Overview

Chancellor Daniel M. White and his leadership team held a discussion about creating a culture of respect, diversity, inclusion and caring. The discussion was led by the chancellor and included the following speakers:

  • Keith Champagne, vice chancellor for student affairs
  • Margo Griffith, director of equity and compliance, and Title IX/504 coordinator
  • Evon Peter, vice chancellor for rural, community and Native education
  • Anupma Prakash, provost and executive vice chancellor

If you missed it, you can watch it here: https://media.uaf.edu/media/t/0_kgxrz9qj

Q: What should employees do when a person in power (i.e. an executive) is a bully?

A: Employees who feel they are being bullied by anyone, including someone in power, should file a conduct complaint. Here are few mechanisms to file a complaint:

— Brad Lobland, director UAF Human Resources


Q: Given the Trump administration's intent to roll back federal protections for transgender people, plus the steps backwards that Betsy DeVos has taken, how will UAF respond to ensure that trans students, staff, and faculty feel welcome and included?

A: UAF will continue its efforts to be a welcoming and inclusive campus for all students, faculty and staff. We believe we are a better institution when everyone can participate fully, regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation, race or ethnicity, religion, marital status, etc.

— Anupma Prakash, UAF provost and executive vice chancellor


Q: Explain how the Title IX process is NOT biased (against victim and reporter) when the Title IX office is run by the university itself as any investigation that conclude with a misconduct ends up on official records, including the university's name.

A: It is in the university's best interest to handle these situations correctly, and it is the right thing to do. This is evidenced by President Johnsen's culture change initiative and Chancellor White's initiative to create a culture of respect, diversity, inclusion and caring. There are several ways we ensure due process and appropriate handling of cases at the department level. I invite anyone interested in this to contact me to discuss this further. I can be reached at 474-7300 or mcgriffith@alaska.edu.

— Margo Griffith, director, Department of Equity and Compliance, and Title IX/504 coordinator


Q: What is the vision to ensure that women leaders have the support of "safe" mentorship at UAF?

A: UAF is working on providing a one-on-one mentorship to incoming women faculty through a formal mentoring arrangement. UAF is also working to bolster its informal mentoring networks for women through other groups such as the Committee on the Status of Women, IDEA Task force, University Women's Association and Faculty Development Team.

— Anupma Prakash, UAF provost and executive vice chancellor


Q: More than 95% of sexual assaults and sexual harassment claims that are reported to the Title IX office are considered false reports. The national average for false reporting is less than 2%. Is the Title IX office protecting our students or the university brand?

A: In fiscal year 2018, there were 218 reports submitted to the Department of Equity and Compliance, which receives reports on all forms of discrimination, including Title IX reports. Of those reports, 15 were forwarded for further action under Title IX. But this does not mean that other reports were found to be false. There are many reasons why a report is not forwarded, one of which is a complainant's wish to receive assistance but not go through an investigatory process. When a report is submitted, all individuals are offered interim measures, assistance and resources, regardless of how the report is handled. For more information, please feel free to contact me at 474-7300 or mcgriffith@alaska.edu. You can also visit the Title IX website for details on the Title IX report response protocol, resources, and statistics and documentation.

— Margo Griffith, director, Department of Equity and Compliance, and Title IX/504 coordinator

Chancellor Daniel M. White and his leadership team held a discussion on budget planning. The discussion was led by the chancellor and included the following speakers:

  • Kari Burrell, vice chancellor for administrative services
  • Keith Champagne, vice chancellor for student affairs
  • Larry Hinzman, vice chancellor for research
  • Anupma Prakash, provost and executive vice chancellor

If you missed it, you can watch it here: https://media.uaf.edu/media/t/0_arcd6k0r

Q: The Rasmuson Library has lost half its staff over the past four years. Will we be allowed to rehire and fill these positions?

A: We are just concluding the search for the head of the library. I will work with the new leadership on the future plans for the library, including plans for restoring some of the lost capacity in critical areas.

