Strategic Planning Goals 2019-2025


The University of Alaska Fairbanks is a world-class public institution of higher education founded in 1917 that leads the nation in Arctic research. The university has nine colleges and schools that offer 179 degree and certificate programs in 112 disciplines. UAF offers an educational experience that is not only academically exceptional but inclusive, caring, diverse and one of a kind.

Our unique positioning in the Arctic brings our students, staff and faculty opportunities that are found nowhere else in the world. UAF offers a thriving central campus in Fairbanks with community campuses in Bethel, Dillingham, Nome and Kotzebue, as well as learning centers in Fort Yukon, Tok, Unalaska, Togiak, King Salmon, New Stuyahok and Delta Junction. The lack of roads and infrastructure in many areas compels our faculty and staff to be creative and innovative in course design and delivery. 

Through our strategic plan, UAF has defined six visionary and aspirational goals that reflect our mission, core themes and key messaging. Each goal is equally important in supporting the success of the university. 

Our 2019-2025 strategic planning goals are:

  • Modernize the student experience supporting UAF’s educate theme through the removal of barriers and strengthening academic rigor and depth.
  • Solidify our global leadership in Alaska Native and Indigenous programs — supporting our connect theme, UAF will enhance our global leadership of Alaska through knowledge sharing and Alaska Native and Indigenous programs.
  • Achieve tier 1 research status critical for advancing UAF’s mission and research theme that creates and disseminates new knowledge while integrating research into educating our students. 
  • Transform UAF’s intellectual property development and commercialization enterprise a key component to engage Alaskans and champion innovation and entrepreneurialism in Alaska.
  • Embrace and grow a culture of respect, diversity, inclusion and caring embracing values of a culture as unique as the landscape in which we live and whose experiences and perspectives contribute to the greater community as a whole.
  • Revitalize key academic programs as we prepare, educate, connect and engage across the state of Alaska, UAF is working toward modalities of course delivery to address our diverse students and community needs. 

Our mission:

The University of Alaska Fairbanks is a Land, Sea, and Space Grant university and an international center for research, education and the arts, emphasizing the circumpolar North and its diverse peoples. UAF integrates teaching, research and public service as it educates students for active citizenship and prepares them for lifelong learning and careers.

Our core themes:

  • Educate: Undergraduate and Graduate Students and Lifelong Learners 
  • Research: to Create and Disseminate New Knowledge, Insight, Technology, Artistic and Scholarly Works 
  • Prepare: Alaska's Career, Technical, and Professional Workforce 
  • Connect: Alaska Native, Rural, and Urban Communities by Sharing Knowledge and Ways of Knowing 
  • Engage: Alaskans through Outreach for Continuing Education and Community and Economic Development 

Our key messages:

  1. UAF is Alaska's research university and America's Arctic university. 
    • UAF is a national and world leader in climate change and Arctic research.
    • UAF researchers are world-renowned in their fields, and the work they do is important and notable. 
    • UAF maintains many partnerships and collaborations throughout Alaska and the world that drive innovation and create meaningful discoveries. 
    • UAF's research helps sustain Alaska's economic growth and enhance Alaska communities.
  2. UAF delivers a high-quality education at an affordable price. 
    • We are Alaska's only Land, Sea and Space Grant university, offering everything from workforce development and vocational programs to master's degrees and Ph.D.s.
    • At UAF, students find a wide variety of academic programs to inspire them.
    • An education at UAF provides a hands-on learning experience in the vast dynamic laboratory that is Alaska. 
    • Students at the Fairbanks campus have a traditional college experience, including a robust campus life, opportunities for research and creative work, small class sizes, and accessible instructors. 
    • Community campuses and outreach and learning centers throughout Alaska provide enriching education and programs that reflect the cultural, social and economic values of the communities they serve. 
  3. UAF enriches the lives of Alaskans and engages our communities, state, nation and world through our teaching, research and service work. 
    • UAF is a catalyst for innovation and economic development for communities and the state. 
    • UAF is a good investment for our partners, donors and funding agencies.
    • UAF is an asset to Alaska, the nation and the world, making our communities a better place to live. 
  4. Our location defines us and provides transformational experiences, from the personal to the global. 
    • The Alaska lifestyle is woven into the UAF experience.
    • At UAF, our location offers the opportunity for global significance, just outside the front door. 
    • In work and play, we embrace our unique lifestyle and inspiring surroundings.
    • Our Arctic location defines our research.
  5. UAF is a welcoming and supportive community. 
    • Your success matters to us. UAF will help you find what you need to succeed here, as a student or a professional. 
    • At UAF, everyone fits in; we are diverse, attracting people of all ages and backgrounds and from around the world. 
    • UAF alumni have great affinity and fondness for their university, and show it through their donations, volunteerism and support. 
    • UAF is a family. Once a Nanook, always a Nanook.
  6. UAF continues to be strong despite our budget challenges.

