A Paralegal Program on Top of the World: The University of Alaska Fairbanks Paralegal Studies Program by LawCrossing


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									PARALEGAL SCHOOL FEATURE                                                                                 www.lawcrossing.com     1. 800.973.1177

                               A Paralegal Program on Top of the World: The University of
                               Alaska Fairbanks Paralegal Studies Program
                               [By Devon Pryor]
                               Why not train to become a paralegal in a classroom at the very top of the world? The University of Alaska Fairbanks in
                               Fairbanks, AK, sits on more than 360 million acres in a spectacularly picturesque locale close to Denali National Park and
                               only 150 miles south of the Arctic Circle. Part of a network of campuses scattered throughout Alaska’s vast expanse, the
                               University of Alaska Fairbanks boasts the geographically northernmost paralegal program anywhere, giving new meaning to
                               the notion of staying on top!

And the view from the top is nothing short            gives students in the program opportunities        business organization, employment and
of dazzling. At the school’s main campus in           to learn from those with whom they will            administrative law, and other special topics.
Fairbanks, dramatic and breathtaking views            likely find employment after completion of         Rather than obtaining the associate’s
of Mount McKinley make quite an impression.           the program.                                       degree, students can choose to minor in
The Fairbanks campus, in central Alaska, is                                                              paralegal studies, although this does not
accompanied by campuses in Dillingham,                Professor Ed Husted, the only full-time            necessarily permit them to practice as
Bethel, Kotzebue, and Nome. University of             faculty member for the paralegal studies           paralegals. The paralegal studies minor
Alaska Fairbanks is a public institution offering     program, agreed that the program’s small           requires students to take an introduction
an Associate of Applied Science degree through        class size is conducive to one-on-one              to paralegal studies class and five elective
its paralegal studies program. The program            instruction and the formation of a closely knit    courses-a total of 8 units.
takes an average of two years to complete, but        learning environment. Husted noted that
the university may honor previously completed         a large portion of the student population,         According to the program website, the
course units if they are relevant to the area of      about 25% to 30%, is comprised of military         objectives of the paralegal program at
study and are college-level.                          students from the Air Force and Army bases         University of Alaska Fairbanks are to train
                                                      nearby. Husted explained that the rest of the      students under supervision of licensed
The paralegal studies program at University           students are locals, and most of them stay in      professionals, to provide continuing
of Alaska Fairbanks is offered by the Tanana          the Fairbanks area after graduation to build       education for professionals, and to allow
Valley campus in the Fairbanks area. The              professional careers in the local community.       other students to gain practical law-related
program provides training for students                                                                   experience by making its courses available
who wish to become paralegals, as well as             The primary degree offered through the             to students of other majors. Students in
continuing education and skill development            paralegal studies program at University of         the program develop strong written and
resources for practicing paralegals in the            Alaska Fairbanks is the A.A.S. or Associate        oral communication skills in tandem with
local community. Paralegal classes are                of Applied Science degree. Required                paralegal knowledge. Computer skills, as
also open to students who are focusing their          courses for this degree include classes            they apply to the paralegal profession, are
studies on other law-related areas, such as           in computer applications, introduction to          also emphasized in the program. Academic
political science or justice, allowing these          paralegal studies, civil procedure, legal          advisors at the school can help students
students to gain practical knowledge that             research and writing, introduction to              devise the best course plans, and the Student
is pertinent to their future careers. The             American government, politics, judicial            Assistance Center provides resources such
paralegal studies program at University               process, constitutional law, and institutions      as tutoring, counseling, financial aid, and
of Alaska Fairbanks is approved by the                and governmental powers; additionally,             “college survival skills.”
American Bar Association. The typical class           each student must complete a mandatory
session in the program is comprised of                internship. Each student also takes five           Employment opportunities in the surrounding
only 5 students and taught by an adjunct             elective courses, which can be chosen              community are more numerous than one
professor who practices as a paralegal or             from a list that includes classes on issues        might expect. Not only do students have
as an attorney in the local community. This           such as family law, torts, probate law,            opportunities to build relationships with

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PARALEGAL SCHOOL FEATURE                                                                      www.lawcrossing.com    1. 800.973.1177

the adjunct professors who may someday       committee actively assist graduates with         ON THE NET
employ or work alongside them, but also      finding employment in Fairbanks and keep
many of the law practices in the community   in touch with local lawyers and government       University of Alaska Fairbanks
rely almost entirely on graduates of the     offices, which they can contact when helping     www.uaf.edu
University of Alaska Fairbanks paralegal     students find jobs.
                                                                                              The Paralegal Studies Program at UAF’s
program to staff their offices. As the
                                                                                              Tanana Valley Campus
school’s website explains, successful        And when there is time to relax, students and
completion of the program guarantees         faculty alike can sit back and enjoy the most
employment opportunities in Fairbanks,       spectacular light show on earth, the Aurora      Map of Fairbanks, AK, and surrounding areas
and graduates are well-prepared to seek      Borealis, which can be observed right from the   worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/
employment elsewhere in the country. The     classroom windows.                               namerica/usstates/ak.htm
program coordinator and faculty advisory


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