• Alaska Native scholars: a mixed methods investigation of factors influencing PhD attainment

      Jones, Alberta J.; Barnhardt, Ray; Vinlove, Amy; Leonard, Beth; Roehl, Roy (2018-05)
      This study entitled, "Alaska Native Scholars: A Mixed Methods Investigation of Factors Influencing PhD Attainment," investigates the contributing factors influencing the attainment of PhD degrees by Alaska Natives. Originating from a cross-section of rural and urban Alaska communities and tribal ethnicities, this group of scholars attended graduate schools throughout the country. Today many of these PhDs work in universities, conduct research, and advocate for Indigenous people in various leadership roles, both in and outside of Alaska. This study's assumption is these PhD graduates have gained valuable lessons along their path to success and an examination of these factors is relevant to advancing that successs. The findings analyze results from a survey instrument with approximately a 92% response rate from all living Alaska Native PhD/EdD graduates that were able to be located at the time, up to early 2015. Survey participants shared personal, demographic, cultural, social, academic, and economic factors both supporting and hindering PhD attainment. Survey data was validated by ten personal interviews with PhDs from eight different Alaska Native tribes. One goal of this study was to increase our knowledge of the circumstances and factors of Alaska Native doctoral graduates and to build upon knowledge necessary to increase interest and enrollment of Alaska Native PhD graduates. Some questions examined by this study are: What sets of factors do AN PhDs have in common which led to their success? What challenges and barriers are specific to the Alaska Native demographics? If patterns of successful factors exist, can these factors be replicated to expand Alaska Native participation in PhD or other graduate programs? Are there 'lessons learned' in terms of aiding university PhD programs in attracting and graduating Alaska Native students? A stronger PhD representation of this population has implications for leadership, education, business, and policy-making roles serving to increase Indigenous self-determination. Additionally, this research has implications for universities seeking to address gaps in Alaska Native and American Indian faculty representation.
    • The archaeology of human- dog relations in Northwest Alaska

      Hill, Erica (Routledge, 2018)
      Some 1500 years ago, on a gravel spit extending into the Chukchi Sea, people living at the site of Ipiutak buried several members of their community.
    • Culturally responsive teaching and student self-efficacy in Alaskan middle schools

      Christian, Scott; Kaden, Ute; John, Theresa; Sesko, Amanda; Ontooguk, Paul; Jester, Timothy (2017-12)
      Culturally responsive teaching may provide practices and dispositions which support closing the achievement gap between minority and Caucasian student populations. For this research, culturally responsive teaching can be considered as teaching practices that address students' specific cultural characteristics. These characteristics include common practices such as language, values and traditions but also include concepts such as communication, learning styles, and relationship norms. The research also presents a definition of culturally responsive teaching that extends beyond curriculum and instruction to focus on student teacher relationships, empathy, and the teacher as learner. This research explores the beliefs and practices around Culturally Responsive Teaching in ten Alaskan Middle Schools. A mixed-methods, sequential explanatory research design was used to answer the research questions: 1. How do teachers identify what is culturally responsive teaching, and what is not? 2. How is culturally responsive teaching implemented in Alaskan middle schools? 3. How is culturally responsive teaching connected to student self-efficacy in Alaskan middle schools? Although culturally responsive teaching has become a recognized practice in the fields of teacher preparation and professional development for teachers, the working definitions as well as evaluation tools are inadequate to describe the actual practice that teachers enact when they are engaged in culturally responsive teaching. Despite state regulations requiring Alaska school districts to include teaching practice of the Alaska Cultural Standards in teacher evaluations, there is only limited focused research available about the implementation of the standards in classrooms. Through semi-structured interviews and surveys with teachers and principals, formal classroom observations, as well as a student self-efficacy survey, this research addresses the lack of research and understanding regarding the relationship between culturally responsive teaching and self-efficacy for middle school students. This study identified the integration of local culture and language into academic content areas, teaching through culture, and the establishment of positive, respectful working relationships with students as promising practices for culturally responsive teaching.
    • A foundation of ecology rediscovered: 100 years of succession on the William S. Cooper plots in Glacier Bay, Alaska