— Anupma Prakash, provost and executive vice chancellor


Q: At UAF there are 10 athletic teams. Of these teams, six of them have at least one coach that is independently associated with their sport. The other four teams have one head coach who coaches all four of these teams at once. These are the men's and women's cross-country running teams, and the men's and women's cross-country skiing teams. Because of this set up, all four teams suffer from lack of coaching availability. This is a pressing issue, as many of our athletes do not feel that they are getting the attention or coaching they deserve from this unstable situation. It has been proposed that to correct this, a new independent head cross-country running coach be hired to ease the load off of the current head ski coach, who is filling in as the running coach for the time being. This would give athletes of all four sports a better opportunity to improve and represent UAF at competitions, as well as create a better balance in the teams in terms of coaching availability. Currently, the Athletic Department does not have the funds to hire such a coach. How do you as chancellor see this issue fitting into your budget plan?

A: The Board of Regents and the university have already allocated a certain percentage of state funds for the administration and operation of UAF athletics.

Hence, any additional funds that may be necessary to make enhancements and/or improvements to UAF athletics in terms of specific program needs will have to be accomplished through private funds that are raised by the Athletic Department itself!

— Keith Champagne, vice chancellor for student affairs


Q: When are staff going to be getting COLA increases again, as we have not received them for the past 4 years?

A: Staff last received a cost of living adjustment two years ago in FY 17. The UA budget proposal adopted by the Board of Regents and submitted to the state requests funding for a 1 percent COLA for employees in FY 20. We will not know until next May whether this request will be included in the state's FY 20 budget.

— Kari Burrell, vice chancellor for administrative services


Q: If the UA system increases F and A ~30 percent to a rate of 64 percent, how will that affect overall proposal competitiveness and will such an increase lead to faculty shifting expensive items to other University budgets with lower F and A rates on collaborative proposals? And more PI's seeking the 25 percent off campus rate for field work?

A: The facilities and administrative rate is being negotiated between the UA statewide office and the Office of Naval Research and is not yet finalized. UAF has a goal of expanding our research capacity and we understand the concern of our researchers that our F&A rates might make that more challenging. We will be exploring options for both covering our costs and maintaining the capabilities of our research enterprise.

— Larry Hinzman, vice chancellor for research


Q: UAF is unique in that it offers a public safety program that trains students for future public safety careers while gaining real-world experience and making a positive difference for the community. During the past several years, the emergency incident call volume for the University Fire Department has been steadily and drastically increasing, yet the 54-year-old fire station on campus continues to age with seemingly little attention being given towards the development of a new station. What provisions and allocations for public safety and capital development are in the upcoming budget to promote the continued development and construction of a new fire and emergency services facility on campus as drafted?

A: Chancellor White's FY 20 budget proposal to the UA system office included a request for $38.5 million in capital funds to complete the Fire and Emergency Services Training and Education Facility. The UA Board of Regents decided, however, to limit UA's capital budget facilities request for FY 20 to a request for $50 million to address deferred maintenance across the university system.

As you've noted, the UAF public safety training programs (fire safety, emergency medicine, law enforcement and emergency management) are well-regarded and continue to attract steady and growing enrollment. For these reasons, UAF leadership does still consider construction of a new facility a high priority. If the state capital budget is less limited in future, this project is far enough along in the planning process that it should be competitive for funding.

— Kari Burrell, vice chancellor for administrative services


Q: The HAARP project has shown itself to be a huge money sink estimated at five million dollars every year, that has little value for students, which was supposed to be shut down years ago. Why is it still being funded by the university, when there is an obvious need to reduce spending on such wasteful programs?

A: The Air Force was previously spending $7 million per year to operate the HAARP facility. The Geophysical Institute has reduced operating costs to about $2 million per year. Since its origin, HAARP has been used by dozens of scientists and graduate students, resulting in numerous scientific publications. The work at HAARP has improved our understanding of the ionosphere, led to improvements in satellite communication and helped make orbiting satellites more robust to the effects of solar storms. The university will continue to look for ways to bring in outside funding to support HAARP operations, including via federal grants and external contracts for research campaigns.