1 Modernize the student experience


Modernizing the student experience through the removal of barriers to student success, and focusing on establishing new intersectional hubs designed to streamline and reenergize students' experiences while strengthening academic rigor and depth.


  • A modern student experience actively hones cutting-edge interdisciplinary and integrative education programming for undergraduate and graduate students, and provides ample opportunities for experiential education and professional development tied to impactful civic engagement
  • Provides students with robust residential programs that tie classroom learning to social experiences and community life on campus
  • Strongly supports students with families
  • Holistically supports students by nurturing and encouraging physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health
  • Ambitiously expands access to undergraduate research opportunities


Goal 1 trailer


Goal 1 in-depth presentation

2 Solidify our global leadership in Alaska Native and Indigenous programs


Our goal is to build and enhance global leadership in Alaska Native and Indigenous programs, research and workforce development. Our vision is that we are a global leader throughout the circumpolar North, the Americas and the Pacific.


  • State-of-the-art research, learning and cultural activities facilities in the form of the Troth Yeddha' Indigenous Studies Center and Interpretative Park, as well as in our community campuses
  • Alaska Native and Indigenous degree programs and pedagogy
  • Successful recruitment, retention and degree completion of Alaska Native and Indigenous students
  • Alaska Native and Indigenous research, knowledge production and publications
  • Alaska Native and Indigenous leadership and workforce development
  • Tribal and Alaska Native/Indigenous community partnerships, service and community education


Goal 2 trailer


Goal 2 in-depth presentation

3 Achieve tier 1 research status


Achieving tier 1 status will elevate UAF to a prestigious class of doctoral-granting U.S. universities with very high research activity as defined by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Attaining tier 1 research status can provide global recognition for our high research productivity; enhance our competitiveness for funding resources; attract globally competitive faculty, staff and students to improve the quality and caliber of UAF research and education; increase student enrollment; and provide local economic benefits to the broader Fairbanks community. For these reasons, achieving tier 1 research status captures an important aspect of UAF's long-term strategic research vision. UAF's research vision extends beyond the metrics highlighted by the Carnegie classification system. Specifically, research is critical for advancing UAF's mission and core themes, including educating our students, preparing a skilled Alaska workforce, connecting with Alaska Native peoples and engaging with fellow Alaskans.


  • A tier 1 research university that is globally recognized for very high research activity
    • Quadruple Ph.D.s in STEM, humanities, social sciences and other professional fields
    • Double non-STEM research expenditures
    • Double research staff (Ph.D.s with non-faculty positions)
    • Maintain strong STEM research expenditures
  • A university that conducts high-quality and high-impact research that benefits Alaska, the nation and the world
  • A leader in circumpolar North and Indigenous research
  • An inclusive university where all employees and students feel valued and secure
  • A place where collegiality and collaboration across all sectors drive research
  • A place where research, education and service are fully integrated, and where all students and faculty have the opportunity to conduct research


Goal 3 trailer


Goal 3 in-depth presentation

4 Transform UAF's intellectual property development and commercialization enterprise


UAF will be a champion for innovation and a leadership voice for entrepreneurialism in Alaska as the U.S. Arctic's entrepreneurial university. UAF will support the development of social, cultural and technological entrepreneurs in partnership with local communities, and will foster local and scalable companies. UAF will foster and cultivate its individuals to demonstrate, validate and execute high-caliber value propositions from university resources and, in conjunction with local partnerships, leverage its position to provide entry points for all levels of entrepreneurship. UAF will maintain a strong online presence that highlight its innovation activities and entrepreneurship opportunities. This includes advocating an innovation and entrepreneurship curriculum for teaching educators, encouraging the development of research for commercialized as well as promoting ideation events, competitions, and opportunities.

