Vision Task Force Final Report:

Shaping the Future of UAF

Message from the Chancellor:

Steve Jones
Steve Jones, UAF Chancellor 2004-2008

January 2008

The University of Alaska Fairbanks is the flagship university of the largest state in the nation, the country's northernmost Land, Sea and Space Grant institution and an international research center. Its mission to promote academic excellence, student success and lifelong learning covers a lot of ground -- literally and figuratively -- with campuses across nearly half a million square miles, or two thirds of the state, from Interior Alaska to Bristol Bay and the Chukchi Sea, and distance learning programs link even more students in remote villages and the Lower 48 with UAF educators and resources.

To illuminate such a vast tract, it is necessary to take Edith Wharton's quote to heart, to not only be a beacon of exemplary education and research, but to reflect the knowledge, excellence and success that make UAF unique and multidimensional.

We are the mirrors of the university's mission. UAF is not a campus, institution or collection of colleges -- it's you, it's me, it is passion and engagement. It's our reflections, illuminating the path the university must take to:

  • Educate an informed citizenry for the betterment of society and the state
  • Champion staff and faculty, and empower them to lead the charge
  • Increase economic opportunities, to realize dreams and set worthy goals
  • Be the university of first choice for Alaskans
  • Be known as an international research institute, with expertise in the circumpolar North and its diverse peoples
  • Be recognized as Alaska's center of intellect

We recognize that the energy and resources required to achieve these goals are vast, far greater and more ambitious than anything UAF has ever undertaken. To guide the growth of advancement and philanthropy necessary for this next phase, this mapping of the route ahead was prepared in the hope that we can light the way, we can be the mirror for the mission.

Leaders from All Over Alaska

Fifty-five leaders from Alaska, the Lower 48 and the university were asked to make recommendations in 2007 on how UAF can position itself to become one of the world's premier arctic research and teaching universities by 2017, when UAF celebrates its 100th anniversary. They were divided into work groups that mirror the six pathways of the UAF Strategic Plan 2010. The task force asked for public participation in August 2007. The work groups reviewed the public comments and revised their recommendations before finalizing their reports. Former UAF Provost Paul Reichardt served as the university liaison by directing the task force, along with two key community leaders: Jo Heckman and Kevin Hostler. Jo Heckman is the president and CEO of Denali State Bank and a UAF alumna (B.B.A. '79, M.B.A. '85), and Kevin Hostler is the president and CEO of Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. The combination of community business leaders with UAF members is a critical element to the success of this visionary project.

Task force working groups focused on UAF leadership roles in Native studies, rural and community development, preparing students for jobs and careers, and the conduct and application of arctic and northern latitudes research. The working groups provided suggestions for new or refocused initiatives, areas of excellence and/or pathway goals. Their recommendations will assist in setting priorities, examining initiatives, establishing benchmarks and identifying funding for UAF over the next 10 years.

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