Recent Submissions

  • Framing Complexity: Teachers And Students Use Of Technology In Alaska One To One Laptop Learning Environments

    Whicker, Robert E.; Monahan, John; Richey, Jean; Roehl, Roy; Eck, Norman; Crumley, Robert (2012)
    The topic for this dissertation is to investigate perceptions within the implementation of established one to one laptop learning programs in Alaska high schools. A primary purpose is to gain understanding of teacher and student perception of their technology use levels by establishing a level of adoption. A secondary purpose is to gain understanding of teacher perceptions regarding concerns and implementation concepts. The theoretical framework for this study used a concurrent mixed methods approach, beginning with a quantitative broad survey with supporting qualitative open-ended questions. The sample used for this study includes public high school teachers and students, who are part of a one-to-one laptop program in thirteen schools districts across Alaska. Analysis of frequencies of technology use and levels of proficiency for both students and teachers were made in areas of personal and classroom use. Teacher professional practice was also analyzed with an emphasis on professional development. Statistical analysis included analysis of variance of demographic measures and classroom use, correlation and regression of teachers' levels of proficiency. Findings indicated a mature implementation of one to one programs throughout the teacher population sample with teachers reporting high stages of concern and moderate levels of technology use focused on the students' use of technology for learning. Implementation recommendations indicated by this study include the use of a framework to measure program progress and to gather teacher voices through the life of a project, clear communication of program goals, and a professional development model suited toward teachers' needs. This study will provide a baseline of knowledge for future studies in Alaska.
  • Kids Getting Away With Learning: Student Perceptions Of Learning In One To One Laptop Programs

    Standley, Mark; Monahan, John; Crumley, Robert; Jorgensen, Spike; Lang, Rob; Richey, Jean; Roehl, Roy (2012)
    This research explores students' perceptions of learning in one to one laptop programs in rural Alaska. This research used constructing grounded theory methods by conducting five focus groups in rural high schools in order to gather and analyze data from the students themselves. The research intent was to let the students' words and experiences shape a new theory how about they learn with these laptop programs. From an epistemological standpoint the goal of this qualitative research was to create a more complete picture of learning in one to one programs using grounded data through gathering, analyzing, and working directly with the students in these programs as "co-participants" to learn from their perceptions of learning using laptops. The new literacies student develop through being 21st century learners were reflected in the student perceptions in one to one programs and challenge researchers to re-examine learning theory in light of the ubiquitous nature of digital learning. This research was part of a larger collaboration with the Tech Cohort (Appendix A) to conduct mixed methods research using the same population to create a more complete picture of the research topics and participants.
  • Digital Dead Ends Along Alaska's Information Highway: Broadband Access For Students And Teachers In Alaska's High School One-To-One Laptop Programs

    Lloyd, Pamela Jo; Monahan, John; Richey, Jean; Roehl, Roy; Eck, Norman; Crumley, Robert; Knight, Phil (2012)
    This dissertation analyzes the potential impact community broadband availability has on personal and classroom levels of technology adoption for high school students and teachers in Alaska. Community broadband availability was defined as, (a) terrestrial broadband availability; (b) satellite broadband availability; and (c) no broadband available. The theoretical framework for this study used a concurrent mixed methods design, beginning with quantitative surveys with open-ended questions administered to teachers and students. Open coding analysis produced themes from student focus groups and open-ended questions used to complement the quantitative analysis. The sample population included high school teachers and students in one-to-one laptop programs from 13 school districts in 39 communities in Alaska spread across three categories of community broadband availability. All participating schools met the criteria for a complete one-to-one laptop solution. Key findings using an analysis of variance resulted in a statistically significant difference in personal use levels of adoption among students compared across three categories of community broadband available. Students living in communities with no broadband access had lower personal use levels of adoption compared to students living in communities with terrestrial or satellite broadband availability. There was no significant difference in student classroom levels technology adoption compared across three categories of community broadband availability. There was no statistical difference among teachers in personal or classroom levels of adoption. There continues to be a need to study these digital learning environments to determine conditions under which positive learning outcomes may be achieved. A study based in Alaska, focusing on student and teacher levels of adoption in personal and classroom, given broadband availability will provide data for policymakers, administrators, and stakeholders to make decisions regarding the impacts of the digital divide. The investment in rural areas of Alaska is significant for not only jobs and long-term economic benefits, but also to the citizenry of Alaska in expanding the opportunities for all of our students to be globally competitive, no matter their zip code.
  • Polishing The Mirror: A Multiple Methods Study Of The Relationship Between Teaching Style And The Application Of Technology In Alaska's Rural One To One Digital Classrooms

