December 03, 2004

Regents Consider Nursing Program Expansion

Friday, Dec. 3, 2004

A new graduate certifi cate and master’s program in nursing education would become available to University of Alaska students under a proposal the Board of Regents will take up when it meets in Fairbanks next week.

The new programs aimed at nurse educators are a direct response to the ongoing nursing shortage in Alaska, said UA Associate Vice President for Health Karen Perdue. State labor department estimates show an increased demand for registered nurses to the tune of 220 annual job openings through 2008. The University of Alaska Anchorage’s School of Nursing is on track to double the number of nursing graduates by 2006 by expanding offerings in eight communities.

“In short, adequate numbers of nurses can only be taught if there are enough nurse educators available to teach them,” Perdue said. “There’s a severe national shortage of nursing faculty, so our strategy is to ‘grow our own’ educators.”

The two-day meeting, held in the Regents Conference Room in the Butrovich Building on the Fairbanks campus, will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 8, and continue from 8 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 9. Public testimony is scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday.

In addition to reviewing the nurse educator program, the board will consider the following projects: a $30 million sciences building for the Anchorage campus; an $11.5 million UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences building in Juneau; and a $4.2 million renovation of the Sitka campus.

The proposed 40,000-square-foot Integrated Sciences Facility at UAA has been in the works since April 2001. This first phase of the project, the Board of Regents' number one construction priority this year, would provide space for the chemistry and biochemistry programs as well as a dozen general and specialized teaching labs. The Legislature must approve funding for the project.

The fisheries building in Juneau is proposed for a 20-acre former rock quarry at Lena Point, 16 miles north of downtown Juneau and four miles north of the University of Alaska Southeast campus. The project’s first phase would co-locate the proposed 18,420-square-foot building on the property with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which also plans to construct a new facility.

The School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences currently occupies part of the UAS Anderson Building, next to the existing NOAA Auke Bay laboratory, as well as leased, off-campus space. Construction of the new facility will allow for consolidation of operations currently spread between those two locations, as well as for expansion.

The Sitka project would renovate a World War II-era hangar that currently houses the entire Sitka campus. Under a phased approach, the renovation would include a new welding technology lab, construction technology lab, small engine repair lab and a “clean technology” lab for electronics and computer repair. A shared, open area of the hangar would remain in place, but would undergo improvements. Funding for Phase I of the project, the welding lab, is provided by an $800,000 federal grant. Future phases are contingent upon funding.

In other business, board members will:

  • review a long-term capital improvement plan that anticipates major maintenance needs, renovations and upgrades from 2006 through 2011. The proposed list totals $747.5 million, including $431.3 million in state general fund money and $316.2 million in receipt authority, including federal, private and debt financing;
  •  receive an update on needs-based fi nancial aid;
  • and elect officers for the coming year.


For more information call Kate Ripley, UA Office of Public Affairs, at 474-6311.
For the board agenda, go to
For the proposed 2006-2011 capital projects list, go to
NR 15-04