University enrollment dropping, salaries through the roof - Must Read Alaska
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University enrollment dropping, salaries through the roof

16 CAMPUSES, 424 DEGREES AND CERTIFICATES

When University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen told Senate Finance Committee last week “I’m not going to negotiate,” there was an audible murmur among fiscal conservatives across the state.

Johnsen’s approach seemed incredible, considering he is facing a university system with rapidly declining enrollment, a cornerstone teaching degree program that lost its accreditation, and now a proposed budget cut of $134 million system wide from the Dunleavy Administration. That’s 40 percent cut of the total funds the university received from the State last year, but just a 17 percent cut to the university system’s overall budget.

No university president wants to preside over the decline of an institution. Johnsen has found himself in charge during a fiscal crisis that may demand he restructure higher education in Alaska, and he has little time to do so.

[Read: Surprise: University budget is NOT being cut 50 percent]

ASTRONOMY 101: UNIVERSITY SALARIES IN STRATOSPHERE

A quick survey of university salaries conducted by the Alaska Policy Forum shows that, as of 2017, UA had several highly paid professionals throughout the system, starting with President Johnsen, who is compensated $462,253.50 (in 2017, he earned $358,892.47 gross; $103,361.03 benefits). There were others:

  • Chancellors Dana Lester Thomas and Thomas Case (retired, replaced by Cathy Sandeen) were compensated $360,343.97 ($279,770.16 gross and $80,573.81 benefits) and $359,020.19 ($278,742.38 gross and $80,277.81 benefits) respectively. Case had campus housing and a vehicle allowance.
  • Dean Vickie Williams was the highest compensated dean in the system, with $347,652.08 ($316,911 gross; $30,740.43 benefits).
  • The highest compensated professor in 2017 was Gordon Kruse, Professor at the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences for a total of $304,185.54 ($233,092.37 gross earnings; $71,093.17 benefits).
  • The highest compensated associate professor in 2017 was Kevin Berry at the School of Management for a total of $247,475.88 ($192,139.66 gross earnings; $55,336.22 benefits).
  • Six people compensated in excess of $300,000 (gross and benefits). Eighty university employees, including some professors, were compensated in excess of $200,000 (gross and benefits).
  • UAF Chancellor and Vice President Daniel White received $310,037.88 ($240,712.64 gross; $69,325.24 benefits).
  • Three employees with job class title “Safety Svcs – Fire 2” were compensated more than $220,000: Patrick Mead, Ronnie Templeton Jr., and Gregory Lee Coon, $228,105.62, $227,250.04, and $224,454.53 respectively.
  • Michael Castellini at the UAF Provost Office Operations, job class title of “administrative management” earned $255,842.68. Thirty-four people with the job class title “administrative management” were compensated in excess of $150,000.00.
  • Institute of Social and Economic Research Director Ralph Townsend, was compensated $199,979.93, which is more than Office of Management and Budget Director Donna Arduin.
  • Mouhcine Guettabi at the College of Business & Public Policy and ISER was compensated $171,741.95.
  • UAA Athletic Director Jim Hackett in 2017 was making $157,879 in base salary, with benefits on top of that (he has since moved on).
  • Jeff Jessee, dean of the College of Health, in 2017 had a base salary of $198,000.
  • Denise Runge, dean of the Community and Technical College receives a base of $155,000.04.
  • Fred Barlow, the dean of the College of Engineering, had a base of $195,000 in 2017. He resigned, and Kenrick Mock is interim dean.

This is not to say employees are not worth their salaries. It simply puts the system in an awkward position to say the budget should be preserved, considering falling enrollment, low graduation rates, and a program losing its national accreditation.

PRESIDENT JOHNSEN WAS PRESCIENT FOUR YEARS AO

In 2015, Johnsen acknowledged the problem. He wrote that with the state paying 45 percent of the cost of running the university system, “that revenue source is in trouble, given low oil prices and gradually declining productivity. That’s a challenge for us, so we’ve really got to try to diversify our revenue sources as much as we possibly can.”

“Challenge” is an understatement. The system was already in a crisis that was spiraling faster than revenue diversification could keep up.

