University meetings Monday in Anchorage and Fairbanks - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, December 15, 2019
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University meetings Monday in Anchorage and Fairbanks

LEGISLATORS AND REGENTS BOTH SCHEDULED MEETINGS

Alaska legislators will host a special meeting regarding the University of Alaska’s overall structure and fiscal crisis on Monday from 2-7 pm, with invited testimony from several stakeholders in the university system during the first three hours:

  • Jim Johnsen – President, University of Alaska    
  • Dennis Jones – President Emeritus, National Center for Higher Education Management Systems
  • David Teal – Legislative Finance Director
  • Joel Potter – Professor, UAA
  • Alex Hirsch – Prof. & Honors Program Dir., UAF  
  • Marc Powell – Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities Senior VP
  • Robin Gilcrist – Professor, UAS
  • Susan Henrichs – Provost Emerita, UAF
  • Maria Williams, Chair, University of Alaska Faculty Alliance    

From 5-7 pm, legislators will take public testimony regarding the future of the university system.

The meeting, to be held at the Anchorage Legislative Information Office large conference room, is sponsored by Democrat Reps. Andy Josephson, Ivy Spohnholz, Geran Tarr, and Sen. Bill Wielechowski. It will be teleconferenced via the Alaska Legisature’s livestream technology.

At the same time, the University Board of Regents is holding a special “meeting of the whole” from 2:30-3:30 pm in Fairbanks.

Regents are crafting a response to the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, which warned in a letter that the university system’s accreditation could be pulled if those in charge fail to bring governance and communication up speed, and in line with the NWCCU standard.

Although public testimony won’t be taken during this meeting, the Regents will be tuning into the legislative meeting in Anchorage to hear the public testimony from 4-5 pm.

Regents recently decided to hold off moving to a single-accredited university until the University of Alaska Fairbanks successfully gets through its next accreditation review next year. They also cancelled the academic program review that had begun in anticipation of a consolidated university.

The university system is facing a budget reduction of $25 million this fiscal year, as well as $25 million next year and $20 million the year following, as the State of Alaska copes with a gap in funding for programs covering many sectors.

The Board of Regents meeting will be livestreamed at this link.

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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

  • Wow, if Jim Johnsen spent that much time fixing the teaching accreditation program the students would not have been hosed by Johnsen.

    The guy should have been terminated.

  • Ad hominem is so easy – maybe before you go this route you should walk a mile in his shoes…

  • Johnsen did absolutely nothing when Dunleavy proposed the UA cuts in February. Johnson’s solution was to lobby the legislature for more money. He was so inept that he actually raised the budget for 19-20 and was surprised when the lawmakers didn’t support it. The guy needs to go!

  • 1. Budgets for the three main campuses should be separately allocated
    2. Statewide should be reduced to a couple of million per year. All F&A from grants should go to campuses not statewide. Many services provided by Statewide can be provided by the private sector at a much lower cost (eg. Legal advice).
    3. Community campuses should come under the authority of the main campuses and do the job of providing face to face programs for the community. Community campuses are now in the business of offering 3rd rate online classes by unqualified instructors to increase revenues. This is a disservice to students and taxpayers.
    4. The administrative class at the 3 main campuses still needs oversight even with statewide gone. The explosion in costs nationwide is due to the growth of the administrative class. Even with all the focus on programs, uaa is slashing academic program funding this fiscal year and there is no indication administration has been cut. Ask most any uaa Dean about their budget this fiscal year.

  • Why drag down the other campuses just to save UAA? The state that UAA is in with their whopping 8% graduation rate on a 4 year program is horrendous. That sits squarely on the shoulders of Johnsen. The fat cats up on the hill bear some responsibility as well.

  • Follow the money. Its not about the kids it is about the payroll and perks.

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