Department of Alaska Native Studies & Rural Development

Fairbanks office:

3rd floor Brooks Building

PO Box 756500

Fairbanks, AK 99775


Phone: (907) 474-6528

Toll free: 1-888-574-6528

Fax: (907) 474-6325


Anchorage office:

2221 E. Northern Lights Blvd. Room 200

Anchorage, AK 99508


Phone: (907) 279-2700

Toll free: 1-800-770-9531

Fax: (907) 279-2716

Hours: M-F 8AM-5PM

student and faculty in audio conferenced class
BA student Sonta Hamilton with Professor Dixie Dayo during audioconference class in Barrow in 2006

The Rural Development degree is built around a required 33-credit core of RD courses that focus on the theory and practice of "rural and community development" in indigenous and other rural Alaskan communities.

These include:

  • RD 300(W) Rural Development in a Global Perspective (3 cr.)
  • RD 325 Community Development Strategies (3 cr.)
  • RD 350(O) Indigenous Knowledge and Community Research (3 cr.)
  • RD 351 Strategic Planning for Rural Communities (3 cr.)
  • RD 352 Rural Business Planning and Proposal Development (3 cr.)
  • RD 400 Rural Development Internship (3 cr.)
  • RD 450 Managing Rural Projects and Programs (3 cr.)
  • RD 475(W) Senior Project (3 cr.)
  • RD Electives (6 cr.)
  • RD, Alaska Native Studies, or Education electives (3 cr.)

The RD 400 Internship and RD 475 Senior Project are courses completed through individualized work with a faculty advisor. The internship provides you with an opportunity to complete an approved project in a public or private sector workplace. If you have extensive work experience, you may be able to complete this course using credit for prior learning. See your advisor for further information and an internship guide.

RD 475 is the Rural Development Senior Project. It is usually completed in the semester just prior to graduation. For your senior project, you will complete a major research paper or an applied project under supervision of your faculty advisor.

RD100 College Seminar (1 Credit) Fall (Cross-listed with ANS 100) Presentations on time and financial management, test-taking strategies, study techniques, UAF and community resources, GPA calculation, UAF catalog information, core requirements, goal setting and personal choices. Provides students with the information and skills necessary for a successful UAF experience. Instruction by the staff of Rural Student Services. Native leaders will be invited as regular guest speakers. (1 + 0) Offered Fall, Spring.

RD200 Community Development in the North (s) (3 Credits) Fall Examines sustainable community development efforts in Alaska and the circumpolar North. Provides an overview of community development processes and case studies with an emphasis on indigenous communities and peoples.

RD245 Fisheries Development in Rural Alaska (s) (3 Credits) As Demand Warrants Introduction to fisheries development issues in rural Alaska communities, including basic concepts, strategies, and contemporary cases. Topics include management of salmon and other fisheries, community development quotas (CDQs), and sustainable development efforts. Emphasis on environmental and cultural impacts of fisheries development. (Prerequisite: ENGL 111X.)

RD250 Grant Writing for Community Development (1 - 3 Credits) As Demand Warrants Focuses on basic elements of grant proposals and processes of preparing proposals for governmental and private funding sources. Emphasis on applied skills through preparation of actual grant proposals.

RD 255 Rural Alaska Land Issues (s) (3 Credits) As Demand Warrants Introduction to land and resource management issues affecting rural Alaska. Provides a history of aboriginal use and occupancy of land and an overview of land provisions in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) and the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA). Topics addressed include using maps and land records, Native allotments, navigability, trespass and management of Native lands.

RD256 Co-Management of Renewable Resources (s) (3 Credits) As Demand Warrants Examines efforts of cooperative management of natural resources among users and federal and state management agencies. Recent initiatives in Alaska and Canada involving salmon, migratory birds, marine mammals, and brown bear discussed.

RD265 Perspectives on Subsistence in Alaska (s) (3 Credits) As Demand Warrants Examines the socioeconomic, cultural, legal and political dimensions of subsistence in Alaska.

RD 268 Rural Tourism: Planning and Principles (1 - 3 Credits) As Demand Warrants (Cross-listed with ABUS 268) Introduction to rural tourism planning and principles. Students examine rural tourism attractions and trends, tourism planning and policy formation, quality standards, and cultural and environmental impacts of tourism.

RD280 Resource Management Research Techniques (3 Credits) As Demand Warrants Overview of standard methods of field-based scientific research conducted by resource management agencies in rural Alaska including elementary statistical concepts, survey techniques, and tools used in land and renewable resources research.  (Prerequisites: NRM 101 and BIOL 104X.)

RD300W Rural Development in a Global Perspective (s) (3 Credits) Fall Explores the relationship between rural communities and the global economy, with an emphasis on sustainable development. Highlights the multiple meanings of "development" and issues of population growth, environmental change, gender, and indigenous peoples as they relate to rural development. Includes an introduction to the basic concepts and theories of development. (Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of instructor.)

RD315 Tribal People and Development (s) (3 Credits) Alternate Spring Comparative examination of socioeconomic development processes on tribal peoples in third and fourth world societies. Attention to implications of these processes for Alaska Native people. (Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of instructor.)

