The largest post-secondary school in the state of Alaska, the University of Alaska at Anchorage stands as the model of education the USA’s northmost state. Grown from what was the Anchorage Community College beginning in 1954, it didn’t begin offering four year degrees until the late 70s, and it wasn’t until 1987 that the university as it exists now was formed.
Today, UAA stands with its two sister schools as “committed to serving the higher education needs of the state, its communities, and its diverse peoples”. Diversity is key to the almost 20,000 member student body, which may have over 13000 Caucasians, but also 1500 native Alaskans and another 1300 Asian/Pacific Islanders. Degree offerings at UAA range from Associate to Masters level (and a PhD in Philosophy), with numerous occupational endorsements (29 credit or fewer courses providing specific knowledge/skills for a particular employment) and certifications (30-60 credit tracts, often in science or technical areas, providing better pay, increase promotion, and, in some cases, entry level training). All told, there are 36 Masters’ programs, 56 Bachelor, and another 30+ Associate degrees offered, most popularly in education, nursing, and, in the past few years especially, aviation technology.
The 141 hectare campus (just under 350 acres to us below Canada) holds six teaching units (colleges): Education, Health/Social Welfare, Arts/Sciences, Business/Public Policy, Engineering, and the Community/Technical school offering 150+ educational paths to walk. The curriculum offers both “practical job skills and … a strong educational foundation” that, together, create the type of graduates that can aid and innovate for the state.
Though there are no online degrees offered at UA Anchorage, the three University of Alaska schools are all connected and offer UA students classes at the Southeast and Fairbanks campuses to ensure residents are never too far away from their education. Whether you are looking to “complete your degree, make yourself more marketable, or sharpen a few skills”, online courses are available, as well as hybrids, that allow Alaska residents to work towards a degree, or achieve a certification or occupational endorsement, regardless of their “home campus”. Distance learners can use online courses blended with on campus classes (again, these classes can be taken at any of the three campuses) to work towards Associate, Bachelor, or Master degrees, utilizing Blackboard and allowing for numerous online aids, including advisement and library services.
UAOnline connects all the schools, giving comprehensive course listings and degree offerings from each campus. Students can here chart their academic roadmap, including which courses to take through which campus, though testing and in class work can be done on any of the three campuses. Isolated and separated as Alaska can be, UAOnline ensures that no student is left out in the cold.
Exchange programs also exist both at home (year and semester long time spent in nearly 200 US/Canadian/Caribbean universities) and abroad (Australia, New Zealand, Europe). There are also four community college campuses connect to UA Anchorage, ensuring that those not ready to commit to a four year degree can still work towards it in the interim.
Modeled to succeed in the sometimes harsh and separated areas of Alaska, UAA ensures that education isn’t stalled by geographic boundaries and provides solid education (both practical learning and higher knowledge) to its diverse population.