October 2008

by Kathleen McCoy  |   

Click here for the audio podcast version of the October 2008 FAQ.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

October has been full of wonderful events: Homecoming, the Kendall Hockey Classic, "As You Like It" on UAA's Mainstage, "Through Our Eyes" in the Student Union Gallery, authors Harold Napoleon, Velma Wallis, Aaron Leggett and Ray Clements in the Bookstore, and UAA Percussion in the Fine Arts Recital Hall.

HSB Last week we broke ground on the new Health Sciences Building and thanked those who helped make this new building possible, including the six legislators who attended. The first phase of Health Sciences will house WWAMI and Nursing. A second phase will house Medical Imaging and Assisting, Pharmacy Technology, expanded simulation labs, Massage Therapy, Physical Therapy Assisting and Fire and Emergency Services Technology. This is a great beginning!

Our Community Campuses are also in high gear this semester with candidate forums, art shows, Halloween parties, and classes. At Mat-Su College the Dr. Ping-Tung Chang Scholarship Fund has reached the $25,000 minimum and the first scholarship will be awarded in Spring. I've just returned from visiting Kodiak College where I met with students, faculty and staff. I attended several classes, including a distance delivered nursing class that helps connect students and faculty around the state. Senator Gary Stevens attended the community reception at the college and expressed support for our efforts to provide a variety of programs, from welding to elementary education, from OSHA training to nursing. It's clear that the community is very supportive.

We continued our celebration of the 50th anniversary of Alaska statehood with the Forum of Young Alaskans (see youngalaskans.org), the Egan Day Dinner, and our first-ever Alaska Week during which we unveiled the wonderful new Anchorage Times exhibit in the Consortium Library. If you haven't already seen it, please visit the second floor of the library and take a look at the panels of some of the most influential and memorable front page newspaper stories. Also during Alaska Week, UAA co-sponsored the Alaska Historical Society's annual meeting celebrating Statehood with many remarkable speakers, including US Senator Inouye.

As the weather gets colder, energy is on our minds. UAA has been working with others to address energy and sustainability issues. We are in the final stages of hiring a director for our new Office of Sustainability. The director will work with students, faculty and staff to develop sustainable practices at UAA. The director will also work with our neighbors to reduce carbon emissions and develop more sustainable practices in the U-Med District.

UAA, the Municipality of Anchorage, Providence Alaska Medical Center, Alaska Pacific University, the Anchorage School District, Green Star, Southcentral Foundation, Alaska Psychiatric Institute and the Alaska Native Tribal Health signed an agreement on October 1 to collectively find ways to practice and improve waste reduction, energy conservation and pollution prevention. It is our hope that this agreement will serve to inspire others to join together to work toward more sustainable practices.

The cost of energy is affecting many in our state and during the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention UAA co-sponsored "The Energy Challenge: Community Solutions," a forum with the Alaska Federation of Natives, First Alaskans Institute/Alaska Native Policy Center and Shell to look at the energy constraints on Alaska communities and the challenge of conservation and climate change. We shared research ISER has done on the cost of fuel in the state along with other reports on the rural economy. The forum relied upon observations of the Aspen Institute's Dialogue and Commission on Arctic Climate Change that finds that all residents of the Arctic, especially indigenous peoples, have a vital interest in policy making processes that address the significant and rapid change related to global warming. I, along with Marvin Odum, President of Shell, who was also at the energy forum, serve on the Aspen Institute's Commission on Arctic Climate Change.

I am privileged to represent UAA not only on the Aspen Commission, but also on the National Advisory Board of the Union of Concerned Scientists. You can read the latest report on the role new coal plant technologies might have in addressing climate change at http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/coal-power-warming-world-0151.html. Union of Concerned Scientists also released a media policy scorecard: "Freedom to Speak? A Report on Federal Agency Media Policies." The report grades 15 federal agencies on their policies for controlling communications between staff scientists and the news media. http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/federal-agency-media-policies-0152.html

By developing a sustainability plan and office, joining our neighbors in the U-Med District, working to reduce our carbon footprint and more efficiently using energy, and by participating in forums and commissions discussing alternative energy policies we are taking important steps to be responsible for our own little piece of the planet and to lead others by our example.

Q: What special announcement was made about the ANSEP Chair at the AFN Banquet?
A: We were delighted to announce the creation of a new endowed chair at UAA. Through the generosity of donors Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, ASRC Energy Services, ANSEP Alumni, BP, Chevron, CIRI, ConocoPhillips, Shell Oil and Udelhoven Oilfield System Services, and a $2M top-off gift from the Rasmuson Foundation, an endowment in excess of $4M will establish the Herbert P. Schroeder Endowed Chair of the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program. Three industry donors, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, ASRC Energy Services and BP, pledged each $500,000 toward the endowment.

Q: What did an essay, extracurricular activities and a recommendation letter do for Tracey Alexander?
A: They helped her receive the Merit Award from the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS). Tracey Alexander, a new member of the UAA chapter of NSCS, received a $1,000 scholarship to defer the cost of college education. These scholarships are awarded to only 50 outstanding new members nationwide. Recipients are chosen based on their...essays, extracurricular activities and a recommendation letter.

Q: What is the national media saying about UAA's Gary Rice?
A: An "Inside Higher Ed" article applauds UAA's Vice Provost for Institutional Research Gary Rice's innovative approach to measuring student success that goes beyond measuring just first-time full-time students graduation rates within 6 years for a bachelor's degree and four years for an associate degree. Gary's new plan tracks student success over a 10-year period and takes into consideration questions such as: Are you back the next year? Did you transfer? Did you graduate with a degree? Did you graduate with an interim degree (short of your eventual goal)? Are you achieving grades that qualify as a success to stay on track to reaching your non-degree goal? The article quotes the executive director of the Association for Institutional Research saying that he hopes Gary's approach will extend the national discussion about measuring success. Congratulations!

Q: How will Jan Harris help us meet Alaska's needs for health education?
A: Jan Harris, Associate Dean of the College of Health and Social Welfare, has accepted the Vice Provost for Health Programs position in the Office of Academic Affairs. UAA is the lead UA institution for health care and health sciences education. Jan will serve as liaison to industry, governmental, and community entities and collaborate closely with public and private sector partners to maintain and develop our programs supporting workforce development and high-demand careers.

Did you know?

  • UAA men's cross country team swept the top three spots and placed four runners in the top five to claim their third league title, while the UAA women earned runner-up status at the 8th annual GNAC Cross Country Championships.
  • Sophomore Marko Cheseto was named 2008 GNAC Cross Country Male Athlete of the Year following his Yakima, Washington GNAC Championship victory.
  • UAA's women's basketball team is ranked number 5 in the nation in NCAA Division II.
  • A season-high 795 fans packed the Wells Fargo Sports Complex to watch UAA Women's Volleyball take on arch-rival Alaska Fairbanks. UAA fell a couple points short, even with a career-high 29 kills from senior Rhea Cardwell.
  • Seawolf Hockey won the Brice Alaska Goal Rush at Fairbanks' Carlson Center October 18. They continued their unbeaten streak to four games with a 4-1-1 overall and 1-0-1 in WCHA play. As of Monday, October 27, 2008, the Seawwolves are ranked number 19 in the USA!

Thank you for all you do to make UAA a great university!


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