UAA received funding from the legislature to complete the new engineering building and is raising private funds for enhancements to the athletic facilities at UAA, including the new Alaska Airlines Center. University leadership from around the state are meeting in Anchorage this week to talk about how the university can continue "Shaping Alaska’s Future" in a climate of declining state support.
Governor Parnell signed the FY15 State Budget without any vetoes, so now it is final. For UAA, that means less money for our operating budget and more for our capital budget. Our operating budget will be about 7 percent smaller than in FY14 due primarily to the reduced funding from the State. As anticipated, the reduced FY15 operating budget is requiring us to make some short-term budget adjustments. These will not be permanent cuts. The permanent cuts will come as a result of the prioritization effort. The two task forces are finalizing their review and will report their findings by mid-July. At that point, further review and analysis will be accomplished to determine what the impacts will be on current programs and functions in preparation for developing the FY16 operating budget.
On the capital budget front, we received the final $45.6 million needed to complete the entire engineering building suite of projects. We now have the go-ahead from the State to complete the engineering building, the engineering building garage and the renovation of the old engineering building.
This week, President Gamble is holding meetings in Anchorage with executive leadership from all of UA's campuses to talk about "Shaping Alaska’s Future," a plan to align UA’s seperately accredited universities in pursuit of academic and administrative efficiencies and excellence. UAA, UAF and UAS leadership are working together to assess how best to continue to provide high quality and affordable higher education in the face of declining state appropriations.
The Board of Trustees and Board of Regents are also meeting this week on the Anchorage campus. Read UAA’s Philanthropy Report to the Board of Trustees and Chancellor Report to the Board of Regents. I hope you will take the opportunity to attend public sessions of the Board of Regents. This is a good opportunity to hear more about the issues facing the university and to provide your input.
Finally, in the last few years UAA has taken great strides to create an educational and work environment free from sexual misconduct and violence. Addressing sexual misconduct and violence and creating a safe community on all of UAA’s campuses is one of my highest priorities. We have a strong Title IX investigative team and have provided trainings on all of our campuses. Promoting and insuring zero tolerance for sexual harassment in any form is a priority at UAA. In the next few months we will be providing information regarding the work that we are doing to the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Education. We look forward to a visit by OCR in September to showcase our work. You can learn more about UAA’s commitment to enforcing Title IX and keeping our community safe from sexual harassment.
The UAA Alumni Association welcomed its 10th alumni chapter, Alaska Native Alumni, which will focus on providing a supportive alumni community for Alaska Native students.
The Building Futures Fund, established in October 2013, has confirmed pledges of more than $1.5 million. The fund provides support for building enhancements for athletic facilities at UAA. With additional in kind gifts of $520,000 total support has eclipsed $2 million.
Rachel Rooney, Kachemak Bay Campus/UAA biology major, was chosen to participate in the Charles H. Turner Program at the 2014 Annual Conference of the Animal Behavior Society at Princeton University in August. She was one of 10 chosen internationally to have all expenses paid to attend the conference. Her professor, Dr. Debbie Tobin, KBC associate professor of biology, will accompany her.
WWAMI curriculum note
UAA’s curriculum proposal, selected out of 13 submitted, will become the basis for the new curriculum structure for the Foundations Phase for the UW School of Medicine and the entire WWAMI system beginning fall 2015. The Alaska team that developed the proposal included Jane Shelby, Robert Furilla, Cindy Knall, Tim Hinterberger, Megan Ritter, Meredith Lann, Jamie Elswick, Quentin Reuer and Tanya Leinicke.
Law school partnership note
UAA and Willamette University College of Law are partnering to enhance law school opportunities for Alaska college students while addressing concerns about student debt. The schools have signed a memorandum of understanding to offer a “3+3 program” allowing students to complete a bachelor’s degree and a law degree in six years, rather than the usual seven.
Faculty and staff note
Dr. Dewain Lee, dean of students and associate vice chancellor for student development, has been appointed to serve on the National Advisory Council for the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education (NCORE). NCORE focuses on creating systemic institutional change to improve racial and ethnic relations on campus and fostering greater educational access and success for traditionally underrepresented populations.
UAA produced a combined five All-Americans at the NCAA Outdoor Championships including runner-up performances by Karolin Anders (heptathlon) and Franz Burghagen (javelin). The women's track & field team won their second straight GNAC title with six individual titles and 14 all-conference honors. The men's team finished second at the GNAC meet, taking seven individual titles and landing 15 on the All-Conference team. Taking the league's GNAC Men’s Track & Field Athlete of the Year honor was UAA's Cody Thomas.
Healthy Minds note
More than 70 faculty, staff and students participated in a university-wide "Healthy Minds" conversation to talk about programs, projects and research at UAA aimed at supporting mental health. As the University of Alaska’s health campus, UAA is uniquely situated to develop a healthy minds ethos on our campuses and collaborate with on- and off-campus partners. Listen to the podcast here.
Thank you for all you do for UAA!