2021 Faculty Initiative Fund Awardees


Dr. Heather Batchelder, Associate Professor, University of Alaska Southeast
Co-Investigator: Dr. Ginger Blackmon, Associate Professor, University of Alaska Anchorage
Co-Investigator: Dr. Krista James, Assistant Professor, University of Alaska Anchorage
Co-Investigator: Tara Maltby, MA.Ed., BCBA, Assistant Professor, University of Alaska
Co-Investigator: Dr. Hilary Seitz, Professor, University of Alaska Anchorage

Project SHINE (Supporting High Impact, Culturally Responsive Instruction within Natural Early Literacy Learning Environments) aims to support the workforce development need for qualified personnel
prepared to provide high impact, culturally responsive, early literacy instruction to Alaska’s emergent readers some of whom may be at-risk for developmental delays, have identified disabilities, and/or have
experienced generational trauma. Increasing the awareness of the importance of culturally responsive early literacy interventions from the district level to the teacher/paraprofessional in the classroom is
imperative as the state and nation expand early intervention services for young children. Project SHINE goals include: 1) Increasing the number of qualified personnel prepared to provide high impact, culturally responsive early literacy instruction for Alaska’s emergent readers. 2) The development of a plan for an inter-university course, course sharing and course rotation focused on; culturally responsive literacy instruction in early childhood (university undergraduate level course/professional development course for pre and in-service teachers/school leaders across the state). 3) Dissemination of high impact culturally responsive early literacy interventions statewide.
Award: $30,000

PI: Carrie Aldrich, Assistant Professor of Writing, University of Alaska Anchorage
Co-PI: Dana Greci, Professor of Developmental Education, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Sarah Kirk, Professor of Writing, University of Alaska Anchorage
Jay Szczepanski II, Assistant Professor of English, University of Alaska Southeast
Jennifer Tilbury, Associate Professor of Developmental Education; CTC Director of Student
Success and Instructional Support, University of Alaska Fairbanks

The goal of this Tier I Faculty Initiative Fund proposal is to connect faculty members involved in placing students into first year writing across the University of Alaska system. Writing was the first discipline to align course prefixes across the state, and placement reform is now underway in different forms across the state. Because corequisite and other studio support models have in the past decade emerged as best
practices for student success in first year writing, this is an important time for those involved in writing placement to join together to share our successes, challenges, and visions for the future. This project
aligns with the university mission, impacts every student who enters the University of Alaska system, and has important implications for improving student success and addressing equity gaps. In order to offer
equitable access to higher education, the University of Alaska needs a system of placement that takes into account our students’ diverse needs, experiences, and abilities.
Award: $30,000

Kristen Gorman, PhD (Principal Investigator). Research Assistant Professor. College of Fisheries and Ocean Science, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Douglas Causey, PhD (co-I). Professor. Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alaska
Veronica Padula, MS (co-I). Research Development and Education Director. Ecosystem Conservation Office, Aleut Community of St. Paul Island, St. Paul, Alaska


The support of a Tier I, six-month project to be conducted May through October 2022 that is designed as a pilot investigation into the spatial foraging behavior of two species of seabirds that nest at St. Paul Island,
Alaska. The proposed project would be a first official research collaboration between investigators at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF, Gorman), University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA, Causey), and the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island (ACSPI) Tribal Government (Padula). Further, project funds will support a foundational experience for a UAF undergraduate researcher to assist with fieldwork.
Importantly, the data produced by the project would be a feature component of subsequent proposals to extramural funding opportunities. Our research team is broadly focused on advancing knowledge of Bering Sea seabird response to environmental change by considering new parameters not incorporated in past studies such as detailed spatial foraging information based on GPS- and geolocator-tracking of seabirds, which is critical information for our ACSPI Tribal Government partners who have a strong interest in Indigenous-led management of the marine waters surrounding the Pribilof Islands. The proposed project addresses criteria outlined in the UA FIF RFP regarding 1) inter-university collaborations, 2) scholarly endeavors and student engagement, 3) start-up funds to help develop extramural grant proposals, and 4) community partnership.
Award: $29,700

PI: Dr. Getu Hailu (UAA), Co-PI: Dr. Sunwoo Kim (UAF)

