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System News April 2018

  • University to separate UAF and SW IT services
  • Haines timber sale update
  • University of Alaska provides Alaskans with affordable workforce training and certification
  • Alaska National Lab Day set for May

University to separate UAF and SW IT services

Services provided by the current shared service organization, the Office of Information Technology (OIT), to UAF and Statewide are to be separated. In a memo to OIT staff last week, UA President Jim Johnsen laid out a new IT organizational structure that puts operational support and services at UAF, while SW OIT will focus on strategic planning and a longer-term vision for IT. Johnsen said that changes are intended to provide clear organizational purpose and strong, focused leadership at both UAF and SW.

The new UAF IT unit will be similar to the existing IT units at UAA and UAS, and will be led by a chief information officer (CIO). A new position description will be required for the CIO, given the substantial expansion of role and responsibilities. UAF will handle recruitment for the position.

At Statewide, OIT will take the lead on long-term planning for how technology can enable UA’s vision for higher education in Alaska. Recruitment for a chief information technology officer (CITO) will begin in the coming weeks with the IT Council acting as the screening committee. A new CITO is expected to be hired this summer. In the meantime, Martha Mason will continue to serve as Interim CITO. Mason has been Interim CITO since the departure of Karl Kowalski in March.

Johnsen’s decision to separate the units comes as a result of several factors, including a recent external review, conducted by IT consultant James Szmak, which provided an assessment of the IT organization along with a series of recommendations for enhanced organizational effectiveness.

Transition planning will begin with data gathering and analysis. A transition team will gather data, review past IT assessments, and assess employee feedback to inform the transition process. A specific plan will be developed after the appointment of the statewide CITO and UAF CIO. The transition is expected to take a significant period of time given the extent of changes and the importance of operational continuity.

Regular updates will be distributed throughout the process and a venue will be created for IT employees’ input.

Regents to hear audio Public Testimony 4 - 6 p.m. on May 21

The University of Alaska Board of Regents wants to hear from the public and the university communities throughout Alaska, and will a two-hour public testimony session by telephone on May 21 from 4 p.m.-6 p.m., one week in advance of the full board meeting held on May 31- June 1 in Anchorage. The Board of Regents will also will hold an evening listening session following the first day of the full board meeting, so that anyone interested can meet informally with regents and have an opportunity to share their comments and concerns.

Regardless of where you are in Alaska, you can participate via audio conference on Monday, May 21 by calling 866-726-0757 between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to share your perspective on issues facing the university.

The public testimony will air on KUAC-FM HD2 and stream on KUAC2 at www.kuac.org. The direct link to the live streaming is http://kuacii.streamon.fm/. The audio will play on computers, laptops, mobile phones and most other hand-held devices with internet capability.

You also can attend an informal evening gathering to discuss issues face-to-face with the board on Thursday, May 31, on the UAA campus. Written testimony is accepted at any time at ua-bor@alaska.edu.

To learn more, go to www.alaska.edu/bor/public-testimony.

Agendas for committee and full board meetings will be posted at least one week prior to meetings at: http://www.alaska.edu/bor/agendas/

Haines timber sale update

In the coming days you may hear or read about a proposed sale of university-owned timber resources near Haines, Alaska. There has been growing discussion in the community, in the media and on social media channels about this project. It is important that the university conduct an open public process when considering developing our natural resource assets. Below is some background on the project.

As a land grant institution, the University of Alaska has a fiduciary responsibility to develop its resources granted from the federal government. By doing so we convert our land assets into financial assets to advance the university’s mission. The revenue from development is deposited into the university’s Land Grant Endowment Trust Fund. The UA Board of Regents then allocates a percentage of those funds to support programs such as the UA Scholars Program, which offers individual $12,000 scholarships to the top 10 percent of the graduates from Alaska high schools each year, the University of Alaska Press, and agriculture, forestry, fisheries and minerals programs.  MORE....

University of Alaska provides Alaskans with affordable workforce training and certification

As the primary provider of the state’s workforce, UA is identifying more affordable ways to educate Alaskans. Alaskans often think of our state as a place where we can secure a good paying job without higher education credentials or certifications, but that’s less and less the case. By 2025, 65 percent of jobs in Alaska will require some post-secondary credential. Alaska’s economy is changing and so is the University of Alaska.

We’re starting with the career and technical education opportunities available through the university for those looking for a job as a welder, as a nurse aide, a corrections officer, to refine bookkeeping or basic carpentry skills or to fill other critical positions in Alaska communities. The University of Alaska’s occupational endorsement programs are specifically designed to provide these skill-building courses.  MORE....

Alaska National Lab Day set for May

Sen. Lisa Murkowski will welcome representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy’s national labs for a two-day research forum at UAF in May.

Arun Majumdar, director of the Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford University, will help kick off the meeting.

Other confirmed speakers include representatives from the national labs and DOE leadership.

The forum will take place in the Engineering Learning and Innovation Facility on the Fairbanks campus May 30-31.

For more information or to register visit https://aknatlabday.org/.

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