May 2011

by Kathleen McCoy  |   

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

I am so impressed by the high caliber of our faculty, staff and students. Every day I learn of impressive accomplishments at UAA including important research; student awards and athletic achievements; along with faculty and staff going the extra mile to help students succeed in their educational goals.

Just within this last month:

  • UAA was named to the 2010 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the only university in Alaska on the list.

  • 2011 Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout lineup is out: Along with host Alaska Anchorage, women's teams from Miami (Fla.) and South Florida, and men's teams from UC Irvine, Central Michigan, Dartmouth, Murray State, New Mexico State, San Francisco and Southern Mississippi will appear at Sullivan Arena for the 34th annual college basketball tournament. Another team will be announced soon to finalize the women's field. This year's tourney is scheduled for Nov. 22-26, opening with women's first-round action on Tuesday night and concluding with the men's championship on Saturday.

  • Junior Alfred Kangogo finalized a remarkable track & field season for Alaska Anchorage by claiming the Seawolves' best finish at the 2011 NCAA Div. II Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Saturday, with a third-place showing in the 1,500 meters. Seawolves concluded the championships with five All-America honors, tying the most in program history. Collecting All-America honors were David Registe, Ruth Keino, Micah Chelimo, Alfred Kangogo and Susan Bick.

  • Nearly 1,000 students in grades 5, 7 and 8 visited UAA's campus -- some to tour and learn about college, others to participate in "We The People" civics knowledge challenge.

The amazing reach of UAA on our five campuses, through our public square, e-learning, and beyond, is changing the delivery of higher education to Alaskans.

UAA staff development day

UAA had a record number of staff participate in Staff Development Day on May 12 with nearly 700 taking part in lectures, tours, health screenings, lunch and campus fair. Volunteers throughout the University helped put on this extremely successful event to show our appreciation for UAA's hard-working staff.

Safety is an important part of a thriving campus community and at UAA "Safety is Everybody's Business." As a campus community, we can increase our safety awareness by becoming familiar with UAA's policies concerning campus security. You will find this information online at You will also find a section of CaseNotes devoted to reporting incidents. UAA is a relatively safe campus. By staying informed, alert and watching out for one another, we can keep it this way!

UAA fared well in the legislature this spring. Highlights on the operating side include funding for the ConocoPhillips Integrated Science Building ($314,200), UAA Honors College ($100,000 one-time funding); Recruitment and Retention of Alaska Natives into Nursing (RRANN) ($311,100), and UAA Health Sciences Building ($200,000). On the capital side we received $1.8M for Kenai Peninsula housing and $34M for the sports arena. Please urge the governor to approve these items. Thanks to those who advocated so well for these initiatives.

The Board of Regents meets this week to give approval for the coming year's projects.

On the horizon: This summer, the University of Alaska will engage in a significant statewide strategic planning effort. Planning is vital to accomplishing goals and we look forward to working with President Gamble, the University of Alaska Fairbanks and University of Alaska Southeast to map out a course for the future.

Student Success Notes

International Studies major Cortney Corbet has been awarded the highly competitive Fall 2011 Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for study in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Brian Quinlan, Lauren Caruso, Emily Lescak, Aliza Segal and Ashley Stanek received funding from the Center for Global Change and Arctic System Research for studies in Alaska ranging from ground squirrel gut microbial physiology to wolf feeding ecology in the Lake Clark region.

Kent Spiers and Kyle Yan received the 2011 Seawolf Community Service Award and Kristofer Homerding, Erick Romi, Candice Perfect and Jason Richards received Seawolf Student Leader Award. UAA Student Life and Leadership recognized these students for going above and beyond the norm.

Faculty and Staff Notes

Maria Bonifacio, associate director of Residence Life, received the 2011 Staff Make Students Count Award from UA President Gamble. Congratulations.

Patricia Chesbro has accepted the position of interim dean for the College of Education. Thank you.

Eric Pedersen joins UAA later in June as associate vice chancellor for Enrollment Management. Pedersen has more than 20 years experience in recruitment, admissions, enrollment management and financial aid, including an executive cabinet level position.

Relevant Research Notes

The Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) continues to explore the implications of Alaska economic and fiscal dependence on petroleum with two new web based publications--"Four Scenarios for Alaska's Future" and "Revising the State Fiscal Plan to Account for Petroleum Wealth." Economist Scott Goldsmith briefed a group of legislators on these studies and related work May 26. Economist Steve Colt was the invited speaker at the first meeting of the Commonwealth North study group on Rural and Alternative Energy on May 19.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided funding for Don Spalinger, professor of biological sciences, to conduct a three-year research project on caribou and their habitat on Unimak Island, Alaska.

Jennifer Burns, associate professor of biological sciences, received funding from the North Pacific Research Board to develop and compare scientific and LTK (local & traditional knowledge) information on seals in Iliamna Lake.

