Ketchikan News

Congratulations, MMSW Students!

The 2nd group of Maritime & Multi‐skilled Worker students completed their 12 weeks of training on December 19 and celebrated with a completion ceremony. All 12 students in the cohort successfully completed the course. They each receive university credits and a workforce credential and are eligible for the U.S. Coast Guard Qualified Member of the Engine Department certification (after they complete their required 90 days of documented sea time).

ASK UAS: Where Ketchikan Finds Answers

Ukraine, Russia and America: Current Events, Future Prospects presented by Dr. John Radzilowski. Thursday, January 29 at 6:30pm in the UAS Ketchikan Campus Library.

Donar Presentation 

Ketchikan Biology faculty Christopher Donar gave a recent Friday Night Insight presentation at the U.S. Forest Service Southeast Alaska Discovery Center. The talk was titled, “Paleolimnology of Lake Harriet Hunt: Preliminary results of a short sediment core analysis.”


Chancellor Pugh’s Budget Message

Alaska’s media has been filled with stories about the declining oil revenues for the State of Alaska and the implications this may have for our state budget. Over the past six months, the price of a barrel of North Slope oil has plummeted from over $100 to below $50. Unfortunately, the State of Alaska’s budget has depended almost exclusively on these revenues to fund the state’s operating and capital budgets.

In December, Governor Parnell submitted a FY16 “work in progress” budget for the University of Alaska which contained a 1.7% reduction in state general funds.  Over the holiday, Governor Walker’s Office of Management and Budget directed all state agencies to prepare information regarding the impacts of a possible 5% or 8% additional general fund reduction from the “work in progress” budget.  In addition to these reductions, the university is required to absorb significant additional fixed costs primarily related to our increase in salaries and benefits. On Monday, UAS Chief Budget Officer Margaret Rea briefed the Chancellor’s Cabinet on the impact to the UAS budget.  At the 5% level, this results in a need to find $2.7 million in new revenues or reduced expenditures and at the 8% level the need increases to $3.6 million.

University President Pat Gamble has been asked to appear before the House Finance Committee on Thursday, January 29 between 1:30 -3:30 p.m. to give
committee members an overview on UA and its operating budget. He will give the same presentation to the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday, February 11 between 9:00-11:00 a.m. President Gamble will also appear before the House's University Budget Subcommittee on Monday, February 2 at 5:00 p.m. 

We are all hopeful that legislators will recognize that higher education is a significant contributor to Alaska’s future economic development and that their budget decisions will recognize the value of this investment. However, it is prudent for the university system as a whole and UAS in particular to prepare for significant reductions in the next fiscal year. With this in mind, the Chancellor’s Cabinet is implementing four strategies in FY15 that will save money and give us some flexibility going into FY16.  This will enable us to better engage the whole UAS community in our longer-term budget decisions.

The four strategies are:

  1. Notify all one-year term employees in Spring 2015 of the possibility that their position may not continue in FY16, dependent upon funding availability and institutional priorities
  2. Require all UAS units to reserve 5% of their FY15 non-personnel budget to maximize options for the FY16 budget.
  3. Implement an immediate hiring freeze on any new vacancies, to be reviewed in 90 days.
  4. Implement an immediate Chancellor’s review of all recruitments that are currently in progress with an eye toward salary savings and maintaining budgetary flexibility

Our UAS mission—focusing on student learning and success—and our core themes remain paramount in setting priorities in uncertain times. I know there are concerns about how we can continue to provide the programs and services that are critical here at UAS if we begin to make these reductions. We will use the UAS Strategic Planning and Budget Advisory Committee (SPBAC), given its broad representation, to continue these discussions about strategic priorities and budget challenges. However, I would hope that each of you will realize the seriousness of the situation and work constructively with your campus, school, and department to come up with suggestions of how best to meet these challenges. We welcome your ideas about how to meet our mission even as we look for ways to address budget challenges.


School of Management Lecture Series

On Wednesday, January 21st the School of Management kicked off its new Lecture Series with a viewing of Governor Bill Walker’s State of the State address followed by a presentation on Alaska’s Fiscal Challenges by Gunnar Knapp, Director and Professor of Economics at the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER), and Cliff Groh, Chair of Alaska Common Ground.