    Ledoux, Larry S.; Monahan, John; Covey, Jerry; Richey, Jean; Smiley, Scott (2012)
    This mixed method survey study examined the inter-relationships between teaching styles and the depth of classroom-based technology applications used by teachers participating in 1:1 digitally enhanced classrooms in thirteen of Alaska's rural school districts. The promise of technology to catalyze the transformation of schools into learner centric environments preparing students to be 21st century learners has not been realized. Significant first order barriers have limited the digital learning resources necessary to systemically affect pedagogical change. During the last six years, various entities have sponsored digitally enhanced learning environments to stimulate the process of education reform. These initiatives, labeled as one-to-one (1:1), brought teachers face-to-face with the challenges related to second order education reform while creating an opportunity to study changes in instructional philosophy and practice as a result of teaching in an environment rich in technology. This study explored three questions formulated to probe the relationship between pedagogical philosophy and the application of 1:1 technology to support learning: • "What is the relationship between instructional philosophy and the way teachers use technology to support learning in Alaskan high school 1:1 laptop programs?" • "How does access to a 1:1 classroom affect a teacher's instructional philosophy or practice?" • "Does access to a 1:1 digitally enhanced teaching environment facilitate the use of instructional practices consistent with Alaska Native and 21st century learner outcomes?" Ninety-four rural high school teachers responded to a survey that assessed teaching styles on a continuum from transmission to constructivist. The level of technology adoption was examined using three indices that respectively measure the professional, personal and classroom use of technology by teachers. Information derived from open ended questions was triangulated with quantitative data to develop a meaningful understanding of the study questions. Quantitative and qualitative data suggested that the majority of responding teachers identified with constructivist beliefs over traditional transmission. Teachers noted a strong positive relationship between teaching and the application of technology, yet analysis showed that constructivist beliefs were attenuated by several challenges related to management of technology. While teachers were generally aware of the potential for digital learning technologies to support Alaska Native and 21st century methods, they were outweighed by operational concerns related to the integration of technology. These study questions are significant. Digitally enhanced instructional practices help to equip students with the skills expected of 21st century learners. Perhaps even more significant is the congruence between the teaching styles traditionally used by Alaska Natives and the digitally enhanced constructivist practices made possible when using technology to augment processes for acquiring knowledge.
  • Exploring The Challenges Of School Counseling: Voices From Rural Alaska

    Cook, Christine Rojas; Barnhardt, Raymond (2011)
    School counselors in rural locations deal with many of the same issues and concerns of those in most urban areas, but have several additional challenges due to the geographic and demographic characteristics of their populations. The research in this dissertation investigated the specific challenges experienced by school counselors in the state of Alaska. All school counselors working in a rural public school were surveyed to determine what challenges they experienced, what resources they utilize, what additional resources they would like, and to discuss any information they believed would be helpful for a counselor about to enter the rural school setting. From the original 93 survey responses, 24 counselors were interviewed to provide further depth to the investigation. Analysis revealed similar challenges as discussed previously in the literature regarding rural counselor practice, but highlighted crisis situations, isolation variables, limited community resources, multiple roles, rural culture issues, and cultural issues. Alaska school counselors currently utilize a variety of resources to help them address the concerns in their communities. They did not request anything different than the resources they currently access, but rather wanted more of those resources. Recommendations are made for school counselors, school districts, state organizations, and counselor education training institutes.
  • Preparing Culturally Responsive Teachers Of Science, Technology, Engineering, And Math Using The Geophysical Institute Framework For Professional Development In Alaska

