Bristol Bay Campus Director candidate presentation and feedback


 The University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Rural and Community Development hosted a presentation by a finalist candidate for the Bristol Bay Campus Director position onFriday, September 23, 2022 via zoom and in person at the Bristol Bay Campus.
Candidate Dr. Steven Johnson gave a public presentation as part of the Bristol Bay Campus Director position selection process. This session included be a 30-minute presentation focused on his vision for the campus, followed by a 15-minute question and answer session.

We ask audience members to complete the online feedback form up until September 30, 2022. If you were unable to attend the presentation or want to review it again, a recording of the event is available.

Steve Johnson was born and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I am the son of William and Maxine Johnson, a pharmacist and a nurse respectively. The first degree that I received was a Bachelor of Business Administration. My major field was Management. After college, I worked in business for 11 years managing departments and businesses that sold and serviced home electronics. During this time, I learned the value of planning ahead and that success was earned, not hoped for. Because I had a knack for it, I ended up spending most of my time teaching customer service skills to company personnel. Since I found the teaching aspect of my job to be more enjoyable than the business management aspect, I decided to formally become a teacher. I completed a post-baccalaureate teacher preparation program and earned a teaching license in New Mexico. I got a job teaching social sciences and vocational preparedness at a rural high school in New Mexico. I continued to teach at Moriarty High school while I completed my master’s degree in Training and Learning Technologies as well as completing all the course work for my master’s degrees in Special Education and Educational Leadership.

While I was working on my master’s program, I started to look for jobs in Alaska so that I could fulfill a lifelong desire to live in Alaska. In 1996, I was offered a faculty position at Kuskokwim Campus as their Assistant Professor of CIOS. In this position, I taught introductory computing courses as well as community education courses. I consider the four years I spent at KuC to be the most important years in my teaching life. This is because I was required to unlearn most of what I was taught in my teacher preparation program to make my teaching more meaningful in rural Alaska. I taught classes not only in Bethel, but I also taught classes at Alakanuk and Kotlik Schools. I saw firsthand what village schools were like. I saw their great achievements and their frustrating issues.

In 2000, I moved to Juneau because the leadership in Bethel had become unstable. While I was in Juneau, I started to work on my doctorate and this journey had me move from Juneau to Izmir, Turkey so that I could participate in a true university software engineering program. I originally planned on returning to Alaska in two to three years, but instead, I remained in Turkey for 10 years. During this time, I significantly increased my computing and programming skills and completed my Ph.D. in Information Technology.

In 2012, I decided to return to the University of Alaska and started looking for IT jobs. In 2015, I was hired by Prince William Sound College. I was initially hired to build a web engineering program that mimicked the program I had created for Izmir Economic University. This program was created and goes by the name of ‘Alaska Tech Learners’ today. I currently have 78 high school and college students who live all over Alaska taking a Tech Learner course. In 2016, I became the Director of Academic Affairs for PWSC. In this position, I was able to use my business and educational leadership skills to lead the PWSC campus.

Over the past six years, we transitioned PWSC away from being an academically oriented Valdez-centric campus and changed it into a vocationally driven community college that serves all of Alaska. Seven new vocational programs were created and supported by two million dollars in grant funding. By going through this experience, I learned that Alaska’s extended campuses really need to go back to being community colleges.

Dual enrollment, vocational programs, and teacher professional development are three areas where Alaska’s extended campuses can have a significant impact on the educational mission of UA. I learned that the best way to build a college is one program at a time, and that good programs are aligned to a local need and are supported by grant funding.

My future plans are to help UA’s extended campuses transform into dynamic, vocational institutions that also provide transfer services.

Employees share what they like about the Bristol Bay Campus!


The University of Alaska does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, physical or mental disability, marital status, changes in marital status, pregnancy or parenthood, genetic code or retaliation. This policy affects employment policies and actions, as well as the delivery of educational services at all levels and facilities of the University. For a full explanation of what laws apply and contact information on how to file a report visit the Nondiscrimination site.

The UAF Bristol Bay Campuses' mission is to provide educational opportunities by which rural Alaskans can effect social and economic changes in their communities and thus protect and enrich the quality of their lives and culture.

Your generosity will help to ensure that the continuity and vibrancy or our rural communities and our ability to serve our state, nation, and the world—for generations to come.


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UAF Development and Alumni Relations
Phone: 907-474-2619
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