  • Over five years, student count has dropped 12.2 percent and credit hours taken have diminished 12.6 percent, according to the university.
  • By 2018, enrollment fell to 23,778 from over 29,442 five years earlier. Must Read Alaska calculates this as a 19 percent drop in enrollment.
  • Over five years, salaries and benefits also dropped 9.4 percent; university system shed 1,283 jobs, or 15 percent of workforce, not an easy process.
  • Over five years, travel expenditures increased 1 percent, including a nearly 11 percent increase from FY18 to FY19.
  • The University of Alaska Anchorage has a six-year graduation rate of 29.1 percent, Fairbanks has 33 percent graduating after six years. (Some students drop, others transfer, and others continue to work toward completion.)

In his 2018 budget summary, Johnsen had advised that the “FY16 the University’s $350 million state general fund appropriation was twice the national average on a per student full-time equivalent (FTE) basis. The goal is to bring that down to $312 million, or 1.3 times the national average, by FY25.”

Over the past 40 years, with the help of money coming from Alaska North Slope oil, the university had grown from three campuses to 16, including rural and community campuses.  It offers 424 degrees and certificates.

But times are different. Oil is holding steady in terms of production, but the price per barrel is not high enough to support the $6 billion overall State budget proposed by former Gov. Bill Walker. It will be sheer luck if revenues can support the $4.6 billion budget proposed by Gov. Michael Dunleavy.

[Read the financial summary the University Board of Regents will discuss on Feb. 28]

The proposed budget cuts are profound and ask for a complete overhaul of the way the university conducts business.  So far the university administrators seem to be in a state of denial.

A memo from Anchorage campus Chancellor Cathy Sandeen last week told the campus community that the executive team had an emergency meeting, and is not implementing either a hiring freeze or a travel freeze — yet. They’re taking a wait-and-see approach.

“But I ask all leaders to use an added level of judgement in filling positions, approving travel, and making other decisions with long term commitment,” she wrote.

She also said the leadership team wasn’t planning to recommend to the Board of Regents that the campuses come under a single accreditation.

However, she said, “In terms of what is on or off the table for consideration, everything is on the table.” That includes looking at the organization of the community campuses as a community college unit. She said that reductions will be made on each university’s unique strengths and mission.

BOARD OF REGENTS TO DISCUSS

The options on the table will be discussed at the Board of Regents meeting on Feb. 28. Details:

Board of Regents’ Meeting
February 28 – March 1, 2019
Lee Gorsuch Commons, Room 107
University of Alaska Anchorage

Watch on Live Stream: (except during executive session):   http://www.alaska.edu/bor/live/

Public Testimony: Thursday, Feb. 28 from 8:15-9:15 am
Sign-up sheets: Available Thursday, Feb. 28 at 8 am in the Lee Gorsuch Commons, room 107.

Comments: Limited to two minutes per individual. Written comments are accepted and will be distributed to the Board of Regents and President Johnsen. Comments may be sent to ua-bor@alaska.edu.

Agenda material:  BoardDocs

Questions: Brandi Berg, Executive Officer, Board of Regents,  ua-bor@alaska.edu.

 

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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.

Latest comments

  • The next cut we need badly, is the University of Alaska. The three-campus triangle needs to be split up permanently. Each campus of UAF, UAA and UAS is separately accredited, and should have their own budget, and designations and degree programs without having the rug pulled out from under them every year. So far, the history of this president of UAF, shows that UAF planning and implementing cannot manage all of the campus problems in the state no matter how big the budget or how much money is thrown his way.
    The greed of President Johnsen of the UA system has become unparalleled in reviewing the wants and needs of the university system and past presidents. He has repeatedly requested and gotten almost a billion dollars, ($1B) a year in funding from the State of Alaska, federal loans, out of pocket of students and family and grants, foundation donations, research moneys and other donations from wills, land grants and annuities; and during the Walker Administration he made sure his salary was ($450K+) a year plus perks also ensuring other professors the same in salaries and perks.
    High tuition and fees for students have become one of the reasons students are going elsewhere for an education. Cutting programs and changing campuses is part of the “bait and switch” of this scheme. It’s a devastating plan and does work in the negative. Success of this scheme is usually done with cronies in the Juneau Legislature those sitting right at this table as they have in the past. This is done with your help in order to pull off the biggest PONSI Scheme using the university as the scape-goat while creating huge debts for students and parents and the state. It costs twice as much to put a resident student on campus in Alaska and half that cost for a student to go to a university in the lower forty-eight states. What is the issue with entrepreneurship?