The American Lung Association “State of the Air” report found that Alaska has some of the worst air quality in the nation. The situation is expected to worsen. As the Arctic thaws, new economic opportunities, such as tourism, resource exploration and new shipping routes will be created. With increased transportation, increase in emission of air pollutants such as particulate matter and greenhouse
gases is expected. As glaciers melt, black carbon is exposed and released to the atmosphere.
Swelling temperatures and increasing amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere create favorable conditions for increased pollen seasons, and increased amount of pollen produced. Frequent wildfires and dust from gravel/dirt roads in Alaska are another source of air polluting particulate matter and gases. Consequently, the air quality in the Alaskan homes will be adversely affected, resulting in poor indoor air quality (IAQ).
Because people spend up to 90% their time indoors, the health and economic concerns associated with poor IAQ are enormous. There is mounting evidence that exposure to poor IAQ is the main cause of allergies, hypersensitivity reactions, airway infections, and even cancer. This project will contribute to the maintenance of good IAQ for Alaskans by determining (a) the fundamental mechanisms of pollutant
movement and dispersion in indoor environment; (b) testing appropriate air filtration technologies; (c) testing effective ventilation methods; and (d) developing guiding procedures for maintaining good IAQ.
The project will bring together researchers from UAA and UAF and Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC).
Award $29,950

PI: Yongwon Kim
Eugenie Euskirchen
Masahito Ueyama

Boreal forests cover 17% of the planet’s land surface area in a circumpolar belt of the Northern Hemisphere. This region is vulnerable due to rapid climate and environmental change. Boreal black
spruce forests are a significant reservoir of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and play an important role in protecting discontinuous permafrost. Stem respiration of black spruce is a critical, yet poorly
understood, component of forest ecosystem carbon cycle dynamics. It is, therefore, necessary to study variability in stem respiration at different time scales, especially the response of the temporal variation in stem respiration to climatic factors. However, because stem respiration of black spruce is commonly measured only during the growing season, the non-growing season stem respirations do not represent the annual average, and the contribution to the ecosystem respiration (Re) estimated by eddy covariance tower in interior Alaska. Furthermore, considering that abrupt and rapid climate change in Alaska, a year-round measurement of stem respiration would provide crucial information on stem respiration and its contribution to surface carbon budget and ultimately, climate change in Alaska. In order to investigate the phenological characteristics and quantitative assessment of stem respiration, this project will obtain hourly stem respiration measurements using a forced diffusion (FD) system in a boreal black spruce stand in interior Alaska. The research site is located within the footprint of eddy covariance tower operated by
Drs. Euskirchen (IAB, UAF) in Bonanza Creek (BNZ LTER), and Ueyama (Osaka Prefecture University, Japan) within the UAF campus.
Award $24,938

PI: Nelta Edwards (UAA)
Zeynep Kilic (UAA)
Kasia Polanska (UAS)
William Urquhart (UAS)
Lora Vess (UAS)

This proposal is at Tier II for projects with a budget of less than $10,000. The goal of this proposal is to do the necessary curriculum work and planning to establish a BA/BS degree in Sociology that will be
jointly offered by UAA and UAS. Regardless of the joint degree outcome, the proposed work will align Sociology curricula at UAA and UAS which will make it easier for students’ degree planning as well as
the resulting petition processes.
Award $9,708.02

PI: University of Alaska Southeast, Juneau: Glenn Wright, Associate Professor of Political Science University of Alaska Southeast: Ketchikan: Kasia Polanska, Term Assistant Professor of Political Science and Sociology William Urquhart, Associate Professor of Sociology University of Alaska Fairbanks: Amy Lauren Lovecraft, Professor of Political Science Jeremy S. Speight, Associate Professor of Political Science

The University of Alaska Mission "... inspires learning, and advances and disseminates knowledge through teaching, research, and public service, emphasizing the North and its diverse peoples." Our proposal seeks to broaden the knowledge and programs available to students in Alaska and beyond by coordinating curricula between the University of Alaska Southeast (Juneau and Ketchikan) and the
University of Alaska Fairbanks (and the satellite campuses it serves). In brief, our initial research indicates a coordinated structure between these campuses can improve efficiency by reducing duplication
in course offerings, enhance advising capabilities by developing a system for long-term course planning and coordination, create stronger and more specialized mentoring relationships with cross-campus advising, expand opportunities for students by broadening the range of courses available to students through the UA political science curriculum and encourage greater student engagement in discipline-
specific extracurriculars and scholarly research. We seek to combine the strengths of interdisciplinarity in the social sciences from UAS with UAF’s wider range of Political Science courses and strength in faculty
research. The resulting partnership will advantage UA students by providing not only more classes, but more opportunities to participate in activities at both campuses (web-based lectures and events, specialty advising, faculty grant research, student exchanges, internships, and service opportunities). This new relationship will particularly benefit rural students and those seeking more coursework related to environmental and Indigenous affairs in the state by offering more, and routinized, online classes as well as more curriculum to meet students' learning needs.
Award $10,000

PI: Dr. Mari Hahn (Professor, UAA) and Dr. Jaunelle Celaire (Professor, UAF), Ann Schaefer (Piano Term Instructor, UAF) and Natnaphol Amornkiat (Staff Pianist, UAA)
This inter-university project involves the UAF and UAA Departments of Music. The Principal Investigators will engage in collaborative research, creative activity and professional development that will integrate with student engagement. The goals of course alignment and the expansion of learning networks will be met through the study and performances of selected musical theater excerpts, by UAA
and UAF students. Community outreach and recruitment activities will be possible through ASD, Charter, and North Star Borough school visits. The Supporting Collaborators will assist with the rehearsal process and performances.
Award $7,000 

