News Briefs

Polaris lecture series wraps up with discussions on Washington

The Spring 2007 Polaris lecture series finished its season with guest lecturer Matthew Spalding on Thursday, March 29, in the Consortium Library. Spalding’s lecture, “The Command of Our Own Fortunes: George Washington and the Challenge of Founding,” addressed issues such as the founding of the United States and the influence of the nation’s first president. Spalding is the director of the B. Kenneth Simon Center for American Studies. The Polaris lecture series, named for the North Star on Alaska’s flag, has provided opportunities for various guest speakers to address a wide range of subjects in the liberal arts. The UAA Democracy Forum organizes the series, with assistance from the University Honors Forty-Ninth State Fellows Program, the Office of Community Partnerships, the Polaris Society, the Alaska Humanities Forum and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. The series began in the 1980s to recognize the establishment of the Constitution and was revived in 2005 after a multi-year hiatus.

Departments and students made aware of postal rate increase

The United States Postal Service is yet again increasing the overall rate to ship letters and packages. The new rates will take effect on Monday, May 14. The governors of the U.S. Postal Service approved the price increase of a first-class stamp to 41 cents. The new rates will also cause an increase in the amount General Support Services charges to ship letters and packages. Located downstairs in the UAA Bookstore, General Support provides full mail and print services. Letters or packages with an insufficient amount of postage brought to GSS after May 14 will not be sent. The USPS did approve Forever Stamps, which cost as much as first-class stamps but are good forever, regardless of future rate changes.

NSF awards $1.8 million in grants toward permafrost study

Geophysics professor Vladimir Romanovsky has received $1.8 million in grants toward expanding global permafrost monitoring. The National Science Foundation has been the main contributor of grants awarded to Romanovsky, who received funding in August for a climate model that can map permafrost changes in Greenland and Alaska. For the next three years, he will use $945,000 toward establishing a network of permafrost observatories and setting up a standardized system to study permafrost in North America and Russia, which has half of the Far North’s permafrost. The proposed network serves as the United States’ contribution to expand worldwide effort for International Polar Year.

Steve Colt named interim director of UAA’s ISER in Ulmer’s absence

UAA announced that Steve Colt has been appointed as interim director of the Institute for Social and Economic Research. Colt has been an economist with ISER since 1984 and will replace Fran Ulmer, who has accepted the position of interim chancellor. Colt has more than 20 years of research experience in Alaska and his interests include energy economics, rural utilities and the economics of environmental systems and non-marketed ecosystem services. ISER is a division of the College of Business and Public Policy at UAA, with a staff of about 30 faculty members, research associates and support personnel. The Institute maintains the state’s largest economic database while forecasting population and employment growth.

Dental program assists child dental care with free sealant

The UAA Dental Assisting Program will offer a free sealant clinic for children on Saturday, April 7, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Dental Clinic in the Allied Health Sciences Building. The clinic is open for children between the ages of 7 to 12 years old who have permanent teeth free of decay or have been advised that sealants will be beneficial to the health of their teeth. The Dental Program prepares students to become skilled members of the dental care team. Assistants increase the efficiency of the dentist to provide oral health care. No appointment is necessary for the clinic. Children will be served on a first come, first serve basis. For more information on the sealant clinic, call 786-6960.