    Having a faculty member start model businesses and use the funds of the university to do that with the business under ownership of the faculty member? How long is he going to be allowed to fool the legislature and the public. It’s as obvious as the nose on your face.. SB-20 is being worked on now!! This finance group should look at all angles of his testimony on the university budget and seriously create cuts and changes to the system because what he has done so far has not worked and has created problems for the university campuses.

    It’s time to end this gluttonous budget and put a plan out there that can look at these problems and take care of them. CUT THE BUDGET!!! If you have to get rid of this president, just do it and look for one that will work for the benefit of the resident students and the university. Try not thinking of the term, “world class” and start thinking of education and university or formal education. The campuses and programs are in disarray due to this president Johnsen. Take care of it!!

    • I agree.

    • Please explain how it costs twice as much for a student to attend an Alaskan University on campus vs. the lower 48. I look forward to it as I’ve been pricing universities for my kids. The costs are closer to 8:1 the other way, unless you’re cherry-picking only certain costs.

      • It does not cost twice as much for a student to attend the University of Alaska. In fact, it is among the two or three most affordable state universities in the nation. That’s mostly because the State of Alaska has funded the university at greater levels than other public university systems. If this cut goes through, the university will recoup some of those costs by raising tuition, perhaps significantly, just as other public universities have done as the various state governments have disinvested from public higher education.

        • Are you talking about the cost to the student or the actual overall cost (including state and federal subsidies and other grants) those are two completely different things.

    • With you all the Way!

  • If President Johnsen ran a buisness and they lost 20% of their customers (students) he would be fired not given a bonus everyyear by the Board of Regents. Pay at UA is not based on merit.

  • Why has President Johnsen received a bonus? He has clearly failed everyone! We need new leadership now. I’m sure there are good candidates out there. It’s about time they received a financial hair cut.

  • The salaries of the president and faculty is the rip off of the century. The 40% cut by the governor’s budget should be even more. The president of the USA is not even close to the $453,000 the president of the Alaska university is receiving.

  • As usual, some good factual information from Ms. Downing. The data points to a seriously inflated compensation scheme, particularly in Fairbanks. That said, at least two other problems exist. First is that administrative overhead at UA is obscene, with layers and layers of assistant vice chancellors, deputy deans and the like. Restructuring should commence immediately. Second is that for every professor making over $250K, the university employs a half dozen adjunct instructors that do a great deal of the teaching for not much more than minimum wage. In the academic world, if the budget is to be cut, it will be the six adjuncts that will be let go before the over-compensated tenured professors.

    Nationwide it has been shown that strong universities can be magnets for creativity, innovation and economic development. I fear we may never get to that with the UA the way it is now.

    • My wife was the Administrative Services Manager for the Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs back when they “partnered” with the UAS to build a combination gym and National Guard Armory. I got to be the outlet for her daily rage when she came home after dealing with the UAS administration who seemed to have no concept of financial accountability.

      Fundamentally, the UA exists to provide continuing education for teachers so they can get paid more, to employ a lot of failed and former Democrat elected and appointed officials, and to suck in training and education money going to students that can’t qualify for 100 Level classes and who will never, never, ever get a degree. Even after 12 years of Republican governors and Republican control of the Legislature, the Board of Regents still allowed the University to be a vipers’ nest of Leftists. If we paid half as much attention to who gets on the BOR as we do to HOR races or assembly races, we could get the UA under control.

      • Art, congratulations on surviving your wife’s rage over the UA system’s budgetary ineptness and graft. Unfortunately, there are many ordinary citizens in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau who have to hear the constant griping and complaining from these arrogant and dumbed-down University employees who spew hatred and anger at conservatives who demand fiscal accountability in the state budget process. These overpaid university professors and administrators are some of the greatest offenders of logic and financial reasoning. They come in seeking assurances and escalating salaries through the tenure and promotion process which is built-in to the system. Then, upon retirement with their “highest three” years, they quickly leave the state for sunshine and relaxation, leaving in their wake a state budget crises which they helped to create. Further, most of them leave behind poisoned young minds from classroom preaching about man-caused climate warming. Bust-up these academic gangsters, Mr. Governor. The majority is behind you.