    Berry Bertram, Kathryn; Barnhardt, Raymond; McMillan, Claude III; Kramm, Gerhard; Smith, Roger (2011)
    The Geophysical Institute (GI) Framework for Professional Development was designed to prepare culturally responsive teachers of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Professional development programs based on the framework are created for rural Alaskan teachers who instruct diverse classrooms that include indigenous students. This dissertation was written in response to the question, "Under what circumstances is the GI Framework for Professional Development effective in preparing culturally responsive teachers of science, technology, engineering, and math?" Research was conducted on two professional development programs based on the GI Framework: the Arctic Climate Modeling Program (ACMP) and the Science Teacher Education Program (STEP). Both programs were created by backward design to student learning goals aligned with Alaska standards and rooted in principles of indigenous ideology. Both were created with input from Alaska Native cultural knowledge bearers, Arctic scientists, education researchers, school administrators, and master teachers with extensive instructional experience. Both provide integrated instruction reflective of authentic Arctic research practices, and training in diverse methods shown to increase indigenous student STEM engagement. While based on the same framework, these programs were chosen for research because they offer distinctly different training venues for K-12 teachers. STEP offered two-week summer institutes on the UAF campus for more than 175 teachers from 33 Alaska school districts. By contrast, ACMP served 165 teachers from one rural Alaska school district along the Bering Strait. Due to challenges in making professional development opportunities accessible to all teachers in this geographically isolated district, ACMP offered a year-round mix of in-person, long-distance, online, and local training. Discussion centers on a comparison of the strategies used by each program to address GI Framework cornerstones, on methodologies used to conduct program research, and on findings obtained. Research indicates that in both situations the GI Framework for Professional Development was effective in preparing culturally responsive STEM teachers. Implications of these findings and recommendations for future research are discussed in the conclusion.
  • Young Native Fiddlers: A Case Study On Cultural Resilience In Interior Alaska

    Allan, Maryanne; Barnhardt, Raymond; Parker-Webster, Joan (2011)
    This study explores success for Alaska Native young people, defining success using an Alaska Native point of view, that is, interconnectedness between culturally healthy youth and a culturally nurturing community. As a participatory action research project, members of the community, including musicians, young fiddlers, and their parents and grandparents are collaborating to develop a culturally-based youth group (Young Native Fiddlers) focused on Athabascan fiddling, a 150 year old Athabascan tradition, with the goal of developing culturally healthy youth. This study focuses on the impact of this program on its members and on the community. Using a participatory action research process, data gathering includes interviews with young fiddlers, parents and grandparents, musicians and community members, journal entries, participant observation, notes from participants, photographs, videos, and local media coverage. Themes were identified in the data and references were tallied to determine the meaning given to involvement in this program. The themes referred to most often were empowerment and cultural connection. Results suggest that while acquiring the skills of fiddle performance, young participants are not only continuing this valuable cultural tradition but they are developing individual cultural resilience as well as leadership skills. And they are sharing culture and strengths with their cultural community, thereby contributing to community resilience.
  • Science Education In Rural America: Adaptations For The Ivory Tower

