Author: Teresa Kennedy

February 27, 2012 Teresa Kennedy

Rumors swirling through UAA’s student body have recently included the declaration that the campus bookstore is experiencing financial difficulties and is in a deficit. Alessandra Vanover and Bob McDonnell, the Directors of the Bookstore and Business Services, met to dispel the speculation.

“Right now, we are definitely not in a deficit,” Vanover squarely stated.

Both were surprised to hear of the rumor traveling the student grapevine.

February 26, 2012 Teresa Kennedy

A study conducted by the Center of Behavioral Health Research (CBHR) in the spring of 2011 concluded 15.3 percent of UAA students have seriously considered suicide at some point in their lives. An additional 5.5 percent of students have seriously considered it in the last year.

February 20, 2012 Teresa Kennedy

UA Students from across Alaska have joined the Senate Bipartisan Working Group for the 27th Legislative session. The fours students are: Grace Abbott, interning for Senator Johnny Ellis’; Thomas Priestly, interning for Senator Bill Wielechowski; Katya Wassillie, interning for Senator Bettye Davis; and Shyan Ely, interning for Senator Lesil McGuire. “Interning for the State of…

February 14, 2012 Teresa Kennedy

From the author of An Abundance of Katherines and Looking for Alaska comes a new-age Shakespearean tragedy, The Fault in Our Stars. Trading poison for cancer, John Green’s story revolves around Hazel Lancaster, a 16-year-old girl diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Hazel has been sick for so long she now no longer has friends, doesn’t…

February 14, 2012 Teresa Kennedy

In the days leading up to Valentine’s Day, Student Health & Counseling Center dedicated the 7th through the 14th to being Health Sexuality Week, including the spreading of one particular supply: condoms.

February 6, 2012 Teresa Kennedy

University of Alaska has declared support for the Alaska Legislatures’ new efforts to battle the state’s high suicide rates among youth. Senate Bill 137, also entitled the Jason Flatt Act, would require a minimum of two hours of suicide awareness and prevention training for education personnel in grades 7-12.

UA has joined a large coalition of Alaskan organizations supporting the bill.

February 6, 2012 Teresa Kennedy

University of Alaska Anchorage currently has a television channel dedicated solely for their free use. GCI Channel 9, “UAA Tele-Campus,” has existed since 1972, when a mandate by the FCC started requiring large television markets to dedicate a channel to educational access.

January 31, 2012 Teresa Kennedy

Resident buildings at UAA have witnessed five separate incidences of bedbugs over the past three years – two of which occurred this month.

Bedbugs were found in a North Hall dorm room and in a room in Main Apartment Complex (MAC) 1 at the beginning of the semester – an occurrence “not uncommon, because a lot of people travel over Christmas,” said Jody Inman, the Associate Director of Housing.

January 30, 2012 Teresa Kennedy

A New Year and a new semester finds UAA’s Honors College with new leadership. Dr. Judith Owens-Manley was appointed Interim Associate Dean of the College Jan 9 and will be handling the advising, curriculum planning and programming for the college.

January 24, 2012 Teresa Kennedy

UAAHookup – a combination of eBay, Match.com, and iSawYou – launched in late December from the hosting account of a man who only identified himself as “Vlad”. Designed as a variation of Craigslist, the site offers users the ability to post items and residences for sale, personal ads for relationships or friendship.

January 24, 2012 Teresa Kennedy

The number of bedbug cases in Anchorage has been dramatically increasing over the past few years, according to Eagle Pest Control owner Randy Beuter.

“That would be an understatement,” he said. The problem extends to bedbugs and scabies. Scabies and bedbugs are two separate things, according to Beuter, but similar in the result.

“Scabies are a mite that burrow into your skin,” he explained.

November 29, 2011 Teresa Kennedy

By October of this year, the University had received 638 complaints of copyright violations from recording industries, and still rising. The number of complaints in 2010 reached as high as 878.

As a result of the complaints, the Information and Technology Services department decided to start limiting Internet access across campus. The changes are set to take place within the next two weeks. The department was frustrated with the high number of piracy complaints and the failure to remediate violators.

November 8, 2011 Teresa Kennedy

The UA system sees a graduation rate of 10 percent of their student in four years. At six years, the number increases to just 28 percent. Low graduation rates is just one of the issues UA hopes to address in their new “Stay on Track” campaign.

November 1, 2011 Teresa Kennedy

A male student was assaulted before entering the Student Union last Thursday morning around 10:00 a.m. The student’s name has not been released by the University Police Department.

The victim was not seriously injured; the attacker struck him in the neck as the he passed and then continued on his way. While friends may horseplay around in this matter, the student and the assailant were strangers.

