The University’s Forgotten Virtue

daniel-piscoya-1BY DANIEL PISCOYA
Managing Editor, UAS Whalesong

Staff Writer Erin Laughlin’s article about the 2017 Innovation Summit includes a quote from a short interview of Chancellor Caulfield. Caulfield states that UAS’s commitment to innovation can be seen “in terms of new, cutting-edge online degree programs, and high impact learning opportunities through internships, job shadowing, and field research opportunities.”

These innovations play to UAS’s strengths: our proximity to the capitol through internships, our proximity to the sea through field research opportunities, and our proximity to far-away students via online degree programs.

However, the interview itself is also a play towards UAS’s strengths. Erin’s conversation with the Chancellor was unscheduled – she simply walked over to the Hendrickson building and knocked on the door.

While Erin was lucky to find Chancellor Caulfield in his office and with a few spare minutes, the fact that she could do so in the first place seems indicative to me of a rarely remembered virtue at UAS – that we are small enough to engage effectively with our University administration, yet large enough to matter on a Statewide scale.

Recent trends here at UAS seem to indicate that this is being taken advantage of for the better. UAS Student Government’s Coffee with the Chancellor event and the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor’s Letters to the Editor all seem definitive efforts by the University to engage and inform its students in local and statewide affairs. This is not only something that all universities should attempt, but something that UAS is particularly well-equipped to do.

The University’s path forward through the current budget crisis – Strategic Pathways – still has many drastic changes in store for the entire UA system, and students ought to be involved. It’s our future, too.

However, understanding Strategic Pathways is currently challenging-to-impossible for the average student. Should the University administration begin considering ‘student engagement’ on the same level of innovation as internships at the capitol, field research with NOAA, or eLearning, we might not only survive this budget crisis, but add to our good name in doing so.

I’m proud of what UAS has proven capable of in the past few months, and I hope to see the trend continued in years to come.

Feel free to contact Managing Editor Daniel Piscoya at the Whalesong e-mail:

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