Next chancellor needs to push for more infrastructure

With the opening of the ConocoPhillips Integrated Science Building opening at the beginning of the current academic year playing the role of her crowning achievement in her stint at UAA, what more can Chancellor Fran Ulmer possibly do for this University?

That’s not an easy question to answer.

Sure, there are more things that she can probably do to advance the Anchorage campus. But, with the Regents’ focus still apparently on UAF, she may have ended up fighting an uphill battle.

On March 1, 2007, UA President Mark Hamilton – who too is the verge of calling his UA time good– appointed Ulmer as the interim chancellor of UAA after the resignation of former Chancellor Elaine Maimon.

She took over officially in April 2008. By March 2009, two years after her initial foray into chancellorship, the first round of documents were submitted to the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, making UAA a pilot institution in a new and accelerated accreditation program.

Then, a few months later, the ConocoPhillips Integrated Science Building was finished after an anonymous $7 million donation.

In the previous year of Ulmer’s chancellorship, there have been some great steps taken to better the University. But it kind of leaves us wondering what happened during her first two years at the helm.

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Has she pushed for more infrastructure at UAA?
For the addition of more graduate programs?

The answer…probably. But, overall there has not been any noticeable difference. What she has done has helped, but UAA needs much more.

In the next 18-months, hopefully the University will be able to find someone who will push even harder for the advancement of UAA. Someone who will push back at the UA system when they attempt to look past UAA’s obvious needs.

UAA desperately needs more infrastructure. Despite what the higher ups say (here’s to you President Hamilton) when they assert that UAA has gained more buildings than any other campus in the last 10 years or so, UAA needs these buildings and more. According to the UA in Review 2008 there are 269 buildings that are part of the Fairbanks campus. UAA has a total of 81.

UAA is playing catch-up. It needs these buildings to support the ever-growing student body.

Also, if these buildings are built, other changes for the better will inevitably follow. With the addition of infrastructure will come better facilities for the various undergrad programs at UAA and will attract more students to enroll. With more students in these programs, the more demand there will likely be for more graduate programs. And then it comes around full circle. The coupling of higher quality programs and better, newer facilities will heighten the standing of UAA in the academic community.