        • No university faculty hired in at least the last 15, maybe 20 years have a retirement based on the highest three years of earnings. The university retirement plan is a defined contribution plan. It is not a defined benefit pension plan. Please don’t comment unless you’re willing to engage in an accurate, fact-based assessment of the university and its employees. Thanks.

          • What is it then? 15 or 20 years? Be accurate and concise if you want to engage at MRAK, Ichartman. You sound like you may be one of those university pensioners. If it was 15 years ago, then about 2003? So, all of those three highest year pensioners from 1978 to 2003……well, that’s a hell of a lot of money paid out by the state in retirement benefits. Care to comment, or are you too busy counting your retirement money for your next vacation? Dunleavy reads MRAK and would love to hear some valid reasoning in your defense. Bring it on.

        • You are absolutely right on with your comment.
          Thank the heavens we have a governor who has the B….. to start cutting in to the gravy train

    • JMark,

      You’re right that those who first and foremost bear the brunt of massive cuts will be contingent faculty (and low level staff). As we speak departments in my college at UAA have been instructed to eliminate two-thirds of contingent faculty teaching for FA19 in anticipation of the cuts. I am a full-time contingent faculty member and I don’t fault the leadership for this. There just isn’t the same flexibility with tenured positions, nor do I think there should be. However, TT faculty will also be affected. Those who normally teach three classes a semester are being asked to teach four. If the cuts are significant (they don’t have to be even close to what Dunleavy proposes) we will also have to significantly raise our course caps, teaching many more students per class. Not a recipe for quality pedagogy.

      After the crisis is over the changes to TT faculty workloads (and course caps) may stay in place. Once faculty concede something to the administration, even in a crisis, it is hard to pull it back. Those who think that most faculty are sitting around doing nothing will be glad to hear about such possible changes. Their mistake is that among other things faculty are an important internal force for reform within an academic institution. (If you think Johnsen should go, remember that it was UAF and UAA faculty who passed a vote of no confidence in President Johnsen in 2017). If they don’t have a decent portion of their workload devoted to service (in addition to teaching and research) then they will not be in a position to lead initiatives for reform that improve the quality of education or call administrative proposals into question.

      I am seeing the number of course offerings planned for the fall reduced. I see students planing to transfer out of state because of anticipated cuts. I see innovative ways to improve programs put on hold. (It is hard to make plans of any kind, even for the fall semester.) And I see committed faculty and staff sending out resumes at what is the close of the academic hiring season, preparing to disconnect. I buy into UAA’s mission and love the opportunity to teach such a diverse student population, but I just can’t wait till July to find out if I will be able to support my family up here or not. Folks like me will be let go or leave before being let go. And I can tell you we don’t make anything like the salaries Downing mentioned.

      Here’s is what I keep wondering. If Downing is right about the need for reform is the governor’s approach the best way to do this? If the goal is affordable quality education I have my doubts. I suspect that growing institutions of excellence takes a kind of delicacy, creativity, and leadership that I haven’t seen evinced by our Governor so far. If he really wanted to do that, then I think he would have been more careful with his selection of regents.

      • Later. Plenty of places with the diversity you love. And you don’t have to support your family “up here.”
        You sound like a Cheechako to the max.

  • You indicate “Institute of Social and Economic Research Director Ralph Townsend, was compensated $199,979.93, which is more than Office of Management and Budget Director Donna Arduin”. Are you comparing salary and benefit packages equally for both, or does one include salary and benefit package and the other only salary?

  • Much of the hyper-inflated salaries at the UA system can be related back to Brian Rodgers in the late 1980’s when he was a paid liaison between his employer UA and the state legislature. He endlessly lobbied for the high wages at UA, attempting to show that without it, UA wouldn’t be able to recruit world class professors and administrators. He proposed wages on par with Stanford, Michigan, even Yale. Roger’s was a past Democrat state representative and knew how to lobby. Later, Roger’s became UAF
    chancellor and tapped into the $300K plus salary himself. Another example of lefty Democrats stealing from the public trough. Dunleavy should half all UA administrator salaries and reduce professor salaries by about 35%. Let them leave the state if they don’t like it. The UA system is a third rate institution. My kids and grandkids all went to colleges outside of Alaska and are doing well.

