Board takes cautious approach with program, project approvals
The University of Alaska Board of Regents took a cautious approach toward projects and programs during a two-day meeting earlier this month, delaying action on some proposals and scaling back on others.
Board members at the June 4-5, 2009, meeting in Fairbanks also approved the FY10 campus budgets following the legislative session. State appropriations for the budget cycle beginning July 1 total $328.2 million, including some pass-through funds for National Guard tuition waivers and a medical residency program.
UA's total budget, including federal grants and university generated receipts, is $823.2 million for FY10. State money included nearly $2 million for two of the board's top priorities--health academic programs throughout the UA system; and energy research and outreach through UAF.
The board also approved distribution for $3.2 million in capital money from the state legislature, compared to $50 million in maintenance money requested. The limited funds will go toward facility maintenance based on a formula.
The board approved several academic programs, including a post-baccalaureate certificate in K-12 special education licensure and a master's degree program in special education, both at UAF; bachelor's degrees in geography and environmental studies at the University of Alaska Southeast; and a fast-track bachelor's and master's degree in mechanical engineering at UAF. Other programs that were on the agenda, including an interdisciplinary bachelor's degree in film at UAF and bachelor degrees in nutrition and dietetics at University of Alaska Anchorage, could be considered at a future meeting. Board members expressed frustration at the lengthy list of programs up for approval, noting that there simply wasn't enough time to get to all of them.
Regents also reviewed several ongoing construction and renovation projects. The board gave formal project approval for the Toolik Field Station dining facility, operated by UAF; approved a scaled-back request for the second phase of an ongoing renovation at UAF's Arctic Health Building; approved a classroom building for the Kachemak Bay Campus in Homer; and approved moving forward with detailed design, engineering and architectural plans for a new sports arena at UAA, not to exceed $8 million. All those projects have funding sources that were previously approved.
Regents met with members of the Denali Commission, attended a reception at the Botanical Gardens with members of the UAF Chancellor's Community Advisory Council and listened to numerous presentations, including one about the UA Press.
Regents also dined on a delicious lunch of Angus beef and potatoes from the UAF Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station's Matanuska Farm while listening to a presentation from UAF School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences Dean Carol Lewis and High Latitude Agriculture
Department Chair Milan Shipka.