Chancellor's Report

September 2015

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Brian Rogers, left, meets with incoming interim Chancellor Mike Powers in August to discuss the transition in UAF’s top leadership position. Rogers retired Aug. 31 after seven years as UAF chancellor.


The Air Force Research Laboratory has transferred the High Frequency Active Auroral Program site in Gakona to UAF, allowing the scientific community to continue to use HAARP to study the ionosphere.

UAF is launching an online introductory biology course focused on animal research and obsessive compulsive disorder. Abel Bult-Ito, professor of biology, has been working with a colony of mice and studying their OCD tendencies for more than 20 years. This fall, his research will expand from its campus lab to student computers around the world. Behavioral Neuroscience Research is the first course of its kind in the educational arena.

The UAF Athletic Department announced a five-year sponsorship agreement with Alaska Airlines. The official airline for the Alaska Nanooks purchased naming rights to the court inside the Patty Center. The sponsorship includes airline travel and funding to support student-athlete scholarships.

The Alaska region’s melting glaciers are adding enough water to the Earth’s oceans to cover the state with a foot of water every seven years, a new study concluded. The study paper, on which Chris Larsen of the Geophysical Institute was lead author, reported that climate-related melting is the primary cause of mountain glacier loss in the region. Glacier loss from Alaska is unlikely to slow down, and this will be a major driver of global sea level change in the coming decades, according to the paper published in the American Geophysical Union’s journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Erin Shew, a graduate student in Arctic and northern studies, has been awarded the John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship. Shew is one of 60 fellows chosen from a pool of 120 nominated by Sea Grant programs from the coastal and Great Lakes states and territories.

Vice Chancellor for Rural, Community and Native Education Evon Peter spoke at the Conference on Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement and Resilience, hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry in Anchorage on Aug. 30. International Arctic Research Center interim Director Hajo Eicken engaged in a panel discussion, Vice Chancellor for University and Student Advancement Mike Sfraga presented an update on the Fulbright Arctic Initiative and several other UAF staff members participated.

In Progress

Work on the $245 million upgrade to the UAF combined heat and power plant began this summer, with site excavation and compaction expected to be completed late this fall. Visible work will pause for the winter while the project team procures the new system’s components. Site work will pick up again in March 2016, when contractors will begin thawing the ground and pouring concrete. The boilers are scheduled to arrive in June 2016 and the plant is slated to be in full operation by mid-2018.

Efforts are underway to raise funds for the Centennial Scholarships and Fellowships initiative. For more information, visit

What's Next

Institute of Arctic Biology scientist Robert “Trey” Coker and his partners at Essential Blends LLC, a Fairbanks-based company, developed a meal replacement product designed to preserve skeletal muscle during weight loss. His team obtained a Small Business Innovations in Research grant from the National Institutes of Health to support formulation of the product, called MyoEon, and conduct further testing. Banner Health and Fairbanks Memorial Hospital will provide facilities for clinical research to support the project, the first at UAF to receive a NIH SBIR grant. Two provisional patent applications related to this project have been submitted.

The 2015 Arctic Energy Summit will take place Sept. 28-30 in Fairbanks and is expected to draw several hundred industry officials, scientists, academics and policymakers to collaborate and share leading approaches on Arctic energy issues.

through the lens: recent images

Jimmy Fox, deputy field supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Carl France, contractor with UAF’s Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration, work on an unmanned aerial vehicle along the upper Chena River on July 31. Fox, at left in the photograph, is working with ACUASI to capture video footage intended to increase public awareness of the Chena’s prime king salmon habitat.

This project is one of many uses for unmanned aircraft. A recent workshop held in Fairbanks focused on Arctic applications. Presentations described the emerging industry in Alaska and recent research projects involving sea ice, sea otters, walrus and bowhead whales.

Photos, clockwise from top left 

The 2015 Rural Alaska Honors Institute graduates toss their caps in front of the sculpture “Elysian” on the Fairbanks campus. (UAF photo by JR Ancheta)

Paul McCarthy, former dean of libraries, stands for a portrait in the Rasmuson Library. The Alaska and Polar Regions Collections and Archives at the library celebrated its 50th anniversary on July 7 and named its research room to honor McCarthy, an archives co-founder. (UAF photo by JR Ancheta)

The Nook plays lead guitar in UAF’s own rock band atop the float in the annual Golden Days Parade through downtown Fairbanks. (UAF photo by JR Ancheta)

Chancellor Brian Rogers and Tanana Chiefs Conference President Victor Joseph lead a procession on the Fairbanks campus July 6. After a ceremony at Troth Yeddha’ Park celebrating UAF’s relationship with Alaska Native peoples, the crowd walked to Cornerstone Plaza for a rededication of the cornerstone laid in 1915 by James Wickersham, Alaska’s territorial delegate to Congress.

UAF photos by Todd Paris unless otherwise indicated.

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