Welcome to UAF Chukchi!
A Message from the Director
It has been a great summer of harvesting for our people in the region of Northwest Alaska! I know that many people were able to hunt for caribou on both the Kobuk and Noatak Rivers and that the harvest for our salmon and trout was bountiful. Unfortunately, the berries were not very plentiful due to the heavy rains. But as we well know, they will probably be plentiful next summer!
UAF Chukchi Campus is thriving. We have been among the fastest growing campuses with significant increases in student credit hours and student head count since the same time last year. We attribute this to our great partnerships with the Northwest Arctic Borough School District (NWABSD) and their Magnet School Project. Our partnership includes several dual credit courses, including:
· Introduction to the Health Fields,
· Introduction to Education, and
· a new course for the Spring 2013 semester titled Introduction to Process Technology.
It is also important to mention that UAF Chukchi and the NWABSD piloted the Collaborative Math project last spring, 2012. In this initiative, we have our high school students taking Math in collaboration with their high school teacher and with the assistance and guidance of a UAF Math professor. This builds comfort and orientates NWABSD students to college math pacing and expectations. Because it was such a success last year with Kotzebue and Kiana, we will add more of our villages to the project this year (7 villages total).
We also have a strong relationship with our NANA Regional Corporation and have begun conversations to have the Native Corporation fund our high school dual credit courses. This will be done as soon as we are able to meet with the Aqqaluk Trust trustees and bring them into the picture of our and the school district needs.
On top of this academic growth, we have also grown physically. Our facility now has a new wing attached to it with two new classrooms and a storage room for alternative energy materials. UAF Chukchi held a ribbon cutting ceremony in October, 2012, and invited Vice Chancellor Pete Pinney and our NWABSD partners to attend the small ceremony with our faculty and staff. The new wing houses: the UAF Chukchi flight simulator that was moved over from the Alaska Technical Center. With the support of a United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant, UAF Chukchi is also in the process of doing a workforce development project where we are building a prototype home in Buckland. This home is being built in partnership with Northwest Inupiat Housing Authority and Cold Climate Housing Research Company.
The need for affordable and sustainable housing cannot be overstated in our region. Currently, it costs anywhere from $7-$14 a gallon to heat within the Northwest Arctic Borough region to heat a home. Considering that we routinely see -40F temperatures with lows exceeding -60F to -80F in our region, this project is a means to research building more economically to build sustainability and quality of life in our region.
Teaching a preserving Inupiaq culture is also a high priority for UAF Chukchi. In addition to our regular college courses we offer regionally and worldwide, UAF Chukchi also offers and continues to develop new culturally-centered courses for our region. For example, UAF Chukchi is planning to offer local traditional courses like atunak (traditional Inupiaq boots) and atikluk (traditional Inupiaq shirts) making. These will build upon previous offerings like the net making course we offered last spring (2012).
UAF Chukchi is also offering a new culturally-relevant program of study starting in 2013. Starting in the Summer, 2013, UAF Chukchi will offer an Inupiat Ethnobotany class. This class will partner with the Northwest Arctic Borough and build upon their Subsistence Mapping project to identify, document, and teach traditional knowledge and uses of Alaska traditional plants/herbs. This not only ensures that this important knowledge is not lost, but can also help teach people how to live sustainably off the land through a combination of science and traditional knowledge and understanding.
UAF Chukchi is also moving forward with another successful Nursing cohort. UAF Chukchi hosts a new cohort of UAA RN Nursing students very two years. This could not happen without the support of our local health organization, Maniilaq Association. Maniilaq is a very strong partner who provides the Nursing instructor to our campus at no charge in order to help develop local nurses dedicated to the region and improve the healthcare for our people and region. Our nursing program is a two-year program that concludes with an AAS in Nursing. This degree is an RN, not an LPN, and students have the option to complete a Bachelors of Nursing through the UAA online education system. Our current Cohort will graduate in 2013 and we will begin a new cohort in January, 2014. The students interested in the 2014 cohort are already taking the nursing prerequisites and are eager to move from pre-nursing into the next nursing cohort of 2014.
Representative of change, UAF Chukchi has had a lot of turnover this past year. Since Spring 2012, we have had to replace five new staff and faculty due to retirements and professional advancement. However, this has not slowed us down. It is a very exciting time for all of us, as we embrace change and continue striving to serve our region with their higher education needs.
Let us keep striving together to make our region with it’s best food, water, and air, the best place in the world to live! Quyanaq to all our partners for their great support and wonderful ways we work together to serve our region.
As we enter into yet another cold winter, let us all continue looking out for each other and practicing our Inupiat tradition of sharing and respecting each other and the land and its animals, which provides us sustenance. On behalf of UAF Chukchi Campus staff and faculty, I would like to welcome everyone to come by and visit us and sign up for spring semester 2013! Happy Holidays to everyone!