University leadership presents COVID-19 update to Joint Senate and House Education Committee

Nov. 20, 2020

Earlier this week University of Alaska Interim President Pat Pitney, Chancellors Cathy Sandeen, Daniel White and Karen Carey virtually attended a joint Senate and House Education Committee to discuss how the university provided critical contributions to Alaska’s continuing fight against COVID-19 and to highlight how the university is key to Alaska’s economic recovery.

Throughout the pandemic, the University of Alaska has maintained a steadfast commitment to Alaska’s educational and economic future. Amid sustained economic difficulties and challenges faced by the state, the university has managed fiscal reductions and provided a safe and quality learning environment for its students while managing enrollment impacts.

As the threat of COVID-19 mounted last spring, our universities made a rapid shift mid-semester to place most courses to alternate delivery methods (online, audio conference or web-conference, etc.) rather than traditional classroom instruction. 

This ensured safety for all students, staff and faculty while maintaining educational objectives. 

This fall, after rigorous planning during the summer months, the three universities were able to quickly pivot to providing most courses online – in part because online learning has been an important part of the mission for more than 20 years. 

As such, this fall across the UA system, more than 75% of all student credit hours were offered online. 

While ensuring the health and safety of our communities across the state through alternative forms of instruction and learning, the UA also placed a focus on manufacturing Personal Protective Equipment and COVID-19 testing materials for the state’s healthcare system and graduating nursing students early to contribute to the fight against the virus. 

Our universities remain ardently focused on supporting our students, staff, faculty and the rest of the state during this trying time while maintaining our core goals and objectives of providing critical education to Alaska’s future leaders, workers, teachers and doctors. 

A copy of the presentation can be downloaded HERE.