“Talking to the victim, it definitely wasn’t playing around,” said UPD Deputy Chief Brad Munn.

UPD searched the Student Union and adjoining buildings following the assault but did not locate the assailant.

October 25, 2011 Teresa Kennedy

The UAA Institute of Social and Economic Research compiled a study in 2008 that found the UA system part-time student population was significantly higher than the national average.

The study, published by Theodore L. Kassier and Alexandra Hill, reported the UA part-time population average as 62 percent, and the national average at a low 43 percent.

“UA also has considerably more older and part-time students than the average university,”

the report stated.

The report implies that UAA, along with other UA universities, will continue to see this peculiar trend.

A later study compiled in 2010 by the Statewide Planning and Institutional Research showed that the UA percentage has only slightly dropped to 60 percent.  

UAA selectively sees 56 percent of their student population only attending part-time. Michael Smith, a representative of Enrollment Management on the Administrative, Professional, and Technical Council, sees a lot of different factors involved in these numbers.

“One of the factors is we have a nontraditional student base bigger than some of our sister schools,” Smith said.

UAA sees less students coming directly from high school into college. Because of that trend, jobs and the nearby military base serve as indicators as to why most UAA students are not attending full time.

“If you were to look at that part time student base, those are students working and going to school at the same time, or in the military and going to school at the same time,” Smith said.  

Smith also pointed out that the UA school system is organized as a large community college with several different campuses. Compare that to the City of College of San Francisco, the largest commuter school in the nation with a part-time population of 74 percent, and the UA numbers begin to make sense.

“We have a lot of community members returning to school, adults returning to school,” Smith stated.

According to the 2011 UA in Review report the largest age group at UAA is those student between the ages of 20-24.

The Assistant Vice Chancellor of Enrollment at UAA, Eric Pedersen, expanded upon Smith’s statements.

“The number one reason is the fact that we only have dorm space for 1000 students. So that means about 15000 students are living off campus,” Pedersen explained. He further clarified that UAA is a commuter campus.

“If somebody out there broke universities into categories of commuter, we would probably look comparable to them.”

But organizations geared towards readying high school seniors for the college application process have done that.

One such website, college-admission-essay.com, listed top ten commuter schools in the nation, and each did not begin to compare with UAA’s part-time student ratio.

The University of Houston, the number one commuter school according to the list, only sees a part-time population of 29 percent.

And the University of Alabama at Birmingham, another school on the list, only views 32 percent of their students as part-time.

Community geared college campuses, not commuting, along with jobs and military seem to explain the disparity between UA’s number of part-time students and the national average.

UA defines part-time student as taking less than 12 credit hours per semester.

October 25, 2011 Teresa Kennedy

This Saturday Karl Rove will be speaking at the Alaska College Republicans State Convention held at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center.

Rove, a well-know Republican advocate and campaign coordinator, will cost $35,000 dollars to bring up to Anchorage, including his speaking fee and travel expenses.

UAA’s chapter of College Republicans, however, did not fundraise or seek contributions to fund Rove’s costs. Instead, they will rely solely on ticket sales. Tickets will range from $400 dollars to $90 dollars, the highest including dinner and a meet-and-greet with Rove, and the lowest being a general admission to the listen to the speakers.

“We probably won’t make profit. We’ll pry break even,” said Ryan McKee, President of the UAA College Republicans.

Rove will not be in Anchorage long. He is coming up solely for the convention and will fly in that morning and leave the next day.

A previous Chairman of the College Republicans back in 1973, Rove has had a long and well-marked career in politics that he can trace back to his days in the College Republicans chapter at University of Utah. It was this career and subsequent credentials that appealed to the members of UAA’s CR to ask him to speak.

“Karl Rove has been pretty much the architect behind a lot of campaigns and since we are going into the 2012 elections we wanted to hear from someone who was a big part in getting the last president elected,” McKee explained.

McKee is referring to Rove’s role as chief strategist for President George W. Bush’s elections in 2000 and 2004. Rove also served as the former Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to President Bush.

Despite the high costs of tickets, McKee and the other College Republicans have seen a large number of tickets already bought for the convention.

“Ohh yeah. Oh yeah! All of our costs are being covered by presale tickets,” McKee chuckled.

In addition to preparing for their convention at the end of the month, the College Republicans at UAA are also on the hunt to increase their membership. Approaching their third of existence at UAA, McKee indicated they were finally at the point where they could focus on recruitment.

“We have definitely been taking the time to regroup and get some of our numbers up.” College Republicans is a national youth political organization aimed at supporting Republican candidates for office.

Rove is also the author of “Courage and Consequence,” a New York Times Bestseller in 2010 about his career in politics. He is currently a Fox News Contributor, a Wall Street Journal Columnist, and tours the country making speeches at colleges, trade associations, and other organizations upon request.

