UAA works on filling interim positions

At the beginning of this academic year, five of the top executive positions were held by interims. At this point in the semester, three of those positions have been filled for the upcoming year and a fourth is in the search process.

Sam Gingerich, interim chancellor of UAA, has been in the position since former Chancellor Tom Case retired in June of 2017. Last semester, a search committee was assembled to find a new chancellor, and this semester the committee had their consulting firm, Storbeck/Pimentel Associates hold several listening sessions for the UAA community.

“The next opportunity for the campus community at large to weigh in will be when we have candidates actually on campus,” Sharon Chamard, chair of the search committee, said. “Right now, we are actually looking at exam week and the week after to have candidates on campus.”


The chancellor position is still open for applications. Chamard said the search committee is trying to find a list of possible candidates to bring to campus this year so that the university has a full-time chancellor next year.

“One of the goals is do we want to try get it done this year or, because if it’s not pretty much wrapped up in terms of input from the committee and other key constituencies, if that’s not wrapped up by the end or basically the middle of May, it’s going to stop,” Chamard said. “Nothing will happen until the university is back in regular session in August. So then we are looking at not having a new chancellor until possibly another year.”

Hiring processes for academic positions typically start in the summer and try to find successful candidates before the following academic year said Fred Barlow, dean of the College of Engineering and chair of the completed search committee for dean of the College of Business and Public Policy.

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Barlow’s committee used a consulting firm starting in summer of 2017 to find candidates for a dean.

“When you are looking for a more senior person, whether that be the provost, the chancellor, a dean, someone like the vice chancellor, something along those lines, using a search firm and having it go through a search firm is the normal process.”

On Jan. 19, Interim Provost Duane Hrncir announced that Karen Markel would be the next dean of the College of Business and Public Policy starting in June.

“Dr. Markel has presented her research at numerous conferences worldwide and published in journals such as The Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Business Ethics and Human Relations,” Hrncir wrote in the memo to the UAA community. “She holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Washington University in St. Louis, a master’s degree in sociology from SUNY Buffalo and a doctoral degree in human resource management from Michigan State University.”

On March 27, UAS’s Executive Assistant to the Chancellor and Public Information Officer, Keni Campbell, wrote in a press release that the position of Executive Dean for the new Alaska College of Education would be Steve Atwater, who was the interim dean of the College of Education at UAF.

“Atwater will be based in Juneau but will travel extensively to work with university leaders, faculty, and staff across the entire state,” Campbell wrote in the release. “In addition to the new Alaska College of Education at UAS, UAA and UAF will continue to provide high quality teacher preparation and other education programs at their respective campuses. They will be led by directors who, together with faculty from all three universities, will make up the new UA Teacher Education Council.”

These two recent announcements account for two of the formerly interim dean positions held by Paul Deputy in the College of Education and by Bogdan Hoanca for the College of Business and Public Policy.

On March 9, the interim chancellor announced that Beverly Cotton Shuford would fill the position of vice chancellor for Administrative Services.

In an article from Sept. 10, UA President Jim Johnsen told The Northern Light that by the summer of 2018, “We will have a permanent chancellor and a permanent provost and the deans will all be permanent deans.”

The fifth unfilled position is for provost and executive vice chancellor.