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.
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.
The University of Alaska Foundation Board of Trustees and the Board of Regents discussed how the two groups will work together to grow philanthropic support to maintain and nurture those areas of excellence that will be core to the university's continued ability to attract students and faculty.
Foundation president Carla Beam noted, "There is tremendous untapped potential. With the commitment we have from the two boards and the right investment and focus, we will reach out to more friends and supporters who are keen to ensure the university continues to thrive in these challenging fiscal times."
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. The regents committed to meet to approve a FY16 operating budget immediately after a fully realized budget is decided upon by the Legislature and approved by the Governor. The regents voted to postpone the discussion to as late as June 30, which allows the maximum time for positive legislative action on the budget to occur.
“It seems such a nebulous state for us to be in, “ said Jo Heckman, board chair. “Planning for the present and the future under these highly unusual circumstances is difficult, if not impossible. When we get the actual funding number – then we as a board can come together with a coordinated systemwide budget that everyone can buy in on.”
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.
The recipients of the annual award for 2015 are:
Lydia Anderson, Joseph Altman, Margie Thomson and Sheila Randazzo.
“What makes these awards really special is that the recipients are not selected by myself or the board, but by peer staff and faculty,” Gamble said.
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.
Regent Gloria O’Neill, stated “I have always been amazed by your skill in bringing diverse people together to have a common vision. Your long-term service and reputation reflect not only what you say but how you work.”
Student Regent Courtney Enright added, "Chancellor Rogers is dearly loved by both students at UAF and systemwide. No one ever doubts his commitment to the University of Alaska, UAF or to students. No problem is too small and his door is always open."
Brian summed up the ceremony with, “I’ve been lucky - lucky to have good mentors. It is the people that bring you along that make the difference. It is the team you build that does the work and it is because of my faith in this team that I know I leave the university in a good place.”
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 Board of Regents received a report on status of the Education Trust of Alaska by Jim Lynch, Associate Vice President for Finance. Although there are many short-term investment challenges, the long-term performance of the plans managed by the Trust has placed them among the best in the nation. The Trust's assets under management exceed $6.5 billion and continue to grow.
In a report to the regents on UA’s progress with Shaping Alaska’s Future Theme 4, Vice President Academic Affairs and Research Dan White highlighted that UA continues to be the top university in the world for arctic research and is home to top researchers in many fields including mining, fisheries and unmanned aerial systems. Such a thriving research and entrepreneurial environment continues to attract outstanding faculty to the university.