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 stream the forum on respect, diversity, inclusion an caring.

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 stream the forum on budget planning.

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

Chancellor White hosted a forum on enrollment planning. The discussion was led by the chancellor and included the following speakers:

  • Anupma Prakash, provost and executive vice chancellor
  • Keith Champagne, vice chancellor for student affairs
  • Evon Peter, vice chancellor for rural, community and Native education
  • Mary Kreta, associate vice chancellor for enrollment management

If you missed it, you can stream the forum on enrollment planning

Q: What is the long-term correlation between enrollment decreases and tuition hikes? A simple graph of yearly enrollment vs. yearly average tuition-fee costs should demonstrate if we are harming enrollment by increasing tuition with no actual gain in revenue. Plot yearly tuition-fee revenue vs. yearly average tuition-fees also.

A: UAF enrollments have significantly declined over the last seven years, and our tuition and fees have marginally increased over the same period. However, our tuition and fees are still much lower than our peers. In FY18, UAF average tuition and fees were 79.8 percent of the tuition and fees charged by our equivalent peers, and only 52.3 percent of the average tuition and fees charged by our aspiration peer universities. UAFs enrollment declines are caused by multiple factors: state demographics and the decrease in the number of high school graduating seniors are the primary factors driving the decline.

— Anupma Prakash, provost and executive vice chancellor

Q: Has the percentage of faculty who send their children-students to outside universities changed with time? If this stat is not collected, perhaps start collecting it.

A: We do not collect this statistic. This is a personal choice that faculty and their children make, and they are not obligated to report this.

— Anupma Prakash, provost and executive vice chancellor

Q: How long (since 2011?) has enrollment been dropping and why? Until UAF figures out why enrollment has been steadily dropping (down ~33% since the peak?) how can we develop strategic enrollment plans? Sub-questions: Since when has enrollment been dropping? What was peak enrollment? What is it now? What percentage drop is that? Have enrollment drops been across the board or primarily in a few majors? Have some departments experienced larger enrollment drops than other departments? Can we see a breakdown of enrollment trends per department? Without sufficient information, it is hard to actually offer sound enrollment advice.

A: Enrollment began dropping in 2011, when we had our peak fall enrollment of 11,149. In fall 2018, UAF enrolled 8,336. This is a 25 percent enrollment drop. In this timeframe, the decline has been mostly across the board with some exceptions. The College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences and School of Management have grown, the College of Natural Science and Mathematics has stayed flat and the College of Liberal Arts, College of Engineering and Mines, Community and Technical College and School of Education have dropped. UAF Planning, Analysis and Institutional Research has produced a detailed report by school/college and major that members on the SEP working group are analyzing. I encourage you to directly contact me, or SEP steering committee / working group members to be more involved and discuss your ideas.

— Mary Kreta, associate vice chancellor of enrollment management

Q: I keep hearing enrollment is dropping across the nation at public universities, but can you please show us the numbers? From what I can tell, the national enrollment rate at four-year public universities has increased about 1 percent annually since 2014 (~4 percent total), where we have experienced closer to a 20 percent drop in that time period? Why is our enrollment trend the opposite of the national average for four-year public universities? Should the national average enrollment trend even be part of the conversation, given how different UAF's campus trend is from the national average trend? If we can determine why our enrollment is dropping so drastically, then there is foundation to turn it around.

A: According to National Student Clearinghouse data, public four-year enrollment is up very slightly since 2014. There was a modest annual increase from fall 2014 to fall 2015 (0.8 percent), a much smaller increase from fall 2015 to fall 2016 (0.2 percent), a decline from fall 2016 to fall 2017 (-0.2 percent), and absolutely no movement from fall 2017 to fall 2018. The very small enrollment uptick, however, has been distributed very unevenly across the United States, with the vast majority of the growth coming in just a few states. Specifically, Texas and California account for a huge percentage of the total growth.

