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Tribe Signs Memorandum of Agreement with University of Alaska Southeast

UAS Chancellor Caulfield and President Peterson following MOA signing ceremony

Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Tlingit & Haida) and the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) Juneau Campus formalized their commitment to expand communication, collaboration, and mutually beneficial partnerships through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). The MOA was signed on August 6, 2018 by Tlingit & Haida President Richard (Chalyee Éesh) Peterson and UAS Chancellor Rick Caulfield during a regularly scheduled UAS Juneau Campus Advisory Council meeting in Juneau, Alaska.

The MOA broadly identifies areas for collaboration such as educational opportunities and equity for students and tribal citizens, increase educational attainment, promote awareness and appreciation of the region’s rich indigenous cultures and languages, build a quality workforce and promote self-determination and community self-reliance.

“Partnerships and building areas for collaboration have been a key area of focus for me,” said President Peterson. “There are a lot of areas of overlap between Tlingit & Haida and UAS, for example our Vocational Training & Resource Center and UAS’ Technical Education Center, so it was very natural to develop this agreement. We must continue to broaden our ability to work together to strengthen our effectiveness to serve our tribal citizens and for the wellbeing of our community and our region.”

"UAS and Tlingit & Haida have common interests in areas such as employment training, student scholarships and support, indigenous languages and arts, teacher education, tribal management, and tourism,” said Chancellor Caulfield. “Working together, we can only improve the services for Tlingit & Haida’s tribal citizens and for UAS students. I'm grateful to President Richard Peterson for his commitment to collaboration and to UAS Vice Chancellor Joe Nelson who will provide UAS leadership in this effort."

As part of the first steps under the MOA, Tlingit & Haida and UAS will designate representatives to serve on a MOA Steering Committee that will meet at least twice annually (fall, spring) to identify shared goals and objectives, develop timelines, implement action steps for goals and objectives, maintain regular contact, and communication at leadership and program levels in delivering higher education and community outreach services. The committee will establish ad hoc working groups as necessary to advance the MOA’s scope, goals, objectives, and implementation steps under each program area exploring potential areas of collaboration.

Contact: Keni Campbell
University of Alaska Southeast
Phone: (907) 796-6509

Contact: Raeanne Holmes
Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska
Phone: (907) 463-7368

UAS Hosts 3rd Annual Enrollment Day on August 8th

The University of Alaska Southeast proudly presents Enrollment Day for the Fall 2018 semester on Wednesday August 8th from 11 a.m.–7 p.m. The event takes place in the UAS Learning Center, located in the lower level of the Egan Library.

Students are invited to meet advisors, take placement tests, and learn about financial aid. In addition, students and families are encouraged to tour the campus, including the John Pugh Residence Hall, amazing suite style housing for freshman. Students can also apply for admission during the event.

Contact: Student Resource Center
University of Alaska Southeast
Phone: (907) 796-6000

Contact: Keni Campbell
University of Alaska Southeast
Phone: (907) 796-6509

Dr. Tom Thornton Named as New UAS Dean of Arts and Sciences

The University of Alaska Southeast is pleased to announce that Dr. Thomas Thornton has been selected as the new Dean of Arts & Sciences. He will also serve as UAS Vice-Provost for Research and Sponsored Programs. He replaces Dr. Paula Martin, who has served as the interim dean of the school since summer 2017.

As dean, Dr. Thornton will provide leadership for the school and its four departments: Business and Public Administration, Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences. The position promotes UAS’ mission focusing on student learning and success, and providing robust high impact learning opportunities for students. He will assume his new role in Juneau on July 1.

UAS Chancellor Rick Caulfield noted that “It is a pleasure to welcome Dr. Thornton back to Alaska and to have the benefit of his academic leadership and expertise at our university. His career combines an exceptionally strong academic foundation with an ability to work collaboratively with faculty and with community partners.”

Dr. Thornton earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology/Anthropology from Swarthmore College and both a master’s degree and Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Washington. He previously lived in Juneau and taught at UAS. He currently is an associate professor and senior research fellow at University of Oxford in the United Kingdom where he has worked in the Environmental Change Institute, School of Geography and the Environment. He is also a fellow of the Global Diversity Foundation’s Global Environmental Summer Academy in Bern, Switzerland.

A renowned researcher, Dr. Thornton has been involved in numerous projects involving anthropology and human ecology, including many in Alaska. His book, Haa Léelk’w Hás Aaní Saax’u: Our Grandparents’ Names on the Land, won a 2012 Alaska Historical Association award. In previous Alaska research he has collaborated with a number of Southeast Alaska tribes and organizations, including Sealaska Heritage Institute, Sitka Tribe of Alaska, and the Southeast Native Subsistence Commission. He has published over 70 works in his fields of study, and has been a guest speaker in a variety of international forums and institutions.

UAS Provost Karen Carey noted, “Dr. Thornton will be a great addition to the UAS campus. His knowledge of Southeast Alaska, his understanding of the Native cultures and lands, and his interests in expanding research at UAS will lead to increased recognition of our campus.”

