Friday Focus: Creating an environment for student success

February 28, 2020

Tori Tragis

Dan White. UAF photo by JR Ancheta.
Dan White. UAF photo by JR Ancheta.

— by Dan White, chancellor

Creating an environment where all students succeed is our mission. Whether they are first generation or have parents and grandparents that are UAF alum, students come to us with many different educational backgrounds and aspirations. Sometimes a student’s academic preparation aligns well with their aspirations and other times it doesn’t. Our job is to bridge the two for all students who choose UAF. 

Out of strategic enrollment planning have come many recommendations for improving student success and I would encourage you to take a look at that good work if you haven’t already. One related effort that you may have heard about is the Rasmuson Library transformation. Libraries have always been symbols of learning. Over the next year, we will be working toward making the Rasmuson Library a symbol of learning in a modern context, an advance made possible by the fact that more and more resources are on-line, freeing up valuable library space. What does that look like? 

At the present, students needing academic assistance travel to different places on campus, or at CTC, for help with math, English, tutoring or advising services. In the new model focused on student success, student assistance efforts are co-located. The Rasmuson Library is a great place to bridge the traditional model of learning that includes the conventional paper volumes in stacks, paper and film archives, reference materials, on-line resources, and our future: student learning centers. I want to thank Library Director Karen Jensen for her forward thinking in this space as well as CTC Director of Student Success Jennifer Tilbury for her work toward creating the best environment for our students. The plans will begin developing for this new student success space over this spring and summer. 

Student success has many forms. From the day a student enrolls in an on-line course, steps onto campus, or signs a letter of intent to play sports, they are being surrounded by caring UAF faculty, staff and students. Student community building occurs through our growing wellness programs on campus, Honors College, and the many activities offered through the Wood Center and residence halls. Student leadership opportunities led by our own ASUAF are another way that UAF’s students are serving each other. As I look at the UAF community, I see much care being taken to embrace student success in every step of their journey. Thank you to all who are serving that role, and especially to those who are planning to create the UAF student success center that will serve UAF’s students into the future.

Friday Focus is a column written by a different member of UAF’s leadership team every week.