    • When I was a full-time student 30 years ago, Brian Rogers spoke at some meeting I attended. The only thing I really remember from that was his statement that at the time he left the legislature and joined UA Statewide, tuition was $10 per credit hour. It would seem that affordable tuition is the one thing UA has had in its favor, an advantage which it has slowly frittered away with constant tuition raises to pay to build its castles, even if many of those castles are really houses of cards.

      Anyone still around who remembers the Hiatt administration? This was slightly before my time, but it would seem that UA was a total mess around 1976-1978. These days, I keep hearing stories that UA Statewide was created and various folks were brought in to “cook the books” to spare certain individuals from criminal proceedings.

      • Very true, Sean. Hiatt was a short termer and ended up at U of Hawaii. A bunch of the “book cookers” did get caught stealing and there were a few criminal cases as a result. The UA system is prone to wanton waste, graft, and other assortments of financial thievery, embezzlement included. The governor should order a massive audit of the entire UA system going back 10 years. Get rid of Jim Johnsen yesterday.

  • Evidence that even UA grad students understand that research money is unwisely spent…..from a REAL interview.
    Q: what field are you in and what research do you do?
    Student: Biochemistry. We have grant money to study water samples taken at lakes near Toolik. We are finding evidence of pesticides in those lakes.
    Q: How did pesticides get that far north in remote lakes?
    Student: Atmospheric transport.
    Q: How do your findings affect people and lake life, if there are no effects on people or other living things.
    Student: it allows us to receive more grant money.
    Folks….that is a purely honest answer. No deceit. No political agenda. All of this idiotic research is done to pursue more money and now you know how our idiot university system operates. No wonder the HOAX of man-made climate change is allowed to flourish at all UA campuses.

  • I taught as an Adjunct for UAA from 1989 until 2001. When I started I was paid about 1,600 per course and 12 years later I was getting about 1,900 per course due to Adjuncts becoming part of a union (which I voted against). As soon as the union thing happened our pay went up AND UAA had to pay on top of that into a retirement plan. I have no idea how much an Adjunct makes now, but I am sure it has gone up. Full-time faculty are the kings and queens, Adjuncts are the serfs of the University system. I taught Business Courses and some basic Computer Courses. My degrees are in business and I was an IT Professional at the time working at the management level. I taught two classes per semester for UAA, sometime 3 and usually one in summer. I averaged the same course load in 12 months that full-time instructors had to do in 9 months, but I also had a day job and taught for two other schools as an Adjunct. I was busy, but I loved doing it. I had direct daily experience on the job and that experience was carried into the classrooms. Full-timers are primarily academics with little or no hands on experience in the field they teach. Reduce full-ime staff to levels where accreditation is still viable and fill gaps with Adjunts. It will save money and put more experienced instructors at the head of each classroom while saving a bundle of money.

    • This is an outstanding idea. Please send this one to the governor’s office and OMB.

    • In effect, this is exactly what has been going on during the past several years already. UAA’s education programs lost accreditation in part because of an over-reliance on adjuncts.

      • The adjunct profs I had were far better than the tenured full profs and associates. Adjuncts were hungry to teach and had more life experience in the world. Tenureds were crybabies and slothful. Complainers. Didn’t want to show up to work. I will take adjuncts anyday.

  • Unfortunately it is absolutely true that if you want research money global warming must be part of the pitch.

  • UA is an enterprise that can and should thrive. The people who continue to drive it further into the ditch have zero chance of doing what it takes to turn it around. We don’t need OJT. No one in AK is qualified.
    Bring in someone who has done successful university turnarounds.

    • You’re hunting unicorns. Higher education is like Niagara Falls, it only goes one direction.

  • The 17% cut you mention is not factual. If a buisness gets a grant, say a bakery, to buy equipment-mixers, etc., and hire workers, and to help pay utilities, and rent, and creates a business plan based on the assumption they are getting the grant, when the grant is cut 40%, the initial financial numbers are no longer valid-realistic. And in fact the buisness may need to fold.
    We don’t need to stretch the drum to make noise about inefficiencies-we are better than that.

