Fran Answers Questions March 2011

by Kathleen McCoy  |   

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

It's been a great pleasure to take the helm at UAA this month -- while Chancellor Ulmer has been traveling. Much has changed since I was dean of the College of Business and Public Policy from 2002-2006. I am taking time to become reacquainted and newly acquainted with this great university. During March, I've also visited each of the community campuses and was greatly impressed. On-site programs and e-learning, in programs such as nursing and education, make consistent, quality, higher education available to students throughout Southcentral Alaska.

We surprised Brett Frazer this week with the news that he received a Truman Scholarship. Brett is UAA's fifth Truman Scholar in the last six years. Alyssa Logan and Brett were both finalists. Just to be a finalist is a great honor. Congratulations to both Brett and Alyssa on their achievement. Of course, neither would have been able to accomplish this without the support of UAA faculty and staff who provide mentoring to our students.

Congratulations also to Wesley Burgess, a mechanical engineering student who will be spending the 2011-12 school year in Germany with a Congress-Bundestag scholarship. Wesley is our seventh student in six consecutive years to receive this prestigious award. Natasa Masonovic, associate professor in the German Languages Department, has worked with each of these students. Thank you!

UAA's Rapid Prototype and Manufacturing Lab

We had a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the first phase of the Rapid Prototype and Manufacturing Lab, launched with a generous gift from BP Exploration. From L to R: Incoming Chancellor Case; Dean, School of Engineering, Rob Lang; Karen Cowart is the Director, Community & Public Affairs, BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc.; and Gordon Pospisil, Technology Manager, BP. The lab will give our students the opportunity to have cutting-edge design experiences.

UAA Rapid Prototype and Manufacturing Lab

Congratulations to Chancellor Ulmer on her recent appointment as chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission by President Obama. The position is a wonderful continuation of her long career in public service.

University of Norland

University of Nordland

I greatly appreciate Chancellor Case stepping in as I traveled to the University of Norland this month to participate in the 5th Annual Arctic Dialogues to speak on Arctic development. It was a privilege to join Arctic heads of state, industry leaders, indigenous and non-indigenous Arctic community members, academics, and other key stakeholders to discuss common issues and solutions surrounding resource development in the Arctic.

Kudos to all of our Seawolf athletes! Both the men's and women's track & field teams are ranked in the top 20 in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association NCAA Division II preseason rankings. UAA Track & Field star David Registe leaped nearly 26 feet to win the long jump in Las Vegas recently, earning him the No. 5-ranked long jump in the world. UAA's hockey team wrapped up its best season since 1992-93, securing a spot in the WCHA Final Five and our student athletes produce a 3.0 GPA as a whole. Way to go!

On the last day of March, Seawolf athletics received a program-record 13th place in the Learfield Sports Director's Cup standings -- the rankings quantify the national success of all 281 NCAA Division II programs. This puts UAA in the top five percent of all NCAA Division II programs. The final ranking will come out in June. Go Seawolves!

We would both like to share the following wonderful successes at UAA with you.

Students and Student Service Success

Alaska Anchorage junior Hanna Johansson was named an honorable mention selection on the Women's Basketball Coaches Association/State Farm NCAA Division II All-America Team. The 6-2 center earlier received both Daktronics (sports information directors) and WBCA All-West Region honors, along with First Team All-Great Northwest Athletic Conference accolades.

UAA's Office of Student Affairs is hosting 1,000 Anchorage School District students through two programs: I'm Going to College brings 600 fifth and sixth grade students from Title I schools to the Anchorage campus; and We The People: The Citizen and the Constitution Competition brings 400 seventh and eighth grade students to the Anchorage campus for state competition with UAA volunteers serving as judges.

Faculty and Staff Success

The Anchorage Municipal Assembly has proclaimed March 10, 2011, "Dr. Sharon Chamard Day," in recognition of her work with the Fairview Community Council and her outstanding community service to a variety of projects and organizations in Anchorage. Dr. Chamard is Justice Center faculty.

Program Success

UAA Institute of Social and Economic Research

ISER staff from left to right: Dr. Steve Colt, staffer Sam Gottstein, Senator Johnny Ellis, Dr. Heather Hudson, Dr. Diane Hirshberg and Dr. Scott Goldsmith.

UAA's Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) visited the Capitol to brief legislators on three topics of interest: the Alaska economy, energy and education. This special event is part of ISER's celebration of 50 years of public policy and research in Alaska, after being established by the Alaska Legislature in 1961. Sen. Johnny Ellis co-sponsored the event with Rep. Craig Johnson and introduced ISER's new director, Dr. Heather Hudson.

