Demystifying UA decisions: Board of Regents profiles

About BOR:
The Board of Regents consist of eleven men and women around Alaska, one of which is a UA student regent, that are appointed to their positions by the residing governor and then confirmed by the Alaska Legislature.

But behind the fancy suits and the important meetings are real Alaskans who, outside of their BOR persona, live lives much like the everyday people seen around us. This section is presented as a profile of these men and women who do so much in the lives of UA students but don’t necessarily get the positive limelight that they deserve.

Current Events:

After the spectacle that occurred because of the tuition increase, the BOR hasn’t been ranked too highly in the lists of student’s favorite decision makers. Most students don’t really take into consideration that the BOR isn’t here to make the lives of students miserable; in fact it is quite the opposite.  The BOR was established to be an unbiased representation of both sides of the system to ensure that the UA system meets its standards, but also to make sure students are fairly heard.

They are currently at work ensuring the entire UA student body is getting the most of their education as can possibly be provided by the different universities around Alaska. This is achieved by the creation of an Academic Master Plan, which sets academic priorities for the next five years.

The Board of Regents are not the only ones who have a say in this program, the

UA Faculty Alliance, consisting of nine faculty representatives, three from each of the main universities, also give their personal opinions gained from the views received at each of their various institutions. They work closely with the Coalition of Student Leaders to review plans and give crucial input as needed.
John Petraitis, Chair of the Alliance; President, UAA Faculty Senate commented, “The goals are broad, outcome-oriented, and related to the mission of the University and the [Major Academic Units.]  The objectives under each goal are intended to be measurable, attainable, and positive. The activities are specific tasks to carry out the objectives.”

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This Academic Master Plan includes:

  • Educating students to become informed and responsible citizens.
  • Advancing research, scholarship, and creative activity.
  • Engaging Alaskans via lifelong learning, outreach, and community development.
  • Developing and enhance programs to respond to state needs.
  • Increasing consultation, collaboration, and coordination across UA.

Within each of these ideas come a vast variety of improvements not just throughout the university system, but also throughout the entire state from our K-12 schools to our rural communities. Though the plans create a momentous opportunity of improvement, there is also a great amount of sacrifices that must also be made.  One such sacrifice would be in order to increase and utilize the doctoral program efficiently, Ph.D. degrees would only be awarded by UAF which could damage some of the plans for students at UAA or UAS. This is only one example of a crucial piece of information hidden within the Academic Master Plan.

“I think that the students need to learn about the creation of this Academic Master Plan, since it will impact the development of programs to meet the needs of residents in south central Alaska,” said Deborah Mole, Associate Professor.

Not many students know of the significance of this document, especially since it is not widely circulated. It is available online on the Faculty Alliance’s website for anyone to take a look at, and the BOR is always open to getting comments and ideas that people want to present.

As with any major decision, sacrifice is inevitable for improvement, and the BOR’s goal is to reduce that sacrifice as much as possible for the good of the students as well as the university system.

The BOR will meet again in mid-February to read over the suggested changes and discuss any alterations to the plan.

Profiles:

Kirk Wickersham (Regent from 2007-2015)

  • Appointed to the Board of Regents in 2007 by Governor Palin.

  • He is a graduate of the University of Alaska, Yale Law School, and has a master’s degree from the University of Colorado.
  • He is the developer and owner of FSBO System.

  • · Why he wanted to become a Regent, “To make a contribution to the University, the students and the State.”

  • · What he hopes to achieve as a Regent, “Right now, the things that interest me the most are making sure that our facilities meet the needs of the University, campus master planning, and, after 93 years, either getting our land grant or getting a cash settlement of our land grant.”

  • · Words of wisdom to students, “Stick with it and graduate!”

Carl Marrs (Regent from 2005-2013)

  • Appointed to the Board of Regents in 2005 by Governor Murkowski.
  • He received a Doctor of Public Service, honoris causa, degree from Alaska Pacific University.
  • He is the recipient of the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce 2001 William A. Egan Outstanding Alaskan Award.
  • Why being a Regent is important, “We have a lot of students who are in need, not only in rural Alaska but in urban Alaska.”
  • Why the Regents are not the bay guys, “The university system has many needs across the state, and we can’t fund everything in one year. It’s our job to set priorities. As much as we would like to fund all these projects, such as a sports arena at UAA or new dorms at UAF, we have to make these tough decisions.”

BOR Meetings

January 26-27, 2011 – Anchorage retreat
February 17-18, 2011 – Anchorage meeting
April 6-7, 2011 – Palmer meeting

June 2-3, 2011 – Fairbanks meeting

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