My message regarding Governors State University

by Kathleen McCoy  |   

Dear Members of the UAA Community:

I am writing to tell you that I have accepted the presidency of Governors State University (GSU) in the south suburbs of Chicago and will assume that role on July 1, 2007. GSU is a university with a distinctive mission. Since its founding in 1969, GSU has been at the forefront of what the American Council on Education (ACE) calls 'the access imperative.' The university expresses its commitment to underserved students and to the larger community through exceptionally effective partnerships with community colleges, expertise and innovation in educating working adults, and leadership in the development of professional doctorates.

Mort and I are preparing to move on to this exciting new challenge with mixed emotion. Alaska will always be a part of us, just as we hope our legacy will always be a part of Alaska. As I write this letter, Mort is in Napakiak with UAA accounting students, helping people in this rural village fill out their income tax forms.
I am especially moved and honored by the vote of confidence enacted by both the Faculty Senate and the University Assembly. I will always cherish your high regard. I believe that these expressions of confidence and support reflect a unity of purpose and empowerment across the UAA family of campuses and bode well for UAA's future.

I am proud of what we have accomplished together at UAA, always in the interest of the students and the state as a whole. Building on the achievements of the past, we have kept a clear focus on student success.
The UAA faculty is the most dedicated group of scholar/teachers I have ever been privileged to work with. They have increased opportunities for undergraduates, as well as graduate students, to be involved in scholarship, artistic creativity, and research, discovering knowledge, not just digesting facts. As I heard one of UAA's aspiring young scientists say, 'You can't teach science; you have to DO science.' It is this commitment to the integration of teaching and research that makes UAA a very special place indeed.
UAA staff members who work on the front lines deserve much credit, whether in our offices or on our grounds, in Anchorage or Valdez, advising students, clearing snow, scheduling classrooms, all in the service of students and the larger community. Even as UAA has continued to grow in enrollment, we have improved the student experience in the classroom and beyond.

The groundbreaking for the Integrated Science Building was a pinnacle moment for UAA. Years of hard work by UAA stakeholders-faculty, staff, students, alumni, legislators, community members-resulted in full funding for the first major new science facility at UAA in over thirty years. The opening of the ANSEP Building was significant as a symbol of UAA's commitment to first Alaskans. The building's canoe shape sends a message to all students about the power of imagination and hard work to take them wherever they want to go.
It has never been more apt that a great city needs a great university, and, during my tenure, UAA has increasingly fulfilled that role for Anchorage. UAA is not an ivory tower but a public square-in its openness and support of students and in its organic connections with the community. In 2006, the Carnegie Foundation officially named UAA as one of only 62 community-engaged universities, in both classroom and community connections. The Ford Foundation honored UAA, in partnership with APU, by inviting us to join "Difficult Dialogues," designed to enhance communication across ethnic, racial, and religious differences.

Together, we completed our first-ever capital campaign, raising $13 million, well in excess of our ambitious goal. We have built infrastructure in all parts of Advancement. UAA is now better set up to make sure that we maintain strong ties with alumni and to develop new relationships with all community members.

I applaud all of you for the exceptional improvements in all performance metrics, resulting in the award of the lion's share of UA's performance-based resource pools for two years in a row. Excellent performance is related to the transparent process we have instituted for resource allocation and reallocation. During my tenure at UAA, we have worked to correct historically-created budget imbalances and established an internal research grant program designed to help jump-start the research interests of our faculty. We directed resources from administration to instruction, always keeping our eye on the best interests of students.

As I move on to the presidency of Governors State University this summer, I can say with confidence that UAA is in excellent shape and in very good hands. Our accomplishments have been many, and I know that faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members will keep the positive momentum going. We still have much to do, and I look forward to working with all of you on a smooth transition to new leadership and continued accomplishments.

Mort and I will always cherish the friends we have made here. In the interconnected world of higher education, we know that these friendships will be sustained, as we continue to build the future together.

Warm regards,


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