Alaska Native Student Success at UAA

by Cathy Sandeen, UAA Chancellor  |   

Dear UAA Community,

I'm sending this message today to update you on some important work completed over the summer with the goal of better supporting Alaska Native and rural students at UAA. As you know, Native Student Services plays a critical role in welcoming Alaska Native students to the university, providing access to support, resources and community. In fact, you can read some general facts about UAA's Alaska Native students on their website. Even though we have made significant progress in degree completion for our Alaska Native students, there is more work to be done.

One-third of our Alaska Native students are connected with special programs like the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP), Recruitment and Retention of Alaska Natives into Nursing (RRANN) or Alaska Native Community Advancement in Psychology (ANCAP). That means two-thirds of our Alaska Native students are not enrolled in such a program. Research shows community connection, a sense of place, proactive outreach, and more deliberate advising and tutoring play a strong role in student success.

Last year I formed a task force on Alaska Native Student Success. The task force charge and committee members are listed on the chancellor's website.

The task force completed its work and issued this report. I encourage all of you to read it - especially the narrative, written by Don Rearden, that introduces the report. I want to sincerely recognize and thank all task force members for the time and commitment they devoted to this important initiative.

Based on the report and many conversations with Alaska Native and other colleagues within and outside UAA over the summer, I have developed a concept for Alaska Native student support going forward. I invite you to read the concept paper. The goal is to reimagine and re-energize support for the full range of Alaska Native students at UAA, regardless of their major or program.

The first step is to recruit a director for Native Student Services within Student Affairs. The position description is available online. The second step is to initiate a campaign to develop a new name for this center.

Again, I want to thank so many of you who provided advice and counsel to me. I am excited about our plans for the future. Please stay tuned for further developments.

Cathy Sandeen
UAA Chancellor

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