    Van Doren, Gregory S.; Duffy, Lawrence K. (2010)
    This thesis illustrated what can happen when academic culture disconnects from the cultures surrounding it. It showed that formal school environments are not always the best places to learn. A discussion of the debate between coherence and fragmentation learning theories illustrated academic chasms and a mindset that science education must originate from within ivory towers to be valued. Rationales for place-based science education were developed. Two National Science Foundation initiatives were compared and contrasted for relevance to Native Science education (a) Informal Science Education and (b) Science Education for New Civic Engagement and Responsibilities. A National Science Foundation instrument, known as the Self-Assessment of Learning Gains, was selected to field-test measures of learning science outside of university science courses. Principles of chemistry were taught in community workshops, and those participant self-assessments were compared to self-assessments of students in introductory chemistry courses at two universities. University students consistently claimed the greatest learning gains, in the post-course survey, for the same areas that they claimed to have the greatest understanding, in the pre-course survey. The workshop participant responses differed, depending upon location of the learning environment. When held in a university laboratory, ideas were not related to other cultures, even when a Native Elder was present to describe those relationships. When held in a cultural center, those relationships were among the highest learning gains claimed. One of the instrument's greatest assets was the ability to measure reactions, level 4 of Bennett's (1976) hierarchy of evidence for program evaluation. A long-term commitment to informal science education (not short-term exhibits or programs), combined with negotiated place-based education was recommended as a crucially needed initiative, if relationships between universities and Native American communities are to improve. Some chasms created within ivory towers may never be bridged. Yet, those ideological chasms do not have to exist everywhere. The realities of working in the natural world and the practice of addressing multitudes of community challenges can alter perspectives, when horizons change from the edge of one's desk to those that meet the sea or sky.
  • Ways To Help And Ways To Hinder: Climate, Health, And Food Security In Alaska

    Loring, Philip A.; Gerlach, Craig; Fazzino, David V. II; Murray, Maribeth S.; Chapin, F. Stuart III; Atkinson, David E. (2010)
    This dissertation explores various ecological, socioeconomic, sociopolitical, and biophysical dimensions food security in Alaska. The context for this work is dramatic climatic change and ongoing demographic, socioeconomic and cultural transitions in Alaska's rural and urban communities. The unifying focus of the papers included here are human health. I provide multiple perspectives on how human health relates to community and ecosystem health, and of the roles of managers, policy makers, and researchers can play in supporting positive health outcomes. Topics include methylmercury (MeHg) contamination of wild fish, the impacts of changes to Alaskan landscapes and seascapes on subsistence and commercial activities, and on ways to design sustainable natural resource policies and co-management regimes such that they mimic natural systems. The operating premise of this work is that sustainability is ostensibly a matter of human health; the finding is that human health can provide a powerful point of integration for social and ecological sustainability research.
  • Yuraryararput Kangiit-Llu: Our Ways Of Dance And Their Meanings

    John, Theresa Arevgaq; Barnhardt, Ray; Webster, Joan Parker (2010)
    The first purpose of this study is to describe the categories of dance. The second purpose is to describe how Yup'ik music and dance has played a functional role in organizing and maintaining various societal infrastructures (kinship, social, political, subsistence/economic, and spiritual) within the Yup'ik culture (Fienup-Riordan, 1996; John, 1996; Kingston, 1999; Mather, 1985; Wallen, 1990; Wolf, 1999). This study seeks to further understand this role and how it has evolved over time. The study utilizes an ethnographic methodology that includes historical and contemporary perspectives to describe Yup'ik music and dance categories and to explain how dance serves to organize various aspects of Yup'ik culture and societal infrastructure. Data includes interviews from Yup'ik elders and adults, fieldnotes, research journal entries, digital recordings, photographs, and observations of Yup'ik immersion school performers and rural community cultural events such as the Cama-i Festival. The study suggests that Yup'ik dance and categories are important elements of the multiple cyclic rituals. It adds to the present literature revealing that there are twenty different dance types and categories, and many of the rituals are lost except for the ciuqitet (common dances), nangerceciyaraq (the first dance), and iluriurucaraq (teasing dance) dances. The study also suggests that dancing is an essential part of the Yup'ik social infrastructure and that dancing is integral to the social system. This is demonstrated through six themes: Kinship, Physical/Mental Health, Form of Prayer, Spiritual Enlightenment, Leadership, and Teasing. I also argue that there is connectedness in dance, music, and stories that are part of our yuuyaraq (epistemic worldview). Yuuyaraq is defined as a way of being a human (Napoleon, 1991) or an absolute unified social web. This web is represented in our social infrastructures of kinship, health/physical and mental, form of prayer/rituals, spiritual enlightenment, leadership, and teasing. There is a relationship in storytelling genres in dance and oral stories that represent people's historical and contemporary accounts, describing their social, cultural, and subsistence lifestyle. Interview participant data suggest these connections still exist in our society today.
  • Cultivating Sustainability Through Participatory Action Research: Place -Based Education And Community Food Systems In Interior Alaska

