Chancellor's Report

September 2016

Size:á4.6Mábytes Modified: 22 August 2016, 08:59

Sixty-eight students, the largest-ever Rural Alaska Honors Institute class, graduated in July 2016. Formed in 1983 at the Alaska Federation of Natives' request, RAHI has prepared more than 1,600 rural and Alaska Native high school students to adjust academically and socially to college life.


Researchers received $2.2 million to study Arctic marine ecosystems while aboard the Sikuliaq, the research vessel owned by the National Science Foundation and operated by the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. The project will help researchers better understand the processes that prime oceans for summer productivity and better anticipate changes resulting from declining ice covers. The research will examine aspects of the northern Bering Sea and southern Chukchi Sea.

A new, affordable mapping technique invented by a UAF glaciologist confirmed that Mount Isto is the tallest peak in the U.S. Arctic. Matt Nolan collaborated with ski mountaineer Kit DesLauriers to test the technique called fodar. They found Mount Isto, in the eastern Brooks Range, stands at 8,975 feet. Previously, conflicting federal maps had given both Isto and nearby Mount Chamberlin the highest elevation in the Arctic. The research was published in The Cryosphere.

The homeland security and emergency management program at UAF is ranked fifth in the publication of the top online homeland security programs in America. The School of Management offers the program and Cameron Carlson directs it.

A popular guide to marine mammals written by Professor Emeritus Kate Wynne won three book awards. "Guide to Marine Mammals and Turtles of the U.S. Pacific" received recognition from the National Outdoor Book Awards, Communications Concepts Inc. and the National Association of Government Communicators. Wynne, a recently retired marine mammal specialist with Alaska Sea Grant at UAF, wrote and designed her books with field scientists and boaters in mind.

Siri Tuttle will direct the Alaska Native Language Archive at the Rasmuson Library. Tuttle, an associate professor of linguistics, will direct the effort to preserve and archive Alaska Native language collections, and make them available to the public.

Jeffrey Rothman received a U.S. patent for noise reduction in infrasound detection technology. The new technology was used to create and market the Chaparral Model 60, a high-performance infrasound microphone. Infrasound sensors are used to monitor volcanic activity, detect tornadoes and more. Rothman supervises the electronics shop at the Geophysical Institute.

In Progress

Doctoral student Paul Wilcox studies caves around Alaska's Prince of Wales Island to learn more about ice age climate conditions. Wilcox, who's affiliated with the Geosciences Department, examines cave formations called speleothems. By looking at oxygen and carbon isotopes in speleothem samples, he can gauge details such as precipitation and temperature from previous eras.

Professor Andrew McDonnell uses an underwater vision profiler camera to understand carbon storage in the ocean. The camera has an onboard computer that allows it to analyze tiny zooplankton and other carbon particles in the images it captures at high speeds. The images help McDonnell and Jessica Pretty, a graduate student at the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, determine whether zooplankton are building up or breaking down particles in a greater quantity, and if these trends vary by species.

What's Next

Nanook Rendezvous, Sept. 23-24, will feature campus tours, an awards dinner, the Blue and Gold hockey game and Starvation Gulch. Alumni from the classes of 1966 and 1991 will be honored, but all classes are welcome. Events are coordinated by UAF Alumni Relations and the Alumni Association. Visit Alumni Reunion webpage for information and registration.

UAF's centennial will kick off at the annual Sparktacular fireworks show held on campus Dec. 31. In 2017 UAF celebrates 100 years as Alaska's flagship university, a century of teaching, research and service built on the grit and determination of our founders. For more information about UAF's centennial, visit centennial website.

through the lens: recent images

Class speaker Joseph Slocum relays details of his time at UAF during the campus' 94th commencement ceremony May 8, 2016, at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks. Slocum received an undergraduate degree in communication in 2015 and a Master of Business Administration in 2016. Slocum, originally from San Francisco, was a two-year starter for the Nanooks men's basketball team.

Graduates were also addressed by Doyon, Limited President and CEO Aaron Schutt, who provided the keynote address at the event.

Across all of UAF's campuses, 1,367 students received more than 1,460 awards, including 47 doctorates, 235 master's degrees, 572 bachelor's degrees, 315 associate degrees and 223 certificates in 2016.

Photos, clockwise from top left 

Fire science program coordinator John George instructs student Fabienne Munoz of Anaheim, California, in fire extinguisher usage during the 2016 Summer Firefighter Academy at the University Fire Department's station on University Avenue.

A student works in a welding class offered by the UAF Community and Technical College. The college offers small classes to enhance hands-on training and maximize student-instructor interaction. UAF photo by Todd Paris.

Alaska Summer Research Academy participants test their remotely operated underwater vehicles at the Chena Lake Recreation Area on July 28.

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan of Alaska takes a selfie with 2016 Rural Alaska Honors Institute participants before the Midnight Sun Run on June 18 in Fairbanks. 

UAF photos by JR Ancheta unless otherwise indicated. Produced by University Relations.

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