June 6, 2014

Board of Regents approves new structure for Prince William Sound campus

For Immediate Release

ANCHORAGE--The University of Alaska Board of Regents on Friday approved several policy changes to strengthen and better support Prince William Sound Community College.

The action comes after several years of leadership turnover at the Valdez campus, declining enrollments and increased demands from the federal government as a separately accredited higher education institution. 

The separate accreditation, which the Valdez campus has held for 25 years, is no longer optimal due to increasing federal regulations, tighter budgets and a greater need for efficiencies—a large burden on a small staff.

UA President Pat Gamble recommended several policy changes that would place Prince William Sound Community College under the UAA umbrella, similar to UAA’s arrangement with Kenai Peninsula College, Kodiak College and Mat-Su College—all successful and independent community campuses.

“These changes will allow the campus to focus more on students and less on the many mandatory and often cumbersome accreditation demands,” Gamble said. “Interim President Dan O’Connor has agreed to accept the position and title of campus director.   Along with solid leadership, and support from UAA, the college council and Valdez community, we will ensure our students, faculty and staff at Prince William Sound can reach their full potential.”  

One of the meeting highlights was recognition of four employees for their exceptional service to students. Peers across the UA System nominate recipients of the Staff Make Students Count award based on outstanding service to students.

Winners for 2014 are Leah Aronow-Brown, administrative assistant in the English Department at the University of Alaska Fairbanks; Elizabeth Spence, Career Education coordinator at the University of Alaska Southeast; Christine Volk, head trainer for the University of Alaska Anchorage Athletics Department; and Dory Straight, scholarship officer for the UA Foundation.

In other action, the board:

  • Approved a resolution in support of the Alaska Maritime Workforce Development Plan, an outcome of the Fisheries, Seafood and Maritime Initiative, a collaboration between industry groups, UA and state agencies. Find the plan here: http://www.alaska.edu/files/fsmi/AK-Maritime-Workforce-Dev-Plan_High-Res_5-5-14.pdf
  • Approved metrics to evaluate progress of UA’s Shaping Alaska’s Future initiative, a collection of 23 effects, or outcomes, the university intends to achieve as part of a continuous improvement process;
  • Approved an extension of the president’s contract through May 2016, at his current annual salary of $320,000. The contract includes a retention bonus of up to one year’s salary if he continues to serve as president;
  • Took several actions affecting facilities, including approving project change requests for the UAA Engineering and Industry Building, which received final funding from the legislature at $45.6 million, and the UAF Engineering, which received $5 million toward its new building; schematic design approval for the UAF combined heat and power plant, which received full funding from the legislature at the; and schematic design approval for a restoration of UAF’s Akasofu Building.



Photos of the Staff Make Students Count award recipients:

Dory Straight, UA Foundation, and President Gamble http://www.alaska.edu/opa/files/UA.jpg 

Christine Volk, UAA, and Chancellor Tom Case http://www.alaska.edu/opa/files/UAA.jpg

Leah Aronow-Brown, UAF, and Chancellor Brian Rogers http://www.alaska.edu/opa/files/UAF.jpg

Elizabeth Spence, UAS, and Provost Rick Caulfield and Chancellor John Pugh http://www.alaska.edu/opa/files/UAS.jpg

Contact: Kate Ripley, 907-460-1442 (cell) or klripley@alaska.edu