    Henry-Stone, Laura R.; Barnhardt, Ray; Gerlach, Craig; Kofinas, Gary; Webster, Joan Parker (2008)
    As the environmental movement grows into a broader sustainability revolution, we must move beyond the traditional scope of environmental education to address social-ecological challenges through integrated education for sustainability. This research explores how place-based education can promote sustainability of a community food system in which feedbacks between production and consumption are integrated within a biocultural region. Through participatory action research, the project develops and demonstrates pedagogical components of sustainability that are applicable to formal and non-formal educational contexts. In this pedagogy, the purpose of sustainability education is to foster a community culture that will promote the emergence of sustainability in complex adaptive systems with social and ecological components. This work is based at the Effie Kokrine Charter School (EKCS), a junior-senior high school in Fairbanks, Alaska that teaches with an Alaska Native approach, emphasizing place-based, experiential, and holistic education by utilizing students' natural and human communities to facilitate learning. The collaborative design of an Interior Alaska gardening curriculum serves as both an organizing framework for the project's fieldwork as well as an outcome of the research. The resultant gardening curriculum and the rationale behind its design demonstrate components of pedagogy for sustainability, including systems thinking, place-based and problem-based learning, eco-cultural literacy, eco-justice values, and appropriate assessment. Sustainability pedagogy within settings of higher education should also include action research. The structure of this dissertation research reflects how action research incorporates components of sustainability pedagogy. This pedagogical framework has theoretical and practical implications in multiple educational settings and indicates ways for our educational institutions to participate in the global sustainability revolution.
  • Deg Xinag Oral Traditions: Reconnecting Indigenous Language And Education Through Traditional Narratives

    Leonard, Beth R.; Barnhardt, Raymond J. (2007)
    "Deg Xinag," literally 'local language' is the westernmost of the Athabascan 1 languages. The language area is also referred to as "Deg Hit'an," literally, 'local people'. The Deg Hit'an are often referred to inappropriately in anthropological and linguistic literature as "Ingalik," a Yup'ik word meaning 'lice-infested'. There are currently three villages in western, interior Alaska where this language is spoken and about 20 fluent speakers of this language remaining. As I proceeded through my graduate research I came to understand the significance of indigenous language revitalization in relation to its potential contributions to indigenous and cross-cultural education. These contributions include establishing and enhancing self-identity and self-esteem for indigenous students, as well as contributing in-depth knowledge about local environments thereby enhancing place-based and funds of knowledge educational models (Bamhardt and Kawagley 2005: 15; Moll 1990). This dissertation presents an interdisciplinary analysis of a complex, cosmological Deg Hit'an narrative entitled "Nil oqay Ni'idaxin" or "The Man and Wife" told in the Deg Xinag language by the late Belle Deacon of Grayling Alaska (1987b). Deacon also told her own English version and titled this "The Old Man Who Came Down From Above the Second Layer of the World" (1987c). Underlying structures and meanings used in the contexts of Deg Xinag oral traditions are currently lacking in most published materials for this language, making it difficult to learn and consequently, develop culturally-appropriate language learning programs and curriculum. This analysis encompasses the fields of Alaska Native/indigenous studies, anthropology, and folklore/oral traditions using philosophical and pedagogical frameworks established by indigenous scholars including Gregory Cajete, Oscar Kawagley, and Greg Sarris. 1The term "Athabascan" has varied spellings within the literature, including "Athapaskan" and "Athabaskan." In 1997, Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC), the interior Alaska tribal consortium adopted a resolution stating their tribes' preference of the spelling using "b" and "c."
  • An indigenous teacher preparation framework