Contact: Keni Campbell
University of Alaska Southeast
Phone: (907) 796-6509

University of Alaska Southeast Commencement 2018

On the first weekend in May, the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) will celebrate student achievement and success at commencement activities on its three campuses in Sitka, Ketchikan, and Juneau. UAS expects to award 410 associate, bachelor, and master’s degrees, 128 certificates and professional licensures, and 174 occupational endorsements. Commencement in Sitka takes place Friday, May 4, Ketchikan on Saturday, May 5, and Juneau’s event is Sunday, May 6.

UAS Chancellor Rick Caulfield, Provost Karen Carey, and UA regents Dale Anderson and Lisa Parker will travel to each campus to celebrate the success of graduates in the three communities. UA President Jim Johnsen will attend the Juneau commencement ceremony. UAS is pleased to announce that U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski will deliver the Juneau Commencement Address.

At the Juneau event, UAS will present honorary doctorate degrees to Bruce Botelho and Kaayistaan Marie Olson. Meritorious Service Awards will be presented to Nancy DeCherney at the Juneau ceremony, and Len Laurance in Ketchikan.

The UAS Sitka commencement ceremony takes place Friday, May 4 at 7 p.m. in the campus lecture hall. The UAS Ketchikan Campus ceremony is set for Saturday, May 5 at 2 p.m. at the Ted Ferry Civic Center.

On Sunday, May 6, the UAS Juneau campus celebrates its 47th annual commencement ceremony at 2 p.m. at the Charles Gamble Jr.-Donald Sperl Joint Use Facility, 12300 Mendenhall Loop Road (REC Center). The UAS Native & Rural Student Center hosts its annual Alaska Native Graduation Celebration at 11 a.m. in the Egan Library on the Auke Lake campus. In addition, a celebration of UAS School of Education graduates living elsewhere in Alaska will be held in Anchorage on Saturday, May 12.

Chancellor Rick Caulfield expressed pride in the accomplishments of all UAS graduates: “Commencement is a time to celebrate the hard work and dedication of our graduates, whether they are completing a workforce certificate, an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, or a graduate degree. We’re proud of each and every one of them for seeking an education that will prepare them for productive careers and help enrich their lives and those of their families. Our faculty and staff are honored to be part of that journey.”

At the Juneau Commencement, two students—one undergraduate and one graduate—will address their fellow graduates. Blake Fletcher is an undergraduate earning a dual degree: a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a Bachelor of Arts in English. One of those nominating him for student speaker wrote: “Blake has fulfilled both degree programs and has taken more classes in such a broad range of subjects here at UAS than anyone else I know. His plans after graduation involve studying for a Masters of Arts in Secondary Education with the end goal of teaching secondary school. Blake wants to teach students—the most selfless of professions–to inspire them to further their education.”

The second speaker is graduate student Erin Ohlson, who will receive a Master’s degree in Public Administration. The person nominating her stated: “Erin is a third generation, lifelong Alaskan raised in rural Gustavus where her husband's parents homesteaded. She exemplifies the self-motivated, multi-tasking, hard-working parents who persevere and accomplish their goals of advanced degrees through distance education opportunities. She did this while simultaneously raising her young family, working, and progressing in her profession, and engaging productively in her community.”

Bruce Botelho will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Laws, awarded by the UA Board of Regents. Botelho had a distinguished career with the State of Alaska Department of Law, which included serving for nine years as the state’s Attorney General; the only one since statehood to serve under two governors from differing political parties. In addition, he served the longest term as Mayor of Juneau in the history of the city; from 1988-1991 and then again from 2003-2012. Distinguished UAA professor emeritus Stephen Haycox stated in his support letter, “In his dedication and his achievements, Bruce Botelho manifests and represents the essence of public service and civic engagement.”

Tlingit elder Kaayistaan Marie Olson will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. A respected member of the Áak’w Kwáan, Olson has been a staunch supporter of the University of Alaska and has made significant and enduring educational and cultural contributions to UAS, UAF, and the State of Alaska over the course of more than four decades. As an Alaska Native woman, she has experienced both the challenges and benefits of pursuing a university education, ultimately earning two certificates and a Bachelor of Liberal Arts from UAS. She has made significant contributions to indigenous knowledge in Alaska in her service as a distinguished culture bearer.

A University of Alaska Meritorious Service Award will be presented to Ms. Nancy DeCherney. Her inspirational leadership with the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council reflects service to the entire community of Juneau and to Southeast Alaska—creating a rich presence of arts and culture and inspiring others. Mr. Len Laurance will receive a Meritorious Service Award at the Ketchikan ceremony. He is a founding member of the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau, and has been a strong advocate for tourism education and the tourism industry.

The Juneau commencement ceremony is immediately followed by a catered reception in the Lakeside Grill in the Mourant building on the UAS Auke Lake Campus. Shuttle service will be available from the main campus parking area to the REC center. The event is be live streamed on the web at, as well as Facebook Live @uasalaska.

Links: UAS Facebook page

Contact: Keni Campbell
University of Alaska Southeast
Phone: (907) 796-6509

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