Jim Johnsen addresses Statewide Staff during a 32-stop tour of campuses as candidate for UA President. Photo by Monique Musick

News Stories - July 2015

  • University of Alaska Names Johnsen President
  • Powers Named Interim Chancellor for UAF
  • UAKjobs to be Replaced
  • Healthyroads Wellness Program Information for FY16
  • University Issues Revenue Bonds
  • Clarification on Personal Holiday Days
  • Clarification on Administrative Leave

University of Alaska Names Johnsen President

With a unanimous vote of all regents participating, the University of Alaska (UA) Board of Regents appointed Dr. James R. Johnsen as the 14th president of the UA system. The vote took place during a special meeting of the board on July 28.

Johnsen, a former University of Alaska executive, currently serves as Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Process Transformation at Alaska Communications. Johnsen will succeed Patrick K. Gamble effective September 1, 2015. Gamble announced his retirement in December 2014 and in April agreed to extend his resignation date to the end of August to allow sufficient time for the Board of Regents to conduct a thorough review before making a final decision.

“Dr. Johnsen is an experienced and thoughtful leader with diverse experience in higher education, government, and business. Earlier this month, during visits to UA’s three main campuses, he demonstrated that he listens and solicits input from the campus community, speaking with 32 groups representing faculty, staff, students, alumni and interested community members,” said board chair Jo Heckman. “We asked for UA constituents to provide feedback and were very pleased with the responses.”


Powers Named Interim Chancellor for University of Alaska Fairbanks

University of Alaska (UA) President Patrick Gamble announced July 21, 2015 his selection for the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Interim Chancellor position. Gamble chose UA Regent Mike Powers.

By his own admission, Powers could be considered an unconventional pick since he lacks an extensive academic background. "I am probably unlike any of the other candidates in that regard," Powers said, “yet, as a UA Regent since 2011 I have been deeply involved in the details of the University of Alaska Fairbanks issues. I’ve also had a long and productive association with UAF in my business and community roles during the 30 years I’ve lived in Fairbanks. Now I look forward to enriching my overall understanding of UAF’s many programs.”

In his interim role, Powers looks forward to helping the new President launch a search for the permanent chancellor, a process that could take up to a year. In the meantime, he will provide leadership to UAF, continuing the process of identifying and strengthening its core academic areas and navigating the tough financial terrain expected due to the state economic condition.  MORE...

Powers Resigns from Board of Regents

Upon Gamble's appointment of Mike Powers as UAF Interim Chancellor on July 21, Powers submitted a letter of resignation from the UA Board of Regents to the Governor effective immediatly. The governor's office will be making a new appointment as soon as possible. This will be the sixth new regent appointment in six months.

UAKjobs to be Replaced

An interdisciplinary team from across the system has selected a new vendor to replace the aging UAKjobs platform.

The product, PageUp (www.pageuppeople.com), will streamline a variety of HR processes including recruiting, onboarding and performance evaluation.

Statewide Human Resources, in cooperation with OIT and the three universities, is putting together an implementation team to review internal HR processes throughout UA to determine what is working well, what could be improved, what can be learned from experts on the new system, and to establish common process goals to ensure best practices systemwide. 

Implementation begins this fall and is expected to continue through the remainder of this calendar year. The target is to have the new system up January 1. A module to automate training for UA employees is scheduled for a Phase II implementation later in the fiscal year.

Healthyroads Wellness Program Information for FY16

The University of Alaska is pleased to announce the Healthyroads wellness program will continue for fiscal year 2016 (although we’re counting all activity you’ve done since May 1). The program and Healthyroads website will go live on August 1, 2015. Use the following table and information for an overview of the program requirements and highlight any adjustments or updates made.  MORE....

University issues Revenue Bonds

On July 15, the University issued Revenue Bonds that will provide $70M for the UAF Combined Heat and Power Plant.  The yield is 3.81% over a 25 year term.  Given the volatile market, the outcome on the rate is favorable.  We now shift our attention to issuing $87.5M in bonds through the Alaska Bond Bank also for the UAF Combined Heat and Power Plant, with an anticipated close date of mid-September.

Clarification on personal holiday days

The extension of the personal holiday to exempt employees, and giving an additional personal holiday to non-exempt employees, was for FY15 only. We've gone back to the way it was in FY14 and previous years: the equivalent of one personal day off for non-represented non-exempt employees (up to 8 hours) after satisfying their 6 month new hire probationary period.

Clarification on Administrative Leave

In November the Voice reported that sick leave was to be used for any university-wide administrative closure days such as for extreme weather conditions. BOR policy has been updated (R04.06.140) and staff are now able to use the Administrative leave option on their time sheet in the case that a chancellor calls for a campus closure.

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