President Johnsen has a discussion with the Board of Regents. The next meeting will be held March 2-3 in Anchorage. Photo by Monique Musick.

System News February 2017

  • Johnsen meets with units affected by options in Phase II of the Strategic Pathways process
  • University of Alaska signs voluntary resolution agreement with U.S. Education Department, receives letter of findings on Title IX violations
  • Mary Gower named Chief Title IX Officer
  • Johnsen presents State of the University address
  • Board of Regents to meet in Anchorage March 2-3
  • The Capitol Report, Feb. 27, 2017

Johnsen meets with units affected by options in Phase II of the Strategic Pathways process

Strategic Pathways is evolving. With Phase III well underway, UA President Jim Johnsen is broadening the strategic engagement process.

Over the past few months, Johnsen received feedback about the first phase of Strategic Pathways - specifically that there was not enough time allotted for input, and decisions were made without governance guidance. Although the process of developing the options involved 250 review team members, including 66 faculty positions, 1000s of input messages online, and public forums, it missed focused, deliberate input from those directly affected by the proposed options. It also did not allow adequate time for the UA community to deliberate the president’s proposed directions. Learning from that first round paved the way for a more deliberate, longer engagement process to gather input not only from those affected, but also from students as well as business and community leaders.  MORE

University of Alaska signs voluntary resolution agreement with U.S. Education Department, receives letter of findings on Title IX violations

University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen announced to the university community on Feb. 20 that the university had signed a voluntary resolution agreement (VRA) with the U.S. Department of Education. The agreement represents the culmination of a three-year compliance review by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of UA’s handling of sexual assault and sexual harassment incidents on its campuses.

In May 2014, OCR began its review of thousands of pages of documents submitted by the university as part of its examination of the university’s handling of reports of sexual harassment, including sexual violence.  As signed, the VRA lists 13 actionable items the university agreed to undertake, many of which have already begun or been completed. The university also released a 32-page “Letter of Findings,’ which outlined in detail the cases the OCR reviewed.

The VRA includes issues that the university publicly acknowledged in October 2015, after completing its own internal review of sexual assault cases.  The OCR noted that “the UA system has taken several significant actions to remedy noncompliance with Title IX.”  MORE...

Mary Gower named Chief Title IX Officer

President Johnsen appointed Mary Gower as Chief Title IX Officer in February. She reports directly to the president in her new role. As Chief Title IX Officer, Gower has primary responsibility for coordinating the university's efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities under Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in all operations of the university and  retaliation against those who report violations of any right or privilege secured by Title IX .

As Chief Title IX Officer, Gower will assist the University of Alaska in achieving its goal of providing an open, diverse and inclusive learning and working environment by leading the university's response and compliance efforts related to Title IX, including the provisions of the Voluntary Resolution Agreement the university entered into with the Office of Civil Rights.

Statewide staff wishing to make a Title IX report still use campus Title IX contacts. In Fairbanks, the Title IX Coordinator is Kevin Calderara; in Anchorage, the Title IX Coordinator is Bridget Dooley. For information on reporting, and other Title IX contacts throughout the system, refer to https://www.alaska.edu/titleIXcompliance/.

Johnsen presents State of the University Address in Juneau

The 2017 State of the University Address was given by President Johnsen on February 16 as part of the Juneau Chamber of Commerce and Alaska State Chamber Business Roundtable Luncheon series at the Hangar in Juneau.

Video and text of the address is posted at www.alaska.edu/pres/sou.

Board of Regents to meet in Anchorage March 2-3

The UA Board of Regents spring meeting will take place March 2-3 in Anchorage.

Leading the agenda is the university's FY18 budget and Strategic Pathways updates as well as a discussion on how the university approaches shared governance.

The board will hear an update on the legislative session, receive a UA Foundation update and will honor outgoing student regent Stacey Lucason with a resolution of appreciation for her service to the university and to the Board of Regents.

The meeting will take place in the Lee Gorsuch Commons room 107 at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Video streaming will be available during open session at http://www.alaska.edu/bor/live/.

An evening public gathering with the regents will take place Thursday, March 2 in the Lee Gorsuch Commons room 106 from 5:30–7 p.m. Public gatherings provide an opportunity for local community members to provide in-person feedback to the board. The informal gatherings are held during the first evening of each full board meeting at the meeting location.

The agendas for committee and full board meetings are posted one week prior to the meeting date at http://www.alaska.edu/bor/agendas.

The Capitol Report, Feb. 27, 2017

By Miles Baker
Associate Vice President Government Relations

Feb. 27, 2017

This week, the Alaska State House will hold two hearings a day in an effort to complete its operating budget work by early next week. Budget subcommittees have finished their work, and began reporting their recommendations to the full House Finance Committee last week. Those subcommittee reports will continue today and tomorrow.

The subcommittee responsible for reviewing and making recommendations on the university’s operating budget for next year held its final meeting on Thursday afternoon. The committee’s report will be presented to the full committee today at 1:00 p.m. The committee is recommending $325 million in unrestricted general funds for the university. This is the same as the university’s current funding level, and consistent with the Governor’s request. However, it is still $16 million below the Board of Regents’ request of $341 million for FY18. Representative Adam Wool proposed an amendment that would have added $16 million to the budget and fully funded the regents’ request. However, the subcommittee’s chairman Representative Guttenberg, did not put the amendment forward for consideration.

The subcommittee added three sections of legislative intent language to our budget:

  • That the university reduce the number of athletic teams at UAA and UAF to the minimum required by the NCAA
  • That unrestricted general fund reductions or reallocations at the three main universities be no greater than those made at statewide administration
  • That athletics at UAA and UAF be funded equally, at the current UAF unrestricted general fund level for athletics

You can read the house subcommittee’s full report here. Watch the final house subcommittee meeting and its discussion on Rep Wool’s amendment here.

While this is just the first step in the legislature’s budget process, it becomes increasingly difficult to make changes to the budget as the process progresses. While the Senate is just beginning its own review of the budget, the Senate Majority has already indicated it intends to cut another 5 percent ($16.25 million) from the university’s budget, which will put us $32 million below the Board of Regents’ request. As you know, the university has already sustained a $53 million (14 percent) reduction over the last three years. An additional 5 percent would represent a $70 million reduction since FY15. MORE...

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