    • And yet your bakery metaphor is exactly what UA is doing with the funding provided by the state. Their initial numbers are no longer valid-realistic.

  • When University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen told Senate Finance Committee last week “I’m not going to negotiate,” maybe fiscal conservatives should have stopped murmuring and started figuring out loud how to privatize this behemoth, strip it down to essential parts, and rebuild it into a college that ranks among, say, the top 100 colleges in America.
    .
    Johnsen’s Dictum merely bespeaks confidence that his corner of Alaska’s Deep State will remain intact while public-sector unions and the Party of Hillary Clinton control Alaska’s Legislature.
    .
    The good news is that, no matter who controls Alaska’s legislature, Alaska’s economy can support only so many drones, whether bums or bureaucrats.
    .
    When that point is reached, when the Johnsens get too expensive to support, supporters will either effect regime change or flee, and the Johnsen Empire will collapse under its own weight.
    .
    While “fiscal conservatives” keep on murmuring to their hearts’ content…

  • Selectively quoting individual salaries out of context is highly misleading, as I’m sure you must know. Did you check to see how the salaries of the UA president and the 3 university chancellors compared with those from comparably sized systems and universities, respectively? How about the various deans? If you had, you’d know that executive compensation at UA is actually significantly below those of comparable positions at peer institutions. Did you check how faculty compensation compared? You highlighted several faculty whose salaries appear high. They are not broadly representative of tenured faculty at all–faculty in business and engineering schools earn substantially more than other faculty because competition with private industry is keen. Moreover, the university system just completed a survey of faculty salaries, and found that faculty compensation at UA is comparable or below that of peer institutions. It’s a shame that you did not more thoroughly research this before posting such a misleading article and (especially) headline.

    • Yes. In addition to comparing to salaries for administrators at peer institutions, it would put these salaries in context if Downing included the average salary (and benefits) for full-time faculty and for full-time staff, as well as the numbers for each. The number of and pay for part-time faculty should also be represented somehow. I’m not saying that there isn’t need for reform, but if all the salaries ($4.6 million) identified in the article were cut to zero, UA would still be dealing with a $130 million shortfall if the Govenor’s budget were implemented. That’s more than all the funding UAA received from the state last year!

      • Dave Valentine: the state Senate Research staff in Juneau did an independent investigation of this very issue several years back, researching the salaries of supposed comparable schools. Not even close. UA professors and administrators were overpaid considering their credentials. Brian Roger’s tried to float this to the AK Legislature. Turns out that Roger’s wasn’t truthful.
        No surprise there, as he was the highest paid cheerleader at UAF. Show us your data to back up your assertions, Dave.

        • David may have more detailed data but there are a number of sites that allow you to easily compare faculty salaries at UA schools to the average and to their peers: https://data.chronicle.com/category/sector/1/faculty-salaries/

          This is the sort of thing Downing would have done in her article if it wasn’t designed to be a hit job (consider her title in light of this data!). As you’ll see salaries for UA faculty are pretty much average for 4-year public institutions.

          • You forgot to mention that most of the profs at the UA system would rather be in the Lower 48. These are “rotating” Alaskans who couldn’t cut the job market at other schools. That’s why they complain and that’s why the UA system is a third rate learning institution. Cost of living in Alaska is higher, so the wages were the inducement to get them here. Most can’t wait to get the hell out. And don’t criticize Suzanne, who is brave enough to take on all of you Lefties. MRAK is the truth serum and preferred reading by the governor, legislature, and critical thinkers who reject the Kool-Aide dispensed by ADN, FDNM and Empire. Peddle your BS elsewhere.

  • Just curious, I believe these salaries reflect pay and benefits and retirement.
    Also, what was Dunleavy earning in pay and benefits when he retired from his state employment?

    • Nothing near what Jim Johnsen earns. Dunleavy is the chief executive of Alaska and he probably earns half of what Johnsen currently earns.