Thank you to Sen. Gary Stevens for spearheading the passage of a legislative citation in honor of ISER's 50th Anniversary this year.

The Lucy Cuddy Dining, operated by UAA's Culinary Arts Program, received a positive restaurant review in the Anchorage Daily News. In addition, the writer of the story is a graduate of both the UAA Culinary Arts program and the Journalism and Public Communications program. Read the story on the Anchorage Daily News website.

Development Success

College of Fellows members (UAA's leadership donors) were treated to a "Taste of the Arts" on March 17, including a private art show of works by faculty and students and demonstration of pottery making with Steve Godfrey, head of the ceramics studio.

The annual Faculty and Staff Giving Campaign launched this month. Currently, 14 percent of faculty and staff participate. Our goal, this year, is 20 percent participation. The Chancellor's fund will match any new or increased gift up to $2,500. Thank you for giving to UAA!

Pebble Limited Partnership gave $100K to cover a portion of the salary and research start-up expenses for a Professor of Economic Geology at UAA. This position will significantly expand the department's capacity and fills a critical gap in the faculty. One hundred percent of recent UAA Geology graduates who have entered the job market have stayed in Alaska to work in the field. Other recent contributors to the professorship include International Tower Hill, Kiska Metals and Millrock Resources.

Sustainability at UAA

The UAA/APU Consortium Library is saving energy by better managing the power used by its PCs. According to Paula Williams, director of UAA's Office of Sustainability, the Library is saving more than $4,000 each year.

Public Square

A dozen UAA Alumni were named to the Anchorage "Top 40 Under 40" including Molly Just, B.B.A. '04 & M.B.A. '07; Benjamin Kanohokula, B.S.W. '09; Jocelyn Wilson, M.B.A. '09; Mark Ayers, B.S. '98 & M.S. '01; Heather Cavanaugh, M.B.A. '08; Jennifer Dahle Harrison, B.S. '96; Rebecca Leigh Sousa Hayes, B.S. '02; Michelle D. Maynor, B.B.A. '04; Ryan Ray, B.S. '04; Andrew J. Romerdahl, M.B.A. '08; Christopher Schutte, B.A. '01; Francisca Talavera, A.A. '92. They are joined by Robert Capuozzo, Monica Kane and Andre Rosay, bringing  the number of UAA faculty, staff and alumni on the Top Forty list to 15, more than one third of those honored this year for their leadership and skill.

UAA/APU Consortium Library hosted and UAA's Office of Sustainability helped produce the Alaska Botanical Garden's Annual Spring Conference, which drew 250 people. Executive director of the Alaska Botanical Garden wrote that the venue and partnership were primary contributing factors to the on-going success of this "signature event" and singled out Judy Green for her assistance.


UAA received 14 awards totaling more than $1.3M between March 7-18, 2011. Of these, 11 awards are in Research ($874K), one award was received in Instruction ($86K), and two awards were received in Other Sponsored Activity ($346K).

David Driscoll, director of Institute of Circumpolar Health Studies (ICHS), recently received a $250K research award from the State of Alaska Health and Human Services (HHS). The funding will be used to assess the characteristics of clients in the Alaska Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

Vivian Gonzalez, assistant professor of Psychology and Joint Clinical-Community Psychology Ph.D. Program, received $167K from the National Institute on Abuse and Alcoholism (a division of NIH) to study the association between suicidal ideation/behavior and alcohol use and develop a model to determine how these are related.

Community Campus Success

Kachemak Bay Campus Bayview Hall

KPC Kachemak Bay Campus's new building, Bayview Hall, opened on Monday, March 21. The building makes it possible for all faculty, staff and students to be in one location rather than a mile apart.

UAA Matanuska-Susitna College student Christel Kristek

Matanuska-Susitna College student Christel Kristek named Coca-Cola New Century Scholar

Christel Kristek, Phi Theta Kappa, has been named a Coca-Cola New Century Scholar and will be awarded a $2,000 scholarship from the Coca-Cola Foundation and the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation.

PWSCC held the 19th Annual Scholarship Fundraiser on Feb 26. The Mardi Gras theme event had more than 230 people attend and raised over $30K dollars, which is all going to support PWSCC students. The fundraiser has raised close to $500K since it began in 1993 and has benefitted scholarships for hundreds of students at PWSCC.

Many thanks for all you do to make UAA a great university!

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