June 13, 2013

Staff members honored at Board of Regents meeting

For Immediate Release
Thursday, June 13, 2013

University of Alaska Pat Gamble has presented awards to four outstanding UA employees for exceptional service.

The recipients of the annual Staff Make Students Count award for 2013 are:

  • Gabrielle Hazelton, administrative assistant for the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences;
  • Abby Kosmos, program assistant for University of Alaska Southeast’s Ketchikan Campus Workforce Development;
  • Zlata Lokteva, administrative assistant at the University of Alaska Anchorage’s School of Engineering;
  • and Michael O’Brien, an attorney at the UA System’s general counsel office. 

“The recognition structure is what makes these awards notable. Recipients are not selected by myself or the board, but the staff themselves - the people working right beside them,” Gamble said. “Peers across the system recognize these four individuals for their exceptional work. They lead by example and have demonstrated their commitment toward students and student achievement every day of the year.” 

The award includes a plaque , two Alaska Airlines travel vouchers and $1,000. The recognition was part of a 2 ½ -day Board of Regents’ meeting in Fairbanks last week. 

Board members approved a number of projects and programs, including selling the Bill Ray Center office building in Juneau, the proceeds of which will help fund the new freshman residence hall on the University of Alaska Southeast’s Auke Bay Campus. That approval was key in allowing the 120-bed project to keep moving forward. 

The board also approved selling the Diplomacy Building about a quarter mile away from the University of Alaska Anchorage campus and using the proceeds toward the purchase of the Bragaw Office Building, on Bragaw Street in Anchorage. Another approval involving UA property a timber development and disposal plan at Edna Bay, in Southeast Alaska. Timber sales and leases are one of the ways that the university creates revenue from its land grant allocations. 

Action on academic programs included approval of a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering at UAA and deletion of three programs that are being phased out at UAA after a thorough program review. 

Board members voted against a solar array project on the UAF campus. Several board members were absent during the vote, which needed six positive votes to pass (the vote was five in favor, three against). The project could come back to the board at a future meeting once questions are answered and clarifications can be made. 

In other business, the board heard an update on UA’s ongoing efforts to shape Alaska’s future through the Strategic Direction Initiative, or SDI. The three chancellors presented a number of efforts under the five broad SDI themes that focus on student achievement; partnerships with Alaska’s schools; partnerships with public and private industries; university research and development that build and sustain Alaska’s economic growth; and accountability back to the people of Alaska. 

Terry MacTaggart, a national leader in higher education who's advising the Board of Regents and President Gamble on UA's Strategic Direction Initiative, told board members UA is one of a handful of universities doing strategic planning right. The gap between faculty and administration at UA, huge at many universities, is "miniscule" by comparison, MacTaggart said. 

A lighter moment during the meeting featured Alaska State Sen. Pete Kelly presenting a legislative citation honoring UA budget chief Michelle Rizk’s recent appearance on the Alaska Journal of Commerce’s prestigious “Top 40 Under 40” list. The citation notes Rizk’s skill, patience, forbearance and tenacity, as well as being a true team player and a person who nurtures a positive environment. “The combination of ambition, talent, humor and compassion make Michelle Rizk a true standout,” the citation says. 


For an image of Michelle Rizk and citation, http://www.alaska.edu/opa/files/rizk-citation2013.jpg.

For images of Staff Make Students Count award recipients:

Gabrielle Hazelton, UAF http://www.alaska.edu/opa/files/SMSC-002.jpg

Abby Kosmos, UAS http://www.alaska.edu/opa/files/SMSC-003.jpg

Michael O’Brien, UA http://www.alaska.edu/opa/files/O'Brien-Picture.jpg

Zlata Lokteva, UAA http://www.alaska.edu/opa/files/Zlata.jpg

For more information, call Kate Ripley at 907/450-8102 (work) or 907/460-1442 (cell). Or email at klripley@alaska.edu.