Sunday, September 24, 2023
HomeThe 907Sean Parnell, Deena Bishop are finalists for University of Alaska Anchorage chancellor

Sean Parnell, Deena Bishop are finalists for University of Alaska Anchorage chancellor

Former Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell and Anchorage Superintendent of Schools Deena Bishop are in the running to become the next chancellor of University of Alaska Anchorage.

Eight candidates were selected by the UA search committee to continue in the interview process.

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Others on the list include Pearl Brower, former president of Iḷisaġvik College in Utqiaġvik, Satasha Green-Stephen, associate vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, Angappa Gunasekaran, dean of the School of Business and Public Administration at California State University in Bakersfield, Robert Marley, professor of engineering management from Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rashmi Prasad, dean of the School of Business at Truman State University in Missouri and David Rosowsky, professor of Civil Engineering from the University of Vermont.

The candidates will visit the university, meet with student leaders, deans as well Interim UA President Pat Pitney before one is selected, the University of Alaska said in an announcement.

More specific detail about the candidates, the virtual meetings, and a feedback form will be available at The planned forums are designed for broad participation and all are encouraged to join meetings, the university noted. The forums will be recorded and posted to the website for anyone not able to attend the live sessions. 

Interim President Pitney is expected to make a final decision on the next UAA chancellor in early May.

Former Chancellor Cathy Sandeen resigned from the position after two years; the interim chancellor is Bruce Schultz, who is not on the short list for the permanent position.

University President Pat Pitney last year appointed a search committee co-chaired by Aleesha Towns-Bain, Executive Director of the Bristol Bay Native Corporation Education Foundation; Kelly Smith, UAA Faculty Senate President; and Preston Simmons, Chief Executive Providence Alaska Region. Other participants on the search committee include:

  • Christi Bell, Administrator
  • Leslie Byrd, Staff
  • Matt Cullen, Faculty
  • Robin Dalhman, Faculty
  • Gokhan Karahan, Faculty
  • John Moore, Staff
  • Arlene Schmuland, Faculty
  • Hilary Seitz, Faculty
  • Sharyl Toscano, Faculty
  • Toby Widdicombe, Faculty
  • Tuan Graziano, Student
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


  1. Bishop would fit in at UAA…she’s done wonders in not doing anything at ASD and could continue with her skills with the University.

  2. I hope it’s not Deena. ASD has become a liberal cesspool. She would do the same to UAA.

    Sean would seem to be a fresh, independent, voice for the U.

  3. The folks from Fairbanks are seeing a golden opportunity to gut UAA. The other anti-Anchorage Regents will probably help make it happen. This may not be a job worth having.

  4. UA should become a private and tribal university like APU whoever is picked.
    Although, college has become highly overrated for parents to sending their adult child only to lose them to seculism and marxism thought.
    Be Best there are more vocational and apprenticeships opportunities across a variety of fields that UA can humble itself and offer instead of the prestigious and pretentious sounding BA and MA. You know what vocational trainings Alaska does offer is so grungy or health care like. I mean who really wants to work in health care and construction if your pay isn’t excellent? But, money doesn’t make a job great nor bring about excellent employees because of promised good pay, it just means you are stuck with them-hahahaha.

  5. Is it written in the Bible somewhere that every state needs to have a university? In any event brick and mortar schools face game-changing competition at a time when all American educational certifications have come under suspicion, and colleges and universities have priced themselves out of the market. Mediocre schools are under intense pressure from all points of the compass. And to be entirely frank about it calling the University of Alaska mediocre is under-stating its standing and its problem. But don’t let me talk anyone out of hiring yet one more Chancellor; it’s often been a very meaningful high-3 event. I saw one UAA Chancellor cap her PERS in that job and according to my arithmetic her PERS is now a little over $14,000 – a month. Not bad.

  6. If change is needed at UAA one would think that the search committee would have a significant proportion of folks from outside the system who could look for fresh perspectives.

  7. At least Parnell might be expected to actually care about the future of UAA, other than as a source of personal income and power-wielding.

  8. Why don’t we just shut them down and balance the budget?

    It’s cheaper and better education when you send your kid outside. That’s where my daughter is headed.

  9. We keep hearing percentage increases in enrollment lately. But no actual student numbers–interestingly! So my question is how many students are we carrying and graduating for the $ 467 million operating cost that is currently proposed in the state budget. 1.6 billion in deferred maintenance, 490 some acres, 9000 doors, new programs and buildings–on and on. I don’t see how this computes for the small number of grads and how many of them are actually working in Alaska?
    I’d like to see some comparisons, along these lines, with “outside” schools.

  10. I have fond memories of my time spent as an undergraduate at UA Fairbanks as a Philosophy Major in the 70’s. The Dept. of Philosophy was then quite small with only two Professors, Walter Benesch, and Rudolph Krecji, both PHD’s from The University of Innsbruck, Austria! Despite it’s small size, the Philosophy Dept. with these two excellent educators and very popular lecturers on campus provided an excellent education to those of us fortunate enough to have the opportunity to study with them! I was saddened to learn that the Dept. of Philosophy at UAF has since been eliminated due to budget cuts! I want to say first and foremost, that the Quality and Caliber of Our Faculty at the University of Alaska is more important than their Quantity, and secondly that these Excellent Educators and Thinkers are one of our States Greatest Assets, and Key to Our Prosperity as a State and Not a Liability to be dismissed!

  11. Break up the university and do a good job of small community colleges in Alaska. The deep debt university is in a bad situation due to the decisions of Parnell and others at the time of Johnson and elected officials. Parnell had the opportunity to change the political atmosphere at the time but he chose a wrong path. He chose deeper debt and wrong influences to the university system and the state. We need new blood and thinking, away from the standard Alaska picks. Choose someone from out of state with better thinking on how to manage a university and work with different campuses in varied communities. Parnell is not that person and neither is anyone who held political jobs with the state of Alaska or the federal government.

  12. Tier 1 PERS and Tier 1 TRS monthly retirement payments are based upon the highest 3 years of salary. Some number of the applicants for this job may be Tier 1. Subsequent tiers base the retirement payments on an average salary which is still a powerful multiplicand when the salary is at the Chancellor level. Tier 1 Correctional Officers sometimes camp out in a place like Nome for the 3 years before retirement to take advantage of the higher pay there. School teachers and administrators often go to a place like the NSB or NWAB for their final 3 years.

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