Paper No. 154-3
Presentation Time: 2:15 PM
LOCAL SAGE2YC WORKSHOP IN WESTERN ALASKA: GROWING STEM PROGRAMS IN REMOTE PLACES
In western Alaska, five community campuses serve primarily rural students. Administered through the UAF College of Rural and Community Development (CRCD) with the mission to “provide academic and vocational education and outreach that promote workforce preparation, economic development, life-long learning, and community development with an emphasis on Alaska Natives, and undeserved communities” (http://www.uaf.edu/rural/). CRCD offers programs that range from Occupational Endorsements to graduate degrees, but most students are enrolled in two-year programs and mostly serves the two-year college (2YC) mission. The Majority of students taking classes in rural Alaska are not science majors; rather they take science courses to meet the UAF core requirement for associate degrees and to a lesser extent to begin coursework towards a bachelor's degree. The growing science programs in rural Alaska has substantial challenges including few full time faculty and staff, limited resources in classrooms, physical and social isolation, and scarce opportunities for professional development. Therefore, with no roads in western Alaska connecting communities, the widely dispersed rural population of western Alaska must share resources of each community campus and courses are mostly taught using online synchronous and asynchronous delivery methods.
A Western Alaska SAGE 2YC Workshop (https://serc.carleton.edu/sage2yc/workforce/local2013alaska/index.html) was held at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Northwest Campus (NWC) in Nome on 20 March 2013. This workshop was in conjunction with the annual Western Alaska Interdisciplinary Science Conference (WAISC). This SAGE 2YC workshop brought together rural educators, scientists, leaders, students, and community members to focus on how the UAF College of Rural and Community Development Science Department can better integrate science into community resilience. This workshop provided a needed forum to discuss best practices and common problems encountered when guiding rural students through higher education programs in preparation for careers. Since this workshop, the western Alaskan community campuses have continued to work together and promote STEM Programs.