Dean's Letter to Alumni

March 31, 2016

Dear College of Arts and Sciences Alumni, 

It’s not often I reach out to you, but I wanted make sure you are a part of the current conversation.   

You may have seen or heard news about the state budget situation and its potential impact on UAA. Based on communications from University leadership and the legislature, we can expect our University to see a significant decline in state funding for the coming academic year—and possibly beyond.

Although budget reductions will likely require us to do things differently, our College is committed to providing all students access to a high quality liberal arts education. In fact, UA President Jim Johnsen at the December Board of Regents meeting stated that a liberal arts education IS workforce development. 

I agree. And I am confident that the talented CAS faculty and staff are up to the challenge and will figure out the best way to meet this commitment to our students and to our state.

As this legislative budget process continues to unfold over the next few months, we face many uncertainties. And while it may be easy to be weighed down, it is my hope that we can see this as an opportunity to transform ourselves to meet the changing needs of the state. We need to maintain our commitment to the breadth of degrees and courses important to foundational education in the liberal arts and sciences: humanities, the fine arts, mathematics, and the natural and social sciences.

We should not lose focus on these priorities.

If you have seen the President’s transformational framework document, Strategic Pathways, you should know he stresses that this is a draft. Nothing is a “done deal,” and so the College will use this time of waiting to continue providing strong courses, programs, and student learning experiences.

Together, we can help our community—and our state—understand the importance of having a strong liberal arts college here at UAA. And the best thing you, as alumni, can do is let your friends, family, neighbors, and legislators know the value of your UAA education and how it has impacted you as a professional and a community member. We can do that by sharing our successes. Stories like…

  • Students doing undergraduate research and field work that will help them secure good jobs;
  • Alumni in the community helping make Alaska a better place to live and work;
  • Faculty advancing student achievement and knowledge through important research and activities;
  • And staff who work tirelessly to support and advance the mission of the University.

We live in an ever-changing world full of unscripted, complex problems, and a liberal arts education prepares people to live and thrive in that world. Please share your stories and let others know that cuts to higher education are not the solution. 



John R. D. Stalvey, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Arts and Sciences