Voice
AVP Government Relations Miles Baker discusses the impact of the November election on federal and state levels and what that could mean for the university during a leadership forum attendend by nearly 130 UA leaders from across the system held in Fairbanks Nov. 15. Photo by Monique Musick

System News November 2018

  • Fairbanks student receives $25,000 College Savings Plan scholarship
  • New executive hires in OIT and Federal Relations
  • Johnsen statement on OCR guidelines
  • Article featured in innovation-focused publication STRIVE
  • UA Board of Regents approves FY20 budget requests with emphasis on developing Alaska’s future
  • The Capitol Report: Fall Update

Fairbanks student receives $25,000 College Savings Plan scholarship

James Schiltz, age 10, was awarded a $25,000 College Savings Plan scholarship during a surprise assembly at his school. Photo by JR Ancheta, UAF University Relations

PFD savings turned into surprise scholarship!

All Alaskans who contributed half of their PFD into a UA College Savings Plan account were entered to win a $25,000 scholarship. This year's winner was James Schiltz, a 10-year-old who goes to Watershed Charter School. The UA College Savings Plan team surprised him in front of a school assembly. Congratulations, James, and we hope this helps you get one step closer to achieving your dreams. To everyone else, make sure you save your PFD for college in 2019 as we will be offering the giveaway again!

New executive hires in OIT and Federal Relations

In a Nov. 14 memo to staff President Johnsen announced two important additions to the university’s executive team – the Chief Information Technology Officer and the Director of Federal Relations.

Mark Kondrak, Chief Information Technology Officer

Mark Kondrak will join the university in January as Chief Information Technology Officer (CITO) Mark brings a wealth of knowledge about our technology needs and deep experience in higher education digital transformation. As we considered many qualified candidates, he stood out in all areas of consideration. Mark will lead our efforts toward increasing student enrollment and creating new initiatives as we develop UA as a more student-centric university.

Mark comes to us from his current role as CIO at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota. Under his leadership, Hamline has become recognized as a digital transformation pioneer and recently received an inaugural Cloud Leadership Award. He regularly speaks on IT strategy and leadership, has been recognized as one of the country’s most innovative CIOs, and was recently named 2018 Twin Cities CIO of the Year in the public-sector category.

Prior to his role at Hamline, Mark was IT Director at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Prior to his work in higher education, Mark owned and operated an IT consulting business, leading successful engagements for the Minnesota Senate, The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Best Buy, and Minnesota Life among others. He holds an M.S. in Software Engineering from the University of St. Thomas, and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota.

Dustin Bryant, Director of Federal Relations

Dustin Bryant will join the UA team on Dec. 3 as the Director of Federal Relations for the University of Alaska System and will be based in Washington, D.C. where he will work closely with our government relations team on critical federal issues including efforts to increase our land grant, federal investment at UA, and research-related priorities.  He’ll also focus on a variety of federal education policy issues.

Dustin comes to UA with more than 13 years of public policy and government relations experience. Bryant most recently served as the Assistant Director of Federal Relations for the Texas A&M University System in Washington, DC. For more than 11 years, Bryant represented the A&M System’s 11 campuses and seven state agencies before Congress, the Executive Branch and stakeholder communities. In this role, he oversaw numerous policy areas that impacted the education, research, extension, and public service missions of the A&M System and assisted campus leadership, faculty, staff, students and others by developing effective advocacy strategies for targeted priorities.

Prior to representing the A&M System, Bryant served in the Washington, D.C. and Texas offices for U.S. Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, former chair of the Higher Education Subcommittee. Bryant came to Washington as a part of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Internship program through Texas A&M University, and then later served as a Field Representative for Hinojosa in his district office. Bryant received a B.S. in Agriculture Development from Texas A&M. 

