Fran Answers Questions January 2011

by Kathleen McCoy  |   

Dear friends and colleagues,

Last weekend provided a wide array of UAA activities, and I was able to participate in several. Friday night, Dean Liszka and UAA art faculty held a salon to discuss art appreciation. Saturday, Wells Fargo was packed with enthusiastic fans watching women and men play intense, hard fought basketball games. And also on Saturday night we attended a world class concert at the Fine Arts Building featuring tenor John Ken Nuzzo with UAA's Timothy Smith on the piano.

John Ken Nuzzo, who has sung with the Metropolitan Opera, is performing in "La Boheme" later this month with the Anchorage Opera. UAA's partnership with the Anchorage Opera is making wonderful opportunities, like this one, available to our students and community.

From athletics to opera, I do hope that you take the time to experience some of the amazing events available at UAA!

We kicked off Civil Rights month with our Martin Luther King Student Appreciation lunch, where we honored 225 students for their efforts at making UAA a better place. They enjoyed a buffet lunch, seated among the faculty and staff who had nominated them. The lunch program began with a tribute to Annie Route for launching the appreciation lunch linked to Martin Luther King 17 years ago. Keynote speaker Lisa Shannon, gave an inspirational speech about how she decided to make a difference in the lives of women who live in the Congo by founding the Run for Congo Women.

UAA faculty presented a review of recent research to the U.S. Arctic Research Commission Jan. 21. Those presenting included David Driscoll, director of the Institute of Circumpolar Health; Mark Johnson, professor in Clinical Community Psychology in the Joint UAF/UAA Ph.D. program and director of the Center for Behavioral Health, Research and Services; Jocelyn Krebs, associate professor of Biological Sciences and statewide director of INBRE; Thomas Ravens, professor and chair of Civil Engineering; Steve Colt, associate professor, Geography & Environmental Studies, Economics and the Institute of Social and Economic Research; Jeffrey Welker, director, Environmental and Natural Resources Institute and Lilian Alessa, professor of Biological Sciences and director of UAA's Resilience and Adaptive Management Group. They provided the Commission an overview of Alaska relevant research underway at UAA which aligns with Commission priority areas.

Seawolf Debaters continue to excel, competing at the 2011 World Championships in Botswana over the winter break. For the first time ever UAA advanced two teams to the elimination phase of the tournament. Of the two UAA teams, the top Alaska team was the top seeded American team, breaking 16th out of the 320 teams after the nine preliminary rounds. This was the highest break ever for a UAA team at the World Championships. UAA senior Akis Gialopsos was ranked the 27th individual speaker out of the 640 students in the competition, marking him as the top speaker from the U.S. and in the top 4 percent overall.

UAA's newest facility, the Health Sciences Building, will open for use fall 2011. In anticipation of the opening, we have begun a reorganization that will integrate the bulk of UAA's health and health-related programs under one college. For information about this ongoing reorganization and periodic updates, visit

As you know, I recently completed my work on the Oil Spill Commission and with my fellow commissioners delivered a report to President Obama in January. I am grateful for the strong leadership team at UAA and UA that has made it possible for me to do commission work and to President Gamble and the Regents for their support. You can follow the work of the Commission on the Oil Spill Commission website.

Did you know


  • The Anchorage campus awarded 555 certificates and degrees at the close of fall 2010 compared to 467 in fall 2009. This represents a 19 percent increase.
  • To ease online registration overloads, fall 2011, upperclassmen will be able to register for courses before other students. We expect this to improve students' path towards graduation.
  • Students working in the Center for Civic Engagement & Learning are going to be liaisons in "social issue areas" such as hunger & homelessness, violence, environment, etc. and link with faculty and community organizations to document existing partnerships and forge new ones.

