Welcome to Fall 2022


Dear faculty and instructors,

Welcome to the 2022-2023 academic year. As always, we are excited to welcome new, continuing and returning faculty, staff and students. 


Academic calendar:

UAF’s academic calendar for 2022-23 is live and includes important dates and deadlines. Wednesday-Saturday, Aug. 24-27 is particularly important for you to mark on your calendars as this is the time when we will rev-it-up and open our residence halls and host new student orientations. On Aug 22-23 our faculty development team will lead an updated and exciting new faculty orientation. We have close to 60 new faculty members. If you are a new postdoctoral fellow or faculty, please register for the new faculty orientation program. There is travel support available for new faculty orientation if you are not located in Fairbanks. If you can not attend in-person, you can participate remotely for large parts of the orientation.


Shared governance:

One topic that we cover in new faculty orientation is the importance of shared governance and how to engage in UAF governance. This is important not just for new faculty but for all students and employees. The presidents and elected members of the faculty senate, staff council, and the student governance body, ASUAF, are listed in the links available on the above governance site. I express my sincere gratitude to Sandra Wildfeuer for her thoughtfulness, tireless work, and student-centered leadership as the 2021-22 UAF faculty senate president. I look forward to working with our 2022-23 president, Dr. Ataur Chowdhury, and our president-elect Dr. Jennie Carroll. One way for you to be engaged in what is going on in the faculty senate is to be aware of the upcoming faculty senate meetings and agendas and be in contact with the senators from your college or unit with your thoughts about topics that interest you.


Course offerings and delayed registrations: 

We plan to offer over 1900 course sections in the fall with close to 1000 in-person, and the rest available via distance or in hybrid modes. One thing we have noticed is that there are still many returning students who have not registered for their Fall classes. Some of them are waiting to meet you and seek your guidance and approval before registering. If you are a faculty or staff advisor, please reach out to the unregistered students urgently and help them to find a spot in the classes they need. 


Professional development:

For those faculty interested in professional development keep in mind our upcoming Academic Leadership Institute. The deadline for applying to this unique and exciting, two-semester long cohort-based professional development opportunity is coming up very soon. The online application is available through August 19th, 2022.

The faculty development team has been working tirelessly to plan several diverse professional development opportunities throughout the year. These are centrally listed at the Faculty Accelerator portal and announced through different channels. Many of these professional development opportunities are also available for staff and students. I find the ‘upcoming events calendar’ on this site very handy and encourage you to copy the calendar to your own calendar, and also bookmark the faculty accelerator website. 


Research Opportunities:

For those faculty interested in growing their research through the strategic planning led by vice chancellor of research, Nettie La Belle-Hamer, please reach out to uaf-vcr@alaska.edu. The VCR’s office can help with creation of research cohorts as well. The above email address can be used to request that your name be added to the distribution list for the upcoming UAF Research newsletter.


Canvas, Blackboard, and Adobe:

A large majority of UAF faculty have converted their courses to the Canvas learning management system. A big thank you to the faculty and also to the eCampus staff who provided the training and support for faculty to facilitate this switch. To provide sufficient transition time for the remaining faculty, UAF will continue to pay for the Blackboard learning management software, targeted for a two-year period. OIT will send out a separate message and frequent updates regarding this and the Blackboard sunset timelines, as part of a UAF migration to Canvas. 

OIT has also sent several message updates to the UAF community regarding the change in licensing of Adobe products. For PDF editing, as pointed out in the OIT messages, there are still several other free options for faculty to edit PDFs such as by using FoxIt Pro. Discounted options also exist for more specialized software products. We encourage faculty to adopt these other options.


Student Success Center:

UAFs Strategic Plan 2027 has six goals, of which one is modernizing our student experience. The most exciting and ambitious initiative under this goal is to establish a Student Success Center on the sixth floor of the Rasmusson Library.  Associate Vice Provost Tilbury will be directing programming at the Student Success Center, including integrated services and support for students: first-year advising, study away, career services, tutoring, academic coaching, testing services, and more. Though the physical space is planned to be renovated and ready in the academic year 2023-24, modernizing academic support for students is already in full swing. Peer academic coaching will be available starting this fall; students can work with coaches 1:1 to set academic goals, to develop personalized learning and organizational strategies, and to address barriers to success such as fixed mindset, time management and much more. The Academic Advising Center is also transitioning to a modernized, larger, and inclusive, comprehensive first-year advising model.  

One area where faculty can support student success efforts is by fully embracing Nanook Navigator to help assess student needs through the course of the semester. Additionally, the Navigator mobile app, launching this fall, will place links to university resources, advising appointments, and an activities calendar at our students’ fingertips. Please flag any issues you see so that advisors can reach out to students and provide them with assistance or resources. More than ever, it’s important for faculty and staff to connect with this powerful student success tool.  Guidance is available to link faculty advisor calendars to Nanook Navigator’s booking system.

Once again, I wish you all a great Fall semester. Should you have any questions or concerns, or exciting news to share, please feel free to contact your dean or me at uaf-provost@alaska.edu.

— Anupma Prakash, provost and executive vice chancellor