Knapp reviewed the facts of Alaska’s fiscal situation, and presented an overview of state revenues, expenditures and savings. Groh described the challenges presented by the state’s fiscal situation, and described the options available for addressing these challenges. The lecture was held in the Egan Lecture Hall and broadcast live through UATV.

Dean Vickie Williams welcomes input on future topics and speakers. Contact the School of Management for more information or to provide feedback.


Art of Place 2015

Hello to all with best wishes for a happy and successful new year. As you plan your spring activities, please note that our 2015 Art of Place will be presented with the theme Wearable Art of Place.

Our first event is scheduled for Friday, February 6 and features Alaska State Museum Curator of Collections Steve Henrikson, who will give a talk and show on "Wearable Art of Place: Armor" and highly regarded artist Michael Beasley, who will give a talk and show on "Wearable Art of Place: Masks."

Our second event is scheduled for March 6 and features clan leader Ed Kunz, who will give a talk and show on "Wearable Art of Place: Jewelry," and culture bearer Percy Kunz, who will give a talk and show on "Wearable Art of Place: At.oow and Koogeina."

At our third and final event, scheduled for April 3, we are planning a "Wearable Art of Place: Regalia Show," which will be a narrated program for local artists and art owners to show their blankets, vests, and other apparel. We anticipate that local artists will show their work, and others who own blankets, vests, octopus bags, and similar items made for them or handed to them will also be invited to participate.

Each program takes place in the Glacier View Room and begins at 11:00 a.m., with talks or demonstrations until 1:00 p.m., followed by a social hour with light refreshments and a chance to visit with artists one on one.

Please also note that the January 23 Sound and Motion will present a look back at four years of Art of Place and a look forward to the next two years. Please share this news with friends and students, and please plan on attending 2015 Wearable Art of Place.

Gunacheesh to the provost's office for the generous support that makes this possible and to all the artists whose work enriches our understanding of place.


UAS Sound and Motion Series

A presentation by esteemed writer and English faculty member Ernestine Hayes opens the sixth annual Sound and Motion arts and culture series Friday, January 23, 7 p.m. at the Egan Lecture Hall on the University of Alaska Southeast Auke Lake campus.  The series runs several but not all Friday evenings through April 24 and features slideshows, films, poetry, music and comedy by a diverse range of university affiliated presenters and members of the public.

Hayes will reflect on the first four years and look ahead to the next phase of the Art of Place day time series she developed featuring Alaska Native artists and culture bearers. The following week, Outdoor Studies program head Forest Wagner and students will share photos and stories of their capstone expedition rock climbing the iconic Shot Tower in Alaska’s Central Brooks Range. “Climbing in the Arrigetch” is set Friday January 30 at the REC center.

February 6 at the Egan Lecture Hall, members of A Trip South join forces with One Campus One Book and a story of an unexpected catamaran trip across the Sea of Cortez as part of their two year kayak and bike journey from Douglas to the ends of South America. The 2014-15 book is The Log from the Sea of Cortez by John Steinbeck.

Another One Campus One Book related event takes place March 6 at the Egan Library, when artist and TED fellow Colleen Flanigan makes a presentation on contemporary issues of species endangerment and ecosystem regeneration in coral reefs utilizing visual, performing, and biological arts. Flanigan’s work includes Living Sea Sculptures, conversation-catalyzing alter egos and participatory multimedia exhibitions.

Also in March at the Egan library is a very special event in connection with the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Auke Lake campus library and UAS Alumni and Development Office. The author of the book, Denali’s Howl: the Deadliest Climbing Disaster on America’s Wildest Peak  will make a presentation on a tragedy 48 years ago.  In 1967, twelve young men attempted to climb Alaska’s Mount McKinley—known to the locals as Denali—one of the most popular and deadly mountaineering destinations in the world. Only five survived. Journalist Andy Hall, son of the park superintendent at the time, investigates the tragedy in his book.

Other presentations include old favorites such as Treasures from the State Film Archives (Feb. 27, Egan Lecture Hall) and newcomers like Dakaboom, a music/comedy duo from New York and Los Angeles (April 3, REC Center).  For the full schedule, visit the Sound+Motion website.