    Tom, Lexie J.; John, Theresa; Barnhardt, Ray; Amarok, Barbara; Marker, Michael (2018-05)
    The result of this research is a framework to support Indigenous Teacher Preparation within the Native Studies department at Northwest Indian College (NWIC). I attempted to answer three main questions in the duration of this dissertation research. The first question is, how do we recreate an Indigenous method for teaching and learning in a modern educational institution? The second question is, what does a Native Studies faculty member need to be prepared to teach classes? The third question is, how do we measure learning? Participants for this research included elders from the Lummi community, Native Studies faculty members at NWIC, and administrators. As an Indigenous researcher, I have defined my own Indigenous epistemology and this guided my research. I have chosen a qualitative research design to assist me in answering these research questions. The data were analyzed and coded into main themes. This analysis produced teacher competencies and methods of measurement that will be used within the Indigenous teacher preparation framework. This framework is important to the future of the Native Studies Leadership program and NWIC.
  • From camps to communities: Neets'ąįį Gwich'in planning and development in a pre- and post-settlement context

    Stern, Charlene Barbara; Koskey, Michael; Leonard, Beth; Chapin, F. Stuart, III; Aruskevich, Kas (2018-05)
    This study focuses on the Neets'aii Gwich'in, whose traditional territory is located in the northeastern interior of Alaska, and their experiences with planning and development. Prior to settling into permanent villages, the Neets'ąįį lived in widely scattered camps moving in relation to seasonal subsistence resources. Equipped with extensive knowledge of their country, Neets'ąįį people knew at any given time where the best places for certain animals and resources were and thus would camp closer to those areas. According to Neets'ąįį oral history, life in the "those days" was preoccupied with basic survival. Planning ahead, being prepared, and adapting to changing conditions were some of the key strategies that enabled the Neets'ąįį to survive from one generation to the next in one of the harshest climates in the world. The past 170 years has brought unprecedented change to the Neets'ąįį. The socio-economic and political context which historically defined the experience of the Neets'ąįį shifted dramatically as a result of colonization, the establishment of permanent settlements and the ensuing need for community infrastructure. Today, the Neets'ąįį are centralized in two villages, Vashrąįį K'ǫǫ (Arctic Village) and Vįįhtąįį (Venetie), located within the boundaries of the 1.8 million-acre Venetie Indian Reserve. The transition from Neets'ąįį camps to permanent communities has introduced many new needs including landfills, roads, power generation, etc. Whereas Neets'ąįį ancestors traditionally used planning as a survival strategy, their descendants today use planning to attract external investment for much needed infrastructure. This dissertation explores the ways in which the Neets'ąįį Gwich'in have engaged in planning and development in a pre- and post-settlement context.
  • Teaching through culture in the K-12 classroom

    Littlebear, Janice DeVore; John, Theresa; Adams, Barbara; Barnhardt, Ray; Webster, Joan Parker (2018-05)
    This study explores how quality experienced teachers use culture to successfully deliver K-12 classroom instruction. Additionally, it develops and tests the effectiveness of a resource designed to instruct early career teachers on the use of culture to deliver classroom instruction. Research was conducted in two phases over a four-year time frame (2014-2017). The study followed a mixed methods exploratory sequential design, using a participatory action research approach. Phase 1 gathered qualitative data from 20 experienced teachers located in two states, which were analyzed using constructed grounded theory. The results of this analysis, accompanied by a literature review, resulted in the development of a Chapter about Culture (CAC), an instructional resource on teaching through culture for early career teachers. Phase 2 gathered quantitative data using a Checklist of Classroom Inventory (CCI) from eight Alaska early career teachers and one Montana experienced teacher, and were analyzed by averaging the pre/post CAC scores and comparing the differences. In addition, one open-ended question after use of CAC provided additional qualitative data about the resourcefulness of CAC, as well as the process for implementing the lessons. Phase 1 results revealed five common themes when teaching through culture: Relationships, Communication, Connections, Respect, and Multicultural Resources. These themes contributed to the construction of a value-added theory of practice for teaching through culture, and served as the basis of the CAC. Phase 2 results demonstrated growth by early career teachers after using the newly created CAC in all five themes of teaching through culture.
  • Diideets'ii in our pathway (in our future): Gwich'in educational philosophy and transformative praxis in K-12 education

