Vision Task Force Final Report:

Shaping the Future of UAF

Enrollment and Retention

Recommendation One:

Improve the quality and effectiveness of the recruitment- and retention-related aspects of campus life, the first-year experience and academic programs.

Requirements

  • Implement the Campus Life Master Plan recommendations for upgrading Fairbanks campus-life facilities. Specifically, by 2017 the campus needs new or updated space for the Wood Center (dining, bookstore, all age social activities and postal spaces), residential facilities that support development of learning communities and a one-stop student services administrative center.
  • Improve rural campus facilities as well as connectivity to the rural sites.
  • Encourage and recognize faculty involvement in student clubs, organizations and residence halls.
  • Encourage a more engaged student body by educating and mentoring student leaders.
    Increase funding for Student Life programs, athletics and recreation to provide events and services that support student life.
  • Sustain the decision to implement mandatory orientation for all freshmen. Develop orientation by: including an enhanced version during the summer; increasing faculty involvement and contact with freshmen; having the university open during orientation so that parents and new students can visit academic departments and other offices and meet the faculty and staff; and include a component that focuses on our Alaska heritage and that encourages civic and campus engagement.
  • Establish a freshmen seminar using one of the many existing models from other institutions and require students to read a designated text prior to their arrival.
  • Implement an early warning and response system that identifies and responds to students in academic, financial or behavioral distress. This will require the cooperation of virtually all segments of the institution.
  • Faculty interest in students is a powerful tool of retention. UAF should devise a method of ensuring more contact between freshmen and professors. We need to examine how many students receive their advising through the Academic Advising Center versus in the office of a professor who teaches in their area of interest.
  • Ensure that the frequency of course offerings, coupled with well-informed advising, enables students to complete their degrees on time.
  • Enhance the Honors Program, leadership programs and other activities that provide challenges and opportunities for outstanding students.
  • Increase the opportunities for undergraduate participation in research, scholarly or creative activities in all academic disciplines by creating incentives for programs to engage students in those activities.
  • Increase assistance to faculty and teaching assistants to continuously improve their teaching skills including the availability and quality of technology used to support academic programs.
  • Significantly expand internships, externships and practicum opportunities for all students.
  • Offer flexible education and training opportunities to meet needs of nontraditional students.
student

Impact

  • Overcome the challenges of UAF's student life -- distance of the Fairbanks campus from local businesses, combined with the harsh environment.
  • Modernize the dated student life environment.
  • Actively encourage and support the growth of civic engagement by students and faculty involvement in student life to achieve a robust student-life environment.
  • Create a focused and ambitious effort to create a vibrant campus experience for students.
  • Increase the probability that students will get off to a good start at UAF, are acculturated, make friends and are encouraged to be active members of the campus community even though UAF regularly admits a high number of students who are at risk for failure at the college level as a public university.
  • Improve student success at UAF by assisting the under-prepared and lessmotivated students to succeed.
  • Increase the number of Alaska students that consider UAF their first choice.
  • Improve the educational experience for the strong academic students at UAF.
  • Improve access for outstanding UAF students to programs and opportunities that allow them to excel.
  • Provide opportunities outside of academics for students seeking admission to highly competitive graduate and professional schools.

Recommendation Two:

Position UAF as an institution of high value and academic rigor in order to better serve the needs of our students and state.

Requirements

  • Raise the minimum ACT score for admittance to a baccalaureate program from the planned 18 to 21.
  • Provide a clear pathway for students not admitted to a baccalaureate program to be admitted to a program through a structured system of developmental courses and academic advising.
  • Collect a deposit of $200 to hold a seat for students admitted to the university.
  • Require an essay as part of the undergraduate admissions application.
  • Be tougher in granting appeals for the loss of financial aid due to poor academic performance.
  • Provide resources to the admissions staff to allow for rapid processing of applications.
  • Identify UAF's optimum student body size so as not to exceed the capacity of academic programs and support facilities.
  • Hire a consultant to help identify which marketing strategies will be the most effective in achieving high school recruitment goals. (UAF's research emphasis does not capture the interest of many potential majors in fields like justice, social work, business, psychology, etc.).
  • Place particular emphasis on marketing UAF in Southcentral Alaska.
  • Bolster the UA Scholars Program, and ensure that the program's financial aid equals or exceeds a full, four-year tuition waiver.
  • Re-evaluate all current merit-based scholarships and set higher academic standards for eligibility where feasible.
  • Recruit more non-Alaskan and international students to enrich global perspectives of Alaska students.

Impact

  • Inform potential students and parents of the monetary value of a UAF education while emphasizing our national rankings and the selective nature of our admissions process.
  • Instill in our communities an image of high academic standards associated with UAF.
  • Improve the significant feeling among applicants that the response time to applications is excessively long.
  • Change the impression that UAF is less efficient and effective than our peer institutions.
  • Demonstrate that financial incentives attract academic achievers as seen with the profound impact by the institution of the UA Scholars Program.
  • Increase the involvement of academically successful students in encouraging other students to consider UAF as a possible choice.

Recommendation Three:

Increase UAF's pre-college engagement with the greater Fairbanks community through campus-based or elementary/secondary school-based outreach activities.

Study group

Requirements

  • Identify successful K-16 strategies currently used in other states and consider whether they can be adapted to UAF/Interior Alaska.
  • Identify community (and possibly state government) and school partners.
  • Establish criteria for prioritizing the order in which strategies are implemented and with whom.
  • Identify industry and business partners for possible involvement and/or underwriting of outreach programs.
  • Fund the Susan Butcher Leadership Institute and support its efforts to bring pre-collegiate students from throughout the state to campus for training in leadership skills to enable them to play a larger role in their home communities in Alaska's social, political and economic development.
  • Create select opportunities for faculty to spend time in Anchorage and/or other parts of Alaska on recruitment forays, such as lecturing in high schools in their areas of expertise.

Impact

  • Create a strong tie to all communities and schools.
  • Demonstrate UAF's interest in the people of Alaska and their families.
  • Create relationships with elementary and secondary educators who mentor and encourage students to plan for and pursue postsecondary education.
  • Develop a grass-roots constituency that seeks ongoing support for UAF with policy makers.
  • Provide real-life examples of the need for college and its importance for career options with involved faculty, staff and students.
Back to Top