Update on UAA Bookstore transformation

by Bruce Schultz, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs  |   

Dear UAA staff and faculty,

I’m writing today to share an update on the ongoing UAA Bookstore transformation process. As we shared in an email last fall, the Bookstore Transformation working group identified a number of different options for the Chancellor’s Cabinet to consider.

In response to the options identified, UAA worked with the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) to audit and evaluate UAA Bookstore operations. These efforts found that the Anchorage campus Bookstore has been operating at a deficit that UAA cannot cover given the current fiscal situation and student buying patterns and usage.

After analyzing industry best practices and weighing the options against our fiscal reality, the Chancellor’s Cabinet made the difficult decision to outsource the handling of textbooks and course materials to a third-party vendor beginning in the fall 2020 term. UAA has selected Akademos, a national leader in online and hybrid bookstore solutions for colleges and universities. Without outsourcing, we would need to significantly increase costs in order to offset the accumulated debt, which would intensify student success barriers stemming from access to course materials.

While this transition produces cost savings for the university and the students we serve, it cannot be achieved without staffing reductions. There will no longer be a physical course materials store moving forward. However, this fall we will transition to a Seawolf apparel and branded merchandise store model that will operate virtually. When appropriate campus space becomes available, I look forward to reopening a physical store for merchandise.

We are extremely grateful for the hard work, flexibility and dedication demonstrated by our Bookstore staff over the years. Unfortunately, substantial declines in state funding, paired with the COVID-19 pandemic and shifting industry best practices, necessitate significant transformation within the university. This is one of many initiatives aimed at closing the budget gap and supporting the university’s long-term sustainability.

Thank you for your unwavering dedication to our students and the university community.

Bruce Schultz
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

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