    Fisher, Charleen; Leonard, Beth; Schneider, William; Aruskevich, Kas; Koskey, Michael (2018-05)
    Gwich'in pedagogy is largely undocumented in Western academia. Gwich'in epistemology includes holistic perspectives on all Western content areas, and crosses the usual segmented knowledge genres. Inter-generational transmission of Gwich'in knowledge occurs in many places including the natural environment, with long-standing cultural ties to place. Gwich'in pedagogy is relational, place-based, holistic, cooperative, purposeful and subjective. Gwich'in gaagwidandaii, or communal knowledge, predates the inception of many world societies. Gwich'in concepts presented in this paper will include the introduction of a framework called Kheegwadadhaak'a', translated to mean, "We just keep the fire going." This framework is a visualization. Important concepts of Gwich'in pedagogy include traditional ideas of assessments or standards using the phrases nil'ee t'ah'in and ch'aadaii, both meaning that someone has a natural talent or is adept at something, for girls and boys, respectively. Learning, or gik'yanjii in Gwich'in, also means "to find out, notice or sense." This comprehension includes a deep, contextual understanding of traditional Gwich'in knowledge. The three types of Gwich'in knowledge are gaagwidandaii, gihk'agwagwaanjik, and gaatr'oahtan. These translate as"collectively known, individually learned, and taught knowledge," respectively. Gwich'in have a complex and relational pedagogy. This pedagogy attempts to achieve contextuality, or duulee ginlii, which translates as "proficiency, agility, ability to do almost anything, being extremely good at anything they do, or overall 'sharpness' in life." This process is importantly both a communal and personal journey.
  • "This Is Who I Am": Perspectives On Economics, Policy, And Personal Identity And Culture Of Cook Inlet And Kenai River Salmon Fisheries

    Harrison, Hannah L.; Loring, Philip A.; Fong, Quentin; Gerlach, S. Craig (2013)
    Throughout this thesis, I use a multidisciplinary approach for understanding the sustainability of the culture, livelihoods, and ecosystems in the Cook Inlet and Kenai River salmon fisheries on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula. In Chapter 1, I present a broad overview of the Cook Inlet region, its inhabitants, and the various stakeholder and user groups that access regional salmon fisheries. Chapter 1 also provides an overview of the methodology utilized in this research, as well as discuss the methods, the strengths, and weaknesses of the research as part of an evaluation of the study. In Chapter 2, I present an overview of how the Kenai River and Cook Inlet salmon fisheries are managed and regulated, including regulatory bodies and agencies and their mandated roles. Finally, the chapter concludes with a presentation of ethnographic data collected during interviews between summer of 2011 and spring of 2013. These data reveal the perspectives and attitudes of fishermen, and in terms of how they regard management, and about whether management decisions contribute to or detract from the ongoing sustainability of the regional fisheries and fish stocks. In Chapter 3, I examine some of the economically based arguments commonly made to support allocation rights between the several user groups that access the area fisheries. This chapter draws upon economic reports produced by advocacy groups and the State of Alaska, as well as utilizes a comparison of these reports by an economist from the University of Alaska Anchorage. This chapter again draws upon ethnographic research to understand perspectives of fishermen, illuminating how they interpret and develop their economic arguments for allocation. In Chapter 4, I present an ethnography detailing and describing attitudes and perspectives of fishermen as to how they perceive their personal identities relate to their fishing livelihoods. Finally, in Chapter 5 I conclude with an explanation and review of findings, as well as recommendations for future research and some personal thoughts. Throughout the thesis are pieces of my personal narrative to give the reader a more intimate understanding of this research.
  • Pedagogy for reading in rural Alaska: the effect of culturally relevant reading materials on student reading achievement in Chevak, Alaska

