Update from Interim Chancellor Schultz

by Bruce Schultz, UAA Interim Chancellor  |   

Dear UAA Community,

As my time as interim chancellor comes to a close, I want to express what a privilege it has been to lead the institution over the past six months. I am amazed by the way our community comes together to meet challenges and the positive momentum we have maintained in the midst of unprecedented change. My goal as interim chancellor was to lead UAA toward greater stability, transparency and certainty and to be an effective bridge connecting the permanent chancellors.

In January, we launched UAA 2025 reaffirming our commitment to put students first and to advance an inclusive, equitable and diverse campus culture. In support of our new strategic plan, the UAA Alaska Native Success Action Team has been working in concert with the University of Alaska president’s Alaska Native Success Initiative. Team members gathered data measuring Alaska Native representation and indicators of success among UAA’s faculty, staff and student populations and they have drafted recommendations for actionable steps to effect systemic change.

This coming academic year, UAA will make more than $10 million in federal coronavirus relief funding available to registered students as scholarships and grants. The fall semester is an excellent time for students to return to school. Whether enhancing existing skills or retraining, UAA graduates will be qualified for the best jobs in our recovering economy. With that purpose in mind, the Municipality of Anchorage awarded UAA a $5 million grant for Anchorage residents to earn one of our Fast Track Certificates this coming year.

Although enrollment is down overall, fall 2021 enrollment is up 12.5% among first-time students, 28.3% among transfer students and 3.4% among graduate students compared to fall 2020. Now, more than ever, each of us must look for opportunities to grow our enrollment and encourage friends, family and neighbors seeking opportunities for professional and educational growth to consider UAA. It is clear to me that our most certain path toward fiscal stability is through enrollment growth.

Last week, we observed once again the power of advocacy and philanthropy thanks to our athletics supporters. The Board of Regents acknowledged UAA gymnastics’ success raising private funds to cover operating expenses for the 2021-22 athletic season leading to reinstatement; the team’s fundraising efforts will continue for the 2022-23 season. This follows the regents’ reinstatement of the Alpine skiing team in January resulting from fundraising success. I am optimistic hockey will reach its fundraising goal. To date, they have raised nearly $2.3 million toward their $3 million goal, with a deadline of Aug. 30, 2021. I encourage you to continue supporting the hockey and gymnastics teams as their success so far has proven that fiscal stability for athletics can be achieved by diversifying funding sources.

Ms. Carrie Lewis’ generous $15 million gift to UAA is further evidence that a positive philanthropic culture is developing for UAA. Ms. Lewis’ estate gift is the largest in the university’s history and the endowed funds will support initiatives that increase access to higher education for first-generation students and advance student success at UAA. These are just a few examples of the many ways our community is rallying behind its hometown university.

In my 29 years working at UAA, I can say with certainty that there has never been a better time for students to enroll at UAA than right now. As I transition back into my role as vice chancellor for student affairs, I look forward to continue contributing to the good work taking place here, working alongside Chancellor Parnell to open doors and expand opportunities for our students.

Thank you for walking with me on this journey and for the incredible resilience you have shown.

Sincerely,
Bruce Schultz, Ed.D.
UAA Interim Chancellor

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