Board of Regents gathers in Juneau Sept. 22-23
JUNEAU--The University of Alaska Board of Regents on Friday, Sept. 23, 2011 approved a multi-faceted engineering plan that will eventually improve engineering facilities and programs at the Anchorage and Fairbanks campuses. The 11-member board also heard from many community and business leaders about the importance of the University of Alaska Southeast during the two-day meeting at the Student Recreation Center.
Public testimony for UAS was strong, particularly for a student housing expansion project that has received partial funding but needs additional support before it can be completed. Juneau accountant Max Mertz noted that the UAS faculty, Chancellor John Pugh and the staff are very involved in the community through civic organizations and volunteer work, in addition to education and workforce training.
“Everyone in Juneau appreciates UAS and understands the importance of a strong educational system to the economic and social well-being of a community,” Mertz said.
Regarding the engineering plan, the board’s action is the first step in a multi-stage process that could ultimately lead to new facilities at UAA and UAF, though funding is not requested at this time. The Alaska Legislature provided UA with $8 million in planning and design money for facilities on both campuses in FY11. Additional state funds would be needed in the future for UAA and UAF to carry out the plan.
Engineering enrollment and graduation on both campuses has increased, with graduates expected to double by 2014. Space at both engineering schools is cramped, and the laboratories are not up to current standards. Alaska’s annual requirement for new and replacement mechanical, civil, petroleum, electrical and other engineers outpaces UA’s capacity, even with graduates doubling. The UA engineering plan also represents years of collaboration between the system’s two largest campuses.
The board heard an a cappella performance from a UAS student group and attended a well-attended reception at the Mourant Cafeteria. Former UAS Provost Robbie Stell was honored at the reception with the Edith R. Bullock Prize for Excellence, the UA Foundation's highest honor. The prize this year also went to Renee Carter-Chapman at UAA, with a breakfast event for her planned for next week in Anchorage. Vice President for University Relations and Foundation President Carla Beam presented Stell with the award in Juneau.
In other action, the board approved an Associate of Applied Science degree in paramedicine at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and reaffirmed a joint doctoral degree between UAA and UAF in clinical community psychology. The board also approved schematic design for a wellness center upgrade at Prince William Sound Community College in Valdez; the new sports arena at the University of Alaska Anchorage; and the new career and technical education center and student housing projects at Kenai Peninsula College. Those projects were approved in a statewide general obligation vote last year. A plan to spend $37.5 million in deferred maintenance projects was approved, as was a list of projects included within a $50 million bond sale. The legislature and governor provided the deferred maintenance money and bonding authority last year.
In other business, regents approved a percent salary increase for UA President Pat Gamble, bringing his annual salary to $320,075, closer but still more than 20 percent below the market median for similar positions nationally. Members of the board said Gamble’s performance has been exemplary, noting in particular a new spirit of teamwork and collaboration between campuses. Gamble is donating the raise, which amounts to $25,000 to student scholarships.
Regents heard from faculty and students involved with the UAS literary journal "Tidal Echoes," published by UAS and Capital City Weekly. "Tidal Echoes" presents an annual showcase of writers and artists who share one thing in common: a life surrounded by the rainforests and waterways of Southeast Alaska. Pictured from left are Thomas Bay, UAS student intern; Emily Wall, UAS assistant professor of English; Jacqueline Boucher, UAS student intern; and UAS Provost Richard Caulfield. Photo by Kate Ripley, University of Alaska.
Farewell Roger Brunner
Regents approved a Resolution of Appreciation honoring Roger Brunner, who served as UA's general counsel since 2005. Photo by Kate Ripley, University of Alaska.
Regents' Reception at UAS
Regent Pat Jacobson of Kodiak introduces herself to friends, supporters and community members who turned out at a reception at the Mourant Cafeteria at UAS. The reception, hosted by UAS Chancellor John Pugh, was held to introduce regents to community members of Juneau and also to present the Edith R. Bullock Prize for Excellence to former UAS Provost Robbie Stell. Photo by Kate Ripley, University of Alaska.
Bullock Prize for Excellence
UA Foundation President and Vice President for University Relations Carla Beam, left, presents the Edith R. Bullock Prize for Excellence to longtime UAS Provost Robbie Stell, who is now retired. Stell shares the award this year with UAA Senior Vice Provost Renee Carter-Chapman. Beam called Stell and Carter-Chapman "champions for students and the state." A breakfast event is being held in Anchorage to present Carter-Chapman with her award Oct. 13. Photo by Kate Ripley, University of Alaska.