BY HOLLY FISHER
Staff Writer, UAS Whalesong
As The University of Alaska system continues the long and complex journey of revamping to fit new budget constraints, new information is beginning to be released regarding Phase II of the Strategic Pathways.
So far some of the changes have been gradual while others have been more abrupt, with a lot of input coming from staff, students, and community members.
Strategic Pathways and Board of Regents agendas for 2017 are quite full. They intend, hopefully, to accomplish as much as possible this year, and to lay to rest a lot of uncertainty that has surrounded these proceedings from the beginning.
For the Phase II update, eight review teams reported back to the heads of the University on work they had done concerning possible options for the direction of eight different areas of the UA system.
Four academic elements were up for discussion: Community Campuses, E-learning, Fisheries, and Health.
Four administrative elements were also given suggested options: Institutional Research, Student Services, Human Resources, and University Relations.
Detailed PDFs are available on the Strategic Pathways website, explaining each option under consideration, its pros and cons, and what elements need further discussion before the next direction can be decided upon. Program-specific feedback forums are also available directly below the PDF link. I encourage you to take some time to examine each one, especially if it concerns an area of special interest for you.
During the next two months the review teams and President Johnson will be meeting with the faculty and staff associated with the above-mentioned areas. They will discuss each set of options, and decide which ones will best benefit the UA system, and should be presented for further consideration. The final decisions on Phase II will be rendered at the beginning on June of this year.
The current goal was for 15 of the 23 affected areas to have been reviewed by the end of January, and for Phase II to kickoff on January 30. This is in keeping with the timeline laid out for the Pathways redesign when it began last academic year.
This ongoing work will change how all of the schools operate, affect the cities around them, and shift future options for new and returning students across the state. With how high these stakes are, it is important that all of us take part in advising the choices currently under consideration.
The next Board of Regents call-in session will be 4-6 p.m. on Feb. 21. They are very open to commentary from outside sources, and strive to offer many options for people to reach them. If something is on your mind during these uncertain times for our school, call in and see what they may say about your questions.
Another option is the feedback form mentioned above. There is also a list of email address for all non-program specific questions or commentary.
If you have encountered something you are excited to see happen in the coming days, something that you do not like about these developments, or if you have a separate suggestion all together, go online and make sure your voice is heard.
This is a worrisome time for many of us whose concerns for our futures are growing with each change that is announced and instituted.
If you have concerns, please do not keep these concerns to yourself! Be civil, but be clear, and do not be afraid to explain your position. You are as much a part of UAS as all who have attended, worked for, or been involved with this school in any way since it’s founding. You should be part of shaping these changes, and designing what all future students will encounter here.
The Whalesong will have more information about the developments in Strategic Pathways as they occur.