News Briefs

Brooks’ hearing postponed
Following the arrest of former USUAA vice president Justice Brooks, his pre-indictment hearing continued on Thursday, Feb. 1 at the Anchorage Courthouse. No plea is held at the first appearance. At the pre-indictment hearing, issues regarding charges are resolved and the judge reviews evidence to make sure there is enough evidence to warrant the charges. The hearing follows the criminal complaint filed by the State of Alaska to determine what criminal charges and evidence will be admitted. Brooks’ next pre-indictment hearing has been postponed until Thursday, Feb. 8. The pre-indictment hearing may be repeated until all the assault charges are resolved and could move to a grand jury hearing. Brooks has been charged with three felony offenses, including second- and third-degree assault and third-degree criminal mischief for a domestic violence dispute with his girlfriend earlier this month.


UAF ranked among top five small schools in country

A company that ranks productivity of college research faculties has placed the University of Alaska Fairbanks fifth among small colleges in the U.S. The study by Academic Analytics examined a total of 354 institutions that offer up to 14 doctoral degrees. Researchers looked at how many scholarly publications faculty members wrote, the number of competitive grants awarded to faculty and how often other scientists cited them in their own research. Other institutions in the top five include San Diego State University, Bryn Mawr College, Wright State University and the University of Massachusetts Boston, which tied with UAF for the fifth place rank. UAF has more than a dozen research centers and institutes that focus on continual studies of the Arctic. UAF was ranked highly for how often faculty members’ research was cited by other scientists. UAF’s research funding has more than doubled in the last decade, from $56.4 million in 1997 to $121 million in 2006. The university ranks 63 out of 200 universities in the amount of money awarded from the National Science Foundation.

UAA professors receive national research grant
Associate Professor David Pfeiffer and Assistant Professor Khrystyne Duddleston have been awarded a $270,538 grant by the National Science Foundation to establish a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site through UAA’s Department of Biological Sciences. The received funding will be used toward a 10-week summer research program in South Central Alaska, allowing eight students to participate in faculty-mentored research of high latitude ecology and physiological ecology. The program includes weekly research seminars, a series of career development workshops and a variety of fieldtrips to collect data. Student applicants will be selected from across the country, while 10 faculty members in UAA’s Department of Biological Sciences will participate as research mentors. The program will wrap up with a research seminar presenting the results of student independent projects. The REU site will establish UAA as one of the academic institutions that participates in the National Science Foundation’s REU Program and is intended to influence undergraduates toward postgraduate education and careers in the sciences. For more information, visit biology.uaa.alaska.edu/reu.htm.


Young scientists form group for International Polar Year

A group of young scientists associated with UAF have formed a UA International Polar Year Young Researchers Network with hopes of getting involved in the IPY event in March 2007. The volunteer network is comprised of a variety of graduate students and post-doctoral IPY fellows. Many of the graduate students in the volunteer network are from outside Fairbanks. The group has plans on engaging Alaskans outside the university in IPY proposed projects including Science Caf?, a series of informal science discussions for the public; Project Snowball, in which schoolchildren across Alaska will analyze snow chemistry; and Wildlife Day by Day, which will allow young researchers to have contact with locals throughout rural Alaska and share their information about the state’s migrating wildlife. The group is also developing a synthesis project that promotes life and research in the North through cross-cultural partnerships.