UA President Jim Johnsen announced in a press release on May 30 that Cathy Sandeen would be the next chancellor of UAA. Sandeen is currently serving as the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Colleges and the University of Wisconsin-Extension. She will begin at UAA on September 15.
“In joining our leadership team, our new chancellor will bring a great perspective on engaging faculty and staff on strategies to increase enrollment and student success,” Johnsen said in the release. “Of equal importance will be the relationships that Dr. Sandeen will establish with UAA’s alumni community and the Anchorage community.”
Sharon Chamard, chair of the chancellor search committee, said the committee was looking for someone with experience fundraising for a university, experience focusing on student success and someone who values diversity.
In a student forum on May 8, Sandeen said working with external constituencies has been a big part of her career.
“I’ve been involved in fundraising for 20 years in my various jobs even though all my jobs that have been at public universities, with the reduction of state support for so many of them, private giving becomes more and more important,” Sandeen said. “The first million dollar gift that I brought in on my own was way back early in my career when I was an assistant dean at University of California San Francisco.”
Sandeen is a first-generation college student and one of only two siblings in her family to seek higher education. Sandeen has a bachelor of arts degree from Humboldt State University in speech pathology, a master of arts from San Francisco State University in broadcast communication, a PhD in communication from the University of Utah and an MBA from the University of California Los Angeles in management.
“I can safely say that my life would be completely different if it weren’t for my education,” Sandeen said at the student forum. “I really have devoted my career to making sure that other people have similar opportunities.”
Sandeen said her current position at the University of Wisconsin Colleges and the University of Wisconsin-Extension is similar to the University of Alaska System.
“I’m currently a chancellor at the University of Wisconsin,” Sandeen said. “I oversee the University of Wisconsin Colleges and the University of Wisconsin-Extension. University of Wisconsin colleges are 13 small campuses, similar to the community campuses here at UAA, spread throughout the state of Wisconsin.”
In her first 100 days as chancellor, Sandeen said she wants to listen to different UAA constituent groups before making any changes.
There were 22 members on the search committee that represented student, staff and faculty groups. Sam Gingerich, interim chancellor of UAA, has been in the position since former Chancellor Tom Case retired in June 2017.
In the fall semester, a search committee was assembled to find a new chancellor, and in the spring the committee had their consulting firm, Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates hold several listening sessions for the UAA community. Sandeen was one of four finalists to present at open forums at UAA.