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On Monday, UAA welcomes the class of 2018 onto a campus that is rapidly transforming. This column offers a construction update (the dust won’t settle soon) and shares a quick snapshot of the 1,338 freshman Seawolves.

Kathleen Mccoy
On the first day of school, a veteran Anchorage elementary school teacher talks about education challenges, what motivates her year after year and first-day jitters. Marc Lester
The school year began Wednesday with the Anchorage School District down 75 positions, mostly from maintenance and administration departments. But all but three of the dozens of teachers who received layoff notices this spring were back in the classroom.Michelle Theriault Boots
With a new school year about to begin, Anchorage School District Superintendent Ed Graff sat down to talk about the abrupt departure of his predecessor more than a year ago, as well as progress on the goals he inherited from longtime schools chief Carol Comeau.Megan Edge
Eric Bortz, an assistant professor in biological science at the University of Alaska Anchorage, is never surprised when undergraduates arrive in his virology class, all schooled up on Ebola. Kathleen Mccoy
UAA faculty members on Monday got a first look at the results of “prioritization,” a controversial year-long effort to analyze and rank every offering at the sprawling university with an eye toward growing some programs and cutting others.Michelle Theriault Boots
A member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe and a former president of the Native American Journalism Association, Mark Trahant has a big goal this academic year: “I want to get more Alaska Native students in my journalism classes.”Kathleen McCoy
With budget cuts and layoffs looming, University of Alaska President Pat Gamble has been offered a $320,000 retention bonus, which some say is unnecessary, but others say is in line with university models that increasingly mimic corporations.Michelle Theriault Boots
Last April, UAA students voted for a smoke-free campus. They specifically banned cigarettes, cigars, pipes, hookahs, bidi (tobacco cigarettes flavored with chocolate, mint, vanilla, etc.), clove cigarettes and e-cigarettes on the Anchorage campus, including dorms and apartments.Kathleen McCoy
Superintendent Ed Graff talked of success, Destination 2020 and the effects of the continuous loss of staff and programs at a public event in Anchorage Friday.Megan Edge