UAA Chancellor Search

Sean Parnell selected as next UAA Chancellor

Sean Parnell
Sean Parnell

University of Alaska Interim President Pat Pitney announced May 12 that she has selected former Alaska Governor Sean Parnell to serve as the next chancellor of the University of Alaska Anchorage. Parnell succeeds UAA Interim Chancellor Bruce Schultz and will assume his new position on June 12, 2021. 

Parnell’s selection comes after a rigorous recruitment process led by a search committee consisting of UAA faculty, staff, students and Anchorage community members. Eight finalists engaged with staff, students, faculty, and community members in a number of forums last month and were invited to visit the Anchorage campus. Candidates also met with Pitney for a series of interviews.

Pitney selected Sean Parnell for several key reasons: his passion for our mission, his deep commitment to Alaska, and his desire for all Alaskans to have access to higher education. She was also very impressed by the support he received from the search committee, the UAA community, and especially from students.

The eight candidates who sought this position are all exceptional, and each had special qualities. However, one of Sean’s strengths is his ability to bring people together and work collaboratively. He and the UAA leadership team will work together to advance higher education in Southcentral Alaska.

Together with the Board of Regents, we welcome Chancellor Sean Parnell to the university system.

Read the full media release.

Faculty forums with UAA Chancellor finalists

UAA Faculty Senate has arranged faculty forums with each of the eight candidates for UAA Chancellor.

Faculty Senate Forum
Rashmi Prasad, Ph.D.
April 19
3:30-4:30 p.m.
Passcode: SX+A3CUY
 Pearl Brower, Ph.D. April 20
3:30-4:30 p.m.
Passcode: y3AKhtW^
 Satasha Green-Stephen, Ph.D., J.D., April 21
3:30-4:30 p.m.
 Angappa Gunasekaran, Ph.D. April 22
3:30-4:30 p.m.
 Robert Marley, Ph.D., CPE April 23
3:30-4:30 p.m. 
 David Rosowsky, Ph.D. April 26
3:30-4:30 p.m.
Passcode: +b25VRv*
 Sean Parnell, J.D. April 27
3:30-4:30 p.m. 
 Deena Bishop, Ed.D., April 28
3:30-4:30 p.m. 


Candidate Forums

Candidates will meet with students and faculty in scheduled forums. Below is the schedule. To submit candidate questions in advance email uaa.chancellor@alaska. edu.  Additionally, questions will be accepted live during the forums, which will be moderated by CHRO Steve Patin. Forums will be recorded for those who cannot attend live. 

Student Forum
Open Forum
Dr. Deena Bishop  April 13 9-9:30 a.m. 
12-1 p.m.
Dr. Pearl Brower April 13 9:45 - 10:15 a.m. 
3-4 p.m.
Dr. Rashmi Prasad April 13 10:30 -11 a.m. 
4:15-5:15 p.m. 
Dr. Robert Marley April 13 11:15 - 11:45 a.m. 
5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Sean Parnell, J.D. April 14 9-9:30 a.m. 
12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
Dr. Satasha Green-Stephen, J.D. April 14 9:45 - 10:15 a.m. 
3-4 p.m.
Dr. Angappa Gunasekaran April 14  10:30 -11 a.m. 
4:15-5:15 p.m. 
Dr. David Rosowsky April 15 9-9:30 a.m. 
12-1 p.m.


 UAA Chancellor Search Updates 

April 8, 2021

Dear UAA Community,

The UAA Chancellor Search Committee announced today that it has recommended eight candidates to meet with the UAA and Anchorage community in the final phase of the chancellor review process. These eight leaders were chosen from a pool of diverse and highly qualified candidates and will participate in student and community forums April 13-14. 

