April, 1997

The University of Alaska Board of Regents is the governing body responsible for university policy and management through the president. Regents are appointed by the governor for eight-year terms, subject to legislative confirmation. A student regent is appointed for two years from candidates nominated on each campus.

(Regents' terms of office shown in parentheses.)

Board Members:

Michael P. Kelly (1991-1999), President
R. Danforth Ogg (1993-2001), Vice President
Mary Jane Fate (1993-2001), Secretary
Chancy Croft (1995-2003), Treasurer
Elsa Demeksa (1997-2005)
Michael Burns (1997-2005)
Sharon D. Gagnon (1991-1999)
Joe L. Hayes, Jr. (1995-1997)
Joseph R. Henri (1991-1999)
Joe J. Thomas (1995-2003)
Lew M. Williams Jr. (1991-1999)

Board of Regents Office
Jeannie Phillips
202 Butrovich Bldg.
P.O. Box 755300
Fairbanks, AK 99775-5300
(907) 474-7908

Regents approved three new vocational-technical education programs designed to help Alaskans move into the state's job force, and a baccalaureate program in foreign languages to train teachers for Alaska school districts. Each of the programs will be funded by tuition fees and will utilize existing faculty so that no new state general fund money will be required. In fact, each of the programs will generate new revenue for the university.

Workers for the operation and management of water and waste water utilities will be trained in the environmental technology associate of applied science and certificate at the University of Alaska Southeast. In the fall, the program will be available at locations across the state by distance delivery and on-site support.

An applied business certificate at the University of Alaska Fairbanks will offer comprehensive training in business management, and is targeted toward part-time, older students who want to enhance their job skills or attain new skills for employment.

A medical assistant associate of applied science program was developed by UAF to give students the job skills and qualifications to meet employment needs in health care settings in interior and rural Alaska. This program was developed in cooperation with Fairbanks employers and UAA which has a similar program. UAF and UAA will continue to seek close alignment for the two programs to serve the needs of both urban and rural health care delivery.

A bachelor of arts in languages program at UAA was designed in consultation with the Anchorage School District. This program will enable the training of teachers to meet the significant need in foreign languages in Anchorage, and will provide students with skills important to international business, tourism and other careers.

Board of Regents President Mike Kelly of Fairbanks told his fellow regents that he believes the board must direct the development of a plan to enable the University of Alaska to maintain quality programs at a reduced cost to the state's general fund. After meeting with legislative leaders and members of the state House and Senate majorities, Kelly said he was convinced that legislators would support the university if they were convinced it could reduce administrative costs, eliminate duplication and generally maintain quality in educational programs and services at a lower cost. "The buck stops with the regents," Kelly said. "Right now, the university is slowly starving to death, and we have to take dramatic steps to reverse that trend." UA President Jerome Komisar said he would work with the board's newly reactivated planning and development committee on Kelly's suggestions, and report back at the June meeting in Dillingham.

Regents approved a three-year labor agreement between the University and the Alaska Community Colleges' Federation of Teachers. After three years of difficult negotiations, including a potential strike during the spring semester, the agreement also has been ratified by the union's membership. The agreement calls for salary increases to faculty within new ranges based on equity and national community college standards, transition to the university's defined contribution health benefits plan, elimination of unreimbursed union business release time, increased flexibility in workload assignments, promotion and tenure reviews on the regional campuses, and post-tenure review. Regents also received a briefing on negotiations with United Academics and on the adjunct faculty unionization process. The Alaska Labor Relations Agency recently determined, in a split decision, that a union representation election will be scheduled for the adjunct faculty during the fall semester 1997.

Alaska has joined 13 other western states and Guam as part of the Western Governors' University (WGU), and Governor Tony Knowles and UA President Jerome Komisar will serve on the board of the cyberspace-based university. Based on the premise that instruction can be delivered electronically from anywhere to anywhere, any time, the WGU will not have a campus or its own faculty. It will be a virtual university that is market-oriented, degree-granting, accredited and competency-based.

A technology user fee of $5 per credit hour up to $60 per semester was approved for the major regional campuses in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau, and the regents authorized the president to approve such a fee for any of the extended campuses if it is requested by a campus council following adequate student consultation and comment. The fee will be effective this fall. Revenues generated by the fee will remain at the campus where they are collected, and student representatives are to participate in the decision-making process related to the use of the revenue at each campus.

Regents ask governor, legislature for general obligation bond issue to address deferred maintenance projects. Citing the elimination of the university's deferred maintenance backlog as a high priority, the board unanimously approved a resolution asking the governor and the legislature to put before the voters in the fall of 1998 a general obligation bond issue to eliminate the deferred maintenance backlogs in university facilities located throughout Alaska. In other action, the board also passed a resolution seeking Alaska Science and Technology Foundation funding to support the low-rank coal-water fuel and coal/diesel project at UAF, and a resolution expressing the board's thanks to legislators and the governor for supporting the transfer of the land-grant trust endowment fund from the state Department of Revenue to the university. The transfer enables the university to manage and invest the endowment funds.

Newly appointed Regents Mike Burns of Anchorage and Else Froehlich Demeksa of Juneau attended their first regular meeting in April, and regents said farewell to student Regent Joe L. Hayes, Jr., whose two-year term expires at the end of May. Governor Knowles has appointed UAS student Annette Nelson-Wright to succeed Hayes.

Upcoming Meetings
June 19-20, 1997 Dillingham
August 13-15, 1997 Valdez

Published after each Board of Regents' meeting by the Office of Public Affairs:

206 Butrovich Building
P.O. Box 755340
Fairbanks, AK 99775-5340

(907) 474-7272
E-mail: syserve@orca.alaska.edu

Written by Director of Public Affairs Bob Miller. UA