UA regents’ vote on the university system’s structure is moved from September to November. Jim Johnsen, President of the University of Alaska, stated that this would buy them more time for any possible input.
Just weeks before a scheduled board meeting in Alaska, Johnsen introduced the suggested plan in a regents’ subcommittee meeting on Wednesday.
The UA plans on amending the budget plan as it has been revealed that Governor Mike Dunleavy changed his stance on state funding for the university. Until recently, UA had a $135 million of state funding. However, once the new fiscal year started on July 1, it was decreased to $25 million. Gov. Dunleavy added that he supported cutting an additional $45 million of UA funds in the next two years.
As fundings have decreased, the regents decided to cancel their proclamation of financial exigency, which was to happen last week. In turn, they have slowed down the removal of programs and job cuts.
Johnsen is suggesting that teams from the university sit down and review their programs and units before the new semester starts. They would decide how to combine, reduce, or terminate some programs and units, such as research and engineering. Consequently, in November, regents would review the said report.
Johnsen stated that, when the board reached the decision regarding a new structure in November, they would finish the transition during the summer of 2020. He added that the changes would be operational in the fall.
Johnsen has been tasked by the regents to devise a plan which would combine three separate universities into one that would have numerous locations. However, chancellors have strongly opposed this plan, together with those who agree that the universities should be separately accredited. Those accreditations would follow a collaborative consortium model.
Johnsen is going to introduce the new timeline in the regents’ meeting in September.
Before that, the regents will have a chance to call people to give their testimonies publicly on September 9 at 4 p.m. Also, the regents will hold in-person testimonies on September 12 at 8:15 a.m., in their meeting in Anchorage.