February 01, 2008

Workforce training a focus of upcoming UA regents’ meeting

For Immediate Release
Friday, Feb. 1, 2008

The University of Alaska Board of Regents will visit the Juneau campus next week during a busy two-day meeting that includes action on a proposed associate of applied science degree in dental hygiene at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and graduate certificates in language education and adult education at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Responding to the state’s workforce training needs is a major agenda item. Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Click Bishop will brief the board on workforce training partnerships between the state and UA and outline progress on a training plan for the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act. He’ll also update the board on potential future mining projects in Alaska and discuss expanding the university’s role in mine training.

The meeting starts at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, in the Goldbelt Building near downtown. In addition to Bishop’s report, board members will receive a legislative briefing and spend the afternoon meeting individually with state lawmakers in the Capitol.

The meeting will continue Thursday at the University of Alaska Southeast campus in the Egan Classroom Building. Public testimony will begin at 8 a.m. At noon, board members will attend a joint luncheon hosted by the Juneau Chamber and Alaska State Chamber at the Hangar restaurant in Merchant’s Wharf downtown. UAA Chancellor Fran Ulmer, UAS Chancellor John Pugh, and UAF Provost Susan Henrichs will be keynote speakers.

In addition to the items noted above, board members will consider schematic design approval of a $4 million roofing and siding project at the Kuskokwim Campus in Bethel, one of the university’s top maintenance projects. Most of the buildings at the Bethel campus have withstood 20 or more years of severe arctic weather without enough capital investment. Roofs are leaking and exterior siding needs repairs.

The project involves removing the existing roofing and exterior fascia boards and replacing them with new waterproof and better-insulated materials. The roofing project includes new metal roofs with extensions, which will improve water runoff. The regents approved project funding last year.

On the Tuesday prior to the board meeting, regents will meet with members of the UA Foundation’s Board of Trustees. The UA Foundation is the non-profit entity that manages private funds for the benefit of UA programs, students and faculty. Regents and trustees will discuss the importance of creating a “culture of philanthropy” within UA. The two boards will tour the UAS campus, including stops at the new student bookstore, the student recreation center and the aging Anderson Building at Auke Bay.

The Anderson Building tops the regents’ list of renovations needed in Juneau, and is included in the board’s FY09 capital budget request. The building currently houses a portion of the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, which will move to the Lena Point facility, currently under construction, once it’s completed. The Anderson Building, which is 30 years old, requires renovation to provide much needed space for UAS science classrooms, laboratories and faculty offices. The project, currently estimated at $10.2 million, would include construction of a pedestrian overpass across a dangerous curve of Glacier Highway.

In other anticipated business, regents are scheduled to:
• vote on a $2.3 million supplemental budget request due to higher than expected fuel and heating costs across the 16-campus system this year;
• review a three-year contract for the Alaska Community Colleges’ Federation of Teachers, pending union approval;
• and vote on transferring UAF’s Cooperative Extension Service from the College of Rural and Community Development to the provost’s office.

A complete agenda can be found at www.alaska.edu/bor.

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