RD325 Community Development Strategies (s) (3 Credits) Spring Examines principles and strategies of asset-based development in rural communities throughout the world. Explores the history of community development ideas and case studies of specific strategies in Alaska and beyond. Topics include community healing, economic renewal, and collaborative decision-making approaches.

RD350O Indigenous Knowledge and Community Research (3 Credits) Fall Provides students with an understanding of community research approaches and techniques. Emphasis on the role and need for community-based research and ethical issues associated with it. Students use a hands-on approach to learning about oral history documentation, surveys of community assets and needs, and basic community survey techniques.

RD351 Strategic Planning for Rural Communities (3 Credits) Spring Examination of the major components of planning and grant writing processes as they relate to community level land use, business and social service projects. (Junior standing or permission of instructor.

RD352 Rural Business Planning and Proposal Development (3 Credits) Provides undergraduate students with an understanding of the principles and processes involved in strategic planning, business planning and proposal development with the focus on application to rural Alaska. Focus is on meeting the unique planning needs of rural Alaska comunities and organizations to help develop sustainable new business and garner grant resources for immediate community needs.(3 + 0) Offered Spring

RD375 Women and Development (3 Credits) As Demand Warrants (Cross-listed with WMS 375)
The effect of modernization and development processes on the role of women in a variety of Third World and tribal world contexts as well as the increasingly important "new" role women play in these complex processes. 

RD400 Rural Development Internship (3 Credits) Fall, Spring Structured experience in an appropriate educational, agency or corporate setting. Approved project required. Enrollment only by prior arrangement with the instructor.

RD401 Cultural Knowledge of Native Elders (h) (3 Credits) Fall, Spring (Cross-listed with ANS 401)
Study with prominent Native tradition-bearers in Native philosophies, values, and oral traditions. Traditional knowledge elicited through the cultural heritage documentation process. Analysis of existing interactions between cultural traditions and contemporary American life as experienced by Native elders. (Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.)

RD425 Cultural Impact Analysis (s) (3 Credits) As Demand Warrants An examination of the potential impacts of development projects on cultural systems; use of impact data to shape the actual project in positive directions. Data gathering and analysis techniques related to impact predictions. Student impact analysis required. (Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of instructor.)

RD427 Tribal Contracting and Compacting (3 Credits) Examines the history of federal Indian policy that led up to self-determination tribal contracting and compacting. Public Law 930638 will be studied and analyzed. Challenging issuesthat hampered tribal contracting will be identified. Case studies involving both tribal organizations and tribal governments will be studied. Current issues such as the proposed regionalization of tribes will be examined. (3 + 0) Offered Spring.

RD430 Indigenous Economic Development and Entrepreneurship (3 Credits) An understanding of the principles, strategies and practices of economic development and entrepreneurship with a focus on indigenous Alaska communities. Focus is on those elements of economic development as they apply to indigenous communities and their abilities to create substainable economic activities through culturally appropriate practices, and those activities which create and sustain community wealth and health.

RD450 Managing Rural Projects and Programs (3 Credits) Fall Examines appropriate management and accountability approaches for small-scale, community-based programs and projects, particularly those found in rural and/or cross-cultural contexts. (Prerequisite: RD 350 and RD 351 or permission of instructor.)

RD451 Human Resource Management for Indigenous Communities (3 Credits) Fall Provides an understanding of the principles and processes involved in human resource management especially as they apply within the indigenous communities. Focus is on the relevance of human resource management in every unit, project or team, the unique human resource management needs of rural Alaska communities and organizations, and how they can be met.

RD460 Women, Gender and Development (s) (3 Credits) Fall (cross-listed with WMS460) Explores interrelationships over time of women, gender roles and 'development' in the dynamicglobal economy, including issues in Alaska and the circumpolar north. Examines the historical marginalization of women in development processes, special issues affecting women in indigenous communities, and changing socio-economic and cultural gender roles of women and men in community development. Examines life histories of women that illustrate emerging principles and strategies for individual and community empowerment. Offered As Demand Warrants

RD462 Rural Health and Human Service Systems (3 Credits) Fall Provides a comprehensive overview of the federal and state rural health and human service system in the United States with specific emphasis on the tribal system in Alaska. the history, organization, work force, service delivery and financing of the U.S. Canadian and Alaska systems are examined. Circumpolar challenges and policy issues in rural health and human service systems are explored.

RD465 Community Healing and Wellness (3 Credits) Fall An overview of the history of education and the impact of religion and assimilation policies on the emotional and physical health of Alaska Natives and their communities. Traditional wellness issues and systems will also be researched from a global perspective. Students will be involved with place-based education examining healing and wellness issues in ther own local villages or communities. 

RD475W Rural Development Senior Project (3 Credits) Fall, Spring Under faculty supervision, the student completes a major theoretical, research and/or applied project which relates the student's applied emphasis area to rural development considerations. (Prerequisite: Senior standing or permission of instructor.)

RD492Rural Development Leadership Seminar (1 - 3 Credits) As Demand Warrants Various topics of current interest and importance to the Rural Development major. Topics announced prior to each offering and course may be repeated for credit. Enrollment priority given to Rural Development majors.