UA Regents meeting in Sitka highlights fisheries, art and distance delivery

by Michelle Saport  |   

The University of Alaska Board of Regents concluded a two-day meeting at the UA Sitka campus on a strong note after two days filled with fisheries and maritime information, testimonies on the impact of the campus on the community and a fond farewell to Mari Freitag, student regent.

During public testimony, Sitka residents, students and faculty testified in support of the varied programs offered by the campus, including those involving the fisheries and maritime industry, arts, construction and health care. Many who testified offered personal thoughts and stories about the impact of the local campus on the town and region of about 9,000 residents.

The general manager for the Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association, Steve Reifenstuhl, who has spent his life working in the industry, spoke passionately about the field. "The fisheries, seafood and maritime industries, with over 70,000 jobs, offer our children and citizens an exciting career path. With the right education, this career path can be a lucrative one, whether in reefer repair or fisheries research. I believe we can tell this story in a way that will invite greater participation within Alaska."

"The success of our faculty in high-tech distance instruction is leading the way for the whole UA family," said Campus Director Jeff Johnston. "New programs in fisheries management and law enforcement synthesize best practices and meet critical statewide needs. The Sitka campus has emerged as a healthcare education magnet and, with regional partners, a practical center for promoting economic development and environmental research."

The board approved formal project approvals for the University of Alaska Anchorage Health Campus Pedestrian Bridge; a project change request on UAA's MAC Housing Renewal; a project change request for UAF's Margaret Murie Life Sciences Research and Teaching Facility; adoption of a UAS Campus Master Plan; approval of a revision to Regents' Policy 05.12.040 on Capital Project Development; and an audit department name change.

The decision on whether to increase tuition for Fairbanks students enrolled in business management courses was postponed to next meeting, which will be held in Fairbanks June 6-7. The proposal to introduce "differential tuition" for UAF's School of Management was made to address projected budget shortfalls in the department.

Student Regent Mari Freitag enjoyed her last meeting with the board and received a resolution of appreciation outlining her life and college career. The regents also gave her a standing ovation for her outstanding efforts in representing the UA student body.

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