The search committee believes it is important for the UAA and Anchorage community to learn as much as possible about these eight highly qualified candidates, have the opportunity to engage with them, and provide feedback to the committee. The eight candidates include: 

  • Deena Bishop, Ed.D., Superintendent of the Anchorage School District [2016-Present], former Superintendent of the Mat-Su School District [2011-2016]
  • Pearl BrowerPh.D., former President, Iḷisaġvik College [2012-2020], Dean of Students and Institutional Development, Iḷisaġvik College [2007-2012]
  • Satasha Green-Stephen, Ph.D.,J.D., Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, St.  Paul, Minnesota, [2018-Present], Associate Provost for Academic Affairs, Dean of College of Education, and Tenured Associate Professor, Chicago State University, Academic Affairs, Chicago Illinois [2013-2018]  
  • Robert Marley, Ph.D., CPE, Robert B. Koplar Professor of Engineering Management. Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, Missouri [2019-Present], Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs [2014-2019] 
  • Angappa Gunasekaran, Ph.D., Dean, School of Business and Public Administration, California State University, Bakersfield [2017-Present], Dean, Charlton College of Business, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth [2013-2017]
  • Sean ParnellJ.D., Of Counsel, Holland and Hart LLP [2018-Present], former Governor of Alaska [2009-2014], Lt. Governor of Alaska [2006-2009], State Senate [1996-2000], State House of Representatives [1992-1996] 
  • Rashmi Prasad, Ph.D., Dean, School of Business, Truman State University [2020-Present], Academic Vice President, College of Business, Western Governors University [2017-2020], Dean, College of Business and Public Policy, University of Alaska Anchorage [2013-2017]
  • David Rosowsky, Ph.D., Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Vermont, Provost and Senior Vice President, University of Vermont [2013-2019], Dean of Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute [2009-2013], Head of the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University [2004-2009]

More specific detail about the candidates, the virtual meetings and a feedback form will be available at The planned forums are designed for broad participation and all are encouraged to join meetings. The forums will be recorded and posted to the website for anyone not able to attend the live sessions. 

Additionally, the candidates will visit UAA and meet with UAA student leaders, faculty, staff, administrators, deans, directors and President Pat Pitney in one-on-one sessions.

Interim President Pitney is expected to make a final decision on the next UAA chancellor in early May.

The UAA Chancellor Search Committee has completed its first review of candidates for the next UAA chancellor. The committee evaluated numerous applications from around the state and country and has narrowed the pool to 10 highly qualified and diverse semi-finalists. 

The committee will begin its interviews with the semi-finalists this week to refine the pool to a smaller set of finalists by early April. The UAA community will be invited to participate in virtual open forums for each candidate during the week of April 12 from 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. each day. Final candidates will give a short presentation followed by a question and answer session.  More details will follow once finalists have been selected.

After the forums, there will be additional opportunities to provide feedback on each finalist. The Search Committee will compile information about the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate, which will be informed by the feedback received from all stakeholder groups. President Pitney anticipates announcing the next chancellor on or about May 1.

Schedule updates will be posted at


UAA Chancellor Position Profile

The University of Alaska Anchorage (“UAA”) invites applications and nominations for the position of Chancellor.

With this profile, the Search Committee seeks to provide nominators and potential candidates with information about UAA, the position, and participation in the search.


UAA encourages applications from candidates who have a strong record of scholarship and teaching with successful executive-level administrative experience in higher education. UAA also facilitates applications from exceptional candidates with nontraditional backgrounds who have demonstrated significant successes in business, industry, nonprofit, state, or government that are relevant in the higher education setting. 

UAA Chancellor Attributes 

The UAA Chancellor Selection Committee, after reviewing nearly 250 comments from the UAA community on the ininial list,  finalized the attributes to be used in consideration for selecting the next UAA Chancellor.  

An individual of distinction who can help the university transform lives and communities:

The next Chancellor will have demonstrated experience leading a broad, complex organization, communicating effectively and with transparency, instilling confidence, building morale, and providing stability to the UAA community.

The next Chancellor will be a skilled listener with an active campus presence, actively engaged with faculty, students, staff, alumni, and the diverse communities that surround and support UAA and its community campuses.

An individual who puts students first:

The next Chancellor will have the ability to lead faculty and staff through integrated programs and services focused on student success and have an established pattern of welcoming and fully supporting students from recruitment through graduation and beyond.

