Dear UAA Community,
Welcome back to campus! Monday was an important day for our state and nation as we reflected upon the contributions of civil rights leaders, such as Roy and Elizabeth Peratrovich and others in the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood. Their advocacy was instrumental in passage of the 1945 Alaska Anti-Discrimination Act. We also remembered the life of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. who championed equality and challenged us through his teachings that the goal of education is not merely intelligence but “intelligence plus character.”
In light of this, I encourage you to mark your calendars for Diversity Conversations on Friday, Feb. 16. This event is co-sponsored by UAA and First Alaskans Institute as part of their Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation grant funded through the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Look for more information about this event in the coming weeks.
Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan
In addition, Jeane Breinig, interim associate vice chancellor for Alaska Natives and diversity, continues to advance our efforts this semester to implement UAA’s Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan. Recommendations are due to me later this month regarding the reorganization of the Diversity Action Council, which will have primary oversight for implementing the plan and setting benchmarks to measure its effectiveness. I will announce the council’s new structure and invite membership in February. The Faculty Senate Diversity Committee will initiate discussions about how to enhance diversity within our curricula, and we also will commence searches for multicultural postdoctoral positions.
Because student success is at the heart of all we do at UAA, Claudia Lampman, interim vice provost for student success, will be launching several closely connected campuswide initiatives as part of our UAA 2020 goals. These initiatives are designed to help students navigate UAA from application to graduation and include:
- Early outreach to welcome newly admitted students
- Comprehensive advising to help students navigate their first-year experience
- Integrated early course experience in which general education courses focused on building college-level skills are wrapped into learning communities, blocked schedules and coordinated support services in the Learning Commons
- Data-driven approach to academic advising
- New mobile app to improve the way students communicate with their advisors, schedule appointments and receive information about important dates and deadlines
As part of our efforts to enhance student success, we have a number of searches currently underway and others slated to launch in the near future to fill key leadership positions. These include our vice chancellor for administrative services, athletic director, Title IX coordinator and assistant vice chancellor for admissions, recruitment and marketing. I am pleased to say that we recently concluded our search for dean of the UAA College of Business & Public Policy. Karen Markel, a current faculty member and administrator with Oakland University’s School of Business Administration, will join us as CBPP dean in June.
Finally, I encourage you to stay tuned to what’s happening with our legislators in Juneau. Know that UAA leadership is watching developments closely and will keep you informed as the session progresses.
I wish you all much success in the coming year!
Samuel B. Gingerich