New IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site in Juneau and innovative classroom design.
During the Spring 2013 semester, the School of Management partnered with the Tlingit and Haida Regional Housing Authority (THRHA) to open a new IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site in Juneau. THRHA was awarded a W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant from First Nations Development Institute for "Innovative VITA Sites.” Funds were used to pay for computers and supplies, as well as a part-time site administrator's salary. The effort brought together volunteers from THRHA, UAS (both faculty and students), local banks (Alaska USA and First Bank), Tlingit and Haida Central Council, Alaska Legal Services Corporation, and other community members. In addition to tax preparation, classes were held to help educate VITA site clients on Elder Financial Abuse, Transitioning from Assistance, Credit Essentials, Basic Income Tax, Debt Collection, and Homebuyer Education. The site was a success with 222 total returns filed. UAS looks forward to many years of partnering with THRHA on the VITA site, providing accounting students with valuable income tax preparation experience while providing a needed service.
This fall the School of Management Master of Public Administration program will experiment with an innovative classroom design that utilizes inexpensive technology to convert a faculty office into a studio. The studio will support blended classroom instruction and accommodate local and distance students. Autofocusing, motion-detecting, face-tracking video cameras will capture live discussions and record full HD video clips with advanced compression technology. The walls are being treated with dry-erase coating that eliminates the need for whiteboards. The studio will include a conference table and a flat panel screen for video conferencing. MP faculty Kathy DiLorenzo will utilize the studio for her Public Administration classes.