What we are seeing is unprecedented in the history of American higher education, and the trend is much worse for Alaska. College enrollments in Alaska have dropped more than in any other state (14.8 percent from 2012 to 2017). The number of Alaska high school graduates has been dropping for some time, but the drop is expected to be more dramatic beginning next year, with current levels not reached again until 2024-25. Further complicating the situation is that fact that Alaska’s college continuation rate for high school graduates, 46.4 percent, ranks 49th among the states, and the 36.4 percent of high school graduates who leave the state for college is the 8th highest among the states.

— Mary Kreta, associate vice chancellor of enrollment management

Q: There are likely many factors that have led to the downturn in UAF enrollment. Has there been an effort to use machine learning to discern what the underlying factors are so we can take corrective actions for the factors that are correctable? Big data takes innovative approaches.

A: UAF has identified the following reasons for our enrollment declines:

  • Declining high school graduates in Alaska and nationally.
  • Declining Alaska population (specifically families leaving with college-age or near college-age children).
  • Budget cuts and other challenges have made Alaskans wary of attending UAF (or having their children attend UAF).
  • As more online options become available, some local students choose to enroll at universities elsewhere while remaining in Fairbanks.

As of now, UAF is not ready to take on machine learning, as we would need to create an enterprise-level data architecture and an investment in people, technology and infrastructure, among other things. We are working with sophisticated data analysis to identify new markets of students in the Lower 48 based on the profile of students most likely to enroll at UAF. Nanook Navigator, an academic advising tool, has some advanced reporting capabilities with the potential to provide proactive support to students. The strategic enrollment planning process is grounded in data and will provide strategies that employ statistical modeling and return-on-investment scenarios.

— Mary Kreta, associate vice chancellor of enrollment management

Q: One of the big obstacles for nontraditional (older) students returning to college is the high cost of classes and the general lack of scholarships or other funding to defray those costs. What is UAF doing to make college more affordable for older students?

A: Two identified barriers to enrollment were the lack of a comprehensive financial aid package and the difficulty of navigating the scholarship process. To address these issues, the Scholarship Transformation and Revitalization (STAR) process improvement team examined ways to streamline and simplify the scholarship application and awarding process for both students and selection committees. Numerous outcomes came from the work by this committee, but three of the most relevant to this question are:

  • A financial aid award letter that identifies the amount of the student bill, subtracting the amount of all scholarships and financial aid the student is receiving, to give the total amount the student will need to pay. This will allow incoming and returning students an easy-to-understand document that provides the financial information they need to make an educated decision. This award letter will be sent multiple times to ensure updates to the student’s account are included.
  • The vast majority of UAF and UA scholarships are now consolidated in AcademicWorks, providing a streamlined application process for students. The required clicks to get from UAOnline to AcademicWorks were reduced by 42 percent, and required logins were reduced by 30 percent.
  • An increase in communication from the Financial Aid office regarding scholarships and other relevant information so students will have the information they need when they need it.

In addition to several other accomplishments of this process improvement team, the financial aid leveraging action working group is creating action plans as a part of the strategic enrollment planning process. The leadership team will select initiatives in May or June.

— Mary Kreta, associate vice chancellor of enrollment management

Q: How does UAF value or prioritize co-sponsored and dual-credit classes that are offered at Alaska's high schools?

A: UAF is ramping up its efforts on dual enrollments and offering co-sponsored classes. We are currently hiring a half-time staff person to serve as a dual-enrollment advisor, who will serve as the central contact point for high school advisors, students and UAF faculty and staff. We are actively working on expanding articulation agreements with several school districts to offer face-to-face as well as online co-sponsored classes.

—Anupma Prakash, provost and executive vice chancellor

Q: Are we doing any advertising and active recruiting in Mat-Su, Kenai and Juneau, the three major school districts in which UA- bound students, according to past research, are most open to attending either UAA or UAF, one or the other?

A: UAF is actively advertising and recruiting througout Alaska, as well as in specific target markets in the Lower 48. In Alaska, we are using a variety of tactics, including digital and traditional marketing to prospective students. Digital marketing efforts include Google Adwords, Google Display, digital radio, YouTube and social media platforms. Traditional marketing includes ads on network, cable and satellite television; radio and print ads in Fairbanks, Anchorage and Juneau; and ads on 360 North, which is broadcast over the Alaska Rural Communications System and reaches almost 100 rural Alaska communities.