Melting Glaciers Increase the Flow of Carbon to Downstream Ecosystems

Professor of Environmental Science Eran Hood is the lead author of a study showing melting glaciers are not just impacting sea level, they are also affecting the flow of organic carbon to the world’s oceans.

The research, published in the Jan. 19 issue of Nature Geoscience, is crucial to better understand the role glaciers play in the global carbon cycle, especially as climate warming continues to reduce glacier ice stores and release ice-locked organic carbon into downstream freshwater and marine ecosystems.

“This research makes it clear that glaciers represent a substantial reservoir of organic carbon,” said Eran Hood, the lead author on the paper and a scientist with the University of Alaska Southeast (Juneau).  “As a result, the loss of glacier mass worldwide, along with the corresponding release of carbon, will affect high-latitude marine ecosystems, particularly those surrounding the major ice sheets that now receive fairly limited land-to-ocean fluxes of organic carbon.”

Polar ice sheets and mountain glaciers cover roughly 11 percent of the Earth’s land surface and contain about 70 percent of Earth’s fresh water. They also store and release organic carbon to downstream environments as they melt.  Because this glacier-derived organic carbon is readily metabolized by microorganisms, it can affect productivity in aquatic ecosystems.

“This research demonstrates that the impacts of glacier change reach beyond sea level rise,” said U.S. Geological Survey research glaciologist and co-author of the research Shad O’Neel. “Changes in organic carbon release from glaciers have implications for aquatic ecosystems because this material is readily consumed by microbes at the bottom of the food chain.”

Due to climate change, glacier mass losses are expected to accelerate, leading to a cumulative loss of nearly 17 million tons of glacial dissolved organic carbon by 2050 — equiva­lent to about half of the annual flux of dissolved organic carbon from the Amazon River.

These estimates are the first of their kind, and thus have high uncertainty, the scientists wrote, noting that refining estimates of organic carbon loss from glaciers is critical for improving the understanding of the impacts of glacier change. The U.S. Department of the Interior Alaska Climate Science Center and USGS Alaska Science Center plan to continue this work in 2015 and beyond with new efforts aimed at studying the biophysical implications of glacier change.
This project highlights ongoing collaboration between academic and federal research and the transformative results that stem from such funding partnerships.  Other institutions involved in the research include Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, and Florida State University.

The work was supported by the National Science Foundation and the DOI Alaska Climate Science Center. The Alaska Climate Science Center provides scientific information to help natural resource managers and policy makers respond effectively to climate change.


New Edition of Cathy Connor’s Roadside Geology of Alaska Released

Book CoverSince the first edition was published in 1988, volcanoes have erupted, faults have ruptured, glaciers have retreated, permafrost has thawed, and geologic interpretations have changed. Author and recently retired UAS Geology Professor Cathy Connor discusses the latest findings as she guides readers along the roads of Alaska and adjacent parts of British Columbia and the Yukon. In addition to roads and national parks, the book covers the “boatside geology” of Alaska, including the fjords of southeast Alaska, islands in the Bering Sea, and the Tatshenshini River. Roadside Geology of Alaska is a must-have for any Alaska rock enthusiast.
The new edition is $26.00 and is available from Mountain Press.


Startup of Diversity Action Committee

UAS is in the process of establishing its university-wide Diversity Action Committee. The charge for this committee is to: “1) support initiatives and training that advance affirmative action goals in recruitment, hiring and retention so that faculty, staff, and administration reflect the diverse populations we serve; 2) work with faculty in support of incorporating diverse histories, values, and perspectives in our curriculum; 3) assess and report on our progress in achieving these goals; and 4) make recommendations at least annually to the Chancellor about diversity actions.” Faculty Senate identified Assistant Professor Ernestine Hays as co-chair. Staff Council identified Ketchikan Campus staff member Marianne Ledford as the other co-chair.

Career Education Brings Back Saturday Sessions

February is Career and Technical Education month and the UAS School of Career Ed is going to once again offer their Saturday sessions on an array of topics.  These are short, one to two hour informational classes on everything from Basic Car Maintenance to Getting a Building Permit. Classes include the fields of Construction, Mining, Automotive, Marine, and Diesel. The 2015 Saturday Sessions are February 14, 21 and 28, 2-4 p.m. at the Technical Education Center downtown. Class details on the Juneau web calendar. Free to the public.

