Feb. 2012

by Kathleen McCoy  |   

Dear UAA community,

This week University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Chancellor Rogers, University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) Chancellor Pugh and I met with legislators and the University of Alaska (UA) Booster Caucus in Juneau. It was a good opportunity for the "three amigos," as the chancellors call ourselves, to talk about how our institutions are working together to meet the need for higher education and workforce training throughout the state.

More and more we are coordinating delivery of programs in high-demand areas including health, engineering, workforce training and fisheries. As UA's health campus, UAA is working collaboratively on allied and behavioral health curricula, distance delivery of programs and calculating Alaska's workforce needs so that students who want to go into health-related fields have a better feel for where the jobs will be when they graduate.

Through distance delivery and 13 physical locations outside of Anchorage, UAA can provide students throughout the state a viable way to get a nursing degree. Students at any university campus or community campus are able to complete an A.A. degree in social work and progress into the UAF distance B.A. Social Work or UAA campus-based B.S.W. degree programs having met the pre-major liberal arts requirements. This means that any qualified student in the UA system can complete an associate of arts, bachelor's and master's degrees in social work in their home community-meeting a high-demand workforce need statewide.

In the fishing industry, Kodiak College is partnering with UAS/Ketchikan to deliver the associate degree in fisheries via distance to students in Kodiak. Students may complete their GERs at Kodiak College and fisheries courses through Ketchikan and UAS Juneau via distance while working and doing internships in industries on Kodiak Island. It's a win/win for our students and their employers.

We are also working to improve advising (with money in the Board of Regents' FY13 budget specifically designated for this) so that students can better plan their university education. The Stay On Track "Finish in Four" campaign is taking off at UAA with 14.6 percent (303) more students enrolled in 15 or more credits spring semester 2012 than in spring 2011.

What does all this mean? It means that university faculty and staff will have a greater opportunity to learn about education, training and research programs being conducted by colleagues from across the University System, continue to identify opportunities for collaboration and improve service to students no matter where they live in Alaska.

Student Notes
  • Mechanical engineering student Kaelin Ellis has been accepted to the prestigious Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP) at the University of Michigan (UM). Upon completion and acceptance at UM, SROP guarantees a five-year Ph.D. fellowship at UM.
Stephanie Peterkin

Photo: Stephanie Peterkin, a RRANN student in our prenursing Cingumaq group, is Miss Fur Rendezvous Queen 2012! She will also be in the July Forth parade and at the Alaska State Fair this year.

  • CLS logoCaitlin Cheely, a Russian language major and a Forty-Ninth State Fellow in the Honors College, and William Giedosh, a major in the International Studies Russia Track, have been awarded the highly competitive Department of State 2012 Critical Languages Scholarship in Russian. In addition, language student Ben Woodland-German and international studies major, history minor-won UAA's first Critical Languages Scholarship in Turkish.
  • Juneau team with Bettye DavisUAA students recently discussed scholarship programs such as the Alaska Performance Scholarship and the need to increase funding for needs-based scholarships such as the AlaskaAdvantage grant program in a meeting with Alaska State Senator Bettye Davis.
  • Taylor RohdeMen's basketball player Taylor Rohde has been selected the Great Northwest Athletic Conference's (GNAC) 2011-12 Player of the Year and also repeated as an All-GNAC First Team honoree. Congratulations!
  • Military Honor CordWe announced a symbolic new initiative honoring our graduating active duty military and veteran students. Red, white and blue honor cords will be made available to any graduating active duty, guard/reserve or veteran student interested in wearing one during commencement. These cords signify the appreciation that UAA feels toward our military and veteran community for their service and sacrifice.
Faculty Notes
  • UAA Professor Paul Johnson is the new University of Alaska Harold T. Caven Professor of Business.
  • Drs. Lil Alessa and Andrew Klisky received two grants from the National Science Foundation: a prestigious Dynamics of Coupled Natural Systems award for $1.5M and a national workshop award for defining the social science priorities in sustainability research.
  • Top 40 Under 40 logoSunny Mall, assistant professor of secondary education in the College of Education, is the recipient of a Alaska Journal of Commerce's 2012 'Top Forty Under 40' award.
  • Assistant Professor of Political Science Dalee Dorough was appointed chair of the Alaska Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
  • April Counceller, assistant professor of Alutiiq language and culture at Kodiak College was recently elected to the Alaska Anthropological Association Board of Directors.
  • Dr. Gabriel Garcia, assistant professor of public health, was awarded by the Alaska Public Health Association the Barbara Berger "Excellence in Public Health Award." Scott Goldsmith received an Alaska Meritorious Health Service Award.
Staff Notes

