Research and innovation are critical components in Alaska's economic future. Photo by Monique Musick

News Stories - October 2015

  • Alaska Innovators Hall of Fame honors twenty-two extrordinary Alaskans
  • Johnsen meets with student leaders on tuition
  • Regents will take on FY17 budget during November meeting
  • Transformation Team Update
  • Johnsen appointed to DHS Academic Advisory Council

    Alaska Innovators Hall of Fame honors twenty-two extrordinary Alaskans

    Stories of innovation and research in the Last Frontier

    On October 7, during a special induction ceremony at the Bear Tooth Theater in Anchorage, 13 extraordinary Alaskans were appointed to the Alaska Innovators Hall of Fame. They join nine others who were inducted in a ceremony in Fairbanks last December. The 22 members that make up the initial cohort in the Hall of Fame are all featured in a 2014 book by Ned Rozell, “Northern Innovators,” commissioned by the Alaska State Committee on Research in order to celebrate the innovative culture of Alaska and to inspire future generations of problem solvers.

    The book and Alaska Innovators Hall of Fame are both part of the comprehensive Alaska Science and Technology Plan “To Build a Fire” produced by Alaska State Committee on Research in 2012. The University of Alaska remains highly engaged in these efforts. Vice President of Academic Affairs and Research Dan White is co-chair of the committee, and the office is housed at the University of Alaska. Additional UA employees make up a large portion of the committee membership including UAA Provost Sam Gingerich, UAF Provost Susan Henrichs, Interim Vice Chancellor for Research Larry Hinzman, Chief IT Officer Karl Kowalski, Alaska EPSCoR Principal Investigator Anupma Prakash, UAA Professor Fred Rainey, UAS Vice Provost for Research Karen Schmitt, UAS Interim Provost Priscilla Schulte, and UAA Vice Provost Helena Wisniewski.

    The future of innovation, research and development in Alaska relies in part on coordination between federal and state agencies, the University of Alaska, primary and secondary educators, and private industry and business.  MORE....

    Johnsen meets with student leaders on tuition

    What role does tuition play in bridging the projected budget gap next fiscal year? That was the topic that University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen brought to the Coalition of Student Leaders during their meeting Thursday Oct. 15.

    The discussion starts with the assumption that there will be a budget gap. Even if the Board of Regents approve the entire proposed FY17 budget this November, with the requested $25 million dollar increase to cover new and increasing costs, the governor’s office will reduce it. According to guidance from the State Office of Management and Budget, they already plan to reduce the university’s base funding by $15 million, it is unclear what will happen with the incremental request. Once the budget is passed on to the legislature, the house and senate finance committees are likely to cut even more.

    Worst case scenario for the university, the base gets cut by $15 million, none of the $25 million in increased costs are covered, and the university ends up facing a $40 million budget gap. Most likely, Johnsen told the students, it will be somewhere in between, and UA will be facing between a $15 and $40 million budget gap.

    Compared with tuition at other 4-year colleges in western states, University of Alaska tuition is relatively low. That, combined with the very real need to bridge the budget gap, is good argument for a tuition increase. But how much should it be?   MORE....

    Regents will take on FY17 budget during November meeting

    FY17 budget discussions, and the related proposed tuition increase, dominate the agenda for the next meeting of the University of Alaska Board of Regents in Anchorage Nov. 4. Just as university leadership and Regents will discus spending and revenue generation for the coming year, there will be a presentation on theme five of Shaping Alaska's Future: Accountability to the People of Alaska and consideration of an alternate April 2016 meeting location.

    Public testimony will be taken live in the Lee Gorsuch Commons room 107 between 9 a.m and 10 a.m. following the president's and governance reports.

    The agenda and supporting materials, including draft budget documents, are linked to the BOR page HERE.

    Transformation Team Update

    On Oct. 28, President Johnsen and the members of the Statewide Transformation Team met with Statewide department heads to discuss the preliminary recommendations, staff feedback and future direction of the transformation process. On Nov. 3 Johnsen will meet with the Summit Team to discuss the initial recommendations.

    Over the next month Johnsen will oversee the formation of cross-campus teams to closer evaluate specific functional areas and discuss alternatives and recommendations. In order to ensure an inclusive and thorough review of the alternatives by both SW and campus staff, the process is being extended so that final recommendations are due to the President on March 1 , with implementation set for July 1 .

    In addition, expert/neutral consultants in each area will be facilitating the discussions so that the recommendations will serve the best interest of the university as a whole.

    President Johnsen plans to provide a detailed update to all SW staff in a Town Hall in November. More on that to come.

    Many thanks to all staff who provided feedback, suggestions and concerns. Those responses have been shared with team members and university leadership and will be used in the next phase of analysis and planning.

    Johnsen appointed to DHS Academic Advisory Council

    The Department of Homeland Security announced on Oct. 16 that UA President Jim Johnsen is one of six new members appointed to the Academic Advisory Council. Since 2012 university presidents and academic leaders on the council have advised the Secretary and senior leadership on matters related to homeland security and the academic community. More than 83 recommendations from the committee have been implemented including: programs for recruiting students and recent graduates into DHS; promotion to international students; ways that academic research and faculty exchanges can support DHS; improvements for campus resilience; development of academic programs related to homeland security ; and pathways to improve both cybersecurity academic programs and processes on universities and colleges.

    Find out more: http://www.dhs.gov/ homeland - security -academic-advisory-council-hsaac

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