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UAA Chancellor Tom Case and UA President Jim Johnsen discussion options in Strategic Pathways Phase II with affected groups in Anchorage on Feb. 14. Photo by Monique Musick

Johnsen meets with units affected by options in Phase II of the Strategic Pathways process

Strategic Pathways is evolving. With Phase III well underway, UA President Jim Johnsen is broadening opportunities for engagement.

Over the past few months, Johnsen received feedback about the first phase of Strategic Pathways - specifically that there was not enough time allotted for input, and decisions were made without governance guidance. Although the process of developing the options involved 250 review team members, including 66 faculty positions, 1000s of input messages online, and public forums, it didn't benefit from deliberate input from those directly affected by the proposed options. It also had limited time for the UA community to discuss the president’s proposed directions. Learning from that first round paved the way for a more deliberate, longer engagement process to gather input not only from those affected, but also from students as well as business and community leaders.

President Johnsen held face-to-face meetings with affected units at each university and Statewide prior to the March Board of Regents meeting. This will allow him to discuss the options with the board having been informed by the people directly affected by possible changes.

In addition to the unit-level meetings, President Johnsen held campus forums to get feedback and suggestions from members of the university community. Feedback via the online comment forms is also considered during the decision-making process. Johnsen also encourages the suggestion of additional options, including hybrids of the options presented by the review teams.

After the March Board of Regents meeting, Johnsen will meet again with affected units to discuss a more focused set of options and then with community and business leaders. Cost benefit analysis will be generated for options moving forward. Governance groups were also asked to provide targeted input on the options.

Johnsen notes that cost is only one consideration – the other five factors guiding the process are access, quality, diversity, community impact, and fiscal sustainability. He also encourages discussing the connection between these inter-related areas. While each team’s options may be focused on one area, in the big picture they cannot be viewed separately. They fit together in a system, and when implemented together, will lead to better results for Alaska.

Phase III will be conducted in a similar manner. The Summit Team will hear options from the review teams in April with additional feedback opportunities occurring in the fall after faculty are back on contract.

Strategic Pathways is a process for reviewing how the university can better organize to provide greater service with fewer dollars. This self-analysis comprises a difficult set of questions, but there are areas the university can perform better with less money – and in some cases, areas that need greater financial investment – to better meet the needs of the state of Alaska.

More information on the process can be found at www.alaska.edu/pathways. Feedback on the Phase 2 options can be submitted online at www.alaska.edu/pathways/phase-2/.

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