University Board Meets in Bethel, Discusses Budget and Delivers Fond Farewells to Three Colleagues
Friday, April 10, 2015
The University of Alaska Board of Regents held its April 9-10 meeting at the Kuskokwim Campus in Bethel. Public testimony demonstrated strong support for the branch campus as many community members offered personal stories about how much the campus means to their families, community and region. Regents were touched as they imbued the meeting with the importance of cultural and traditional education through their local campus.
Bethel resident Daisy Mae spoke in support of human services and social work programs specifically, as she delivered her testimony in both Yupik and English, “Here the educational world is with you, and in you, as it follows our lives that are so full of transition.” She described all individuals as having the capacity for “caring, compassion and kindness which is within your heart to take, give and apply” and how education comes into play to guide those values accordingly.
BOR Chair Jo Heckman shared that “Public testimony is so important to the Board. Hearing from the local community and seeing first hand the impact that university has on Alaska’s communities is always very moving. There were several references to balancing course work through KuC with an indigenous lifestyle. Very inspiring stuff.”
Vice President of Academic Affairs and Research Dan White gave an update on the university’s strategic direction initiative, Shaping Alaska’s Future Theme 3: Productive Partnerships with Public and Private Industries. White shared that that the total number of degrees and certificates awarded in high demand job areas has increased more than 20 percent over the last five years. One of the ways the university seeks to increase the number of workforce-ready graduates is by building collaborations and partnerships with industry partners across Alaska.
There was general discussion on the system budget and legislative process. Chancellors Rogers and Pugh updated the board on program prioritization efforts underway at UAF and UAS in preparation for difficult financial times ahead. UAA reported on their prioritization process in February.
After reading the heartfelt resolutions of appreciations the Board celebrated with standing ovations, the careers and years of service of three colleagues leaving the UA administration. Associate Vice President of Facilities and Land Management Kit Duke and UAS Chancellor John Pugh announced their retirement plans earlier this year. Student Regent Courtney Enright also just completed her two-year term on the board.
The board next meets in June at the UAF campus.