June 2013

Amazing Stories: Kachemak Bay Writers' Conference begins June 14, Topping out of Alaska Airlines Center, javelin record thrower Cody Parker and Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez.

Dear UAA Community,

This week I travel to Fairbanks for the Board of Regents meeting. There will be much on the agenda, including Seawolf athletics. Difficult decisions have had to be made and there has been much drama. I am very proud of the great success our student athletes are having both in competition and in the classroom. I believe the path we are taking will lead to even greater support for and advancement of our athletic program. Your support of Seawolf athletics is vital and greatly appreciated. Together we are moving forward and providing our student athletes the best program possible. Read more for an update on the hockey coach search.

Also on the agenda at the Board of Regents is a review of some of the amazing stories that are being written every day at UAA.

UAA students earned more awards than ever this year, 2,421, which is 5 percent more than last year's 2,313. Since the launch of the "Stay on Track" campaign enrollment in 15+ credits has increased 21 percent from Fall '11 to Fall '12 among those who entered UAA. Not only are more students taking 15 credits, they are doing better than those taking fewer credits.

What's contributing to this? A streamlined credit transfer process including 100 percent of UAS and UAF GER courses transfer into UAA. Better and more comprehensive advising including the newly formed Student Access, Advising & Transition division in Student Affairs which will work with students from before admission through their second year. After a national search, Lacy Karpilo was selected to lead the new division. Dr. Karpilo holds a doctorate in education and human resource studies with an emphasis in higher education, and had served as the director of Residence Life for the Anchorage campus since 2009.

As former dean of the College of Business and Public Policy, I've seen first-hand the energy that comes with innovation and entrepreneurial ventures. The INNOVATE awards have funded 29 proposals in two years. We have nine patents pending, 25 invention disclosures. Our first startup, ZENSOR, LLC, was formed earlier this year and a second startup, a deicing system (link to PowerPoint) based on carbon fiber tapes is in the works.

Research at UAA supports Alaska's environment, educational policy, social and economic policy, healthy communities and our justice system. The projects range from helping mitigate climate change impacts on health to figuring out what might be contributing to declining wild salmon runs.

This is just the tip of the iceberg—our partnerships with public and private industry partners have funded the Alaska Airlines Center ($6.3M gift) and labs, like the BP Asset Integrity and Corrosion Lab ($1M). Our partnerships with K-12 have created the Alaska Middle College at our Chugiak-Eagle River Campus and helped teachers stay in their rural communities while earning a teaching degree.

Of course, there is so much more. But I want to leave you with one story that Mat-Su College Director Talis Colberg sent today. It's the story of Dean Larson, a nationally known artist who resides and teaches art in San Francisco. His commissioned work can be found at the White House, churches, universities, museums, courthouses and in corporate collections. He has written books, been extensively featured in numerous art periodicals, has shown in museums and galleries across the U. S. Dean grew up in Palmer, Alaska and took his first college class at Mat-Su College in 1975.

Last week he came back to the Mat-Su campus to participate in the 3rd Annual Machetanz Art Festival and to donate an original oil painting "Fresh Snowfall," in honor of the late Al Okeson, a former director of Mat-Su College.

The connection between Dean Larson and Mat-Su College is one of those wonderful ties born of local talent being mentored and nurtured in the community. Dean credits Fred Machetanz—his early teacher—for inspiring him to become an artist. Al Okeson, director of Mat-Su College from 1961-1988, recognized Dean's talent and invited him back to the college to teach, a tradition that was repeated through the years.

"Dean Larson, once a student at the college, is now a donor to the college," Director Colberg writes. "The life of Dean Larson is confirmation of the college slogan 'Opportunities start here.'"

I couldn't have said it better.


Visiting artist Dean Larson returns to his hometown to participate in the 3rd Annual Machetanz Art Festival and donate his original oil painting "Fresh Snowfall" to the college in memory of former Director Al Okeson. In the photo are: Professor Felicia Desimini, the director of the Machetanz Art Festival, Matanuska-Susitna College Director Talis Colberg, Mrs. Gloria Okeson and visiting Professor Dean Larson gifting the painting in memory of former director Okeson.


Conference notes

nofasd logoThe Arctic FASD Regional Training Center and UAA Center for Behavioral Health Research and Services hosted the "Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Best Practices in the Last Frontier," featuring local experts and presenters from around the country, including Kathy Mitchell of the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

WACUBO logoUAA is hosting the 75th annual conference of the Western Association of College and University Business Officers (WACUBO) June 2-5 at the Egan Convention Center. Margaret Spellings, former U.S. Secretary of Education, is a featured keynote speaker.

clear, yo!

Research notes

Jeff WelkerUAA and UAF are collaborating on an NSF EAGER (High Risk-High Reward Projects) that examines the changing Arctic Hydrological Cycle by measuring the water vapor isotopes at the Toolik Lake Field Station in Northern Alaska and across the North Slope. Dr. Jeff Welker (Fulbright US Arctic Chair) and Dr. Eric Klein are leading the UAA portion and Dr. Jessie Young and Dr. Jessica Cable are leading the UAF effort.

Gabriel GarciaGabriel Garcia, assistant professor of public health, partnered with Anchorage United for Youth (AUY) to explore the link between substance use and bullying in Anchorage. Youths who are bullied are 60 percent more likely to drink alcohol, 90 percent more likely to binge drink and 35 percent more likely to use marijuana, cocaine or prescription drugs, according to their survey.


Faculty & Staff notes

Todd Cherry, an economist from Appalachian State University and a senior research fellow with the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research—Oslo, is the new Rasmuson Chair of Economics. His areas of expertise include environmental and natural resource economics as well as experimental and behavioral economics.


Rachel Morse

Rachel Morse, M.B.A. '08, is our new associate vice chancellor for Alumni Relations. Rachel has served as interim director for Alumni Relations at UAA since July 2012.

On April 30, 2013, Dr. Karen Ward, director of the Center for Human Development and psychology professor, and Julie Atkinson, Center for Human Development research professional, presented their empirical work on "Friendships and Dating Program for Adults with Developmental Disabilities" at the 29th Annual Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity. Over 75 people attended the standing room only presentation.

Dr. Heather Nash, Kenai Peninsula College (KPC) Title III activities director and eLearning developer, has been accepted for the 2013 Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning. Only 40 people are selected annually for this international program. This institute is a unique blended-learning leadership development program sponsored by Penn State and the Sloan Consortium.

Susan Mircovich, KPC assistant professor of chemistry, has been invited to present at the Consortium for Healthcare Education Professional Development Workshop at the WICHE Learning Center in Denver in June. The workshop is for NANSLO project partners who will be integrating robotics labs into their curriculum. Susan will present "Instructional Design—Key Components to Creating Effective Online Courses" and "Creating an Engaging Online Class—How Students Can Succeed."

Justice Center faculty Deb Periman and Dr. Sharon Chamard have been invited to serve on the King Career Center Public Safety and Security Class Advisory Board. Periman is also serving on the Collateral Consequences Work Group tasked by Senators John Coghill, Fred Dyson, Johnny Ellis and Hollis French to reduce recidivism in Alaska.


As we enter into summer it's a good time to get outside, do some fishing, camping and traveling around the state. Make sure to do it safely.

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