April 13, 2007

Regents consider graduate certificates at UAS, facilities at UAA and UAF

For Immediate Release
Friday, April 13, 2007

Students at the University of Alaska Southeast working toward endorsements on their state teaching certificates will be eligible for financial aid, under a proposal before the University of Alaska Board of Regents next week.

Also up before the board is formal project approval for a 445-space parking garage in conjunction with the new Integrated Sciences Building at UAA, currently under construction and expected to be finished in 2009.

The 11-member board gathers on the Kachemak Bay Campus in Homer April 18 and 19.  Public testimony is scheduled for approximately 10 a.m. both days.  In addition to a busy agenda focused on academic programs and UA facilities, the board will also meet with members of the Kachemak Bay Campus and Kenai Peninsula College councils, as well as tour the Homer campus facilities. 

The regents' spring meeting traditionally is held at a community campus, which provides board members the opportunity to get to know faculty, staff and students in the different regions of the state. 

Topping the list of business before the board are graduate certificates in elementary education, reading, early childhood education, mathematics education and educational technology at UAS.  UAS already offers the classes that lead to those specialized endorsements on state teaching certificates, but the board proposal would officially recognize the programs and, as a result, allow students to apply for financial aid.

"All five of these graduate certificates are designed to meet the ongoing need in Alaska for highly qualified teachers under the federal No Child Left Behind Act," said UA's Vice President for Academic Affairs Craig Dorman. "These courses are important in terms of receiving the appropriate endorsement from the state Department of Education and Early Development. With board approval as a graduate certificate program, students can now be appropriately enrolled and their achievements officially recognized by the university."

Another program up for approval is a certificate in power generation at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, through the Tanana Valley Campus.  This program was requested by the industry, including Golden Valley Electric Association and Operating Engineers Local 302.  The 38-credit certificate program answers a clear need in a demonstrated high-growth and high-demand field, Dorman said.

Another portion of the agenda expected to draw interest is UA facilities. Up
for approval are three items:
. A total project cost increase of $2 million for a renovation project in the Arctic Health Research Building at UAF, bringing the new total to $7.7 million.  The increase would allow additional space to be renovated that wasn't part of the original project, space that only recently was made available due to changes in office restructuring.  The increase, financed by a loan, also would pay for additional sprinklers in the building, which would address a long-standing fire code violation flagged by the state fire marshal. Money for the original project was provided by the Legislature last year.

. Formal project approval for a $17 million, 445-space parking garage at UAA in conjunction with the Integrated Sciences Building. The parking structure already has $3.5 million in hand; the balance would be funded via revenue bond. Payments on the bond would come primarily from auxiliary fees.  The project also includes a campus loop roadway directing traffic away from pedestrians. The Municipality of Anchorage requires the number of spaces for the new science building.

. Formal and schematic design approval of a remodel of UAA's Allied Health Sciences Dental Clinic, at $3.5 million. The Legislature provided funding in the current year's capital budget for the project, which will remove antiquated equipment and provide a new dental teaching lab and modern classroom equipment necessary for program and accreditation standards.

In other business, the board is expected to approve resolutions honoring and thanking retiring UAF provost Paul Reichardt; recently retired UAF scientist and founder of the International Arctic Research Center Syun-Ichi Akasofu; student regent Jacob Gondek of UAA, whose term expires this May; and UAA Chancellor Elaine Maimon, who is leaving the university to accept a new job in llinois.


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