June 5, 2013

UA chancellors to share progress on systemwide Strategic Direction Initiative

For Immediate Release
June 5, 2013

Efforts under way throughout the University of Alaska System to bridge achievement, admission and retention gaps will be the focus of a presentation by UA’s three chancellors at the Board of Regents’ meeting in Fairbanks at 10 a.m. Friday.

Finding collaborative solutions to pressing issues facing the university’s higher education leadership was the heart of an unprecedented five-hour meeting of 30 academic deans and institute directors representing system campuses May 31. The group was selected to brainstorm how to put UA’s Strategic Direction Initiative, known as SDI, into action. Chancellors Tom Case, Brian Rogers and John Pugh will update board members on the May meeting as well as share information about ongoing efforts at the Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau campuses and their respective community campuses.

“We’re in an academic revolution right now,” UA President Pat Gamble told the deans and directors group in May. “SDI’s sole purpose is to help us navigate through the issues that higher education nationwide is trying to grapple with. We want to take the institution to the next level, making sure that we are keeping Alaskans first, as Alaska’s university.”

UA Vice President of Academic Affairs Dana Thomas talked to the deans and directors about a number of serious issues facing the university and its students. "Alaska needs your leadership to encourage and support collaboration across UA to deal with the educational challenges facing our state. Working together on these common challenges will help prepare Alaska and UA for the future. »Any competition or rivalries between UA institutions pale in comparison to these challenges,” he said. »

Specific issues discussed include:»

  • Common course placement
  • Transfer credits
  • General education requirements
  • UA minimum baccalaureate admission standards
  • Growing UA research and commercialization

Thomas also opened discussion about some of Alaska’s current national rankings on student admission and retention:»

  • Today, the percentage of recent Alaska high school graduates attending college instate is about 28 percent. That is the third lowest percentage among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.»
  • Of recent high school graduates entering UA, 58 percent of two-year students and 46 percent of four-year students required remedial course work.»
  • A total of 12.7 percent of first-time, full-time occupational endorsement, certificate and associate degree seeking students earned their respective credential in»three years at UA. » The comparative national average for public two-year institutions is 20.4 percent. »»
  • Only 28.2 percent first-time, full-time baccalaureate degree seeking students entering in fall 2006 completed a baccalaureate by spring 2012. » The comparative national average for open-enrollment institutions is 38.2 percent.»

The core of the three chancellors’ presentation to the regents Friday June 7 will be on finding cooperative solutions aimed at improving student achievement and success.»


For more information on the Strategic Direction Initiative, please call Chas St. George, Strategic Direction Coordinator, at 907-786-7787 or email him at ctstgeorge@alaska.edu.»

You may also contact Dana Thomas, Vice President of Academic Affairs, at 907-450-8108 or email him at dlthomas@alaska.edu

Other resources on UA’s Strategic Direction Initiative: