News and Announcements
ISER’s Jennifer Schmidt, Assistant Professor of Natural Resource Management and Policy, is working with researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Alaska Center for Energy and Power and College of Engineering and Mines to examine food, energy and water (FEW) security issues in rural Alaska and determine how small-scale renewable energy might ease the issues. Called MicroFEWS, the project is funded through a 3.5-year, $2.4M National Science Foundation grant. A new website and blog have been developed to engage rural communities including Kongiganak, Tanana, Cordova and Igiugig to evaluate local priorities, collect data, and develop appropriate energy distribution models. [...]
ISER’s Mouhcine Guettabi gave a presentation on the economic impacts of Governor Dunleavy’s veto of $409M from the state budget at the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce’s “Make it Monday,” telling the audience that employment losses from cuts will exceed any gains that have been realized during Alaska’s fragile economic recovery of the last few months. The vetoes come as Alaska is turning the corner on a 3-year recession from 2015 to 2018 that cost the state more than 12,400 jobs. Since October 2018, employment has been positive, averaging about 1,325 jobs a month more than the previous year. Still, the level [...]
ISER’s Mouhcine Guettabi provides context on the Governor Dunleavy’s vetoes and their potential impact on the Alaska economy in a series of tweets, showing that just the University of Alaska direct cuts, without accounting for all other line item vetoes (Medicaid, K-12, seniors, debt reimbursement, etc) essentially pushes the Alaska economy back into a recession. Guettabi also spoke with KTUU this week regarding the Governor’s veto of $130 million for the University of Alaska and he is scheduled to talk next week about what the vetoes mean for the Alaska Economy at the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce’s Make it Monday luncheon [...]
School superintendents are all too familiar with the costs of teacher turnover that deplete educational resources and challenge student achievement. A new paper, by Dayna DeFeo, director of ISER’s Center for Alaska Education Policy Research (CAEPR) and Trang Tran, ISER research professional, looks at how superintendents in Alaska’s rural districts – where teacher turnover is particularly pronounced – are working to address turnover by integrating a place-conscious approach in their hiring practices. […]
Scott Goldsmith, Professor Emeritus of Economics at ISER, spoke with Abbey Collins of Alaska Public Radio Network last week about increased construction spending in Alaska, particularly increases in petroleum and national defense spending. These increases, along with spending as a result of the 7.1 magnitude earthquake in November, are contributing to what Goldsmith estimates to be about a 10% increase in construction spending over 2018. Goldsmith's estimates of spending by sector are available in the 16th annual construction forecast, prepared for the Associated General Contractors of Alaska.
Tourism in Alaska is a growth industry, with much of the revenue generated below the Arctic Circle. But the Arctic’s unique natural environment and tourists’ desire to see the Arctic before it changes – sometimes called “last chance tourism” – is drawing more and more travelers above the Arctic Circle. The increase in nature-based tourism offers Arctic communities around the world development opportunities, but also risks to community and environmental systems. A new paper coauthored by Jennifer Schmidt, Assistant Professor of Natural Resource Management and Policy at ISER, looks at factors important to community resilience in the face of growing tourism [...]