April 21, 2020

Dear UAF community,

UA President Johnsen sent a message yesterday encouraging students across the UA system to enroll for the fall semester. I was asked recently in a television interview what we are preparing for — in-person or distance delivery come fall. My response was both! We don’t know yet what the conditions will be but if at all possible we want students learning and conducting research on our campuses. But, in the event that we are still holding distance classes to a large degree, we’ll be ready for that too.

UAF transitioned over 1,000 classes to alternative delivery modes within just a few short weeks. This is in addition to the 73 degree programs that were already available by distance. Even before COVID-19, most of UAFs students were taking online courses as part of their programs, whether on campus or not. Our students are accessing distance from around the state, country and the world. I believe this will only increase. In fact, we’ve seen a 95% increase in the number of students from outside of Alaska enroll in classes at UAF in the fall compared to this same time last year. Now this is something to be excited about! This is thanks in large part to the hard work of the Office of Admissions and our increased marketing efforts in the Lower 48. From my perspective, this will only continue to grow.

My message to our students and our community is that UAF is planning for fall and we’re ready. While our campuses may be a little quieter than normal these days, rest assured UAF staff and faculty are hard at work. Our staff in Admissions and Financial Aid and our academic advisors are busy meeting with students. Our businesses offices are still conducting business, and our research enterprise is still conducting research. Many thanks to all of you for your continued work.

What can you do to help? I encourage you to enroll in a class, take part in a virtual event, and recommend UAF to a family member or friend. We have much to be proud of and look forward to, whether it’s online, in person or both.

It’s been said that Alaskans have grit and resourcefulness that fuel our drive to succeed. Never has this been more true than it is today. Our ability to pull together to meet our challenges head on will determine our future.

Thank you for choosing UAF. Be well.

— Dan White, chancellor

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