Learn how the Alaska Mental Health Consumer Web helps Anchorage’s homeless. Listen to Informania, Thurs. at 5pm, on 88.1FM or www.kruaradio.org.

UAA Masters in Social Work graduate, and Clinician for the Center for Human Development and Center for Psychosocial Development, Summer Lefebvre, has been involved in researching and helping homeless residents of Anchorage.  On this edition of Informania, she discusses the Alaska Mental Health Consumer Web (AMHC), an organization that helps homeless people in Anchorage find the help that they need to recover from mental health and addiction challenges, and to pursue a productive, stable life.

In addition to working as a clinician at AMHC, Summer has also been involved with city-wide efforts to research, identify  and help the most vulnerable homeless people (those with cancer, or the elderly), and is helping to plan and promote the January 2013 Project Homeless Connect.  Sponsored by the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness, Project Homeless Connect will bring together multiple resources and services for homeless citizens in one location so that they can get the help that they need during the cold of winter!  Watch this Project Connect video to learn more.  Volunteers are needed!

This Informania interview was recorded on KRUA 88.1 FM, Monday, July 29, at 9am, and will be replayed on Thursday, August 1 at 5pm, or via livestream at www.kruaradio.org.  It will also be available as a podcast after the broadcast.  Listen and learn!

What Library work is available for students? What’s a Reserve Collection? Hear answers to these questions and discover what it takes to become a librarian on the next Informania!

Monday, July 15, at 9am on KRUA, 88.1FM, Deb the Librarian interviews Kristi Powell, Student Worker Supervisor/Reserves Manager at the Consortium Library.  Can’t catch the broadcast of Informania on Monday?  Tune in on Thursday at 5pm to hear a replay of the interview, or check www.kruaradio.org for the podcast.  Listen and learn!

Learn about New Student Orientation and Academic and Multicultural Services at UAA on the next Informania, Thursday at 5pm, on KRUA 88.1.

On June 17, Deb the Librarian interviewed Theresa Lyons, Interim Director of  UAA’s Academic and Multicultural Services, and Director New Student Orientation on Informania.  This interview will be replayed on Thursday, June 20, 5pm-6pm, and will be available as a podcast soon after.

New Student Orientation = HOWL Days!

What is New Student Orientation?  New Student Orientation, otherwise known as Howl Days, is a one-day opportunity for new students to become familiar with services, opportunities, and advisers at UAA.  There is an online orientation, but in-person attendance is recommended for students transitioning between high school and college, and other in-coming students that have never attended classes at a university before.  When Theresa Lyons began leading these orientations about seven years ago, approximately 500 students attended.  Today, approximately 1000 students attend, and  this number is expected to increase.  Because it has been shown that students who have attended orientations are more likely to stay on track to graduation, there is the possibility that New Student Orientation will become mandatory at UAA.  For now, it is simply a great opportunity to get informed, inspired, and connected as a new student at UAA.  Students who go through New Student Orientation, also have the opportunity to participate in service learning (volunteer) opportunities.  All around, it is a worthwhile decision for new students to register for, and attend a New Student Orientation at UAA.

Who are the Wolf Pack Leaders at New Student Orientation?  They are successful, enthusiastic UAA students who have been trained in the wealth of information and leadership skills required to lead groups of students during Howl Days.  Are you interested in becoming a Wolf Pack Leader?  These student job opportunities are posted on uakjobs.com around March.  There are many other student jobs posted at uakjobs as well, so if you are interested in getting a job as a student at UAA, check it out!

UAA’s Academic and Multicultural Student Services

Theresa Lyons shared an abundance of information about the many departments that support student success at UAA.  Following are the departments discussed on Informania, with links to their web pages:

UAA has been responsive to student’s needs, both academically and socially, by increasing the opportunity for, and awareness of the incredible services offered through these departments!  In fact, Student Affairs is organizing a third division to increase support for first-year students, and help students overall achieve success in their academic endeavors.  Theresa shared that Dr. Lacy Karpillo is the new Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Access, Advising & Transition, and will oversee this division.  Meet the rest of the Student Affairs Team and discover the many resources available to students, staff, and faculty from the Student Affairs Team web site.
Songs played on today’s Informania show included:  Information, by Dredg, and That’s What Friends Are For, by Dionne Warwick.

Seawolves Debaters share strategies and experiences on Informania, Monday at 9am, and Thursday at 5pm on KRUA, 88.1.

Listen to the interview with Seawolf debaters Matt Fox and Matthieu Ostrander.

Guests on the May 6, 2013 Informania radio show were senior Seawolves debaters (and participants in national and international competitions) Matthieu Ostrander and Matt Fox.  Matt Fox, a graduating senior, shared the steps he took from Cabin Fever Debates to international debater.  Matthieu Ostrander, now a sophmore, began debating for the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) as a freshman, and quickly rose to international debate team competitor.  These accomplished members of UAA’s Seawolf Debate Program talked about the debate program, the academic debate style, strategies for debate success, experiences from debate travels, and examples of controversial topics that they have been tasked with while debating at international competitions.

