UA Board of Regents met in Fairbanks February 12-18, 2010

Michael Golub shows the Board of Regents the electric four-wheeler built by students in the Electric Car Conversion Course during a lunchtime sustainability focus for the BOR meeting in Fairbanks. Photo by Monique Musick

Regents approve academic programs at UAA

The University of Alaska Board of Regents approved a graduate certificate in advanced human service systems and a bachelor’s degree program in environment and society at the University of Alaska Anchorage as it wrapped up its two-day meeting in Fairbanks today.

The graduate certificate would allow students who’ve already earned a bachelor’s degree in human services, social work or a related field to further their education for supervisory careers in human services. The human services profession connects clients with services available in the community, both as case managers and through organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club, Catholic Community Services, senior centers, and government organizations at the state and local level.

UAA anticipates about 20 students enrolling in the 18-credit program by spring 2011. Tuition revenue will cover the cost, said UAA Provost Mike Driscoll. The human service sector is a growing area of Alaska’s workforce, with the state Department of Labor routinely noting shortages in health, behavioral health and associated human service occupations. This is particularly true in mid-level management and supervisory positions, Driscoll said.

“The whole point of human services is getting the necessary services to the individual,” he said.

The other program the regents approved would provide students with a bachelor’s degree (either a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science) in environment and society at UAA, which Driscoll described as a connection between hard science and policy.

Graduates of the interdisciplinary program would fill high-demand jobs in a wide variety of Alaska industries, including petroleum, fishing, tourism and others.  The new program will repackage existing courses already offered at UAA, with the addition of one new course at minimal expense.  The program is expected to attract about 25 students.

Campus Gay-Straight Alliance asks university to update policy

Members of the gay-straight alliance at the University of Alaska Fairbanks have again asked the Board of  Regents to add sexual orientation to the UA nondiscrimination policy.

Tristan Walsh told regents during public testimony that the UA system is lagging behind other state universities in its protection of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students and employees.

Regent Kirk Wickersham told the group that the board is committed to dealing with the issue this year, but the search for a new UA president has slowed the process.

Theater Students Appeal to Board for Facility Upgrades

UAF theater students and members of the Student Drama Association testified to the Board of Regents about the need to upgrade theater facilities at UAF. Concerns cited included accessibility of the department, offices, costume shop and green room; seating, the theater seats are old, breaking and uncomfortable, and seating in the lab theater has been reduced to 100, which is not enough to fund a production; and faculty, the departement eliminated a part-time position to allow for a full-time, but now have neither. Blueprints for a theater expansion were created a few years ago, but have been tabled since.

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