UA Newsroom: September 2021

It’s sometimes difficult to keep up on the news. Emails get buried in your inbox and it can be a struggle to stay informed. The following is adapted from press releases and announcements by the UAS and the UA system.

Evening at Egan Lecture Series began September 10

The annual fall lecture series Evening at Egan kicked off  Friday, September 10 at 7 pm with a virtual presentation by Dr. Heidi Pearson, associate professor of marine biology delivering a talk called “Humpback Whales and Tourism in Juneau – What Can We Learn from the COVID-19 Pandemic?.” The cancellation of cruise ships during Summer 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic provided an unprecedented opportunity to assess humpback whales in the near absence of whale-watching vessels near Juneau. Heidi Pearson presented her collaborative study with UAF and NOAA to assess humpback whale residency patterns and stress hormone levels during this unusual time.

This year due to the COVID-19 pandemic all Evening at Egan events will be offered virtually using Zoom. The full line-up of speakers and registration links is currently live on the Egan Lecture Series page. Once registered, a link is provided to the participant. After each event, the lectures are posted to the UAS YouTube channel. These videos can also be accessed at , with the button for each lecture changing its label from “free registration” to “watch video.”

UA Hires Dr. Pearl K. Brower to Lead Alaska Native Success, Diversity and Inclusion Efforts

In a major step toward improving the success of Alaska Native students, staff, and faculty at the University of Alaska, Interim President Pat Pitney announced August 13 that Dr. Pearl Brower will lead the development and implementation of diversity and inclusion strategies at the university.

Brower will be Senior Advisor for Alaska Native Success, Institutional Diversity and Student Engagement, and will report directly to the president. She has been tasked with coordinating recommendations developed through the Alaska Native Success Initiative and to foster partnerships between the UA system and the Alaska Federation of Natives, the 13 regional Native corporations and their foundation partners.

While each university in the system has programs and staff dedicated to equity and diversity, Brower will be available to advise the president, chancellors and other university system leaders on these critical issues including engaging with the Alaska Native Studies Council, UA for Racial Justice, and other university affiliated groups to develop strategies for progress.

Over the past 10 months, the university has been deeply examining how to better serve Alaska Native, black, Indigenous and other students, staff and faculty of color. The Board of Regents directed Pitney to address the system’s shortcomings in Alaska Native recruitment, retention and success. This led to the creation of the Alaska Native Success Initiative. Community and university members have developed a framework and actions that resulted from this process.

“We recognize that we are far from perfect, and must do better,” Pitney said. “Dr. Brower’s experience, education and passion for higher education is evident in everything she undertakes, and I look forward to the expertise she will bring to create meaningful and visible change across the UA system.”

UAS Welcomes Ironman in August 2022

The Ironman Group, the international swim/bike/run organization, has selected Juneau as an official host for Ironman race events beginning in 2022. The University of Alaska Southeast will serve as the venue for the race start, the Ironman Village, all transition points, and the race finish.

“UAS is very excited to partner with Ironman, CBJ, Sealaska, DOT, and other local organizations to be a part of Ironman Alaska,” said Dave Klein, UAS Associate Director of Recreation. Klein will serve as the lead representative from UAS to the community-wide planning committee. Ironman has visited UAS twice over the last few months, including this week to make the official announcement for the August 2022 race event from the UAS campus.

“We were honored to host Sealaska Heritage Institute President Rosita Worl, Mayor Beth Weldon, Travel Juneau CEO Liz Perry, and members of the Ironman Alaska race team for the live broadcast from the UAS dock in Auke Lake,” said Klein. Ironman competitors will swim Auke Lake for the first portion of the triathlon. The second leg of the race will include biking “out the road,” and the final running leg of the triathlon will take runners out toward Montana Creek, through Kaxdigoowu Heen Dei Trail, and right back to the heart of UAS.

Klein is looking forward to what this event will mean for Juneau. “As Alaskans we feel fortunate to live and play in such an amazing place. It’s exciting to share it with a world audience.”

The full distance Ironman will take place on August 7, 2022.

By Whalesong Staff

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