"Violent and Property Offenses in Anchorage, 2003-2009," the most recent issue of Justice Center Research Overview, presents crime rates and number of offenses for violent and property crimes in Anchorage known to police from 2003 to 2009.

Program Success Notes

UAA and the Nerland Agency earned a silver award in the 26th Annual Educational Advertising Awards for the "Champions" TV ads, presented by Higher Education Marketing Report. The TV commercials highlight the achievements of UAA's outstanding Seawolf student-athletes. Check out the award-winning spots on UAA's YouTube channel. Howl for the Hometeam!

K-12 Connections

A donation from BP Alaska will enable Engineering camps for middle and high school students this summer. Several one-week camps will be offered, each with a focus in areas including robotics, 3-D modeling and rapid prototyping, and GPS tracking.

Public Square Notes

Evolution of Telecommunications in Alaska

You are invited to attend a day-long event exploring the history of telecommunications in Alaska: The evolution of telecommunications in Alaska: from bush telephones to broadband on June 13


UAA bike to work day

UAA participated in Bike to Work Day on May 20.

Dr. Sharon Chamard, Justice faculty, was one of the guides for the "Community and Problem Oriented Police in Anchorage" tour of Fairview and Spenard that highlighted the work being done by the Anchorage Police Department's Community Action Policing Team. Dr. Chamard and co-presenter, Allen Kemplen, spoke on crime prevention through environmental design and defensible space which includes the concepts of fencing, traffic calming and landscaping.

UAA College of Education honored Dr. Ray Barnhardt and the late Dr. Oscar Kawagley with 2011 William Demmert Leadership Awards for their groundbreaking work in the field of indigenous knowledge and culture. The College of Education presented this award to Dr. Kawagley before he lost his battle with cancer on April 24, 2011.

Development Notes

This fiscal year, we've seen a 20 percent increase in the number of donors to UAA.

  • An 18 percent increase in the numbers of dollars raised through our student-run phonathon program -- this year their total was $152,000 -- a record high.

  • Over the last three fiscal years, the program has increased dollars raised by 50 percent and the number of alumni donors by 67 percent.

  • This year saw more than $700,000 raised from student scholarships. 432 awards were made to 300 students -- these are students who may not have otherwise been able to attend UAA. Eleven new scholarships were created. In five years, there have been 7,000 separate gifts to scholarships. 2,000 of those gifts to scholarships are made by alumni.

Great work by the UAA Advancement team and our wonderful donors.

Safety Notes

April 2011: During April we had a total of four injuries, all work related, with no loss of time. These included a slip on ice outside the King Career Center, back strain lifting a small item, lacerated finger while taking out trash and an injured knee while a UPD officer subdued a subject. Property incidents included a vehicle sliding off a road on Alumni Loop Road (a barrier will be installed on the curve) and graffiti to multiple buildings (suspect apprehended and graffiti removed).

Safety tip: Use the appropriate tool for the task. For instance, make sure the ladder you use is rated for the appropriate weight (chairs and tables are not ladders).

Community Campus Notes

First Mat-Su College Art Festival is scheduled for Saturday, June 4. Instructors will teach visual arts related workshops from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Free lunch will be provided for participants, with ages ranging from high school through senior citizen, and skill levels from beginner to advanced. Register for the Machetanz Art Festival online at or by calling Student Services at (907) 745-9746.

Rita Dove is the keynote speakerKachemak Bay Campus of Kenai Peninsula College hosts the Kachemak Bay Writers' Conference, June 10-14 in Homer, featuring poet Rita Dove.

Prince William Sound Community College presents the Last Frontier Theatre Conference June 12-18 in Valdez.

Kodiak College partnered with the Kodiak Regional Construction Academy and the Kodiak Workforce Regional Advisory Council to offer its third Construction Academy held at the college April 9-May 6. Twelve students completed the program, including a three-credit OSH A101 course and awarding of the OSHA 30-hour awareness card.

Brandon Gilbert

Brandon Gilbert (above, center) is the first Kodiak High School senior to complete all required courses for the 31-credit Undergraduate Technology Certificate, Welding Technology, at Kodiak College while concurrently enrolled in high school.

The Kachemak Bay Campus held an open house on Friday, May 13, to celebrate the opening of the new Bayview Hall Classroom Building. The building was completed on schedule and within budget.

At Mat-Su College, 135 students completed Occupational Endorsement Certificates, Undergraduate Certificates, Associate of Arts, Associate of Applied Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees. Dr. Ian Dutton of the Alaska SeaLife Center was Mat-Su College's featured commencement speaker.

I am honored to serve UAA and to continue the culture of collaboration and service to our students, our community and our state. Thank you for all you do to make UAA a great university!

Best regards,

Creative Commons License "May 2011" is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.