I encourage you to make your PFD go further Pick. Click. Give. to UAA this year.

Enjoy all that UAA has to offer and stay safe!

Best regards,

Tom Case

University of Alaska Anchorage | Chancellor Tom Case | CaseNotes

University of Alaska Anchorage Chancellor

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Tom Case

Tom Case