University of Alaska system

"University of Alaska" redirects here. Though related, this entity should not be confused with historical usage of the term to refer to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, which was known as the University of Alaska from 1935 until system restructuring in 1975.
University of Alaska System
Motto Ad Summum (Latin)
Motto in English
To The Highest Point
Type Public, Land Grant
Established 1917 (Restructured in 1975)
President James Johnsen
Students 35,000
Location Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau, Alaska, United States

The University of Alaska is a land-grant university founded in 1917 in Fairbanks, over forty years before the Alaska Statehood Act of 1959. The modern UA system was created in 1975. Since then, it has expanded to nineteen campuses between three separately accredited universities. The University of Alaska system as a whole currently serves nearly 35,000 full and part-time students and provides 500 unique degrees.[1]

The University of Alaska System consists of three main universities, each with several satellite campuses in smaller communities.[2] It also includes three large satellite community colleges on UAA's accreditation. Prince William Sound College in Valdez is an independently accredited institution underneath the University of Alaska Anchorage. The three major institutions in the University of Alaska system are:

Since the population of Alaska is smaller than most US states, the University of Alaska System is a relatively small one. However, it does have several notable academic departments. At UAF, these are the geology department, the atmospheric sciences department, and the wildlife biology department. Reflecting the state's small population, the amount of Federal land granted to the University of Alaska under the Morrill Act was the second-smallest grant in the country.[4]


The University of Alaska is formally established under Article VII of the Alaska State Constitution. Article VII also establishes a Board of Regents, appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Legislature, that is tasked with governing the University. All Regents serve eight-year terms, except for the Student Regent who is nominated by the three main campuses for a two-year term.[5] The Board selects a University President who oversees the statewide administration. Under the president, responsibility for the three main universities is assigned to their respective chancellors. There is also the Coalition of Student Leaders, composed of representatives from the various UA student governments around the state and advocates for student issues.[6]

Organizational flow chart for the statewide University of Alaska system.

This is the universities leadership as of 11/9/15.[7]

President: James Johnsen

UAA Chancellor: Tom Case

UAF Interim Chancellor: Dana Thomas

UAS Chancellor: Richard Caulfield

University of Alaska Anchorage

The University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) is the largest university in the state, with approximately 20,000 full and part-time students across all of its campuses. There are twelve Colleges within UAA, four of which are community colleges in Valdez, Soldotna, Kodiak, and the Mat-Su.[8] UAA has thirteen different sports through the NCAA, and compete nationally as the Seawolves.[9] UAA also boasts the nationally competitive Seawolf Debate Team.

University of Alaska Fairbanks

The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) is home to the noted Geophysical Institute, which operates the Poker Flat Research Range, a collegiate rocket test range. Also, there is the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center, the location of the only Cray supercomputer in the Arctic region, and the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences which has facilities and research projects all over Alaska and the Arctic Ocean.

University of Alaska Southeast

The University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) is the smallest university in the system. UAS focuses on a strong liberal arts education and experiential learning. It has campuses in Juneau, Sitka, and Ketchikan; however, the Juneau Campus is the largest. There are four academic schools at UAS; the School of Arts & Sciences, the School of Management, the School of Career Education, and the School of Education.


  1. "About UA | University of Alaska System". Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  2. "About UA | University of Alaska System". Retrieved 2015-09-16.
  4. Johnsen, James (2002-05-03). "Reengaging the University: A Case Study of the University of Alaska, 1998-2002". University of California-Berkeley. Archived from the original on 2006-10-27. Retrieved 2007-01-31..
  5. "Members | Board of Regents". Retrieved 2015-11-10.
  6. "Coalition of Student Leaders | System Governance". Retrieved 2015-11-10.
  7. "UA Organizational Chart" (PDF). University of Alaska. University of Alaska. September 2015. Retrieved 11/9/15. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  8. "About UAA". Retrieved 2015-11-10.
  9. "Athletics". Retrieved 2015-11-10.
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