Also speaking at the convention will be Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell, Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan, and the National Chairman of College Republicans, Alex Schriver.

October 18, 2011 Teresa Kennedy

With the oncoming winter months spreading their tendrils of darkness and cold among Alaskans as we sleep, depression starts to make its presence known. The long days of darkness coupled with the hibernation designed to keep out the cold combine to make a deadly recipe for a case of the blues.

October 18, 2011 Teresa Kennedy

The announcement that Sarah Palin would not be running for President did not come as a surprise to her once cordial and fellow Alaskans. While shocking to many of her lower 48 supporters, Palin’s political decline in the eyes of her Last Frontier friends has gradually come on since her announcement to become Senator John McCain’s running mate in the 2008 Presidential Primary. Since then, the “publicity” she has brought to Alaska has been seen as an unwelcome intrusion. From her TLC television show (which many of us winced through as it showed “everyday” encounters with grizzly bears, and Palin cooking cheese hot dogs while speaking radical politics), her exposure shed the wrong light on our beloved state. Now, when our travels take us to the exotic world of the continental US, the first question out of the astonished ignoramus is no longer “Do you own a pet polar bear?” but “Do you know Sarah Palin?!”

Our state has become synonymous with the “Going Rogue” rising star and while people at least know Alaska is a part of the United States now, the only thing Palin has really accomplished for our state is an increase in media muckrakers invading our schools and towns for any piece of dirt. It got so bad in 2008 that many people just had to start making up “facts” about Palin while they hastily rolled up their windows against the pouncing reporter– her secret affair that hurt Todd, the true identity of her baby, the poignant passion of lovers Bristol and Levi Johnston. Her personal life and exploits have been the “talk of the town” for far too long. So Palin’s recent announcement only sparks a “here we go again” from her home state. Meanwhile other loyal supporters seem to be truly hurt. On a support website for Palin, conservatives4palin.com, a man identified as Mark Dormann wrote, “Sarah I feel betrayed. You are the one we are waiting for. No one else will reform America. … you have broken my heart :(.” And that was only one of many sporting the same sentiments. At this point, one can only wonder what Palin could be thinking. It is one thing to run a race and lose, but quite another to never start. When she abandoned the governorship for the national limelight, she lost her home support. And now that she has abandoned the hopes and support of her conservative base in the lower 48, Palin seems to be on a repeated track of alienating those her success relies on. Her blast of fame has dwindled into a faded star, and unless she comes up with another ploy to keep her name in the game, that light may be extinguished.

Many conjectures around the country right now say this is not true. They say that she will be great outside of public office; that she can do more there; that her time has just begun. But a monument under construction cannot be finished without its scaffolding, and Palin has effectively began to topple hers. With the Wall Street protests, a heated Presidential Primary on the horizon sans Palin, and a new season of “Dancing with the Stars,” there will be no more reality television, no more “People magazine” snow machine snapshots, and a greatly reduced band of followers for Palin.

Her effect on politics thus far has been tremendous; much like when one throws a boulder into a pond. But eventually, the ripples die out, and Palin’s name, while lightly etched in history, will go down as a crazed fad next to plaid disco pants and Go-Go boots.

October 5, 2011 Teresa Kennedy

or decades America has been the shining beacon and leading power throughout the world. From religious freedom to economic strength, this country has continually and courageously pushed the envelope of conventionality by striving to be the best.

September 28, 2011 Teresa Kennedy

The meeting is called to order at precisely 5:30. As Ezekiel Kaufman addresses the 13 students and three faculty members poised around the conference room table, the playful bantering around the room dies down. The movie Cheaper by the Dozen comes to mind, only more of a “later years” edition and with an extra kid.

September 20, 2011 Teresa Kennedy

UAA’s Air Force and Army ROTC programs joined together this year to remember 9/11 in their own way: a 24 hour long run.

35 of the schools cadets signed up and participated in a run that had them carrying the American flag for 24 straight hours non-stop.

They did it in shifts, each cadet ideally running for 30 minutes, but most staying in the commemorative marathon for up to two hours

September 13, 2011 Teresa Kennedy

Larry Foster did not start out wanting to be a professor. Dreams of studying language and philosophy drove him through college until he found himself sitting in a calculus class one day. Nine years later, he woke up with a Ph.D. in mathematics.

“Math was a lotta fun,” he grins, his enthusiasm enough to make even those wary of math feel relaxed. It soon becomes apparent how a man who teaches classes such as Applied Calculus and Communicating Mathematical Ideas (the titles alone enough to make the bravest scholar groan), could be voted one of UAA’s most popular professors.

