UAF Northwest Campus Director Says He’ll Retire on July 1

Director of UAF Northwest Campus Bob Metcalf says the focus remains on increasing access for students as their 5-year renovation plan continues. Photo: Davis Hovey, KNOM (2017)

The new year will be ushering in new changes at the University of Alaska–Fairbanks’ Northwest Campus, as director Bob Metcalf will be retiring on July 1, 2019.

Metcalf hadn’t originally intended to leave this year.

“The campus is in a really good situation, with good staff and faculty and some of these things that have resolved. I feel like it’s a good spot for someone new to step in.”

Those resolutions include campus renovations to classrooms and other physical improvements that were completed over the summer of 2018. Northwest Campus also received additional funding through a U.S. Department of Education grant that Metcalf expects to provide a “financial boost” for the next five years.

Bob Metcalf has been with Northwest Campus since 1991, when he began as a registration coordinator. In 2011, he was appointed the acting campus director and has been serving full time in that position since 2013. When asked about the highlights of his 27- year career, Metcalf did not hesitate:

“Oh, undoubtedly students. The quality of the person who goes through their program here is remarkable. The highlight is getting to know them and seeing their accomplishments.”

Metcalf is originally from Pennsylvania but moved to Alaska 42 years ago. When Metcalf took the position in 2013, he told Vice Chancellor Bernice Joseph that he wanted to be a transitional director for someone who is more “homegrown.” He says that often, when a new director comes in, the staff have to do quite a bit of work to get them to understand their role.

“My hope is that the new director will be someone who is familiar with rural Alaska, preferably with the region, and understands the university and this campus place is in our community and knows how important partnership is with so many organizations, institutions and people.”

As for what comes next, Metcalf says for now, his only firm plans are to spend more time with family.

Image at top: file photo (2017): Director of UAF Northwest Campus Bob Metcalf. Photo: Davis Hovey, KNOM.