September, 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

After more than three hours of spirited debate, the Board of Regents voted 6-4 to ask the governor and legislature for an operating budget appropriation of $173.7 million from the state's general fund for FY99, a 4% increase over the current year. The debate centered around whether the regents should ask for what they think the university can get, given that the governor and the legislature have promised to continue with reductions to the state budget, or whether they should ask for what the university needs to fully meet its mission. While none of the regents believe a 4% increase is sufficient to meet the real needs of the university, it was argued that it represents the minimum necessary to maintain existing programs, and thus might be achievable within the current political environment. Four regents - Joe Henri of Anchorage, Annette Nelson-Wright of Juneau, R. Danforth Ogg of Kodiak and Joe J. Thomas of Fairbanks - voted against the budget request because they thought the board should seek the full increase needed to meet Alaska's post-secondary needs (and that the regents should not in any way modify their request for funds in response to a political environment that they feel is detrimental to the University of Alaska's ability to meet the educational needs of the state). Regent Lew Williams, Jr., of Ketchikan was absent. Last year the university received $166.9 million in state general funds for its operating budget.

Regents voted unanimously to submit a general fund capital budget request of $177 million which includes $165.1 million for code compliance and deferred maintenance on university facilities. Last year, the regents requested $103 million in capital funds. Instead, the legislature authorized the university to spend $56.7 million, of which only $6.5 million was from the state general fund. The remainder was funded from the reserves of the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, Alaska Science and Technology Foundation, and other non-general funds.

The board approved an administration proposal to defer action on setting tuition rates for Academic Year 1999 until the November meeting, when the administration will submit a specific proposal for action by the regents in February 1998. Regents want to provide more time for student discussion and testimony as well as get more data on this year's enrollment and national tuition trends.

Prior to the regular board meeting, regents met with about 15 state legislators to brief them on the university's strategic planning process. At the end of the first phase of the process, the university will prepare and distribute for public comment in November a white paper on the role and scope of the university. The second phase will involve the development of campus-based strategic plans. The final stage will be putting together both a systemwide and campus-specific strategic plan. The first stage is to be completed by January 1998. The work of the campuses will continue through the next year, with the expectation that the plan will be complete by January 1999.

Legislators also were briefed by UAF Provost John Keating on how state general fund research funds of $12.4 million in FY97 were leveraged by the university to receive an additional $47.1 million for research projects. Legislators also received a report on the College of Rural Alaska.

Formation of the International Arctic Research Center (IARC) at UAF was formally approved by the regents. Construction has begun on the $32 million facility made possible through an Arctic research initiative funded by Japanese governmental agencies and a Japanese non-profit corporation, which provided more than $19 million for the facility. Other funds are coming from the National Science Foundation, State of Alaska, the Fairbanks North Star Borough, the North Pole City Council and private donations.

Chancellors reported to the regents on how the observance of University of Alaska Civil Rights Day will be observed without losing a day of instruction. UAA and UAF will add Saturday, January 10, and Saturday, February 7 to the academic calendar respectively, and UAS will shorten exam week by one day.

Regents authorized the administration to proceed with the $46.7 million coal-water fuel electric generation demonstration project at UAF, but the authorization is subject to the Alaska Science and Technology Foundation's approval of a $3.8 million grant. Regents also approved an expansion project for the UA Museum in Fairbanks, but the total cost of the project must come back to the board for approval.

Annual budget allocations from the Natural Resources Fund were approved, providing $560,800 for natural resource projects, $500,000 for instructional technology and faculty training, $150,000 for the UA Learning Cooperative, $20,000 for the UA Press, $15,000 for system-based tuition waiver programs and $156,200 for the President's Discretionary Fund.

The schematic design for the UAA fiber optic backbone and connectivity project was approved for $1.4 million. Completion of the project will allow all UAA classrooms and offices Ethernet access.

In other action, regents approved resolutions of appreciation for Joe L. Hayes, Jr., former student regent; for Regent Sharon Gagnon of Anchorage for her service on the board of directors of the Alaska Aerospace Development Corporation; and for Alaskans who served on the UA Technology Development Corporation board of directors . . .Regents also passed a resolution asking the Alaska Science and Technology Foundation board of directors to approve the $3.8 million grant for the Alaska low-rank coal-water fuel project.

Upcoming Meetings
November 20-21, 1997 Anchorage
February 19-20, 1998 Juneau

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

Written by Director of Public Affairs Bob Miller. UA