Foster kicked off his teaching career at the University of Alabama, before moving on to work at the Marshall Space Flight Center doing mechanical engineering. He currently holds two Masters degrees in Civil and Mechanical Engineering – knowledge he brought with him when he returned to Alaska in 1970. Foster came to the Great North to reunite with family and to pursue civil engineering, but that didn’t stick for long; he soon found an ad in the local paper calling for a UAA professor for one year. The rest is, as they say, history.

“The key to math? Math is how you understand the universe,” Foster says dramatically, a gleam in his eye. “A lecture for me without applications is boring.”

And applications do seem to be the secret to Foster’s success. He uses his engineering background to make math relatable to real-life situations, a technique his students find incredibly helpful.
“I think it’s excellent,” says Nathaniel Cox, a Civil Engineering major and a student in Foster’s Calculus III class. “I can’t find anyone who doesn’t like him.”

Foster is a firm believer that if you cannot connect with students, you cannot effectively teach. He continually strives to find techniques that form that connection and enrich the learning process.
“When I walk into class I always remember what it’s like to be a student,” Foster says, his eyes far away as he recalls his own days of nervous questions and sweat-soaked tests. “Oh! And your students must not be afraid of you!”

He starts chuckling. “You think anyone could be afraid of me?”

It does seem impossible. Foster exudes warmth and gusto, constantly using “fun” to describe his work and bubbling at the chance to share his passion of numbers with students he has never met before, and who are not even in his classes – but that isn’t unusual for this professor.

“Probably half the students that come in are not mine,” Foster states matter-of-factly. His door is always open, unless he is helping someone else, and Foster quite often finds himself helping a chemistry or engineering student who have heard of his energy and came peering into his door, looking for a helping hand. Foster is always ready to do just that.

When asked if there are any downsides to his job, Foster’s office is unusually quiet. The professor sits motionless for a few seconds, searching his brain for anything he doesn’t like.

“Only one. Cleaning my office.” He flashes a grin, his spark returning at full speed. “I can’t believe that I am this lucky.”

Neither can most mathematics students. Math is a tricky enough subject for those who love it, but for those many who shudder at numbers and functions, perhaps this professor can provide some relief. Foster can make any student feel welcome, and math doesn’t seem so terrible from his peppy point-of-view.

“Everyone gets to do one noble thing in life,” Foster smiles satisfactorily. “I get to be a teacher.”

 

 

September 12, 2011 Teresa Kennedy

Faculty is strongly objecting to the Fisher Report’s suggestion that UAF should be the only research institute in the UA system.

James L. Fisher was one of five higher education professionals that reviewed the UA system during September of last year. Fisher was the one to write up all of their recommendations on how UA can improve.

The President of the UA system, Patrick Gamble, released the report for public review on January 6. The objections from Faculty were instant.

The faculty formed a committee to respond to the report at their next meeting Feb 4. The resultant 55-page report was sent to President Gamble on June 10.

President of the UAA Faculty Senate, Nalinaksha Bhattacharyya, highlighted major fallacies in the Fisher Report.

“The moral of the story is that we need to start standing up to Fairbanks,” Bhattacharyya said during a University Assembly meeting September 9.

Bhattacharyya and the rest of the Senate believed that Fisher’s bid for UAF was in direct conflict with the UA mission.

“We particularly resent the constant refrain about how UAF must be the doctoral institution and how there must not be duplication. We consider these to be false arguments,” The letter stated.

One issue addressed in the Report was what Fisher called, “The UAF/UAA Question”.

The question is which campus should receive the funding and authorization to be the sole research institute in the state.

Fisher’s research indicates Alaska would be hard-pressed to materialize enough funds to support two major doctoral research institutes and the number of doctoral students (only 333 in 2009) enrolled in programs at UAF doesn’t seem to be enough to spread across two different campuses.

Fisher’s suggestion to rid the UA system of the “ten ton gorilla” competition between the two campuses would be to leave the research equipment, funding, and resources right where it remains today – Fairbanks.

Rather than following the Report blindly, the senate believes that any decision made regarding the two institutions should be based upon industry needs and constituency demands.

The Fisher Report suggested curtailing UAA’s continued development in the interest of “efficient usage of resource”, but the Faculty Senate instead prefers to view UAA and UAF at two campuses united under a single University of Alaska system, which is a resource all by itself.

They suggested that research competition should be between a unified UA campus and other national universities, not between UAA and UAF. And with such a widespread and dynamic state, two different research facilities could better serve the constituents of the institutes.

The Senate believes that all schools can agree on one thing in the Fisher Report: the decentralization of UA administration, and the empowering of local campuses to better serve their students and faculty.