      Buma, Brian; Bisbing, Sarah; Krapek, John; Wright, Glenn (Ecological Society of America, 2017-03-24)
      Understanding plant community succession is one of the original pursuits of ecology, forming some of the earliest theoretical frameworks in the field. Much of this was built on the long-term research of William S. Cooper, who established a permanent plot network in Glacier Bay, Alaska, in 1916. This study now represents the longest-running primary succession plot network in the world. Permanent plots are useful for their ability to follow mechanistic change through time without assumptions inherent in space-for-time (chronosequence) designs. After 100-yr, these plots show surprising variety in species composition, soil characteristics (carbon, nitrogen, depth), and percent cover, attributable to variation in initial vegetation establishment first noted by Cooper in the 1916–1923 time period, partially driven by dispersal limitations. There has been almost a complete community composition replacement over the century and general species richness increase, but the effective number of species has declined significantly due to dominance of Salix species which established 100-yr prior (the only remaining species from the original cohort). Where Salix dominates, there is no establishment of “later” successional species like Picea. Plots nearer the entrance to Glacier Bay, and thus closer to potential seed sources after the most recent glaciation, have had consistently higher species richness for 100 yr. Age of plots is the best predictor of soil N content and C:N ratio, though plots still dominated by Salix had lower overall N; soil accumulation was more associated with dominant species. This highlights the importance of contingency and dispersal in community development. The 100-yr record of these plots, including species composition, spatial relationships, cover, and observed interactions between species provides a powerful view of long-term primary succession.
    • MABEL photon-counting laser altimetry data in Alaska for ICESat-2 simulations and development

      Brunt, Kelly M.; Neumann, Thomas A.; Amundson, Jason M.; Kavanaugh, Jeffrey L.; Moussavi, Mahsa S.; Walsh, Kaitlin M.; Cook, William B.; Markus, Thorsten (Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union, 2016-08-10)
      Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) is scheduled to launch in late 2017 and will carry the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS) which is a photon-counting laser altimeter and represents a new approach to satellite determination of surface elevation. Given the new technology of ATLAS, an airborne instrument, the Multiple Altimeter Beam Experimental Lidar (MABEL), was developed to provide data needed for satellite-algorithm development and ICESat-2 error analysis. MABEL was deployed out of Fairbanks, Alaska, in July 2014 to provide a test dataset for algorithm development in summer conditions with water-saturated snow and ice surfaces. Here we compare MABEL lidar data to in situ observations in Southeast Alaska to assess instrument performance in summer conditions and in the presence of glacier surface melt ponds and a wet snowpack. Results indicate the following: (1) based on MABEL and in situ data comparisons, the ATLAS 90m beam-spacing strategy will provide a valid assessment of across-track slope that is consistent with shallow slopes (< 1) of an ice-sheet interior over 50 to 150m length scales; (2) the dense along-track sampling strategy of photon counting systems can provide crevasse detail; and (3) MABEL 532 nm wavelength light may sample both the surface and subsurface of shallow (approximately 2m deep) supraglacial melt ponds. The data associated with crevasses and melt ponds indicate the potential ICESat-2 will have for the study of mountain and other small glaciers.
    • Pilot investigation into the age structure of market squid, Doryteuthis opalescens, in the Gulf of Alaska

      Navarro, Michael; Wehde, Dawn (University of Alaska Southeast, 2018-03-08)
      The objective of my URECA funded project was to conduct a pilot investigation that aimed to provide a data set of the age, size, and maturity of market squid, Doryteuthis opalescens, collected in the Gulf of Alaska. The information I collected was used to infer the establishment of a residential or transient population of market squid in the sampled area. I hypothesized that squid collected offshore (> 100m from the shoreline) would be less sexually mature and younger than squid collected inshore which supports the establishment of a residential population. In comparison, no significant differences between size, maturity, and age between squid collected offshore and inshore supports that the squid are from a transient population.
    • Raven’s Work in Tlingit Ethno-geography

      Thornton, Thomas F.; Deur, Douglas; Adams, Bert (University of Hawaii Press, 2019-01-01)
    • Summary of Reported Whale-Vessel Collisions in Alaskan Waters

      Neilson, Janet L.; Gabriele, Christine M.; Jensen, Aleria S.; Jackson, Kaili; Straley, Janice M. (Hindawi Publishing Corporation, 2012-03-26)
      Here we summarize 108 reported whale-vessel collisions in Alaska from 1978–2011, of which 25 are known to have resulted in the whale's death. We found 89 definite and 19 possible/probable strikes based on standard criteria we created for this study. Most strikes involved humpback whales (86%) with six other species documented. Small vessel strikes were most common (<15 m, 60%), but medium (15–79 m, 27%) and large (≥80 m, 13%) vessels also struck whales. Among the 25 mortalities, vessel length was known in seven cases (190–294 m) and vessel speed was known in three cases (12–19 kn). In 36 cases, human injury or property damage resulted from the collision, and at least 15 people were thrown into the water. In 15 cases humpback whales struck anchored or drifting vessels, suggesting the whales did not detect the vessels. Documenting collisions in Alaska will remain challenging due to remoteness and resource limitations. For a better understanding of the factors contributing to lethal collisions, we recommend (1) systematic documentation of collisions, including vessel size and speed; (2) greater efforts to necropsy stranded whales; (3) using experienced teams focused on determining cause of death; (4) using standard criteria for validating collision reports, such as those presented in this paper.