Board of Regents to discuss future student programs

Updates in BOR:

There are two new members to the Board of Regents, Jyotsna Heckman and Mike Powers who were both appointed by Governor Sean Parnell for the 2011 year and will serve their term until 2019. They will be replacing two longtime members; Cynthia Henry and Erik Drygas who together pulled in more than 12 years of service for the BOR.

“Ms. Heckman and Mr. Powers possess exceptional levels of management skills and community involvement,” Governor Parnell said. “Their addition to the Board of Regents will benefit Alaska’s statewide university system, and I join with Alaskans statewide in thanking outgoing Regents Cynthia Henry and Erik Drygas for their work.”

Ashton Compton, current BOR Student Regent, will also be relinquishing her seat. Compton is a junior pursuing a Political science degree at UAF and was appointed in 2009 by Governor Palin. Elections for the new Student Regent were last week and the student with the most votes will serve a term with the Regents starting June 1, 2011 through May 31, 2013.

Upcoming Events:

Board of Regents will be meeting February 17, 2011 from 9:00am to 7:00pm and on February 18, 2011 from 9:00am to 3:00pm at the Lee Gorsuch Commons.

The Board of Regents will be meeting to address many issues concerning the future of important student programs including:

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Engineering Expansion Plan. This plan will request more funds to help expand the engineering department both at UAA and UAF. According to recent statistics, by 2012, UAA and UAF will produce 200 undergraduate trained engineers annually, more than double the annual number of current undergraduate trained engineers. This is why it is so crucial that the expansion be initiated in order to accommodate the vastly increasing flow of incoming undergraduates to the engineering program.  Space is also a big issue that needs to be addressed, with the student population growing; the need for larger classrooms and larger workspaces is greatly needed. The plan also includes the idea of creating a joint college and School of Engineering alliance to be specifically targeted towards allowing students to participate in real world engineering projects before graduation. Lastly, and most importantly, is the need to increase the amount of Bachelor degree recipients to continue their education to attain Masters and Ph.D. degrees in related engineering fields.

UAA Seawolf Sports Arena. Since 2009, the Sports Arena has been in the works starting out from an $80 million dollar facility that would seat 3,600 and evolving into a $110 million dollar facility that would seat 5,600. UAA is greatly anticipating the construction of a new sports arena because it will boost UAA’s image and encourage a richer athletic diversity and the ability to offer more athletic programs. The current plans have been amended and the BOR will discuss the amendments and decide whether to move forward with them.

UAA Construction. Science Building Renovation: The science building has already seen a fair share of construction, with the first floor already holding classes. The plan is to get approval to complete the last phase of construction in the upstairs area and allow the building to fully accommodate classes. UAA MAC Housing Fire System Upgrade: Great news for students living in the dorms, the fire system is finally being upgraded to up-to-date standards and fire codes allowing for safer living conditions for students. UAA Health Science Building: Discussion on the current construction process and the details on whether the project will be completed by the anticipated date of early August 2011.

Advisory Council.  This is a proposal to implement a new council system. The council will be advisory in nature, and will offer guidance to the university and serve as a link for the public population. The council members will be appointed by the Chancellor for up to three-year terms and will consist of seven to fifteen members. They will advocate for the interests of the University, participate in the recruitment, selection, and periodic evaluation of a chancellor, review the development of new program proposals, review and recommend changes to regents’ policy, among other responsibilities. The reality of creating such a council is still undecided.


Anyone is welcome to attend and speak at the meeting. Comments are limited to three minutes per individual or as determined by the chair. Written comments are accepted and will be distributed to the Board of Regents and President Gamble following the meeting.


Fuller Cowell Term: 2007-2015

  • Fuller Cowell of Anchorage, chair of the board, was appointed in 2007 by Governor Palin
  • He completed his bachelors of business administration with an emphasis in marketing at National University, Sacramento, California graduating Summa Cum Laude.
  • Why he wanted to become a Regent, “I have benefited greatly over the years from being a citizen of Alaska and the United States of America. So I see it as an honor to be able to give back to my fellow Alaskans.”
  • What he wants to accomplish as a Regent, “I hope to be a good steward of the University, and move its strategic plans forward for the benefit of future generations of Alaskans.”
  • His view on the equality of representation among students and the UA system, “I believe students are exceptionally well represented on the Board of Regents.  Our students Regent is a “voting” member of the Board, which is rare among public universities nationwide.”
  • Why flying helicopters is his favorite thing to do outside of work, “I tell my friends, helicopters are the closest thing there is to a magic carpet.  Flying is the ultimate freedom and helicopters are the ultimate in flying.”
  • Words of encouragement to students, “Hang in there and finish.  I know it is difficult and at times may seem unachievable, but a college degree will pay personal and financial dividends for the rest of your life.”

Timothy Brady Term: 2005-2015

  • Timothy Brady of Anchorage was appointed in 2005 by Governor Murkowski and reappointed in 2007 by Governor Palin.
  • He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University’s School of Engineering, Division of Construction.
  • He served on the University’s Construction Management Advisory Committee, providing an important partnership link between the business world and education.
  • Why he wanted to become a Regent, “I believe there is a lot of work to be done, and I want to be committed to further development of programs and campuses.”
  • What he hopes to accomplish as a Regent, “The board assembles design teams to find competitive prices to fit the UA’s budget and is much of its policy to increase consistency. I wish to see the UA schools become schools of choice, more so than now.”
  • What he thinks of the UA system, “70 to 80 percent of Alaskan residents who attend the UA system remain in the state afterwards. I feel the UA does a good job offering programs that lead to jobs and careers in Alaska.”