Getting Started in Debate at UAA

All University of Alaska Anchorage students are welcome to attend Seawolf Debate practices.  Practices are Tuesdays from 5:30-8:30 and Fridays from 9:30-12:30 in room 266 of the ADM/Humanities building.  The students that end up traveling on the competitive debate teams prove their ability to debate competitively while participating at practices.  According to Matt and Matthieu, it is necessary for debaters to create a written brief about the topics that they debate.  Sources they have used to build their brief on a topic include the Council on Foreign Affairs, the Economist, and Wikipedia (although they acknowledge it is not the best scholarly source; it is a good place for background information).  Deb the Librarian also mentioned CQ Researcher and Opposing Viewpoints Online as potentially useful sources for debaters that are available through the Consortium Library.

When it comes to debating, it is likely that there will be challenges and losses along the way.  Debaters learn to overcome the floundering moments (like debating a topic related to Sesame Street, when you have never seen Sesame Street (true!))  These become strength-building exercises.  To succeed in debate it is necessary to see the failures and challenges as the essential learning experiences they are.

British Parliamentary Debate

The UAA Seawolf Debate students participate in an academic debate, based on British Parliamentary style.  When participating in national and international competitions in British Parliamentary style debate, competitors are typically given their topics fifteen minutes prior to the debate.  Debaters are given seven minutes to make their case.  After one minute a bell rings, alerting the debater that the opposing team has the opportunity to request Points of Information (POI) during the next five minutes.  The bell then rings again at six minutes, alerting the debater that there is one minute left, and no more POIs can be presented by the opponents.  Matt shared that it is good practice to take up to two Points of Information from the opponents during your presentation.  It allows you to hear the opposition’s arguments and deal with them at that point, versus learning their opposing strategies later in the debate.  The judges also look favorably on teams that take POIs from their opponents.  Debaters tend to take the POIs when they have said something controversial (a hot button), and they can deal with the opposition then instead of later; or when they have that moment of pause when they are thinking of the next point to make.

In some competitions, there are more than one team debating each side of an issue.  It seems like it might be better to go first, but debaters appreciate the opportunity to wait to take their turn, and listen to the opposing teams.  This gives them additional time to think about strategy, and then argue a stronger case for or against their topic.  Typically in competition, every team gets the opportunity to debate in each different order.  These orders are selected by computer.  There was one competition that Matt and Matthieu attended that allowed the higher ranked teams to select their preference, but these UAA debaters find the computer generated assignments preferable.

Debate Strategies

When asked about debate strategies, Matt and Matthieu gave an example, and then summed up the strategy.  There are different levels of thinking about a topic, from impacts that are global to national to local to personal.  There are also the theories and philosophies associated with particular topics.  The fact that debaters can open their minds to argue a point they may or may not agree with is an impressive exercise in critical thinking.  Although traditionally, the debate topics have tended to be more liberal, their is an effort to include more conservative topics in the debate competition.  Whether the topic is arguing against the Pope as ruling Catholic Authority, or that a certain religion is to blame for a war, the debaters need to think of it in terms of academic debate, using the best of their critical thinking skills to do so.

The Seawolf Debate Program also offers UAA students the opportunity to help with the Middle School Public Debate Competition.  Matthieu spoke favorably about this experience, and the benefit of involvement for UAA students and middle school participants alike.

It was also mentioned during the show that there are states exploring the requirement of debate as part of elementary and secondary education.  The opportunity to develop critical thinking and communication skills that allow a person to see both sides of a controversial topic; and participate in respectful, engaged communication on difficult topics is a skill worth developing!

The UAA Seawolves Debate Program, directed by Communication and Discourse Studies Professor, Steve Johnson, is leading the way to popularizing critical debate in Anchorage.  In doing so, the community  has also been encouraged to think about the topics being debated; audience members asked to question their own beliefs on these topics; and encouraged to look at the other perspectives, in a safe, respectful, educational venue.  For this critical thinking, community building endeavor, Steve Johnson deserves a big thank you.  The Seawolf Debate Program is popularizing critical debate; and in a day when media is continually streaming turmoil and world problems, the popularization of productive critical discourse deserves to be celebrated.

Informania is  repeated on Thursdays from 5:00pm-6:00pm.  This interview will also be available online at www.kruaradio.org as a live-streamed program or podcast through QuickTime.

Study tips and inspiration from Deb the Librarian and KRUA Station Manager, Audri Pleas, Thursday on Informania, 5-6pm, 88.1FM.

Listen to the interview with Audriana Pleas.

Audri Pleas, Station Manager at KRUA, and University of Alaska Anchorage student, talks about study habits, her experience at KRUA, and her evolution as student and leader from Walmart to KRUA.

Deb the Librarian also reviews study tips from earlier shows:

If you create study cards, write them, and then when you review them, say the information out loud.  This engages more energy in remembering the information (kinesthetic engagement). (Dartmouth College Study Skills handout)

Paraphrase information from your textbook in your mind, instead of just remembering it word-for-word. This will help you identify answers on a test if they are not word-for-word according to the textbook. (Dartmouth College Study Skills handout)

Dan Bonin, Math Learning Specialist, shared that research findings showed that it was more successful to study in the physical/mental state that you will take the test.  If you have an exam right after lunch, get in the habit of studying right after lunch.  Your body will take these cues on helping you remember the information in that physical/mental state.

Audri Pleas shared that listening to music without words, like classical music, helps her to study.  Music with words can be distracting, so find music without words that you can study to, if you like to listen to music while studying.

Also, pick a location that allows you to focus on what you need to learn.  The Consortium Library has quiet study areas that support this endeavor.  The Library stays open until 2am for students needing a quiet place to study.