Dear UAA community,
For the past few years the university focused on inputs, adding more programs and serving more students. We are now shifting our focus to outputs: increased graduation rates, research that helps the state and with construction of engineering buildings at UAA and UAF to train the engineers Alaska needs. As we gear up for interaction with the state Legislature, you play a key role in providing grassroot support of university priorities that will help us meet these goals.
Priorities this year include deferred maintenance to keep up our buildings as well as advising and programs to help students graduate on time. On-time graduation is better for students and better for the local economy. Students, alumni, faculty and staff are important to our legislative success. You, more than anyone else, know personally UAA’s impact on our community and state. To learn more about the budget and receive legislative updates from Chris Christensen, the Associate Vice President for State Relations, check out UA’s State Relations website.
Congratulations to Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Mike Driscoll on his promotion to president of Indiana University of Pennsylvania. I’ve worked with Mike both when I served as dean of the College of Business and Public Policy and as chancellor. We are losing such an exceptional colleague. As our longest serving provost, Mike’s vision and leadership have had a tremendous impact on our institution and its place in our community. We are gearing up for a national search to fill this significant position and will keep you posted on our progress. Please join me in wishing Mike great success — he will be an outstanding university president.
Thank you to those who have gone to listening sessions and provided input on Shaping Alaska’s Future, the statewide initiative to explore how the University of Alaska System (UA) can become more productive and aligned with priorities of students, faculty and staff and the people of the state. Issues coming forward include creating a better partnership with business and the community; increasing UA’s capacity to generate more creative and alternative pathways to degrees and certificates; enhancing advising, and transferability of credit, especially credits that apply to a major; making e-learning more accessible; the importance of dual credit courses to help high school students transition to college; meeting community needs for skilled workers, teachers and other high demand jobs in Alaska; and providing assistance with financial aid. These are just a few of the issues coming up. To learn more and to provide your input, visit the Shaping Alaska’s Future website.
At UAA we are seeing an increase in advising and participation by students in the Stay on TRACK “Finish in Four” initiative, with students making the commitment to complete 30 credtis a year, choose a major, see an advisor and take other smart steps to finish their degree in four years. It’s a great way to go — maybe not for everyone — but for those who want to get through in four years, we are here to help.
Among the many stunning achievements of our scholar athletes, our women’s basketball team continues to rank among the nation’s elite programs, ranking in the NCAA Division II Top 25 poll for a nation-best 75 straight weeks and winning at an 84 percent clip over the last six seasons. UAA currently leads the Great Northwest Athletic Conference and is on track for a sixth straight playoff berth.
The Alaska Sports Hall of Fame established a new award, the Pride of Alaska, and named UAA’s Women’s Basketball program the first winner of the award.
Check out just a few of the many noteworthy achievements at UAA:
- Honors student Brian Franklin has been accepted to Harvard Business School’s M.B.A. program.
- Journalism and Public Communications senior Heather Aronno earned second place in the William Randolph Hearst Foundation’s annual Journalism Awards Program’s Radio Competition.
- Student caller Shaquanna Hall brought in the largest gift to date from the UAA phonathon program, $10K.
- Seawolf debaters are making us proud with their stellar performance at the World Universities Debating Championship. Our team is second only to Yale among teams from the U.S. and eighth overall out of the 195 universities competing. Outstanding.
Faculty and Staff Notes
- Kenai Peninsula College director Gary J. Turner was named the 2012 Person of the Year by the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce.
- Fifteen UAA Environment and Natural Resources Institute faculty fellows, research scientists and graduate student researchers provided 22 presentations at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting 2011–the largest conference of Earth and space scientists from around the world.
- Dr. Andre Rosay, Justice Center director, discussed Justice Center research, including the ongoing Alaska Victimization Survey, as keynote speaker for the Alaska Senate Judiciary Committee Crime Summit in January. Dr. Rosay received $354K from the State to collect and assess data gathered from the FY12 Alaska Victimization Survey.
- Dr. Steve Colt of the Institute of Social and Economic Research received $96K from the USDA Forest Service to develop climate change scenarios for the Chugach region.
- UAA professors Kenrick Mock and Bogdan Hoanca became the first to be inducted into UAA’s new “Patent Wall” for the patent they earned for their sign-on computer security authentication process, and 13 researchers were awarded seed money to advance their work during the first INNOVATE Research Awards.
- Prince William Sound Community College adjunct faculty member Katrina Church-Chmielowski received the Distinguished Service Award from the National School Boards Association.
- Assistant Professor Megan Friedel has hit social media with her blog based on information in the Library Archives and Special Collections. She’s been retweeted by the indie band Portugal. The Man and had an archival photo used by the music group Death Cab for Cutie. Her blog on plans for a ski resort at Hatcher Pass was reprinted on the Adventure Journal website.
MAP-Works (MW), Making Achievement Possible, provides first-year students with critical success tools. MW’s active participants achieved a first-time full-time retention rate of 74.3 percent, which is 3.3 percent higher than the overall Anchorage campus retention rate for the identical peer group. Find a PDF version of the report here.
