University of Alaska Southeast Faculty and Staff Newsletter March 14, 1997

UAS readies for re-accreditation

Is it ever too early to begin preparing for an important event? Not if the event is the evaluation visit of UAS's accrediting body, according to Rita Dursi Johnson. This spring UAS began preparations for the evaluation visit of the university's accrediting body, the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges (NASC).

A Self -Study Steering Committee has been appointed. The members are Linda Halfon and Dennis Girardot from Sitka, Dorothy Armstrong from Ketchikan, and from Juneau, Susan Koester, Tim Fullam, Virginia Mulle, Tish Griffin, Vesna Kilibarda, David Marvel, and Rita Dursi Johnson.

Marvel and Johnson are the co-chairs, and both attended a training conference in Seattle. Marvel was impressed with how much has to be done, "We've only got 2 and a half years!"

The accreditation visit occurs October 1999. The process toward re-accreditation includes conducting an incisive institutional self-evaluation involving all constituencies. NASC recommends taking at least a full academic year for this enterprise according to Johnson.

UAS's Steering Committee members, working with Vice Chancellor Robbie Stell, will develop the planning model and process, monitor the progress of outcome assessment goals and activities, oversee the production of the Self-Study Final Report, and host the evaluation team visit. "Then," Johnson said, "they will be allowed to once again have a life."

Marine biology field trip

Thirteen student members of the Marine Biology Club spent five days on a field trip to Petersburg. Students explored intertidal environments, viewed trumpeter swans, analyzed stream flow dynamics, and investigated geologic features of the island.

UAS faculty on the trip included Marine Biology Club advisor Ed Caine, Cathy Connor, and David Love. Dick Marston took time from his family visit to Petersburg to assist with hydrology activities. Housing was provided by Petersburg Seafood (a division of Icicle Seafood), Student Activities provided a 15-passenger van, and transportation fees were augmented by the Science and Math Faculties.

"It wasn't quite the bathing suits and beaches you expect with spring break," Connor said, "but it was good geology and good forest ecology."

President tours UAS

President Komisar visits Juneau campus.
UA President Jerome Komisar toured recently remodeled buildings on the Juneau campus Tuesday. Chancellor Marshall Lind and Bob Green, physical plant director, showed the president the Soboleff Annex offices, Mourant Cafe, Lake Room, coffee room, bookstore and student government offices and lounge.

Health benefits considered

The university Health Benefits Task Force is reviewing possible changes to employee health benefits in an effort to slow the growth of the $17-million-a-year plan. Changes being examined include increasing the deductible amounts for individuals and families; increasing out-of pocket maximums for medical and pharmacy costs; increasing dependent charges; and adding orthodontics to the plan.

Other options considered include changes to lab and x-ray benefits; wellness provisions; and dental deductibles. No recommendations by the group have been made on these options as yet.

The task force will meet by audio conference March 27 at 8:30 a.m. To participate or to voice an opinion on proposed changes, contact Rita Bowen (465-6439) or Kirk McAllister (465-6473).

Information is available on the UA Employee Benefits web site about the task force, the employee benefits handbook, pharmacy provider list, frequently asked questions, supplemental health, reimbursement accounts and employee leave policies. The web site address is

Bread Loaf Institute comes to UAS

Scott Christian
For the first time in Alaska or on the West Coast the Bread Loaf Literature and Writing Institute will be held at the Juneau campus this summer. "This is the most prestigious school of English in the country," according to UAS assistant professor Scott Christian who is coordinating the summer program.

The program, held June 2 - 22, will offer classes in poetry writing, Shakespeare, and narrative by nationally known instructors. Applications may be obtained from Christian.

"This is a pilot year," UAS Dean of Faculty John Pugh said. "But we're looking at a long term partnership with Middlebury College and their Bread Loaf Writing Institute."

Study abroad openings

UAS students may still apply to study abroad next year through the International Student Exchange (ISEP). Opportunities exist in the following language groupings: English-language (Korea, Finland, Sweden); French (France); Spanish (Colombia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil); and German (Germany, Austria).

There are also opportunities for language instruction if students are not prepared to study in a foreign language. Anyone interested should immediately contact Elizabeth Schelle at 465-6455. She also requests that faculty announce the ISEP opportunities to their classes and advisees.

Sweet thanks

Barbara Carlson Burnett and others were honored by a transfer student.
After student John Severin had to leave town for an emergency, Juneau campus staff and faculty pitched in to help him drop classes without incurring a financial liability. Financial aid director Barbara Carlson Burnett said, "This was an example of the university thinking of the student first."

