University of Alaska’s Future in Flux

erin-laughlinBY ERIN LAUGHLIN
Staff Writer, UAS Whalesong

The UA system employs 923 fewer people and has eliminated or suspended 50 academic programs due to a 53 million dollar decrease in funding over the past three years.

In the upcoming year the budget faces a daunting 20 percent decrease in funding. This is a larger decrease in one year than the system has seen over three years according to UA President Jim Johnsen during his annual State of the University address.

President Johnsen delivered his address to a packed house at the Alaska Chamber and the Juneau Chambers Business Roundtable lunch series in the Hangar Ballroom on Feb. 16.

In the address he also outlined the challenges facing the upcoming lean budget. The UA system faces a wide arrangement of short and long-term challenges. Continue reading “University of Alaska’s Future in Flux”

The Strategic Path: Student Success

Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs
For the UAS Whalesong

We are entering year four of significant budget cuts. When the largest budget item is the payroll, it is no wonder we are feeling a little stressed out. Budget reductions result in workforce reductions. We are also roughly half way through a cumbersome reorganization (aka, Strategic Pathways). Up to this point, the endgame has been vague and the logic behind some of the changes has been elusive. As a result, the appetite for change seems to be shrinking.

Reorgs are stressful, that is a given. Budget reductions are stressful, that is a given. To some, this might feel like a rock and a hard place. In this place of higher learning, we can find a constructive path forward if we focus on the one reason we are here – student learning. Continue reading “The Strategic Path: Student Success”

What’s Next for Strategic Pathways?

holly-fisher-1BY 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. Continue reading “What’s Next for Strategic Pathways?”

UAS School of Ed. Lives! School to Become UA College of Education

holly-fisher-1BY HOLLY FISHER
Staff Writer, UAS Whalesong

In a follow up to my last article at the end of Fall semester, I am pleased to announce that the University of Alaska Southeast has been allowed to maintain the School of Education (SoE)! And what’s more, the entire multi-branched SoE system will be moved to base out of our Southeast campus. An implementation plan for the newly consolidated College of Education will go into effect no later than July 1, 2017, pending approval by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Continue reading “UAS School of Ed. Lives! School to Become UA College of Education”

University of Alaska Copes with Another Year of Cuts

kasey-chen-1BY KASEY CHEN
Staff Writer, UAS Whalesong

At their November 10 meeting, The University of Alaska Board of Regents (BOR) approved a tuition hike of 5 percent and solidified their budget request for the 2018 fiscal year. Their plan accounts for a decrease in state funding over the next 10 years and relies on a surge of enrollment based on projections saying 65 percent of jobs in Alaska will require some postsecondary education by 2025, a 28 percent increase from today’s 37 percent. They are currently in the second phase of a 3-phase plan for restructuring entitled “Strategic Pathways,” which seeks to review and consolidate programs within the university system. Continue reading “University of Alaska Copes with Another Year of Cuts”

Rally: “Keep Bright Stars in Alaska” for University of Alaska Funding

Last Tuesday at noon, Alaskans gathered outside the Capitol with a loud and clear message to the legislature: the University of Alaska is important to all Alaskans. The House Finance Subcommittee moved forward roughly $50 million in cuts from the budget proposed by the UA Board of Regents. The budget sent to the House Finance Committee included funding for student instruction and the bare minimum … Continue reading Rally: “Keep Bright Stars in Alaska” for University of Alaska Funding