Date of Press Release: 09-23-2015
The University of Alaska Board of Regents has approved the establishment of an Associate of Applied Science degree in Maritime Transportation at the University of Alaska Southeast and facilities improvements to establish a Regional Maritime and Career Center on the UAS Ketchikan campus. UAS Chancellor Rick Caulfield thanked Senator Bert Stedman for his active interest in the proposals and the many Southeast Alaska maritime employers who endorsed them. Supporters included SouthEast Alaska Pilots’ Association, SEA Link Inc., Allen Marine, the Marine Exchange, Ketchikan Gateway Borough, Vigor, and Samson Tug & Barge. The US Coast Guard and Southeast Conference also endorsed the proposal.
Said Caulfield, “Senator Stedman and these employers know how important it is to build a skilled maritime workforce for Southeast Alaska. We greatly appreciate their expressions of support.”
For years, UAS has provided classes and training to ferry workers, the US Coast Guard, shipyard workers, sea pilots, tug and barge industry, plus fishing and charter boats. Soon, students will be able to enroll in a degree program for an AAS in Marine Transportation. “We expect everything will be ready and approved for students to start the program by the Spring 2016 semester,” said Juneau faculty Neil Nickerson.
The new program addresses an unmet need for a formal marine transportation degree in Alaska. Importantly, the fact that it is a formal degree allows students—including those in the US Coast Guard—to access financial aid and tuition support that would otherwise be unavailable. The degree prepares individuals to handle the responsibilities of a limited tonnage vessel officer or owner. Graduates who meet sea time and other U.S. Coast Guard requirements may be qualified to work as a Captain on vessels up to 200 Tons.
Many of the courses in the program are offered via e-Learning or in shorter intensive courses to accommodate working mariners or military personnel. Program students complete assigned projects and gain experience working onboard a vessel. General Education Requirements and some of the classes can be taken at any campus, while others are only offered on the Ketchikan campus which houses required training equipment (i.e. boat davits, lifeboats, bridge and radar simulators).
The UAS Marine Transportation program has two full time faculty members—one in Ketchikan and another in Juneau. The program is primarily Ketchikan based. Chancellor Caulfield expressed appreciation to Ketchikan Campus Director Priscilla Schulte and program faculty and staff for their effective work in preparing the proposals.
Neil Nickerson, Juneau Faculty
University of Alaska Southeast