      • No interest in defending Jim Johnsen. He’s had more than a few missteps. However, university presidents compete in an international labor market; governors do not. Johnsen’s compensation is below average for the public university presidents and far below private university presidents. Mr. Dunleavy’s compensation and performance while a superintendent in Kotzebue is a story well worth exploring. For one, he obtained the position without any administrative experience and requested an increase in salary without meeting any performance benchmark. Meanwhile the school district experienced a severe turnover crisis, and many teachers were not certified and should not have been in the classroom. Mr. Dunleavy resigned 8 months into the job. It would seem to me that Mr. Dunleavy’s educational experience and background is far more suspect that Mr. Johnsen’s. Moreover, Mr. Dunleavy has never secured employment in the private economy throughout his years in Alaska. He’s been on the state government payroll in one capacity or another for over 20 years. For a crew that seems to loathe public workers, I’m wondering why Mr. Dunleavy receives a pass from so many of the folks on this forum. Mr. Dunleavy strikes me as the biggest grifter this state has seen since John Lindauer. The difference being that Lindauer bilked his wife for money to seek office, and Dunleavy bilked his brother to win office.

        • Maybe, but Dunleavy has the balls to do what no one else will do. MAKE CUTS! Its easy to be Santa Claus with everyone else’s money. Takes balls to say NO. And who’s going to argue face-to-face with a guy 6’9″. Certainly not Jim Johnsen!

  • Why aren’t videos and audios of BOR meetings archived on the UA website? The Governor does not require it, ask for it. Another example of how the new Governor is like the old one and the one before and so on. just hot air-no real transparency

  • I’d love to hear informed comments on how the University system is effectively (or not) using its land to provide income. Wasn’t it initially created to be self-sufficient by using/developing all it’s land?

    • UA is a land grant university system, the idea is the land supplies seed money to get started. UA hasn’t received all of the land that was granted to them due to various political maneuvers over the years including statehood. Some people will cry about this and use it as an excuse, they shouldn’t. New York was received only around 10% of their granted lands and they were able to develop a world renowned University system. Obviously we are not in the same boat as New York, but hopefully you get the picture.

      Why would any institution use assets they don’t need to when they are receiving as much free money as they want year in and year out? It’s time to use the assets they were granted for the purpose they were granted. If UA feels they should receive more of the land they were granted but was traded away for political reasons, then they should address those responsible or go to court over it.

    • You can read about how UA is using the land here: http://www.ualand.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Stewardship.Home

      Cornell (not SUNY) was designated as New York’s land grant university. New York’s land grant university received 990,000 acres. Since there wasn’t enough federal land in New York, the university was permitted to instead receive 500,000 acres of timberland in Wisconsin, which it held on to and sold for a considerable profit in the early 1900s. By contrast UA was promised 360,000 acres but only received 112,064 acres (only Delaware received less) and land that arguably is not as easily monetized as in many parts of the country.

      The idea that supporters of Dunleavy keep repeating that UA has lots of land they could just monetize and use to fund the university instead of relying on state funding is just not true. They are trying to make the most of this resource. Relative to the total university budget, it just doesn’t generate the much revenue.

      Now, like other resource rich states, Alaska could have used surplus revenue to fund an endowment for the University System. If they had set that up a decade or two ago, the university would not have to ride the boom and bust of the oil economy (which reeks havoc on an educational institution) and those who can’t stand the thought of individual tax dollars going to higher education wouldn’t have to worry about that possibility.

      • JP,

        You keep saying that say UA received the second least amount of land behind only the University of Delaware, that is simply false. The 1994 land-grant colleges are one example to prove that, the DC land grant university received cash instead of land, as in ZERO land.

        Just because a state was granted land does not mean they received it, case in point Alaska. NY received roughly 10% of the land they were granted.

        I get it, your livelihood is made on university dollars and you will defend your livelihood as anyone would, but there is no reason to state falsehoods.

      • http://www.ualand.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=UniversityLands.Home

        Now I see where you get your talking points from, just because it is written somewhere doesn’t make it so. Just because something was granted doesn’t mean it was received, your entire argument is false.

        Oh and that considerable profit the NY land grant universities made off of the money they were able to use to buy land in WI…$5 Million dollars. Now granted (pun intended) $5 Million back then was a good chunk of change, but it was not a yearly endowment of hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars that the UA land grant universities expect from the state of Alaska.

