Academic Tuesdays: Feb. 7, 2023

Current Faculty Fellow for Dual Enrollment, Laura Conner (left), and Dani Sheppard (right), who will take on the role in May 2023.
Current Faculty Fellow for Dual Enrollment, Laura Conner (left), and Dani Sheppard (right), who will take on the role in May 2023.

— By Anupma Prakash, provost and executive vice chancellor

North Star College

I’m excited to share with all of you that the work on the expansion of the North Star College is in full swing.

We still have another week before the lottery deadline of Feb. 17, 2023, and yet we have already surpassed our goal of 125 students signing up, which is more vetted applications than we had anticipated! 

I would like to thank our current Faculty Fellow for Dual Enrollment, Laura Conner, for working with the school district on the academic planning for this program for the past several years, and I am excited to welcome Dani Sheppard who will take on this role in May 2023 to continue the work that Laura started. 

Now, I’d like to turn it over to the faculty fellows:

Laura Conner: Dual enrollment is growing tremendously across the country and in Alaska. Data released by the U.S. Department of Education in 2022 showed that about 34 percent of U.S. students now take at least one college course during high school, and UAF served close to 800 students in the past year alone through its various dual enrollment programs.

North Star College is a newer dual enrollment effort and one that I find to be particularly exciting. In this model, high school students from all over the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District attend primarily in-person classes on the UAF campus, learning what campus life is like while earning seven to 15 credits per semester and receiving academic support. This is an incredible opportunity for the students in terms of personal growth, career exploration, and of course monetary savings, as there is no cost to students to attend. About half of NSC students thus far have gone on to matriculate at UAF. You can hear directly from NSC students about how the program has impacted them here

Now, as NSC changes from a program into a full FNSBSD school located on campus, we have the opportunity to serve many more students. I have been honored to be part of the shaping and growth of this program, and I’m excited to see Dani step into this position as we continue to think about ways to best serve the students. For instance, while faculty should not change their courses or treat dual enrolled students differently than any other student, several faculty members have reported that small shifts in terminology, such as calling office hours “student hours,” have been effective in helping students understand college culture and making them feel welcome.

Dani Sheppard: I am thrilled to join this initiative at such an exciting time in the growth of North Star College. I have had great success with these students in my classes, and I look forward to seeing more opportunities for our local students. I have been a psychology faculty member since 1999 and have always been drawn to activities and initiatives that facilitate the academic growth of students in our high schools. The Faculty Fellow role will be a great opportunity to serve as a liaison between UAF and the community to strengthen the relationship we have with the school district. In addition, I look forward to working with our faculty members, faculty senate, and department chairs as dual enrollment opportunities grow at UAF. I would love to hear from you; please reach out to me at if you would like to be more involved in the dual enrollment efforts or have ideas on how we can enrich the experience of North Star College students. 

CBA announcement

The new 2022-24 UA & UNAC CBA is signed and is available today. Look for it on the Provost’s website or the UA Labor Relations website.