UCM Group Studies the History and Myth of Alaska on Cruise
Contact: Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG, MO (June 13, 2011) – University of Central Missouri Mules recently were sighted in Alaska as 14 UCM faculty, students and friends who studied "Alaska History and Myth" during the spring 2011 semester boarded the Island Princess for a cruise to Alaska.
“Alaska History and Myth” was an on-line special topics course developed by Marla J. Selvidge, UCM professor and director at the Center for Religious Studies, over the span of two years. This course could be taken for credit toward a major, individualized minor, or an elective in Religious Studies. One of the key discoveries in the class was the occupation of the Aleutian Islands in Alaska by the Japanese and the subsequent internment of the Aleuts during that time.
After studying Alaska from both a First Nations and Western or Colonial point of view, students chose cities and topics to study while on the cruise. They visited Totem Bight Park and Saxman Park in historic Ketchikan, climbed rocks at Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau and visited Klondike Goldrush National Park in Skagway. They had studied the Gold Rush of 1898 in class, but in Skagway the group found evidence of their studies in the cemetery, museums, videos, and a train ride up the old Yukon Trail.
On board the ship they listened to lectures by naturalists such as Ann Burgess of Vancouver Island, Canada and Glacier Bay Park Rangers, including Randy Thomas, an alumnus of UCM. The ship later sailed through College Fjord Glaciers and Glacier Bay National Park with both the rangers and naturalists explaining the sites.
In Anchorage the group visited a Russian Orthodox Church and ate lunch in Girdwood, a town totally destroyed by the 1964 earthquake and tsunami. At the Begich Boggs Visitors Center at Portage Lake touched a glacier, and nothing could beat The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.