It’s not clear if University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen was engaging in irony, has simply resigned himself to a bleak future for the state … Or it there’s simply a typo in the university’s transcription of Johnsen’s 2019 State of the University address this afternoon at the Wood Center Ballroom on the Fairbanks campus?
The way the tweet reads, Johnsen appears to have decided Alaska should just accept losing population and an extended economic recession. The transcript has yet to be posted, so perhaps his message was lost in translation because it received a standing ovation, according to UA’s Twitter feed.
Johnsen’s message was generally upbeat and inspirational, and he lifted up the university’s research programs as world class, particularly in the area of Arctic research.
He admitted that the loss of accreditation of the teacher licensure programs at UAA “is most certainly a failure.” Johnsen said the Board of Regents will decide on April 8 whether to seek accreditation for those UAA programs.
Facing a budget cut from the State of Alaska that is 17 percent of the University System’s entire budget, Johnsen used the opportunity to make the case that the university is a good investment.
The proposed cut is $134 million, he said “or 41 percent of our state funding of $327 on top of state funding cuts four out of the last five years. These cuts hurt UA and they harm Alaska’s ability to grow the highly trained workforce we need to be economically competitive.”