Looking ahead to fall

May 1, 2020

Tori Tragis

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

— by Dan White, chancellor

The UA system is currently working on overarching guidelines for University of Alaska (Anchorage, Fairbanks and Southeast) operation in fall 2020. We expect those details next week but within that context, I want to let you know what we are preparing for at UAF, including our Troth Yeddha’ campus and Community and Technical College in Fairbanks, as well as our rural campuses in Nome, Dillingham, Kotzebue, and Bethel. Although subject to unknowns in the pandemic, here is where we stand.

UAF is planning for a blend of in-person classes and distance delivery. Our in-person classes will more than likely look different due to social distancing measures as well as restrictions from state and federal rules and mandates. We are working through the different possibilities and planning for different scenarios. Administratively, we will also be working with your faculty to ensure that their knowledge about the best modes of delivery for the different courses is guiding our thinking. We know that many of you prefer in-person classes and I know faculty appreciate the same.

We also are planning to reopen residence halls to occupancy for fall 2020, again, in a modified way. Although somewhat different than in previous years, we expect to be able to continue student activities and traditions. One thing that we found this semester is an increase in the participation of all UAF students, wherever they are, in what were once activities limited to students “on-site.” So we are thinking of things as not just “back to normal” but “forward to better than normal.” Already we are working through protocols and anticipating how to establish protective measures so that we are prepared for the possible emergent conditions over the summer.

Distance learning will continue in many respects similar, but better. We already had and will continue to have a large percentage of UAF classes delivered online or distance by other means. That said, this summer the UAF eCampus will be working with faculty to improve courses already online and develop courses not yet available for distance delivery. We also have over 30 faculty peer mentors reaching out and helping other faculty improve their on-line delivery. 

The COVID-19 landscape continues to change daily but one thing is certain: UAF will be here in the fall, and we expect to provide UAF students with new and exciting opportunities to earn your degrees, always with safety, health and wellness in mind. Things are always subject to change, but when they change, we adapt!

Thank you for choosing UAF. GO NOOKS!