The Department of Health, Physical Education & Recreation (HPER) will partner with Providence Alaska Sports and Rehabilitation Therapies for the third time to co-sponsor an annual Coaches Clinic in April. The clinic will train local coaches and provide professional development and continuing education credits for Alaska teachers and nurses.
Physical Education major Francisco Campbell tests out HPER’s new bod pod in UAA’s human performance lab. The bod pod is the gold standard for measuring body composition and the only one of its kind in Alaska.
UAA ranks among the top 5 percent of all D-II institutions and received a school-record 13th place in the Learfield Sports Director’s Cup standings. This marks the third time in program history–all in the past three seasons–that all three of UAA’s fall sports have earned NCAA finishes in the same year.
Sustainability and Parking Note
UAA Parking Services’ programs to reduce traffic on campus are increasingly being used by our community with 197 people using the Zimride carpooling service since January of last year and 91 people using the Hertz on Demand program since August. UAA’s Hertz on Demand is the only one in Alaska — and UAF is looking into adding it for their community. Great job!
Grants and Research Award Notes
UAA received 195 awards totaling $25,868,692 in the first six months and two weeks of FY12, slightly more than two-thirds of the 315 awards totaling $35,456,394 received in all of FY11. We are on track to continue this upswing with UAA faculty and staff submitting 204 proposals to the Office of Sponsored Programs for review and submission to funding agencies since the beginning of FY12, compared with 376 proposals submitted in all of FY11. Three research grants were awarded totaling $465K between Dec. 28, 2011, and Jan. 15, 2012. Great job!
Take note: Beginning Feb. 1, the Distance Education Gateway will no longer offer search and registering services. Students, please go to UAOnline to register for e-learning courses. Questions: Contact the Registrar’s office.
Look for a kaleidoscope created by artist Will Smith, offering four views aimed at a rotating floating tray, near the circulation desk at the Consortium Library. Sally and Trevor Bremner donated the kaleidoscope to UAA.
- In the first six months of this fiscal year private fundraising at UAA has increased by 44 percent over last fiscal year, with total donations of over $4.7M. What a great indicator of the confidence our community has in UAA!
- KPC’s founding director Clayton Brockel and his wife, Jean, who is a booster and adjunct, together have donated a land parcel appraised at more than $246K. Eventual proceeds will be distributed among the KPC Brockel Family Scholarship Endowment Fund, John C. Brockel Memorial Scholarship Endowment and KPC areas of greatest need.
- ConocoPhillips Alaska Inc. submitted a $2.2M pledge payment for the ConocoPhillips Arctic Science and Engineering Endowment.
- Icicle Seafoods Inc. contributed $300K to promote fishing industry and seafood market research and career development, bringing Icicle’s total donations to over $1M.
Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP) thanked its many partners and celebrated its success at a gathering on Jan. 27. A great big thank you to Udelhoven Oil Field System Services ($500K), ExxonMobil ($34K), Wells Fargo ($25K) and Alyeska Pipeline ($35K) for their recent donations.
New Scholarships and Professorship Notes
- Alaska Society of Professional Land Surveyors donated $26K to establish the Alaska Society of Professional Land Surveyors Endowed Scholarship.
- The family of Kathy Lynch made a memorial donation to establish the Kathy Lynn Lynch Scholarship in Nursing.
- Family and friends of John Gay have made generous contributions to establish the John Russell Gay Memorial Science Scholarship.
- A legacy gift from Dixie L. Light will establish the Dixie Light Endowed Scholarship to promote the completion of a baccalaureate degree in nursing by registered nurses who are residents and licensed to practice in Alaska.
- Dr. Louis Kralick donated $40K to establish the Louis L. Kralick, M.D. Alaska WWAMI Professorship in Biomedical Science.
Note of Congratulations
University Relations received a 2012 CASE District VIII Communications Award for the I AM UAA Campaign in the category of Branding and Image Development/Identity Programs and Projects. Way to go, University Relations team!
Safety is everyone’s business at UAA. An important message from President Gamble (430k PDF) reminds us that if you witness a crime being committed, it must be reported to police (not just a supervisor).
During the month of December, five injuries occurred at UAA, including two people slipping on ice. One person fell in the General Support Services parking lot outside of ANSEP and another fall occurred in the University Center (UC) parking lot. Other injuries occurred when an employee tripped over carpet in the UC and an employee injured a shoulder operating a lifting device. Finally, an employee was injured in a vehicle accident at 36th and Cottonwood.
Our record snow calls for patience. Take time to make certain your vehicle’s windows, roof, mirrors, lights and turn signals are clear of snow. It is also a good idea to factor in extra travel time for your commute by car, bike or foot.
Special thanks to our facilities building and grounds crew and building managers in addressing our record snowfall.
Be safe and enjoy all that UAA has to offer!