The Capitol Report: Fall Update

It’s been a busy summer and fall for your government relations team as we engaged state and federal policymakers on behalf of the University of Alaska. Together, with your support and assistance, we created a number of exciting opportunities for political leaders to come to campus and to observe, engage and participate in all the wonderful things you do. Building personalized experiences is critically important to raising the university’s profile and to building relationships essential to our long-term success. READ MORE

UA leaders discuss vision, budget, advocacy and donor relations in day-long forum

Nearly 130 leaders from across the system participated in Realizing Alaska’s Future 2020-2040, a day-long leadership forum filled with important discussions and information. In addition to receiving updates on the FY20 budget, long-term university goals, the World Building project and impacts of the November election, participants engaged in exercises focused on everyday advocacy/elevator speech development and fundraising and donor relations important to supporting ongoing outreach and private giving efforts.

Keeping an open mind about promoting the university 365 days a year as well as how fundraising can move the University of Alaska forward is important as we all work to reach for the big dreams that the 2040 vision represents - transformational ideas that re-shape our university, our state and create a thriving future for all Alaskans.

Postcards we collected during the forum will be utilized during the legislative session and feedback on our culture of respect will be utilized as we move forward on implementing culture change across the university system.

Please visit the leadership resources page to review handouts and presentations from this forum: https://www.alaska.edu/pres/leadership/

Johnsen statement on OCR guidelines

This month the Department of Education proposed new guidelines for how universities are to handle complaints of campus sexual assault and harassment. We will evaluate the new guidance, consider its implications for the University of Alaska, and prepare to participate in the rule making process. In the meantime, we will continue to abide by our Voluntary Resolution Agreement with the Office for Civil Rights and the policies established by the UA Board of Regents.

Our promise to the university community is that we are committed to a culture of respect and safety at the university, and every campus has made great strides toward that goal. We are already providing effective and balanced measures to ensure due process; fair, prompt, and thorough investigations when incidents occur; and, fair and effective sanctions when warranted.

The university remains committed to this promise.

Article featured in innovation-focused publication STRIVE

The current Oct. - Dec. 2018 issue of STRIVE Magazine features an article by President Jim Johnsen on leading change. It is one in a series of contributions from 10 authors from across the globe. Take a look at the article and issue online: https://magazine.thestriveproject.com/.

UA Board of Regents approves FY20 budget requests with emphasis on developing Alaska’s future

Acknowledging the University of Alaska’s critical role in building the state’s economy and future workforce, the university’s Board of Regents voted to send an FY20 operating budget to the state that includes funds for a range of key strategic investments, continued efforts to build university enrollment and programs to create more innovation.

“The university is committed to helping our governor create a more vibrant Alaska, build an educated workforce and partner with his administration to meet the needs of our state,” said UA President Jim Johnsen. “The university has a key role to play in contributing to the well-being of Alaska and we work diligently to uphold that duty.”

The FY20 operating budget focuses on investing in key strategic areas including commercializing our research; graduating more Alaska-trained teachers and health care professionals; funding facility maintenance; investing in competitive compensation for staff and faculty; and ongoing efforts to increase efficiencies across the system. The requested state appropriation is $358.5 million, $20 million less than the university’s FY14 appropriation.

“Competitive compensation and benefits for our employees is extremely important,” Johnsen said. “There’s not been a full court analysis of compensation and benefits in many years, and no salary increases in nearly three years. This undertaking is very important to the recruitment and retention of our most important and valuable university resource—our people.”

The FY20 capital budget request of $50 million is for deferred maintenance renewal & repurposing and $7 million for sustaining UA Array capabilities in Alaska and funding for establishing digital fabrication laboratories at the university and at the community campuses. The university has more than 400 facilities, with an average age of 33 years, an inflation-adjusted value of $3.9 billion, and a deferred maintenance/renewal & repurposing (DM/R&R) backlog in excess of $1 billion.

The board also approved a policy providing university guidelines for responding to delayed misconduct complaints. The regents supported the new policy because it encourages prompt reporting and makes clear that complaints will be assessed and ongoing impacts will be addressed regardless of when alleged misconduct occurred.

In other action, the board approved two resolutions of appreciation for outgoing regents Deena Bishop and Jo Heckman whose terms expire in early 2019; elected a new slate of officers with John Davies elected chair; and, heard from national higher education experts with the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) who commended the board’s strategic direction and encouraged it to continue focusing on  a long-term vision for the university as it plays a leading role in developing a stronger and more sustainable economy.

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