    Geiges, Beth J.; Leonard, Beth; Topkok, Sean; John, Theresa; Adams, Barbara (2017-12)
    This study used Culturally Relevant Reading materials (CRRM) with a proprietary, culturally relevant pedagogy for Reading. It was focused on results in Reading Achievement, both reading fluency and comprehension, involving 7th and 8th grade students in a twelve (12)-week program of Reading Language Arts. It was an exploratory sequential mixed methods study using a quasi-experimental design, with two student groups, A and B, experimental and control respectively. The results are situated within cultural expert views of Native perspectives on reading from the community as well as student surveys on motivation. Results from the study indicate that student achievement in Reading using the CRRM program, as measured by standardized tests, namely Edformation's AIMSweb® (2002) tests of both R-CBM and MAZE, met with similar results in student Reading achievement using a Western curricular program. Both control and experimental groups in the quasi-experimental, exploratory sequential mixed methods study showed significant growth in Reading achievement in both fluency and comprehension, on standardized tests over a 12-week interval. Results from the study showed students in the CRRM program showed no significantly greater growth in reading comprehension or fluency during the study, as measured by AIMSweb® tests of MAZE and R-CBM. Student survey results showed increases in student motivation to read, enjoyment of reading class, and desire to read CRRM. Written questionnaires from community members outlined criteria for student success in reading. The results indicate that Alaska Native culturally relevant materials and teaching techniques can be used interchangeably with Western curricular materials in Alaska Native village schools with expectation of similar success in student Reading achievement. Students are eager to have CRRM in Language Arts classes, and the community is encouraged by the promising results.
  • TEST College of Rural and Community Development 9/25/17

    CHISUM (2017-09)
    TEST College of Rural and Community Development 9/25/17
  • Energy-efficient homes in Alaska: historical and contemporary perspectives on adaptation and innovation

    Hossain, Yasmeen; Loring, Philip; Marsik, Tom; Chapin, F. Stuart, III; Gerlach, Craig (2017-08)
    Global climate change is largely caused by greenhouse gas emissions from anthropogenic sources. The building industry is responsible for over 40% of global carbon emissions. Almost half of the energy consumption in buildings is from space heating and cooling. The incorporation of energy efficiency in homes has a large potential to mitigate future climate change impacts while at the same time aiding household members to adapt to the effects of global change. This dissertation explores this potential in Alaska, where in addition to climate change impacts, residents are vulnerable to high oil prices affecting not only their energy security, but also their health, food security, and sense of place. This interdisciplinary dissertation explores the viability of Alaskan energy-efficient homes from social, economic, and environmental perspectives. In the following chapters, I first use a conceptual model of energy security that is adopted from the food security literature to determine that a significant segment of Alaska is in an energy-insecure state. This is predominantly due to expensive fuel, overreliance on fuel imports, inefficient uses of heating fuel, and a legacy of inefficient homes. Next, I provide a historical survey of Alaskan homes from pre-contact dwellings to modern era homes. Some of the pre-contact homes' energy efficiency features have been reintroduced in some modern homes, such as a small square-foot-to-occupant ratio, passive solar design, arctic entrance, round or octagonal building layout, using earth berming, sand dunes, and snow banks as natural insulation, permafrost lined cellars, subterranean building style, thermal mass, and shared stone walls between rooms. Third, I discuss interviews conducted with homeowners of highly energy-efficient homes and other stakeholders in the building-, real estate- and financing industry, which reveal several barriers to the adoption of this building style innovation. The predominant barriers are lack of information and education on this building style by homeowners, designers, and builders; economic disincentive due to a low appraisal value; and a psychological mindset resisting change. Finally, I use a case study of a highly energy-efficient home in Dillingham, Alaska to exemplify the carbon payback point. Using a life cycle assessment approach, I calculated that within 3.3 years the highly energy-efficient house has reached carbon parity when compared to a conventional counterpart house. Collectively, I build on these findings to recommend improvements in education about the benefits of energy efficiency, an overhaul of the appraisal system, and a careful consideration of the psychological aspects of embracing innovations in an effort to facilitate wider adoption of highly energy-efficient homes in Alaska.

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