Severin later thanked Burnett, Georgia Sepel, Cari Rose and Dennis Russell by presenting them with an angle food cake covered with whipped cream, sliced strawberries and topped with tulips. "The cake didn't last very long," Burnett said.

Pension vendor in Juneau March 19

Information about the university pension plan, optional retirement program and tax-deferred annuities will be presented in Juneau by Phil Younker on March 19. Younker, who represents VALIC and Lincoln National, will be available from 8 a.m. to noon in the Soboleff conference room.

Faculty/staff news

Dr. Ed Caine, associate professor of biology, was elected to a 3-year term on the Gastineau Channel Fish and Game Advisory Committee. It makes recommendations on local policy and management issues to the Alaska Board of Fish and Game. Caine was elected to a seat representing sport fishing and recreational hunting.

Elaine Sunde, Sitka campus director, addressed the national Community College Futures Assembly in Orlando. She described the UA Learning Consortium which is one of the ten finalists for the national Bellwether Award for efficiency and effectiveness in higher education. Sunde serves as director of Outreach Education at UAS.

Explorations '97 submissions due

Prizes of $500 will be awarded to a poet and $500 to a writer of short fiction by Exploration '97, the University of Alaska Southeast literary magazine now in its 16th year of publication. Submissions must be postmarked by March 21. Juneau campus students are also eligible for prize money awarded for art work to be published in Explorations '97 . The writing contest is open to anyone. Last year nearly 900 submissions were received.

Submissions or requests for guidelines should be made to: Explorations, editor Art Petersen, 465-6418, FAX at 465-4606, or e-mail at

Staff Development plan

The UAS Staff Development Day will be replaced with an on-going software training program taught by BIS faculty. Sitka and Ketchikan will provide similar training on their campuses using their own faculty.

A survey conducted at the last Staff Development Day asked what kind of training most employees wanted. "The overwhelming top response was for on-going computer training," according to Kirk McAllister. Computer training now being conducted in Administrative Services may serve as a model for all campuses.

Honors group grows in Ketchikan

The Ketchikan campus chapter of Phi Theta Kappa welcomes six new members March 16. Alpha Rho Beta chapter presently has 15 active members. The group was revived in Ketchikan in the past couple of years with the help of faculty advisor Nancy Siemon who advises the PTK group at her home campus in New York state. Phi Theta Kappa is the international honor society for students at two-year colleges.

Math search in Ketchikan

The Ketchikan campus is going through more than 40 application packets in search for its next math professor. Candidates from Alaska to foreign countries submitted resumes. Karalynn Crocker-Bedford leads the screening committee.

Nancy Siemon, who teaches math, will leave Ketchikan campus after two years as a visiting faculty member in an exchange with Tompkins Cortland Community College in Ithaca, N.Y. Siemon and her husband Ed extended their stay an extra year with the permission of TCCC. Ed Siemon has taught electronics courses in Ketchikan.

New R&R receptionist

Heidi Hanus has been working as the receptionist at Records and Registration since March 3. She replaces Moni Chandy who accepted another position. Hanus has been in Juneau four years and worked as a bookkeeper at Super Bear Supermarket.

Elder visits

Lydia George, a Tlingit from Angoon, will serve as Elder-in-Residence on the Juneau campus later this semester. A leader of the Deisheetaan clan of the Raven Moiety, she is the second elder-in-residence at UAS, following Herman Kitka Sr. According to Tom Thornton, George will lecture in several classes and participating in a cooperative research project.

Bookstore sale

The bookstore is having a St. Patrick's Day sale on green clothing March 17. On March 28 the bookstore will have an Easter egg special where people can open a plastic egg for give-a-ways and clothing discounts.

Magazine features UAS

Articles about UAS are appearing in the Alaskan Southeaster magazine. Louis Tagaban, a Juneau campus sophomore from Petersburg, was featured in the first one. Pat Cunningham, a 55 year old who started at UAS this semester to earn a teaching certificate, will be in the next issue. Student researchers on the Juneau Icefield will be the subject of a later article.


Monday, March 17

  • St. Patrick's Day lunch, Mourant Cafe
  • Bookstore sale

    Wednesday March 19

  • Pension provider answers questions, 8 a.m. to noon, Soboleff conference room Friday, March 21,
  • BBQ rib dinner, Mourant Cafe
  • Deadline for submissions to Explorations '97

    Thursday, March 27

  • Health Benefits Task Force teleconference, 8:30 a.m. Saturday, March 29
  • Banff Film Festival, 7 p.m. Centennial Hall