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President’s Office

Welcome from President Don Bantz

John Dewey, one of America’s foremost educators, once described the most effective education possible as “a great teacher and a student sitting side by side on a log.” You will find that at APU-we have one of the lowest student/faculty ratios in the U.S. (less than 10:1) wherein all of our classes are taught by professors, not teaching assistants and, you are likely to discover, sitting on that Alaska log, that you are surrounded by the most eye-popping majestic scenery you could ever imagine.

An APU education is all about student engagement, which means active teaching and learning (hands-on, experiential learning focused on real-world issues) within small learning communities, a high level of academic challenge, a supportive campus environment (the small scale of the campus feels like an extended family where every community member is focused on your success), and an enriching educational experience (a variety of social and recreation activities outside the classroom) that provide you with opportunities for personal growth, pursuing one’s passions and interests, and service to others. It requires you to be an active participant in all aspects of your education.

APU delivers a practical liberal arts education that prepares you to be creative, collaborative, adaptive problem solvers in your chosen endeavors. APU faculty members are, like you, passionate about making a difference in the world we inhabit. They practice what is called deep learning i.e., embodied learning, the kind of learning that grows neurons, stimulates these neurons to act like firecrackers creating new neural networks within the brain and body-mind. Deep learning fosters cognitive complexity, the capacity for introspection, and critical empathy (able to stand in another’s shoes, to acknowledge and respect difference).

Studying within multiple learning venues (small learning communities, studying abroad, community-based internships exchange programs with other campuses) broadens your worldview and hones your collaborative problem-solving capacities. The small class sizes enable APU undergraduates the access to laboratories and applied research opportunities that are normally available only to graduate students at other universities. APU graduates-and their employers-tell us that this breadth of knowledge, skills, and experiences have served them well in their careers and set them on a path of life-long learning.

For those concerned about the value-added of an APU education, the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) test-a nationally benchmarked standard- measures student progress i.e., the development of student competencies in critical thinking, analytical reasoning, problem solving, and clear, cogent communication. APU contributes more to the learning gains made by students than 91% of the participating CLA undergraduate institutions nationally. APU seniors scored in the 98th adjusted percentile rank on the CLA test.

Join us for a distinctive educational experience in Alaska, the land of spirit, opportunity, and adventure.

Sincerely,

Dr. Don Bantz