Sept. 2011

Dear colleagues and friends,

The energy at UAA is incredible. More students than ever will be attending this fall, with 20,909 across our five campuses. Overall UAA enrollment is up, with more than a third of our students full time (37 percent) and 70 percent of our students seeking degrees.

This month we saw action on two important issues from the Board of Regents. They reaffirmed the joint doctoral degree between UAA and UAF in clinical community psychology. The Board also fully approved our engineering plan that will improve engineering facilities and programs both at UAA and UAF. I want to thank you for the great teamwork that contributed to this success.

Senator Mark Begich visits with UAA engineering students

Senator Mark Begich visits UAA engineering program

We are hitting the ground running. Classes are in full swing and we are celebrating important milestones -- the Seawolf Sports Arena, the 40th anniversary of Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho and the University of Washington (WWAMI) medical program, and the 50th anniversary of the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER).

UAA sports arena celebration

UAA sports arena celebration

WWAMI 40th Anniversary Celebration

WWAMI 40th Anniversary Celebration

UAA's ISER celebrates 50 years

UAA's Institute for Social and Economic Research celebrates 50 years

Congratulations to faculty and staff honored and recognized for their tremendous work at Faculty Staff Convocation.

Tonight we kick off UAA Homecoming 2011, a week filled with special events including the Homecoming dance tonight, our Alumni Association's 2nd Annual Green and Gold Gala -- a sold out black tie scholarship event -- Saturday,  the grand opening of the Health Sciences Building on Friday, Oct., 7 and the Kendall Hockey Classic Oct. 7 and 8. Visit the UAA Homecoming 2011 website for a schedule of events.

women's volleyball

I hope you had a chance, like I did, to watch our Seawolf women's volleyball team in action last night as they beat Seattle Pacific. What a great game!! On Saturday they knocked off 25th-ranked Western Washington. Seawolf women have won five matches in a row, the last two against nationally ranked opponents, and displayed what the Anchorage Daily News calls "a smothering, in-your-face block and a balanced, sometimes spectacular attack."

It's a great day to be a Seawolf!

I'd like to share a few important notes:

Student Notes

Benjamin G. Woodland, a University Honors College Forty-Ninth State Fellow and a double major in German and International Studies, received the 2012-13 Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship to Germany. Ben will receive $27,000 for one academic year and pursue studies in African languages at a German university. Congratulations to Ben and to his mentor, languages professor Natasa Masanovic.

Faculty Notes

Elizabeth Sirles, professor and director of the School of Social Work, received $873,848 from the State of Alaska's Office of Children's Services to support UAA's Child Welfare Academy. This is the 15th year the Child Welfare Academy has partnered with the State of Alaska to provide a complete slate of training for employees in the Office of Children's Services.

Kodiak College recently welcomed Fulbright Scholar Joefe Santarita from the University of the Philippines and National University of Singapore. Professor Santarita will teach four courses, write and conduct research on island-themed topics for the 2011-12 academic year in Kodiak.

Loren Burk and Frank von Hippel received five years of RO1 funding from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences for a study titled "Protecting the Health of Future Generations: Assessing and Preventing Exposures to Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals in Two Alaska Native Arctic Communities on St. Lawrence Island."

Staff Notes

Congratulations to Cathy Dunham for being one of four residents selected in Anchorage's 2011 Community Heroes for heroic volunteerism! Cathy was selected as a 2011 Community Hero for her work with UAA.

Associate Vice Provost for Institutional Research Gary Rice was featured on the front page of the Chronicle of Higher Education for his new approach for measuring student success. Feedback from the 18 beta test sites representing all levels and types of education is exceeding expectations, and steps are being taken to introduce this to a wider higher education audience including state systems, federal agencies and influential professional higher education organizations. See the Chronicle article here.

Grant Notes

A consortium led by the Community and Technical College received a $2.5M piece of a $500M pie from the U.S. Department of Labor for its "Beyond Anchorage: Expanding Developmental and Workforce Education" project, involving UAA's four community campuses: Matanuska-Susitna College, Kenai Peninsula College, Kodiak College and Prince William Sound Community College.

Kodiak College received a nearly $400,000 Title III grant under the Native-American-Serving Nontribal Institutions Program to expand and improve capacity to serve Native American and low income individuals. It is anticipated that the grant will be for five years.

The National Science Foundation awarded Professors Bogdan Hoanca and Kenrick Mock $126,000 to provide eye tracking equipment to further support their research that has lead to a patent providing a new method allowing users to authenticate on computers utilizing eye-related information rather than entering a password.

Research Notes

ISER published a new report, "High Oil Prices Give Alaskans a Second Chance: How Will We Use this Opportunity," by Scott Goldsmith which was featured in the Anchorage Daily News. It is available at

UAA Justice Center's 2011 Victimization Survey for Anchorage conducted through a contract with the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (CDVSA) will be released on Monday, Oct. 3, as we kick off Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Over the last year, the State of Alaska invested more than $400,000 for Justice Center research. The Justice Center secured or maintained 14 externally funded research projects, originally funded for a total of $1.1M. For every dollar the state invested in research, the Justice Center spent $2.21 in external funding.

Fundraising Notes

The 19th annual Celebrity Chef Invitational was a roaring success. With 290 guests, the event sold out and raised an estimated $32,000 in scholarship funds. Thank you to the nearly 90 faculty, staff, students and community supporters who made this happen!

Safety Notes

During the month of August there were five reportable injuries, two of which were associated with lost time. All but one occurred on the Anchorage campus. Back strain from heavy lifting and tripping on a crack in the library parking lot caused the lost time injuries. Cracks are continually patched throughout the summer by facilities or contractor staff.

Anchorage and Mat-Su Campuses will be the focus of a UA Environmental Health and Safety Audit the week of Oct. 10. The Survey Team will also participate in the Night Time Campus Safety Walk on Thursday, Oct. 13 starting at 7:30 p.m. at the Fireside Cafe. Staff from the Office of Sustainability will participate this year. Safety and sustainability is everyone's business.

Safety Tips

We share the campus with a large number of urban moose. It is peak mating season so these large animals are especially unpredictable. Keep your distance and report any aggressive activity to UPD, 786-1120.

If you are using an iPod while walking between classes, please use one ear bud so you can be sensitive to your surroundings. Our campus is open to the public and the trails and sidewalks are filled with bike commuters. Please be alert to your surroundings.

Community Square notes

HOPE/Suicide prevention display at UAA.

 HOPE/Suicide prevention display

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students.

UAA staff from Student Services, Advancement and the Chancellor's Office all wore green and traveled to Begich Middle School to participate in United Way's Rally in support of the goal: 90 percent on-time high school graduation by 2020.

United Way project

Take note of this

This semester marks Kenai Peninsula College's 10th record-breaking semester in a row for headcount and student credit hours. Since spring 2007, KPC's headcount (credit & noncredit) has increased 52 percent with 955 more students resulting in 2,788 enrolled at KPC this semester. SCH increased 64 percent, 6,292 more than five years ago; this semester's SCH now stands at 16,146. This will be the first time that KPC has broken the 1,000 full-time-equivalent level.

Be safe and enjoy all that UAA has to offer.



Tom Case 

Tom Case