The next Chancellor will have a deep-rooted connection with Alaska, its lands, and its people with a thorough understanding and appreciation of Alaska Native cultures.

An individual who creates a culture of equity and inclusion by embracing our diversity:

The next Chancellor will have a demonstrated commitment and skill set to elevate diversity, equity, and inclusion, and to create a welcoming environment where all individuals, particularly those from underrepresented groups, feel safe, valued, and empowered.

The next Chancellor will be a fair and inclusive leader who is nimble intellectually and politically and possesses a deep understanding of and respect for UAA’s commitment to shared governance and appreciation for the role of the Faculty Senate, Staff Council, and student-leadership organizations. The next Chancellor should also appreciate the role of our unions and the collective bargaining process.

An individual who embraces our role as a trusted and respected community partner:

The next Chancellor will be an astute advocate, able to build consensus and foster collaborative relationships in all UAA campus communities, as well as across the University of Alaska System, including the leadership of the other UA System universities in Juneau and Fairbanks. This individual will readily communicate the benefits of UAA and the University of Alaska System to all Alaskans.

The next Chancellor will help develop a culture of philanthropy among parents, alumni, faculty, staff, partner organizations, the local and regional communities, and other external stakeholders to secure new sources of financial support. 

An individual who seeks to impact communities and the world positively:

The next Chancellor will be an individual with strong interpersonal skills who can build consensus among the university’s diverse group of stakeholders, cultivate a positive shared vision and strategic plan, and galvanize Alaskans to support and achieve UAA’s goals.

The next Chancellor will understand the role of higher education in support of workforce and economic development and have the ability to build and maintain mutually beneficial strategic partnerships with business, healthcare, military, and other sectors.

An individual who accelerates excellence through continuous improvement:

The next Chancellor will have the ability to drive the financial strategy of UAA to ensure adequate resources and the acceleration of strategic initiatives to maintain UAA’s positive trajectory in student success and enhance its tradition of excellence in teaching, research, community engagement, and athletics.


Search Committee

A broadly representative search committee has been designated to assist in the search process. The search committee will be instrumental in developing the position profile, communicating the opportunity nationally and ultimately informing the decision this Spring. 

The search committee will be tri-chaired by Aleesha Towns-Bain, Executive Director of the Bristol Bay Native Corporation Education Foundation; Kelly Smith, UAA Faculty Senate President; and Preston Simmons, Chief Executive Providence Alaska Region. Other participants on the committee as recommended by governance groups include: 

Christi Bell, Administrator
Leslie Byrd, Staff
Matt Cullin, Faculty
Robin Dalhman, Faculty
Gokhan Karahan, Faculty
John Moore, Staff
Gloria O'Neill, Community Leader
Arlene Schmuland, Faculty
Hilary Seitz, Faculty
Sharyl Toscano, Faculty
Toby Widdicombe, Faculty
Tuan Graziano, Student
Ryan Walsh, Staff/Coach

Key Search Committee Responsibilities: 

  1. Communicate broadly throughout the search
  2. Develop, recommend, and publish a search committee process and timeline
  3. Identify and recommend desirable attributes for a UAA Chancellor
  4. Publish a position prospectus
  5. Publish an external position advertisement
  6. Solicit a diverse candidate pool
  7. Inform the candidates about the university and the position
  8. Evaluate the candidates against the desired attributes
  9. Narrow the candidate pool to three to five 
  10. Provide information about the candidate pool 
  11. Socialize the finalists with the university community through town hall meetings and other events and collect feedback


  • Communications Support: UAA Vice Chancellor for University Advancement Megan Olson, System AVP for Public Affairs Robbie Graham and other communication team members including Kirstin Olmstead and Monique Musick will help the committee communicate broadly to include, websites, written updates, town halls, and other engagements. 
  • Human Resources Consultant (Steve Patin) and Committee Secretary (Chris Triplett) will advise the committee on hiring policy and provide administrative support.