PI: Jill Flanders Crosby and Becky Kendall

This project proposes a collaborative relationship between the UAA Department of Theatre and Dance and Momentum Dance Collective to build and promote program development, a vital culture of arts education, and join forces to meet the needs of our respective organizations in times of dwindling budgets and artistic opportunities in performance and arts education.
Award $5, 884

PI: Margaret Keiper (UAF)
Benjamin Rush (Prince William Sound)
Timothy Miller (UAA)
Forest Wagner (UAS)
Mark Oldmixon (UAF)
Paul Twardock (APU)

The Alaska Developing Outdoor Leaders Conference (ADOLC) is a proposal focused on supporting the growth of the fall 2022 ADOLC. The goals of this proposal are to alleviate cost related barriers to expand outdoor opportunities for students to attend the fall 2022 ADOLC, increase the profile of Alaska Developing Outdoor Leaders Conference to advance the growth of the outdoor recreation economy in Alaska, and create a fiscally sustainable high-impact platform Alaska students and outdoor professionals to learn outdoor recreation knowledge from each other.
Award: $25,000

PI: Jonas Lamb
Jeri Cary

There are more students studying Lingít at the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) in a given semester than there are living fluent speakers. The UAS Alaska Native Arts, Languages & Studies Program requires unique texts, audio recordings and curricular resources to support student engagement with language revitalization through learning, documentation, and community activities. Many of these curricular resources exist only in analog formats which limits access to learners beyond our campus. This project would acquire an archival quality book scanner to support digitization of fragile, rare and/or out of copyright, curricular resources currently owned by the Alaska Native Arts, Languages & Studies Program, items in the Cyril George Indigenous Knowledge Collection (UAS Egan Library) and
potentially items pertaining to to Lingit, Haida and Tsimshian on loan from the Alaska Native Languages Center (ANLC) and Alaska Native Languages Archive (ANLA) at UAF. The initial acquisition of
equipment through the FIF paired with additional committed funding from the Egan Library may serve as seed funding in the procurement of additional grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services
(via the Alaska State Library Interlibrary Cooperation Grants) to increase the scale and scope of the project.
Award $10,000
Final Report

PI: Andrew Harnish, Assistant Professor of Writing, UAA Department of Writing
Co-PI: Shane Castle, Assistant Professor of Writing, UAA Department of Writing
Co-I: Carrie Aldrich, Assistant Professor, UAA Department of Writing
Co-I: Martha Amore, Assistant Professor, UAA Department of Writing
Co-I: Jennifer Booz, Chief Diversity Officer of UAA
Co-I: Jacqueline Cason, Professor and Chair of Writing, UAA Department of Writing
Co-I: Jennifer McClung, Adjunct Instructor, UAA Department of Writing
Co-I: Michele Yatchmeneff, Executive Director of Alaska Native Education & Outreach of UAA

Writing Studies scholarship indicates that racially and ethnically minoritized students are negatively affected by university writing instruction and assessment when faculty fail to understand and address those students’ dialects, cultures, and literacies. It is imperative that the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) act on this matter in order to mitigate equity gaps for Alaska Native and other racially and ethnically minoritized students. Thirty-seven percent of UAA students identify as ethnic minorities, and White students pass the introductory writing course at higher rates than many minoritized groups, especially Alaska Native and American Indian students. Our project proposes to address this equity gap by offering a series of training sessions led by Dr. Cana Uluak Itchuaqiyaq (Iñupiaq), an expert in Indigenous composition pedagogy at Virginia Tech who focuses on institutional racism. Dr. Itchuaqiyaq has agreed to come to Anchorage in Spring 2022 to lead a two-day workshop for writing instructors,
present a public lecture on antiracist pedagogy, and meet with Alaska Native students. We request a budget of $10,000 in FIF funds to bring Dr. Itchuaqiyaq to Anchorage and provide stipends for UAA Department of Writing adjunct faculty to be compensated for attending the trainings alongside full-time faculty. To promote inter-campus collaboration, Dr. Itchuaqiyaq’s trainings will be recorded and made available live via video link to all First-Year Writing instructors in the UA system. Our team will track the results of Dr. Itchuaqiyaq’s trainings by evaluating UA instructor participation and feedback and by assessing the academic outcomes of Alaska Native and other racially and ethnically minoritized students in courses offered by the UAA Department of Writing. It is our hope that the project will inspire further collaboration, conversation, and action between the UA campuses on culturally responsive writing pedagogy.
Award $10,000
Final Report