        • Steve-O,

          You mentioned a D.C. land grant college. I was talking about state land grant universities. I gave you a link that provided the information I was referring to. Here’s more detailed info: https://www.alaska.edu/files/state/2010-12-01-UALandGrantHistory.pdf

          Please do the same if you have information showing that I’m wrong about UA’s position relative to other state land grant institutions.

          Your claim that Cornell received only 10% of its land grant (990,000 acres) is simply not true. Taking into account for inflation, the 5 million received for the sale of Cornell’s 500,000 acres in the early 1900s would be worth about 130+ million dollars. Cornell now operates with a 7.2 billion dollar endowment.

          What’s your point? That in terms of assets, UA actually has it about as good as most other state land grant universities? If that’s your position, then back it up. It’s just not true to suggest that UA is not using its land holdings. That’s a talking point that folks bring up so that they can stop thinking about a real problem.

  • UA lands should put all land holdings on REALTOR.com or some other MLS listing forum and offer all land in boroughs- for sale at Borough accessed value.

    Otherwise they are not trying to fund the University with their land grsnt.

    I’ll spend some benjamins on UA land if available this way.

  • To the NO Name person: You are right on. I took a couple of classes from professors that were out of state residents for the duration of the course, attached to the UA system. Since we have a revolving door on Pay Equity, wouldn’t it stand to reason that the pay should be reviewed to the area of legitimate residence for the State of Alaska and actually working for the University? That means a lot in credibility, legal issues, etc. So, who is a part of the cover-up?

  • What a poorly researched writing. You left out hundreds of positions and you know which. You listed positions that are actually vital to an education system without any comparison to universities of similar size outside of the state. Your research is so basic that it doesn’t clarify what is included in “compensation”, which, in an educated research it would break it down for readers. This writing is based on a knee-jerk reaction with no solid basis to stand on.

    • Another loyal Democrat reader of MRAK. Yes, always these blatant putdowns to show some kind of superior intellect. But Reader is just a putdown puppet, probably no education. Liberals and Dems should be charged to post at MRAK. The cheapest bunch of scums on the planet.

  • The technological issues are a ruse…..because the UAF-Johnson, took the systems from UAS and UAA to UAF and centered all funds at the UAF campus. He really made the technological use a difficult problem for every campus in Alaska. UAS had an excellent one put together from Grant money by NOAA and Federal government. Greedy Johnson got very envious and decided with the management teams that he should have the center for technological control. What a pain the campuses had to go through. The campuses need to be split and obtain their own autonomy and culture of learning. All campuses would better managed for students and faculty. Time for Johnson to go!!!!

  • There are many people that work for the university who are not faculty or administrators. There are plumbers, electricians, maintenance guys, road clearing guys, secretaries, accountants, student workers, police officers, firefighters in training, and many others.

    I don’t think y’all realize that the people who will REALLY suffer are the university staff. With giant budget cuts, a lot of the staff people will lose their jobs too, including: the road guys, the painters, the electricians, the secretaries, etc.

    It’s sad to see so much anger and hate being spewed here – this blog should be taken down because it is just stirring up division and anger at a time when Alaskans need to work together to find smart solutions.

    I’ve lived here for decades and the Alaska I used to know was full of kind, helpful, resourceful and intelligent people. Not people who are so eager to see others lose their jobs, which is what will happen with these cuts.

    These cuts will hurt people who can afford it the least. People you know, good people from all different political backgrounds who likely have helped y’all out in some way or the other a time or two.

    Blogs like this are meant to stir up anger and division, dehumanize others, and serve no other real purpose.

    United we stand, divided we fall.

    • Dear Redneck, you just recited the Democrat’s oath…….DIVIDE. Workers in the public sector….you….are not guaranteed a job, nor are you entitled to one. What makes you think your job is more important than someone in the private sector who faces layoff or termination? Are you special?

  • Time to divide the problem and cut the budget and personnel. Break up the campuses. Three separate ,main university campuses with smaller schools under each on a latitude basis. Cut the huge salaries the professors have. They don’t do any work for any of it but put their name on a door and the assistants and associates do the teaching. OUT with Johnson…He is the most gluttonous and greedy person ever that has managed any entity. He is out of control and getting worse.

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