Public Affairs

May 10. 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 10, 2019

UA Board of Regents to review and suggest improvements to UA structure

ANCHORAGE -- Citing an imperative to reexamine the University of Alaska’s organizational structure, the Board of Regents authorized the Chairman to appoint a special task force to recommend structural changes for the university.

During a special board meeting yesterday, Board Chair John Davies said the Governor and the legislature have strongly encouraged the university to review its structure and to find more efficiencies. “We also recognize that budget tightening will continue for the foreseeable future,” he said. “The task force would gather input, be transparent in its process, and look at how best to move the university forward,” Davies said. “We can move quickly.”

“It’s such a large issue that having a small group of individuals look at it and report back to the board is imperative,” said board member Gloria O’Neill. The task force, supported by consultants from the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS), is charged with reporting preliminary recommendations to the board in September. 

Davies said the task force would assess options for the university’s structure using the vision established in UA2040 (www.alaska.edu/ua2040) and the board’s strategic goals. The task force will make recommendations based on priorities such as:

  • A more seamless student experience across the system;
  • A more cost effective administration; and,
  • A more efficient and accessible model for delivering academic programs. 

“As we continue to advocate for strong public and legislative support, we are also prepared to make changes that will improve quality and access to higher education opportunities for all Alaskans,” UA President Jim Johnsen told the board. 

The decision came at the conclusion of a special meeting focused on the university budget, an update on teacher education programs in Anchorage, and opportunities for offering a more seamless student experience across the entire University of Alaska system.

Davies said the task force would report its recommendations to the board at its September meeting after which input from students, faculty, staff and the public will be invited prior to any final decision by the Board of Regents.

The University of Alaska has been making difficult changes as state general fund support has been reduced by $51 million over the last five budget cycles. UA has eliminated 1,200 staff and faculty, cut 50 programs and downsized administration.

Most recently the regents made the decision to not seek reaccreditation for certain programs in the UAA School of Education and to deliver accredited programs to students in Anchorage from UAF and UAS. In addition, earlier this week, the university announced a major redesign and streamlining of human resources system-wide to enhance service and reduce cost. 

The meeting ended on a high note as chancellors and regents reflected on recent commencement celebrations, the success of students and the good work being done across the state in higher education.

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For more information, contact Roberta Graham, associate vice president of public affairs at 907-360-2416 (cell).

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