Chancellor's Report

February 2015

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Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus met with UAF leaders and researchers in December to discuss opportunities for partnerships involving research projects and programs.

Achievements

UAF and industry partner Ambri will collaborate on a project to demonstrate a new battery technology that could lower consumer electric prices in rural Alaska. The $1.5 million project, funded by a $749,000 grant from the Alaska Energy Authority and a match by Ambri and the UAF Alaska Center for Energy and Power, will use a liquid metal battery developed by Ambri. The battery could ultimately provide needed energy storage and increased system reliability, enabling communities to shift away from diesel fuel and toward renewable resources such as wind and solar for power generation.

UAF and Colorado State University are welcoming their first class of future veterinarians. The institutions have asked 10 candidates, including seven Alaska residents, to enter the new joint professional program, which will open its doors in fall 2015. Of the Alaska residents, two undergraduate attends UAF and one studies at the University of Alaska Southeast. Three attend out-of-state universities, and one is currently working in Anchorage. The Alaska numbers are subject to change as nonresidents accept or decline offers.

UAF has received a $1.7 million grant to improve satellite data capture and rapid product generation for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. The grant will help NOAA’s National Weather Service give earlier warnings of massive weather events.

Revised age estimates of American mastodon fossils in Alaska and the Yukon have resolved a quandary about when these extinct relatives of elephants lived. In a recent publication of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an international team of researchers, including faculty members Patrick Druckenmiller, Pam Groves and Dan Mann, report that northern mastodon fossils are much older than previously thought. The new dates better match what paleontologists know about changes in the mastodons’ habitat during the ice age.

The Geological Society of America has selected UAF alumna Vicki McConnell to head the 26,000-member group. She will become the society’s executive director in April 2015. She earned her Ph.D. in geology and volcanology from UAF in 1995.

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business has accredited the School of Management at UAF in both business and accounting for another five years.

In Progress

The annual Science for Alaska lecture series runs through Feb. 24. This year’s series explored earthquakes in Alaska, drones revolutionizing science, weather satellites and the Research Vessel Sikuliaq. The last lecture in the series, “Changing Relationships Among Alaska Hunters, Wildlife and Habitat,” will take place Feb. 24 at the Westmark Fairbanks Hotel.

Plans are underway to move eLearning & Distance Education from leased space to the campus in June. The eLearning group will use space in the Bunnell Building vacated by Printing Services. The rural college bookstore, some distance education offices and Math in a Cultural Context program also will move on campus. Annual savings should exceed $325,000.

What's Next

UAF will host Arctic Science Summit Week in March 2016. The annual gathering of international organizations engaged in Arctic research will occur during the two years in which the United States chairs the multinational Arctic Council. The conference will run from March 12–20. The council’s senior officials plan to meet during the conference.

UAF will host the Festival of Native Arts March 5–7. Alaska Native students established the festival in the mid-1970s to preserve Native cultural expression.

The third annual Alaska Native Studies Conference will take place at UAF March 6–8. This year’s theme, Troth Yeddha’ Roots: Connecting the Place with the People, reflects the location of the campus and the Troth Yeddha’ Park and planned indigenous studies center. Scholars will discuss language preservation, culture and education.

The NCAA Rifle Championship will take place at UAF March 12–14. This is the second time UAF has hosted the national championships.

through the lens: recent images

UAF student Calvin Bell stands by the University Fire Department’s Ladder Truck 10 in the diesel machine shop at the Community and Technical College’s Hutchison Institute of Technology on Geist Road. Students in the diesel mechanics class perform routine maintenance tasks on vehicles in the fleet under a cooperative agreement between the college and the fire department.


Photos, clockwise from top left

Eduard Zilberkant, Music Department chair and piano professor, conducts the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra during its annual holiday concert Dec. 7 in the Davis Concert Hall.

Maj. Gen. Michael Shields, commanding general of U.S. Army Alaska, gives a presentation on the Army’s role in a changing Arctic. Shields spoke Nov. 13 in Schaible Auditorium on the Fairbanks campus as part of Arctic Day 2014. (UAF photo by JR Ancheta.)

Kayt Sunwood, manager of the Women’s Center, stands in her offices in the newly expanded Wood Center. (UAF photo by JR Ancheta.)

The Nanook mascot bonds with another four-legged friend during Finals Dog Days in the Rasmuson Library in December.

UAF photos by Todd Paris unless otherwise indicated.

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