Over 200 University of Alaska Anchorage staff, faculty and students gathered at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium Aug. 26 to discuss the state of the university, the future of UAA and to recognize faculty who have earned promotion, tenure and emeritus.
Dr. James Liszka, chair of the Department of Psychology, opened the convocation ceremony with a video emphasizing UAA”s commitment to community learning and engagement. The video showed geology students analyzing the contamination level of Chester Creek in an on-going community-based project.
Liszka said the video was shown at the Campus Compact National Conference on Engaged Learning, and that Campus Compact selected UAA as one of the top 100 universities for community engagement in the nation.
Later in the ceremony, University of Alaska president Mark Hamilton recognized the UAA faculty members who earned promotion and tenure this year and the status of emeriti. Professors who earn tenure gain permanent employment with the university. Those earning emeritus are retired from professional duty, but still retain the title of their office or position.
Maimon then took stage, describing her vision of UAA”s future as an ‘engaged university,’ and her hopes to remove UAA”s image as a ‘college on the hill.’
Maimon plans to increase enrollment by making it easier for students in financial need to attend the university. She also hopes to reduce the number of students who attend some college, but ultimately do not complete a degree by improving internship and job placement programs at UAA.
‘Goal number one is student success,’ Maimon said. ‘We have to make sure that students see their university education as connected with the larger picture.’
Maimon said efforts to increase vocational and technical programs would be made, as well as partnerships with K-12 schools.
Other initiatives include increasing undergraduate and faculty research programs, and developing undergraduate and graduate research partnerships. Maimon also discussed an internal research grant fund of $200,000 to increase the amount of research and creative activity at UAA.
Maimon stressed the importance of voter registration, stating that her goal is for UAA to have a 100 percent voter registration rate. She asked faculty to talk with students in the coming months about how important voting is, and said that students who may be disgruntled with politics need to give themselves a voice by becoming registered voters.
‘Because this is such an important election, from the state house to the White House, getting students (registered to vote) is a great foresight on (Maimon”s) part,’ student regent David Parks said. ‘ She”s shown a great deal of interest in getting students involved in the process.’
Hamilton took the stage following Maimon”s speech, and spoke briefly about UAA”s new Integrated Science Facility, which will update UAA”s science research and teaching capabilities to a competitive level.
Hamilton concluded the ceremony stating that UAA is ‘just beginning to mature’ and become competitive with other universities its size.