Faculty and Staff

  • Barbara Bolson, director of Kodiak College, has been selected as the winner of the Alaska Association of Career and Technical Education, Leadership Award. Barbara is being recognized for her leadership and support towards the growth of Career and Technical Education in Kodiak. Congratulations!
  • Christiane Brems, Ph.D. is appointed interim vice provost for research and graduate studies. Brems has served as the UAA director of clinical training in the joint UAA-UAF Ph.D. Program in Clinical-Community Psychology since 2004, and as the co-director for the Center of Behavioral Health Research and Services (CBHRS) since 1999.
  • Claudia Lampman is appointed Graduate School compliance officer and David Yesner is associate dean of the Graduate School.
  • University Police Department (UPD) worked with the Special Olympics on Dec. 18 on the second annual Polar Plunge, raising $275,000.00 for athletes in the state with intellectual disabilities. UPD Chief Rick Shell was one of the first plungers of the day to show law enforcement's continued support for Special Olympics.


  • Seawolves among top six percent of all Division II institutions. Following the completion of the NCAA Division II Fall Championships season, UAA ranks 15th in the Learfield Sports Director's Cup standings.
  • Both men's and women's basketball are ranked among the top five teams in the NCAA Division II West Region: men are #4 and women are #5. And the women are ranked among the top 20 teams in the nation.

Academic Programs

  • Early Childhood partnership with Providence Hospital. The Early Childhood program has begun to use the Providence Early Learning Lab at Providence Hospital. Enrollment numbers for the Early Childhood Program have grown by about 25 percent this year.
  • Elementary Education Rural Alaska partnership in Chevak moves forward. Conversations have begun with Ilisagvik College on how best to allow the new elementary education program to be offered to their graduates in Barrow.


  • Providence Alaska has pledged $2M to UAA: $1.5M to support the operations of the School of Nursing; $250,000 towards an Alaska WWAMI Biomedical Professorship; and will make an in-kind contribution, valued at $250,000, of the EPIC electronic medical records system.
  • Providence is naming a first floor classroom in our new Health Sciences Building the "Dr. Tina DeLapp Classroom, made possible with support from Providence Alaska" in honor of Dr. DeLapp's contributions to nursing education in the Alaska.
  • Icicle Alaska has made a donation of $200,000 to support seafood fisheries research through ISER, and to provide support for programs at KPC Kodiak College, UAS, Ketchikan and Bristol Bay Campus.
  • In December, The Eyak Corporation donated $45,000 to the University of Alaska Anchorage.


  • UAA and its affiliated colleges and campuses received more than $36 million in awards from July through December 2010, of which more than $12.5 million were competitively awarded.
  • State of Alaska's Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault recently awarded the, Justice Center $517,000 to conduct and analyze victimization data surveys.
  • U.S. Small Business Administration awarded $350,000 to the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which resides in UAA's College of Business and Public Policy. The money will be spread over a two-year period and will be used to set up and staff at SBDC in the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce office.
  • UAA faculty received UA EPSCoR awards totaling $104,000 to enhance their research competitiveness and linkages with government agencies and the public.
  • Research partnership on remote airfield lighting: The Native Village of Napaimute is partnering with UAA's Aviation Technology Division with support from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University on the installation and testing of a demonstration lighting system designed for remote airfields.

Community Campuses

  • Kenai Peninsula College (KPC) As of the first day of classes, KPC began another record breaking semester with credit hours going over 14,000 for the first time. This semester's total student credit hours (SCH) is 14,009, with 13,808 academic SCH. Since spring 2007, KPC's SCH has increased 42 percent and headcount has increased 27 percent.
  • Kodiak College Icicle Seafoods donation: Icicle Seafoods Inc. donated $17,300 for student scholarships.
  • Mat-Su College (MSC) Al and Gloria Okeson funded and endowed a $25,000 scholarship for non-traditional students at the MSC campus. Al Okeson was the longest serving college director (27 years) at the college.
  • Prince William Sound Community College (PWSCC) PWSCC 2011 enrollment is up in comparison to the spring 2010 semester. Full-time students have increased by 21 percent, credit hours are up 43 percent, and overall head count is up 42 percent.

As always, thank you for all that you do to make UAA a great university!

Sincerely, Fran Ulmer UAA Chancellor

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