Tamone Travels

Professor of Biology Sherry Tamone recently attended a meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB)) where she organized a symposium with a colleague from Arizona State University on the Evolutionary Biology/Physiology of the Insects and Crustacea (Pancrustacea).  The meeting was held in West Palm Beach Florida from January 3-7 2015.

The symposium received a nice write-up in SCIENCE magazine, “All in the (bigger ) family.” The feature story ended with the following quote from Tamone:
“We should get comfortable eating crickets,” says symposium co-organizer Sherry Tamone, an endocrinologist at the University of Alaska Southeast, Juneau. “It’s all one big group.”  Read the full article.

Tamone departs January 27th for a  4-month Fulbright Research Scholarship to the Ben Gurion University in the Negev in Beersheva Isreal.  She will be using molecular tools to study the endocrine regulation of sexual differentiation in shrimp and helping them develop quantitative tools with which to measure circulating hormones.


Nebraska Webcast-The Alaska Bellwether: Perception, response and adaptation in a time of climate change

Global climate change is causing rapid ecosystem change in Alaska. How local communities respond to this challenge now and in the future will have great bearing on whether these communities can continue to thrive in an era of climate change. The featured speaker for the Sustainable Leadership Presentation Series (SLPS) on Feb. 5, Alaska expert Jim Powell, will untangle the skein of on-the-ground ecosystem conditions, local perceptions of the issue, and climate change mitigation strategies and adaptation plans being developed.

During the free webcast, Powell will interact with attendees to consider the implications of a changing planet and the significance of the Alaska experience as related to our unique conditions in Nebraska.

The SLPS is a series of free, public presentations given monthly on topics related to sustainability, energy, the environment, and how they apply to individuals. The series is webcast at a number of locations across the state of Nebraska on the first Thursday of each school calendar month. The Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities, in partnership with Central Community College, Metropolitan Community College and WasteCap Nebraska, is a sponsor of the series, which is free and open to all interested people.

Alaska is often seen as the “canary in the climate change coal mine”, said Jim Powell, Assistant Professor at the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS), where he teaches natural resource policy, sustainability, and public administration.

“Global climate change has caused rapid ecosystem change in Alaska. There are questions about whether or how communities and institutions are sustaining and adapting to this change,” he said. “My presentation for the SLPS will include an overview of ethnographic research recently conducted in Southcentral and Southeastern Alaskan communities. ... During interviews we found that local observations correlate with instrument-measured science. We also found that Federal agencies under the Obama Administration are actively developing and implementing climate change mitigation and adaptation plans.”

Powell said that state and local governments are not necessarily leaders in addressing the challenges brought by climate change, whereas local subsistance harvesters more often provide great insight into the effects of climate change and have a clearer picture of what might be done to mitigate or slow its devastation.

Powell’s research includes community and institutional response to climate change in Alaska, including Alaska Native observations and adaptation to total environmental changes. Before his position with UAS, Jim spent 28 years in environmental management, focusing on water quality issues and wetlands management. Among other appointments, Jim served Alaska state government as Special Assistant to the Commissioner of Environmental Conservation and Assistant Director for the Division of Environmental Quality. His public service includes nine years on the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly with 3 years as Deputy Mayor. The deepened understanding of municipal decision-making and local environmental systems he gained during his years on the Assembly inspired his passion to improve city-level planning through sustainability assessment, monitoring and adaptation. Today, Jim balances his teaching with serving on several state and local nonprofit boards. He also lectures and consults on sustainability planning and is a board member of the Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities.

Powell has a PhD in Natural Resources and Sustainability Science from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, a Master in Public Administration from the University of Alaska Southeast, and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies from Eisenhower College at Rochester Institute of Technology. He is a member of the Ecological Society of America’s Rapid Response Team and for 14 years he has been on the board of the Arctic Winter Games, which sponsors a yearly international competition for youth involving culture and sports among Arctic Nations.

This event is free and open to the public. Interested participants can Tweet questions for the live Q&A using #SLPSThursday.

More information on the program and essential links.