UAF will maintain a mentorship program where faculty work with junior faculty, postdocs and students on their entrepreneurial projects, and where they connect students to companies in Alaska and those wanting to come to Alaska. UAF will continue its current ambassador program to represent the full breadth of its teaching, research, service and engagement. UAF will develop transdisciplinary teams to build solutions to the challenges and needs of local communities and the state of Alaska as well as the Arctic and circumpolar North. UAF will implement effective processes to transfer developed intellectual property from UAF to the community to develop new economic opportunities.


  • Driver of Alaska's innovation economy and a leadership voice for U.S. Arctic innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Produce graduates with an entrepreneurial mindset and skilled in the processes of bringing research to commercialization and developing viable businesses
  • Deliver economic, societal, cultural and educational impact to the people of Fairbanks, the state of Alaska, and the circumpolar North
  • Develop and support an innovative culture of innovation and entrepreneurship on campus, and in the greater community through reciprocal partnerships
  • Provide the resources to foster creative, social and technological entrepreneurship
  • Build innovative communities to develop solutions to specific challenges and needs
  • Create opportunities to grow today's and tomorrow's innovators and entrepreneurs


Goal 4 trailer


Goal 4 in-depth presentation

5 Embrace and grow a culture of respect, diversity, inclusion and caring


At UAF, we work every day to operationalize the equity and inclusion that we seek to advance in Alaska and beyond. Genuine equity requires continual transformation: a thorough and deep examination and shift when needed in organizational practices, norms, culture and composition. At UAF, we deeply value a culture of respect, diversity, inclusion and caring. We are a positive, human-centric university focused on individual and community well-being. We celebrate the unique nature of our students and employees through strengths-based approaches.


  • Respect should not only imply tolerance but acceptance. A culture of respect at UAF would include honoring and valuing the individuals in our community. Members of our community would hold one another in an unconditional positive regard, and appreciate one another for being unique individuals whose different experiences and perspectives contribute to a greater whole. As a result, UAF employees and students would all feel a sense of worth and value.
  • A culture that embraces diversity at UAF would include individuals representing a wide array of backgrounds. At UAF the variety of community members would be respected and a source of pride. There would be representation that includes diversity within our leadership. With representation there would be increased opportunities for mentorship. By embracing diversity, the UA population would reflect the state demographics.
  • An inclusive culture goes beyond embracing diversity to ensure all members of our community are welcomed and supported. In this environment all people can participate and succeed. A culture of inclusion at UAF would mean that our environment — from artwork on display to marketing materials — would reflect our diverse community. Students would feel supported from their first day and would be able to see themselves represented at all levels and in all positions at UAF, from the student body to faculty and administrative leadership.
  • In a culture of caring, each person would show kindness and compassion as part of daily life. In a culture of caring we would demonstrate care toward others and ourselves, and we would recognize one another as a “whole person.” There would be a proactive focus on improving mental health and well-being.


Goal 5 trailer


Goal 5 in-depth presentation

6 Revitalize key academic programs


UAF will revitalize key academic programs to make them responsive to workforce development needs across the state of Alaska and to national and international economic climates. UAF will ensure that different modalities of course delivery address diverse student needs and communities, and will create the culture where all students, staff and faculty are ambassadors for UAF.


  • A culture of integration and access exists, from occupational endorsements to Ph.D. programs
  • UAF is known for its investment in and support of faculty and staff; there is a sense of community and high morale among those employed at UAF
  • UAF students at all campuses have easy access to advising, support and research opportunities through faculty and staff
  • The university provides robust outreach, engagement and promotion for all programs


Goal 6 trailer



Goal 6 in-depth presentation