UAA Mentorship Program Connects Classroom and Careers for Student-Workers

For some college students, campus jobs are convenient jobs, and not much else.

But by adding a dose of intentional reflection and career planning, the Alaska PEAK program at University of Alaska Anchorage seeks to change that opinion for the roughly 850 students who work on campus. Whether a student is a lab tech or library assistant, PEAK aims to turn on-campus employment into a high-impact area of student success.

PEAK, which stands for Purposeful Engagement Assessing Knowledge, connects the dots between academics and employment at UAA, while making students feel a stronger connection with the university. How do experiences in the classroom and time on the job relate? And how can that help the student after graduation?

“What Alaska PEAK has done is create a common language for how supervisors talk with students about their learning experiences,” explained Whitney Brown, assessment and strategic projects director for the Office of Student Affairs. She launched PEAK in 2015, along with Ryan-Jasen Henne, director of Residence Life. Though the program is young, it’s already generating attention. The pair has presented PEAK at student affairs conferences in Anchorage, Orlando and Portland, Ore., as well as through national webinars.

Modeled after a similar program at University of Iowa, the program is deceptively simple. Supervisors talk about the PEAK process, at minimum, twice each semester with their staff. Students, at most, reflect on a list of five questions before those conversations.

The program’s simplicity — two meetings, five questions — belies the efforts and considerations behind it.

Read the full article here.

Source: UAA Mentorship Program Connects Classroom and Careers for Student-Workers – The Cordova Times

Workforce Wednesday: Heavy Diesel Technology

Heavy diesel technology is a profession that keeps boats, bulldozers, semi trucks and cranes running year-round.

Diesel mechanics begin earning $18 to $30 an hour to well over $100,000 a year, depending on experience.

Mechanics should have clean driving records, be able to pass a drug test and be willing to learn as technology continues to grow.

The University of Alaska Anchorage has a diesel power technology program that offers a one-year undergraduate certificate and a two-year associate degree. Jeff Libby, the director of the division, says it’s a field with a lot of potential for growth.

“We have jobs in the maritime industry, with the seafood processing industry, and construction, mining, trucking industry is pretty supportive of us,” he said. “And our program is NATEF accredited, the National Automotive Technology Education Foundation, the only one in Alaska that has the accreditation. It’s a big deal.”

Libby says they’ve seen a 20 percent increase in enrollment in the past two years, due to the job demand and pay.

To find out who’s hiring, watch the video above or contact the Alaska Process Industry Careers Consortium on its website.

Source: Workforce Wednesday: Heavy Diesel Technology » KTVA 11

Valley Couple Establishes New Mat-Su College Scholarship

Future students of the Matanuska-Susitna College recently became the beneficiaries of a new scholarship established by Valley residents Bob and Charilyn Cardwell, according to campus director Dr. Talis Colberg.

While the Cardwells wanted to keep the exact amount of their donation discreet, Colberg said, “it is substantial enough that it will mean thousands of dollars in annual scholarships to provide financial assistance for tuition and other related expenses to vocational education students at the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Matanuska-Susitna College.” He added that in addition, the already large scholarship endowment is likely to grow significantly because it also involves a charitable rollover from the Cardwells IRA and another gift planned in their will.

Bob Cardwell is a retired local school principal, and according to Colberg, the genesis of the scholarship idea came in part from Bob’s experiences as a student.

According to Colberg, Cardwell had been a student at Shoreline Community College in Washington state many decades ago. One day he and five other students were called into the office of the college director, who announced to them that an anonymous donor had asked the director to select six students in order to pay their tuition as an “achievement scholarship” — with no strings attached.   

“Mr. Cardwell never forgot that gesture,” Colberg said. “Both he and his wife have grown to appreciate this college and this community and decided to set up their own ‘achievement scholarship’ to benefit students at Matanuska-Susitna College.”

“This is the seventh major new scholarship established at Matanuska-Susitna College in seven years,” Colberg added. “The new scholarship funds have been endowed by local people for the benefit of local students.  Even as the college has reduced staff in a period of new fiscal realities it is re-assuring and uplifting to see thoughtful individuals, like Mr. and Mrs. Cardwell, step forward and offer their hard earned personal savings to support educational opportunities at the Matanuska-Susitna College. It is exciting news and we are happy to be the beneficiaries of their generosity.”

Source: Valley Couple Establishes New Mat-Su College Scholarship | Valley Life |

Opportunity Knocks at the Kodiak Docks

Kodiak College
Fishing is big business in Alaska, but in Kodiak it’s colossal. The small city is the second-most prolific port in the nation (513.9 million pounds of fish landed in 2015) and the third-most profitable ($137.5 million net worth that year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).

“Alaska produces about 60 percent of the nation’s seafood harvest every year,” explained Alan Fugleberg, director of Kodiak College, a community campus of University of Alaska Anchorage. “It’s a big deal [for the state], and it’s really big for Kodiak.”

Spurred by those numbers, as well as a statewide maritime workforce plan, Kodiak College launched a Maritime Workforce Development program in 2014. Fugleberg and L.A. Holmes, the program coordinator, consulted with members of the local fishing industry to see how their school could better serve its community and support those stats.

Through these surveys, it became clear the Kodiak community wanted to keep skills sharp and train new crews, but residents weren’t necessarily interested in a maritime degree program. So Kodiak College responded with an assortment of accessible, convenient and focused workshops.

Read the full article here.

Source: Opportunity knocks at the Kodiak docks – Green & Gold News

Hoping to Boost Number of Alaska Native Nurses, UAA Takes High School Students to Camp

Fifteen high school upperclassmen and recent graduates from around Alaska recently participated in Anchorage Nurse Camp at University of Alaska Anchorage.

The program is hosted by RRANN, Recruitment & Retention of Alaska Natives into Nursing, a part of UAA’s school of nursing. Students are learning some hands-on skills, such as giving injections, dressing wounds, checking vital signs and doing other simulated treatment on dummies.

Annette Rearden, RRANN coordinator and a nursing professor, said the goal of the camp is to introduce students to the profession and encourage them to consider nursing as a career. Statewide, the program hopes to increase the number of Alaska Native nurses. Now, many places in both rural and urban Alaska rely on traveling nurses, who often work on a 13-week rotation.

“We are in a shortage, and we need culturally competent nurses to provide good care,” Rearden said.

Source: Hoping to boost number of Alaska Native nurses, UAA takes high school students to camp – Alaska Dispatch News