{news briefs}

Candidate sounds off

Gubernatorial candidate Andrew Halcro spoke to UAA students at the Economics Club meeting Feb. 14. Part of the club’s ongoing program to bring candidates to speak at UAA, Halcro’s visit gave students an opportunity to hear his economic platform and financial policies. Halcro is a Republican representative in Anchorage and has sponsored such legislation as establishing Juneteenth (the third Sat. in June) and an alcoholic beverage tax. Halcro is also the vice-chairman of the labor and commerce committee.

Survey shows improving opinion of University

The McDowell Group’s findings of a public opinion survey conducted last October shows Alaska residents have a better opinion about the University of Alaska than they did six years ago. The group conducted a phone survey of 925 Alaska residents, asking questions on UA’s importance to Alaska, its comparison to other public universities in the U.S. and state funding for the university. Most of the respondents (97 percent) thought the university was important to Alaska, a 7 percent increase from 1999, when the group conducted the last survey. More parents in 2005 than in 1999 also said they would encourage their children to go to school at UA _” 88 percent total for 2005 compared to 76 percent total for 1999. The group also asked new questions in the survey regarding quality compared to other public universities and the satisfaction UA graduates had with their experience. A quarter of respondents said UAA was better than other schools, while 18 percent said it was worse and 39 percent said UA offered about the same quality education as other schools. While about half the respondents had taken classes at UA, only 16 percent of them had earned degrees or certificates. Most of those with degrees (97 percent) said they were satisfied with their experience at UA. More than half of the respondents said state funding for UA should be increased, 31 percent thought funding should stay the same and 4 percent said state funding should be decreased.

Capital Campaign funds exceed goal by $900,000

Former UAA Chancellor Lee Gorsuch started the capital campaign in July 2003 to raise money to develop UAA. After a three-year silent phase, during in which alumni and businesses were solicited to donate to the campaign, UAA has collected $12.9 million in funds. Gorsuch’s goal was to raise $12 million. Philanthropic campaigns are a necessary part of public university funding, providing the money for such projects as new buildings and better facilities. UAA’s new ANSEP building is funded by the capital campaign, and improved science facilities will also be funded through the campaign. The campaign enters its second silent phase in 2008.

Regents approve hands-off policy for broadcasters

During regularly scheduled meetings Feb. 15-16, the UA Board of Regents approved several degrees for the UAA and UAF campuses, and approved a policy stating the regent’s noninvolvement in the programming decisions of the three radio stations and one TV station licensed to UA. The policy states the UA president will ensure the broadcasters operate according to the Federal Communications Commission regulations, but the regents will not participate in the stations’ programming decisions. The degrees approved for UAA were an associate for applied science in digital art and a graduate certificate for global supply chain management. UAF was approved to offer post-baccalaureate degrees in elementary and secondary education, counseling and K-12 art. The regents also approved and instituted the University of Alaska Need-Based Financial Aid Program, which will try to help low-income students get the aid they need to attend the university.