— Larry Hinzman, vice chancellor for research


Q: If compensation increases are dependent on legislative funding what is going to be prioritized, market adjustments for those who are under market or 1 percent across the board for everyone?

A: The UA Board of Regents' FY 20 budget request to the state included a request for $7.1 million to fund five different compensation issues: 1) pay inequities for individuals in protected classes, 2) market adjustments for individuals whose pay is more than 10 percent below market median, 3) a 1 percent COLA, 4) adjusting the salary cap for the UA supplemental pension program, and 5) funding anticipated benefit cost increases. If UA receives some new funding for compensation, but less than the $7.1 million requested, the Board of Regents will consider how to allocate across the five different areas of need.

— Kari Burrell, vice chancellor for administrative services


Q: Do you think UAF is more competitive with the proposed increase to F&A rates? Current UAF rates are similar, if not slightly higher than other comparable academic institutions that also engage in Arctic research. Given that Arctic research is generally more costly to begin with, is this the best mechanism for recouping institutional costs associated with specific departments as per the justification?

A: The facilities and administrative rate is actually the only mechanism to recoup the cost of conducting the business of research from funding agencies. If we waive F&A costs, we are accepting that expense within UAF. Given state funding reductions to the university over the last several years, UAF has less ability to absorb unfunded costs. We know UAF is number one in Arctic research because of the work our researchers do, and we do recognize the potential burden of increased F&A rates to our research community and will try to be strategic about mitigating the impacts.

— Larry Hinzman, vice chancellor for research


Q: We are pushing four years of stagnant wages and dwindling morale. No step increases, no COLA increases, freeze on bonuses and widespread layoffs. This is an untenable situation — if we want a dynamic workforce at UAF. Even the Board of Regents has recognized the risk of our current employee morale. So, question: If the new governor continues budget cuts to the UA system, where will the money come from?

A: It is true that the budget reductions of the last several years have impacted staff morale. As you noted, the Board of Regents knows that it is through our employees that we will be successful in achieving our goals and mission. The UA system office has launched a compensation review; while the initial findings indicate most of our employees appear to be compensated within market range, there are several areas of concern. Consequently, the board asked for a $7.1 million increase in funding in FY 20 to address employee compensation. It is premature to say what might happen if the board's compensation request is not funded or, worse, if there are additional budget cuts to the university. In the meantime, UAF continues to pursue strategies to grow our other revenue sources (e.g., improve student retention so as to grow tuition receipts, invest in developing research areas likely to receive greater federal investment in the next decade, etc.) so that we are less vulnerable to swings in the state's budget fortunes.

— Kari Burrell, vice chancellor for administrative services


Q: This fiscal year our department did not receive funding from the college to support lab-based courses.This means that equipment that fails cannot be fixed or maintained. How do you expect faculty to deliver quality education without a support structure?

A: Some of the challenges you raise are a cumulative effect of delaying lab maintenance over multiple years, a plan that units adopted as a temporary measure to address budget reductions. We recognize that the lab maintenance has lagged and needs attention. Restoring the lab capacity will require a systematic and stepwise approach, and we will work with the unit deans for such a plan. Resources to build up capacity will need to come from multiple sources, including a possible one-time allocation from the Provost's Office.

— Anupma Prakash, provost and executive vice chancellor

  • March 20, 2018 Chancellor's Forum on diversity and accessibility
    Watch the forum video via webstream
  • Feb. 27, 2018 Chancellor's Forum on enrollment
    Watch the forum video via webstream.
  • Feb. 6, 2018 Chancellor's Forum on the spring 2018 budget
    Watch the forum video via webstream.
  • Nov. 3, 2016 Chancellor's Forum on revenue generation
    Watch the forum video via webstream.
  • Aug. 31, 2016 Chancellor's Open Forum
    Watch the forum video via webstream.
  • Nov. 26, 2013 forum
    Listen to an audio recording of the forum