UA President Pat Pitney announces key leaders of Arctic Leadership Initiative

June 21, 2024

President Pat Pitney today announced a cohort of leaders called “President’s Arctic Professors,” as a part of the university’s new Arctic Leadership Initiative. The initiative, one of the Board of Regents’ strategic priorities, is designed to position ns as world leaders in the Arctic, give students and early career professionals the foundation and network needed to lead in the changing Arctic, and enhance the reputation of UA’s universities as centers of Arctic expertise.

“The Arctic Leadership Initiative will build pathways for future leaders who will influence the Arctic,” UA President Pat Pitney said. “The world is , and needs leaders, advocates, and scholars who can help us drive our own future. This initiative will intentionally develop, elevate, and empower those people, and I am thrilled that the will be the tip of the spear in those efforts.”

The President’s Arctic Professors named today are Dr. Larry Hinzman, Jeff Libby, and Dr. Erica Hill. Each President’s Arctic Professor will receive salary support over the next two years as they devote their time, expertise, and acumen to the continued development of the initiative and other programs that increase the impact of UA’s Arctic activities.

Erica Hill stands in front of a white wall Hinzman in a portrait, outside, wearing a winter jacket in front of snow Jeff Libby stands in a green field

From left to right: Dr. Erica Hill, Dr. Larry Hinzman, Dr. Jeff Libby

"Larry, Jeff, and Erica have a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and relationships in the Arctic,” said President Pitney. “Each of them brings something unique to the table, and students participating in the program will benefit immensely from their mentorship. I’m so pleased to have them as a part of the Arctic Leadership Initiative.”

Dr. Hinzman recently served as the Assistant Director of Polar Sciences in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and as the Executive Director of the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee. He is a former Vice Chancellor for Research and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Fairbanks (UAF). He served as the Director of the UAF International Arctic Research Center (IARC) from 2007 to 2015. Dr. Hinzman also served as a member of the U.S. Polar Research Board and as the U.S. delegate and president of the International Arctic Science Committee. 

Dr. Libby serves as the Principal Investigator for ADAC-ARCTIC, the Arctic Domain Awareness Center housed at the Anchorage (UAA), formed with a $46 million, 10-year cooperative agreement with the Department of Homeland Security. He also serves as Director of the Center of Strategic Partnerships and Research (CSPR) and the Director of the Applied Environmental Research Center (AERC). Dr. Libby previously served as an Associate Dean for the UAA Community and Technical College. He is passionate about the Arctic and has been instrumental with student engagement opportunities throughout his career.

Dr. Hill is a Professor of Anthropology at the Southeast (UAS), and served as program director for Arctic Social Sciences at the National Science Foundation (NSF) between 2020 and 2024. She is a broadly trained archaeologist with research interests in many parts of the world including the Arctic. Dr. Hill has archeological excavation experience in , Florida, the Southwest U.S., Mexico, Peru, and the Russian Far East and has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Honduras. She was a 2016–2017 Fulbright–NSF Arctic Research Scholar, and spent a semester at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik studying the Icelandic language and researching the use of horses in Viking Age burial practices.