February 13, 2006

Regents to Review Academic Programs, Need-Based Financial Aid

For Immediate Release
Monday, Feb. 13, 2006

The University of Alaska Board of Regents will consider several new academic programs in digital art, supply chain management and education when it gathers Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 15-16, 2006, in Juneau. The board will also review land development proposals in 2006 for university owned land and a UA financial aid program based on need.

The regular meeting will get under way at 8 a.m. each day at Centennial Hall, in downtown Juneau.  Members of the public will have an opportunity to be heard both days.  Regents also will meet individually with members of the Alaska Legislature Wednesday afternoon on behalf of UA.

"This annual meeting in Juneau is extremely important for regents and the university to articulate our priorities to members of the Legislature," said Board Chair Mary K. Hughes of Anchorage. "The university's annual student fly-in also occurs at about this time of year, and it represents a tremendous effort from our student advocates."

The full agenda includes the following academic programs slated for review:

  • An associate of applied science degree in digital art at Kenai Peninsula College;
  • A graduate certificate in supply chain management at the University of Alaska Anchorage;
  • Post-baccalaureate certificates in elementary and secondary education, and for school counselor licensure, at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

UA President Mark Hamilton and Assistant Vice President Saichi Oba will lead a discussion on UA's need-based financial aid proposal, a system-wide program that would be administered and applied in a uniform manner across UA's 16 campuses. The target population, program cost and funding source
will be discussed.

In addition, the board will consider changes to the university's New Optional Retirement Program that would require a three-year vesting period for employer contributions. In addition, eligibility for the University Pension Plan, a separate benefit, would require an employee to select the optional plan rather than the state sponsored retirement programs known as TRS and PERS.  If the board approves the changes, it would affect only new hires after July 1, 2006 who choose the optional program over PERS or TRS. It would not affect existing employees.

Regents also will consider the proposed land development plan for UA properties in 2006.  UA released the plan last November and accepted public comment for two months.  If approved, the university will evaluate the feasibility of developing the following parcels within the next five years:

  • Fairbanks:  A residential subdivision east of Nordale Road on the south bank of the Little Chena River;
  • Delta Junction: A residential subdivision two miles north of the City of Delta Junction, off Jack Warren Road;
  • Upper Susitna area: A recreational subdivision on Caswell Lake, approximately 15 miles north of Willow;
  • Talkeetna: A residential or recreational subdivision on and near Christiansen Lake, 1 mile east of Talkeetna;
  • Palmer:  A downtown subdivision to establish seven residential lots, and one remnant lot, encompassing seven rental houses. If approved by local authorities, the subdivision will be platted in conjunction with the City of Palmer's subdivision of adjacent university land for inclusion in their runway protection zone;
  • Petersburg:  Two timber parcels near Petersburg, in Southeast Alaska; the South Mitkoff parcel, on Mitkoff Highway on the south end of Mitkoff Island, approximately 29 miles south of Petersburg, and the Wrangell Narrows East parcel, accessible via floatplane or boat approximately 16 miles southwest of Petersburg;
  • And Prince of Wales Island:  Timber property approximately 13 miles south of the City of Craig, accessible by floatplane or boat and near Waterfall Resort, on the west coast of the island.

In other business, the board will hear a report from the McDowell Group of Juneau, which recently conducted a public opinion survey in which nine out of 10 Alaska parents of school-age children would encourage their sons or daughters to choose UA.

The board will also consider adopting a broad policy regarding university held licenses for broadcast stations, stipulating that the board steer clear of programming decisions to ensure editorial credibility, integrity and independence.


For more information, call Kate Ripley at 907/450-8102. For a copy of the regents' agenda, go to www.alaska.edu/bor.