‘It’s more and it’s familiar’: John Stalvey appointed as interim provost for academic affairs

John Stalvey said his new position as interim provost for Academic Affairs is “more but familiar,” and he felt a responsibility towards the university. Photo credit: Josua Borough

John Stalvey, formerly dean of UAA’s College of Arts and Sciences, has been appointed interim provost for Academic Affairs.

Duane Hrncir’s term as interim provost ended on June 30 and UA president Jim Johnsen searched for a new appointment.

“I offered the position to Dean Stalvey after consulting with several key leaders at UAA and UA,” Johnsen wrote in an email. “He has had a long career as a faculty and in university administration, his college is the largest in the UA system, he received numerous expressions of support, and I have personally been impressed by him in many meetings over the last several years.”

Stalvey graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts. He also has a Masters of Science in physiology, as well as a doctorate in biophysics and physiology from the University of Southern California. Not only has he served as the dean of College of Arts and Sciences at UAA since 2012, he has also served as associate dean for the same college at Kent State University.

Stalvey said he enjoyed his former position, but felt a responsibility to take the interim provost seat.

“I really enjoy being dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, so this is not something that I had aspired to,” Stalvey said. “But, when the president of the [university] system calls you and asks you if you’d be willing to serve, I felt a responsibility to the university and to UAA.”

Although Stalvey is now overseeing all of UAA’s colleges as opposed to focusing on one, his plans remain student-oriented.

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They include UAA 2020, which is a strategic plan to obtain short-term goals for the university, such as focusing on removing barriers to student and faculty success, increasing new student retention, as well as increasing the number of graduates in high-demand job areas by 2 percent each year.

“I think that that’s a critical initiative, and so making sure we continue to make progress on that is absolutely and fundamentally important to both UAA and also to the state of Alaska and UA system,” Stalvey said.

John Petraitis, the associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, has been appointed as the interim dean of the college. Photo credit: Katie Behnke

In the meantime, John Petraitis, the associate dean of CAS, has been appointed as the interim dean of the college, a decision that was made by Stalvey.

“Given his experience as a chair of a department, president of the faculty senate, and he’s been in the associate dean position for a little over 6 years, he really knows the ins and outs of the university as well as the college,” Stalvey said. “I thought that he seemed to be a really good choice and I think he’s going to do a good job.”

Student success is also important to Petraitis. He considers it to be both his short-term and long-term goals with the resources the university has.

“If our students do not persist and do not graduate, we are falling short on our chief mission,” Petraitis said. “We can get students into the university, we need to make sure we have them in the right classes, that they’re having good experiences and they progress from one semester to two semesters to three semesters to get to the point [of graduation].”

The appointments were effective July 1. The lengths of the terms are indeterminable, but Johnsen said they will depend on how long it takes for the incoming UAA chancellor, Cathy Sandeen, to fill the provost position.

“I expect it to be one of her top priorities,” Johnsen wrote in his email. “So I would anticipate a decision within the academic year.”

Stalvey said his new workload is more expanded now that he oversees areas like curriculum, research and faculty, all of which are under academic affairs, but it’s still familiar.

“It’s more and it’s familiar,” Stalvey said. “I’ve got a great support staff. Anything I don’t know, they teach me.”