PI: Charmaine M. Robinson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Science, University of Alaska Southeast Ketchikan and Joel A. Markis, M.S., Associate Professor and Program Director Career Education: Applied Fisheries, University of Alaska Southeast Sitka

Interdisciplinary studies have a positive impact to students and faculty, most notably by strengthening synthesis of ideas. From a pedagogical perspective, every college course should include some level of
cross discipline interaction to successfully prepare students for the dynamic job market. In a novel approach to connect two different disciplines across two separate campuses, we propose to create a
powerful learning experience for both Sitka science diver students and Ketchikan anatomy physiology students by conducting a cold water scuba dive physiology study. University of Alaska Southeast’s
unique location within a high latitude ocean provides an excellent opportunity to examine aspects of cold water scuba dive physiology. This work focuses on an assessment of the impact of repeat cold water
immersion on manual dexterity in humans, an area lacking data in the literature. To our knowledge, this is the first study utilizing research divers in Alaska to create a baseline for manual dexterity after cold water immersion. Data collected from scientific dives conducted by students in Sitka will be analyzed by anatomy physiology students in Ketchikan. The project goals are as follows: (1) establish and maintain
professional development and intercampus collaborations between Sitka and Ketchikan faculty, (2) build the intellectual capital of UA by involving students in basic underwater physiology research, and (3)
diversify scientific diving and anatomy physiology curriculum by developing and testing high impact pedagogical practices. In order to meet the project goals, Dr. Robinson, an Assistant Professor at UAS
Ketchikan, will serve as a guest lecturer for the Alaska Dive Semester in Sitka for one week in spring 2022. To establish Dr. Robinson as a UA scientific diver, Mr. Markis, an Associate Professor at UAS Sitka, will conduct the necessary check-out dives. Lastly, Dr. Robinson will lead undergraduate research divers-in-training (FT 288 or FT 291, Sitka) in a concise physiology research project, the data of which will be analyzed by undergraduates enrolled in anatomy physiology (BIOL 112, Ketchikan).
Award $9,954
Final report

Patrick E. Marlow (PI), Associate Professor of Linguistics, UAF
Cathy Coulter (Co-I), Associate Professor of Education, UAA
Lisa Richardson (Co-I), Associate Professor of Education, UAS
Sabine Siekmann (Co-I), Professor of Linguistics, UAF

Faculty from UAA, UAS and UAF will align existing graduate certificates/statewide endorsements in Language and Literacy (respectively: Language Education, Reading Specialist, Second Language Acquisition, Literacy and Bilingual Education), identify institution specific expertise and coursework to be shared across all three programs, and establish structures and procedures to maintain collaboration, program alignment, and foster joint research/publication and grant writing to benefit all three programs, Alaska’s schools and their personnel, and most importantly Alaska’s children.
Award $30,000

PI: Matthew Cuellar
This proposal is submitted to the 2022 Faculty Initiative Fund (FIF) for consideration under Tier II for a project period of six months (February 2022 – July 2022). The goal of the proposed project is to develop
an interdisciplinary course that will engage students in service learning from hands-on experience in the juvenile court system in Anchorage. The course will be available for all students at UAA and affiliated
campuses via distance delivery with a particular focus on the intersectionality of social work, child welfare, and criminal justice in youth serving justice systems. To meet this goal, we will implement a
three-phase program that incorporates pedagogical development and research evaluation initiatives. First, we will hire an undergraduate student to assist in strengthening existing collaborative programs and
organizing service learning opportunities in Spring 2022. Second, we will conduct focus groups among faculty in the School of Social Work, Justice, and the Child Welfare Academy to establish a shared course
structure and align areas of study for the class and establish learning outcomes appropriate for all involved disciplines, which will take place in Summer 2022. Finally, in late Summer 2022, we will conduct focus groups with members of the service learning team to identify gaps and challenges in implementing the service learning opportunities when the course is offered. It is anticipated that the class will be offered in Fall 2023. Developing the course will establish local community relationships that result in high impact pedagogical practices while also providing the applicant an opportunity to develop community relationships that will be used to advance research and scholarship on juvenile justice and youth violence in Alaska.
Award $9,996 

Patrick E. Marlow (PI), Associate Professor of Linguistics, UAF
Cathy Coulter (Co-I), Associate Professor of Education, UAA
Lisa Richardson (Co-I), Associate Professor of Education, UAS
Sabine Siekmann (Co-I), Professor of Linguistics, UAF

Faculty from UAA, UAS and UAF will align existing graduate certificates/statewide endorsements in Language and Literacy (respectively: Language Education, Reading Specialist, Second Language Acquisition, Literacy and Bilingual Education), identify institution specific expertise and coursework to be shared across all three programs, and establish structures and procedures to maintain collaboration, program alignment, and foster joint research/publication and grant writing to benefit all three programs, Alaska’s schools and their personnel, and most importantly Alaska’s children.
Award $30,000