Regents' Recap

February 2008

Academic offerings, ACCFT contract and Troth Yeddha' Park approved

Tlingit elder Walter Soboleff, for whom one of the buildings at the Juneau cam-pus is named, spoke eloquently before the board in favor of Troth Yeddha' Park. He is 99. Photo by UA Staff ©2008 University of Alaska.

The University of Alaska Board of Regents recently approved several new academic offerings, schematic design for a roofing and siding project at the Kuskokwim Campus in Bethel and a three-year contract for 324 members in the Alaska Community Colleges' Federation of Teachers, one of three university unions. The regents met in Juneau February 6 and 7.

Troth Yeddha' Park named
Regents also approved the naming of a tract of land at UAF, between the UA Museum of the North and the Paul Reichardt Building, Troth Yeddha' Park. Troth Yeddha' is the Athabascan name for "the site where the wild potato is gathered." The area is to be considered a tribute to Alaska Native culture and history on the UAF campus. While it will serve as a gathering place for Native students, it also will allow uses by other diverse groups, such as Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre.

The site historically was where elders held council regarding the state of affairs of Native nations in Alaska's Interior. When the elders learned that Troth Yeddha' was to become the site of the Agricultural College and School of Mines, the forerunner to the University of Alaska, they placed an eagle feather on a pole to let the Athabascan people know that the ridge would no longer be used for meeting or picking
wild potatoes but for a new, formalized type of education.

As the campus evolved over the years to its present-day configuration of UAF, Native students, particularly those from rural Alaska, have remarked on the need for an open space to serve as a gathering place honoring their heritage. The idea behind Troth Yeddha' is to help bridge the gap between the reality of urban college life and the rural, traditional homes left behind. While limited improvements are envisioned in the future, UAF officials said the intent is to leave the area largely in its natural state.

Alaska Native leader and elder Walter Soboleff, 99, personally came to the board meeting at the UAS campus Thursday morning to speak in favor of Troth Yeddha'.

Dedicating the area sends a powerful message to students and will enhance their academic success, Soboleff said. "This will give them (students) a feeling of being more at home on the campus, to see something of their culture become a part of the campus," Soboleff said. "I want to commend President Hamilton for championing this cause."

Programs approved
The regents approved an associate of applied science degree in dental hygiene at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and graduate certificates in language education and adult education at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Roofing and siding for Bethel campus
The Bethel project, one of the university's top maintenance priorities, involves removing the existing roofing and exterior fascia boards and replacing them with new materials. The board approved funding for the $4 million project last year.

New home for CES
Consistent with recommendations following an external review of UAF's Cooperative Extension Service, board members also approved a reorganization of CES, moving it to the provost's office from the College of Rural and Community Development. The Cooperative Extension Service director will serve in a vice provost position, elevating the status of CES within the campus structure. The board, at this meeting and at several meetings over the past year, heard from numerous CES supporters, particularly those involved in youth programs such as 4-H.

The regents' requested budget includes $350,000 in increased funding for CES. Extension offers numerous outreach programs statewide, including the popular Master Gardeners program. Gov. Sarah Palin did not include the funding in her budget, but board members and many CES supporters hope lawmakers will amend the budget to provide the increase.

Coalition of student leaders
Regents gave the coalition of Student Leaders' annual legislative conference high marks. Students met with legislators and staged a media event to rally support for the university's budget. The regents remarked that the current group of student leaders is among the best the UA System has ever had.

In other business
Board members met with individual legislators regarding the university's budget, met with Gov. Palin and toured the University of Alaska Southeast campus. Like other institutions, the university system faces higher-than-expected fuel and heating costs due to the high price of oil. Regents approved a $2.3 million
supplemental budget to cover the higher costs.

Chancellors, provost address Juneau Chamber

Pictured at right are, from left to right, UAS Chancellor Pugh; Juneau Chamber Presi-dent Ted Quinn; UAF Provost Henrichs; and UAA Chancellor Ulmer. Ulmer, Pugh and Henrichs addressed a joint luncheon of the Juneau and Alaska chambers of commerce about the importance of UA's workforce training programs. Photo by UA Staff ©2008 University of Alaska.

From left, Regents Cynthia Henry, Fuller Cowell and Pat Jacobson receive a tour of the aging Anderson building from UAS Chancellor John Pugh, right of Jacobson, and UAS facilities chief Keith Gerken, far right. The Anderson Building is due for a $10.2 million renovation. UAF School of Fisheries researchers will move to the new Lena Point facility, opening up the Ander-son to UAS for science classrooms, laboratories and faculty offices. Gov Sarah Palin has put the $10.2 million for the Anderson project in her pro-posed capital budget, and it's one of the board's top priorities. Photo by UA Staff ©2008 University of Alaska.