April 19, 2005

Board Approves Academic Programs, Property Purchases

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The University of Alaska Board of Regents recently approved several new academic programs at the Fairbanks and Anchorage campuses and property purchases and sales in Juneau, Fairbanks and Wasilla.

The board met Wednesday and Thursday in Bethel at the Kuskokwim Campus. The board approved certificates in Medical Assisting; Safety, Health and  Environmental Awareness; and Instrumentation Technology—all at UAF. The board also approved a graduate certificate in Dietetic Internship at UAA.
UAF already offers an associate’s degree in Medical Assisting. The goal in creating the certificate program is to train students with necessary skills for a national exam within a year of starting the program, which would make them more employable.

The Safety, Health and Environmental Awareness certificate is geared to prepare students for an entry level safety certification exam. Industry partners have said they’d like to hire local safety technicians, professionals who ensure safety on industrial job sites, rather then seek applicants for those jobs Outside.

The certificate in Instrumentation Technology is aimed at gearing up students for the entry level Instrumentation Society of America certification exam. The program trains technicians who operate and maintain automated equipment with instruments common in modern industries. Both the safety and instrumentation technology programs are part of the Process Technology Program at the Tanana Valley Campus, under UAF.

Board members requested the UA administration report back at the June 2005 board meeting on the instrumentation technology and safety programs to ensure consistency with similar programs offered at UAA.

The Dietetic Internship program at UAA would allow students to complete a national requirement qualifying them to take a registered dietician exam. The Alaska healthcare industry is faced with an increasing need for registered dieticians. Students who have completed a baccalaureate degree in nutrition would qualify for the internship.

The board also deleted the Engineer of Mines degree at UAF, which has had no students or graduates over the past four years and was recommended by the UAF provost based on a recent program review. The move is intended to focus instructional efforts on the other mining programs at UAF.
The academic changes go into effect for the fall 2005 semester.

In other business, the board approved the following property transactions:

  • The sale of an 80-acre parcel in the Meadow Lakes area, about six miles east of Wasilla, to a construction company for $850,000;
  • The purchase of the old Horton Hardware building in Auke Bay, a 10,000-square-foot structure on roughly 2 _ acres just north of the Juneau campus, for a purchase price not to exceed $1.7 million. The university currently leases the building and, after the acquisition, plans to renovate it and use it as the UAS campus bookstore and for administrative offices.
  • The purchase of a 44,600-square-foot warehouse in Fairbanks on Aurora Avenue, used for UAF’s central receiving, parking services and several other departments, for a purchase price of $1.8 million. The university currently leases the building, which recently went on the market.

The board also approved naming the business and education building on the UAA campus after Ed and Cathy Rasmuson of Anchorage, longtime university supporters and well-known philanthropists. Ed Rasmuson served 16 years on the Board of Regents and 14 years as chairman of the investment committee for the University of Alaska Foundation, a non-profit corporation that manages monetary donations on behalf of the university.

Last week’s meeting was the last for Regent David Parks, a UAA student. The board unanimously approved a resolution in support of Parks’ commitment and effort during his two-year tenure.
In addition, the board received legislative updates on funding and retirement issues, a status report on debt capacity and discussed capital projects and facilities planning.

Board members and UA President Mark Hamilton also attended a number of activities in Bethel, including a community reception at the Bethel Cultural Center. Board members also had lunch with Kuskokwim Campus students and the Kuskokwim Campus Advisory Council, and heard from a number of community members during the public testimony portion of the meeting.


For more information, call Kate Ripley, 907/450-8102