Public Affairs

September 14, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 14, 2018

Looking to the future, the UA Board of Regents discusses a range of issues at its recent meeting including the draft FY20 budget, UA staff/faculty compensation and a philanthropic campaign

JUNEAU- With a focus on the immediate needs of the University of Alaska, the UA Board of Regents spent its two-day meeting in Juneau discussing those needs in the context of how the university should position itself for the year 2040.

The regents reviewed the university’s FY20 draft budget request, which was developed based on the strategic priorities set by the regents during their June 2018 retreat. Regents established an ambitious, but realistic vision for Alaska in the year 2040 and how the university could contribute to that vision.


“The draft budget was co-created with the three universities with your vision in mind,” UA President Jim Johnsen told the board, “and in all discussions, the question of where we want to be and what we want to be in 2040 was a powerful perspective that led us to the budget request before you today.”

The university’s draft of the FY20 operating budget requests totals $351.5 million – an increase of $24.5 million over the current FY19 operating budget. Additionally, the draft FY20 capital budget request includes $50 million for facilities deferred maintenance/renewal & repurposing, and $5 million for USArray, a system of seismic sensors across the state that gathers critical data on ground movement and meteorological events.

Johnsen outlined how the budget would meet the strategic needs of the state of Alaska in five key areas – economic development, workforce development, research, educational attainment and cost effectiveness.

“Everything we do is to be rooted in serving the needs of the state,” Johnsen said.

The draft budget includes $14.5 million for operating costs including increased funding for the university’s Title IX compliance efforts and work to develop a culture of respect on the university’s campuses across the state; facility maintenance, utility costs and other operating cost increases; and, $10 million for strategic initiatives tied to the regents’ goals. A comprehensive compensation study is underway, and the budget that will come back before the regents in November for final approval will include recommendations based on the results of the study. 

“I’m thrilled to know we are a university that is oriented to the future,” said Regent Deena Bishop. “I want to say to the State of Alaska that if you invest in Alaska education you will get the best possible outcome. We are worth the investment.”

In other action, regents reviewed a policy that provides a framework for handling delayed reports of misconduct. The policy will be before the regents for final approval in November.

Regents also approved a plan for the university’s first ever statewide philanthropic campaign, which put forth a range of goals including engaging a large number of individual and alumni donors.

Regents approved a bonus for President Johnsen based on meeting his FY18 performance goals and associated metrics as well as establishing his FY19 performance goals and metrics.

“The president has done a stellar job and I look forward to another great year,” said Regent John Davies.

As part of the Strategic Pathways update, Dr. Steve Atwater, executive dean of the Alaska College of Education, described increased effectiveness resulting from addressing needs for teacher preparation and support as a coordinated system. The collective work of the three separately accredited schools of education working together improves student experience, streamlines processes, improves coordination with Alaska school districts and eliminates redundancies in the system. Additional emphasis is being placed on attracting students to the profession, strengthening partnerships with Alaska school districts and providing more Alaska-trained teachers.

“If we can bring down annual turnover by 25 percent and double our preparation of new teachers by 2025, we will meet our goal of providing 90 percent of new teachers hired annually in Alaska,” Johnsen said, based on rough estimation of current numbers.

Regents heard an early analysis of the first comprehensive compensation study done in decades to ensure that the university’s salary and benefits program is market competitive and internally equitable; approved a resolution of appreciation for Interim UAA Chancellor Sam Gingerich; and, approved committee recommendations including a name change to the Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality and Restaurant Management, an accelerated Masters in Civil Engineering and discontinuation of the undergraduate certificate in early childhood development (all three at the University of Alaska Anchorage).

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For more information, contact Roberta Graham, associate vice president of public affairs at 907-360-2416 (cell).

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