Facilities team

Photo: Thank you to our outstanding Facilities team. All year long they keep our campus up and operating, keeping us safe and able to do our jobs. This year, with record snow fall of well over 100 inches, the team is working harder than ever-logging over 3,000 man and equipment hours. We appreciate all that you are doing!

Phillip Miller, KPC construction project manager has become one of just 49 people in the world and only the second in Alaska to earn the Educational Facilities Professional Certification Credential. UAA's Chris Turletes also earned the credential.

Honors Note

The recently established Gamma Iota Chapter of the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health announced its first honorary and alumni inductees. Honorary inductees are: 
Dr. Larry Weiss, professor emeritus and founding director, Alaska Center for Public Policy; Dr. Linda Chamberlain, director, Alaska Family Violence Prevention Project and Dr. Tom Hennessy, director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Arctic Investigations Program. UAA MPH alums inducted are: Kathy Allely ('08), Kathy Anderson ('09), Vanessa Hiratsuka ('07), Kerry Pride ('09) and Tammy Zulz ('07).

Grants and Research Award Notes

The Institute for Circumpolar Health Studies received $375K through the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation and the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority to evaluate the impact of Alaska Housing First programs in relation to alcohol dependence, overall health and cost effectiveness.

The Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault awarded the UAA Justice Center $350K in grant funding to continue measuring violence against women in Alaska in the Alaska Victimization Survey. The center also received a grant from the Tundra Women's Coalition to evaluate the Teens Acting Against Violence program.

Development Notes
  • Gift logosBP donated $1M to UAA's School of Engineering for an Asset Integrity and Corrosion Lab, the first in the state.
  • Icicle Seafoods, Inc. contributed $300K to benefit various programs within University of Alaska system focusing on fishing industry and seafood market research and career development. These gifts bring Icicle Seafoods' accumulative donations to over $1M.
  • Chugach Alaska Corporation donated $100K to support Excellence in Alaska Native Business and Public Policy.
Public Square Notes

waste auditPhoto: Anchorage middle school students participate in a waste audit at UAA as part of the UAA TRiO Programs' celebration of the national day of service. Dr. Joe Martin, keynote speaker, told students who will be the first in their family to go to college, that "it doesn't matter where you start in life, it's where you finish." He added, "Your decision to go to college is not about you. It's about the people who follow you. Your decision impacts future generations."

Kenai Peninsula College's Kenai River Campus hosted its 22nd annual career exploration event that is aimed at Kenai Peninsula high school students, college students and members of the public. More than 90 professionals representing 60 career fields presented occupational and education information to more than 230 attendees from around the Central Peninsula.

Mat-Su College's Alaska Civil Rights Day celebration drew 51 attendees including representatives from Senator Lisa Murkowski's office, Knik Tribal Council and Southcentral Foundation. Director Talis Colberg delivered the keynote address to the standing-room-only audience.

Safety Note

UAA reported a total of 24 recordable injuries during 2011, including eight back injuries, six slip and fall, four other strain, three struck by object, two vehicle and one laceration. We are continuing to improve safety at UAA through messaging, training and safety leadership training and assessment for faculty and staff March 1 and 2.

Safety Tip: Most injuries involve a slip, trip or fall, or a strain, sprain or back injury. We live in a challenging environment. Wear your Spikies and take your time when walking around campus. Injuries occur when one rushes. If you need more help or specialized equipment, ask your supervisor.

Note of Welcome

Please join me in welcoming to our Anchorage campus the Alaska Native American Business Enterprise Center (AK NABEC). AK NABEC, funded by the Minority Business Development Agency and partners with the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development, is working with the University of Alaska Center for Economic Development and officially opened this month. We look forward to the increased opportunity for UAA faculty, students, programs and research to better serve the economic development of our state.

Be safe and enjoy all that UAA has to offer!

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