Fairbanks, Alaska When the University of the Arctic (UArctic) is launched tomorrow there will be no cornerstone to pour and no ribbons to cut across buildings because the UArctic is a "university without walls." A cooperative effort that was initiated nearly four years ago, the UArctic is an independent international network of universities, colleges, researchers and indigenous peoples in the Far North dedicated to sharing knowledge on circumpolar subjects. The launch will take place in Rovaniemi, Finland on June 12, 2001.
"UAFs role reflects our interest and commitment to cooperation in matters of circumpolar education," said Karen Erickson, UAF associate professor of political science. "UArctic seeks to improve access to higher education for all northerners, especially for indigenous peoples."
A circumpolar studies curriculum is in the planning stages and will be delivered in part through a web-based portal known as the Arctic Learning Environment (ALE). The development of ALE will facilitate communication between members of the UArctic community.
"The ALE is an attempt to create centers of access, whether it be through community schools or city halls, to distance courses," Erickson said. "Cooperative efforts could range from distance education or hands-on field collaboration."
The University of Alaska Fairbanks will work with the University of Tromsoe in Norway to help develop core science courses for the circumpolar studies curriculum. UAF has an interdisciplinary arctic science team working on this project.
The launch of the UArctic takes place in conjunction with the 10th
anniversary of the arctic environmental declaration of the eight circumpolar
countries, otherwise known as the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy,
or Rovaniemi Process. The launch will also coincide with a meeting of senio
Contact: Karen Erickson
University of Alaska Fairbanks