President Gamble addresses the Board of Regents June 4 at the opening of the two-day board meeting. Photo by Monique Musick

News Stories - June 2015

  • Regents Accept and Approve Distribution of FY16 Operating and Capital Budgets
  • UA Board of Regents meets with State Board of Education and Foundation Board of Trustees; Staff members honored
  • Congratulations to the 2015 Staff Make Students Count Awardees
  • University of Alaska Regents Announce Finalist for President's Position
  • UA President Gamble announces three candidates for interim chancellor position at UAF - welcomes feedback
  • The Capitol Report June 2015

Regents Accept and Approve Distribution of FY16 Operating and Capital Budgets

The Board of Regents held an emergency meeting Tuesday to respond to Legislative operating and capital appropriations. Available regents voted 7-0 to accept and approve the distribution of the FY16 Operating and Capital budgets for the University of Alaska system. Regents also acknowledged that the budget for the state as a whole includes a $29.8 million unallocated reduction that Governor Walker must spread across all Executive Branch agencies. It is unknown at this time how much of that reduction will be passed on to UA.

Even without the additional reduction to be allocated by the governor, the net state General Fund portion of UA’s Operating Budget decreased by $14.8 million over FY 15’s already reduced levels ($370.6M to $355.8M). However, adding annual operating cost increases, UA’s total funding gap is estimated at over $46 million.


UA Board of Regents meets with State Board of Education and Foundation Board of Trustees; Staff members honored

The Board of Regents began a three-day session from June 3-5, with joint meetings with the State Board of Education and the University of Alaska Foundation Board of Trustees on Wednesday. READ FULL STORY

The State Board of Education and the BOR spoke passionately about reducing barriers to education, dual credit and concurrent enrollment issues, plans for revitalizing teacher preparedness in Alaska and definitions for college readiness.

Board members postponed approving the FY16 operating budget after a lengthy discussion of the state and university financial situation due to the current legislative impasse.

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.

On a lighter and more reflective note, UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers was presented with a Resolution of Appreciation for his dedicated 45-year association with the University of Alaska, including his service alongside more than 100 Regents and 11 UA presidents.

In other business the board approved the naming of a building, gymnasium and renaming of an extended campus. The new freshman student dorm completed in 2014 at the UAS Juneau campus is now the John R. Pugh Residence Hall, the UAF Patty Center Gymnasium is now the Alaska Airlines Court and the Interior-Aleutians Campus at UAF is now renamed the Interior Alaska Campus.

The Capitol Report June 2015

By Chris Christensen
Associate Vice President for State Relations

It has been 143 days since the 29th Alaska State Legislature gaveled in on January 20. After a 98-day regular session and two special sessions, the legislature is getting ready to adjourn after reaching an agreement on the FY16 operating budget.

The agreement obtained the three-quarters vote needed to access the Constitutional Budget Reserve (CBR). The CBR is the savings account that will be used to cover the estimated $3.2 billion deficit that the state will have in FY16. Prior to this agreement, the Senate was able to achieve a three-quarters vote but the House was not; the House minority refused to provide the necessary votes unless additional funding for certain items was added to the operating budget and the pay raises in the collective bargaining agreements were approved.

The operating budget that finally passed the legislature reduced UA’s budget from the FY15 level by $26.4 million. This cut is $5 million smaller than the $31.4 million cut that was on the table when the regular session ended on April 27 . One of the demands of the House Minority was that UA’s cut be reduced by $5 million, and this demand became part of the final compromise. MORE....

Congratulations to the 2015 Staff Make Students Count Awardees

Statewide’s Joseph Altman, Coordinator/Interim Executive Officer of System Governance, is one of four winners of the 2015 University of Alaska Staff Make Students Count Award. Other recipients were; Lydia Anderson, director of the Wood Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks; Margie Thomson, coordinator of Health, Counseling and Disability Services and Safe Zone Coordinator at the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau; and Sheila Randazzo, transition advisor with Native Student Services at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Read more about the 2015 SMSC Winners

University of Alaska Regents Announce Finalist for President's Position

The University of Alaska (UA) Board of Regents announced they are putting forward one candidate for consideration to become the next system president. Dr. Jim Johnsen, a former University of Alaska executive and currently Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Process Transformation at Alaska Communications (resume), will meet with university stakeholders in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau in July. At the end of that time, the regents will review feedback and make a final decision.

A Presidential Search Advisory committee which included regents, faculty, staff and student leaders, representatives of the University of Alaska Foundation, and community members reviewed a pool of candidates and narrowed their recommendations to four, one of whom withdrew his name prior to the Board interview process. Following interviews with the three remaining candidates, the Board made the decision to select one finalist.

Board Chair Jo Heckman explained, "We believe Dr. Johnsen is a strong candidate with a demonstrated commitment to higher education and a deep understanding of the University of Alaska. As we work to maintain excellence at the university during challenging fiscal times, we believe it can help immensely to put someone at the helm who will not have a steep learning curve and who can hit the ground running. At the same time the Board needs and values the input of the UA and broader community, which it will receive as a result of the planned meetings."

UA's search for a new president commenced earlier this year, following current President Patrick K. Gamble's announcement he would retire in 2015. His original retirement date was June 1, but he agreed to extend it until the end of August to enable regents to properly vet candidates with university stakeholders. The Board intends to have a new president in place at the beginning of the Fall term.

For ongoing information on the review process and feedback opportunities, go to the UA Board of Regents Presidential Search site at: www.alaska.edu/bor/presidential-search/candidate/

UA President Gamble announces three candidates for interim chancellor position at UAF - welcomes feedback

President Gamble has announced that there are three candidates currently being considered for the position of interim chancellor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. "This top leadership position in the UA system will require the incumbent to carry UAF and its campuses through a very challenging, possibly historic, year," wrote Gamble in a message to UAF governance groups.

Fulfilling a previous agreement, Gamble intends to ensure that UAF faculty, staff and other UAF stakeholders have an opportunity to provide feedback on the candidates. Following this process the president will make his decision. The goal is to have an interim chancellor selected prior to Chancellor Rogers' departure at the end of August. The interim will be in place for an estimated period of 10-12 months starting September 1, 2015.

The candidates are:
Robert McCoy  - UAF Director of Geophysical Institute
Mike Sfraga  - UAF Vice Chancellor for University & Student Advancement
Mike Powers  - UA Board of Regents

Please mail your comments by July 15 to UA President Patrick Gamble at P.O. Box 755000, Fairbanks, AK 99775-5000 or e-mail to ua.president@alaska.edu.

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