Admissions is actively targeting these regions as well. In addition to the brief summary of each area below, every sophomore, junior and senior in each of these school districts (and several others around the state) are entered into an Admissions communication plan that includes emails, direct mail and telecounseling.

  • Anchorage/Mat-Su: UAF Admissions representatives spend five weeks a year recruiting in the Anchorage/Mat-Su region. They visit every school at least once, with larger, feeder schools visited two to three times. Admissions also hosts a Discover UAF event aimed at introducing UAF to prospective students and their families on a Saturday in the fall. Admitted students are invited to an Anchorage advising and registration event that brings academic advisors and representatives from UAF’s Admissions, Financial Aid and Residence Life offices.
  • Kenai: UAF attended the Kenai College Fair with representatives from Admissions and the colleges of Natural Science and Mathematics, Engineering and Mines, Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, and Liberal Arts. CEM and CFOS are planning a weeklong outreach trip to Kenai this spring.
  • Juneau: UAF attended the Juneau College Fair with representatives from Admissions and CSNM, CEM and CFOS. UAF Admissions went back to Juneau for the UA Scholars event and spent a full two days presenting in Thunder Mountain High School and Juneau-Douglas High School classrooms as well as attending one-on-one appointments in their counseling centers.

— Mary Kreta, associate vice chancellor of enrollment management

— Michellel Renfrew, director University Relations

Q: What interest and/or plan does UAF have to expand the allied health program to bachelor’s and master’s degrees to compete with UAA, UAS and other universities in the Lower 48 for nursing, nurse practitioners and physicians assistants, just to name a few?

A: The university has identified training health professionals and preparing Alaska teachers as two priority areas. There is a statewide coordinated effort to expand the allied health program offering. The efforts are focused on increasing practicum opportunities and class capacities in high-demand areas in the health programs, and expanding the program offering without creating redundancies across the UA system.

—Anupma Prakash, provost and executive vice chancellor

Q: Are you considering in-state tuition for all as a recruitment strategy? I believe there is a huge potential for out-of-state students, if only the tuition were reduced.

A: Tuition rates are set by the University of Alaska Board of Regents for the UA system. This issue has been looked at from the statewide and UAF perspective, and will continue to be examined. A major challenge is that the money brought in through the nonresident surcharge is used to fund other important Board of Regent-approved waivers/incentives and scholarships/aid. Without that revenue stream, we would need to find the money from elsewhere. An examination of other institutions that have tried similar initiatives did not demonstrate enrollment growth.

— Mary Kreta, associate vice chancellor of enrollment management

Q: President Johnsen has decreed that "increasing curriculum coherence and creating clearer pathways to student success" needs to be evaluated by each of the chancellors. Currently, a good deal of UAF's undergraduate requirements and some graduate requirements are extremely convoluted and/or contradictory and are nearly impossible to explain to students without visual aids and a spare 30 minutes. This often results in bad advising and delayed graduation as a result. Yet every time I've attempted to get clarification or ask for a re-review of various requirements because they either don't make sense or conflict with something else, it has to go through so many levels of bureaucracy only to be shot down by people who don't understand what all of the requirements are in the first place, nevermind how they interface with other parts of the catalog or how the changes impact curriculum coherence. So my question is this: Is there a pathway for staff members who have extensive experience with advising and catalog requirements to provide input about catalog and curriculum changes before they become formal policies? Perhaps changing membership on various committees from ex officio to actual voting seats?

A: The chancellor has recently established task forces that are charged with looking at certain academic matters as well as our policies and procedures. The charge for the task force on policies and procedures is to recommend which policies need to be simplified, eliminated or updated to decrease unnecessary bureaucracies. Details of the task forces are available on the Office of the Provost website.  I encourage you to bring your specific suggestions to me or to one of the members on this task force.

—Anupma Prakash, provost and executive vice chancellor

Q: When the community colleges were rolled into the university, the Legislature established the community colleges would still get to keep all their tuition, and they are responsible for their own budgets, for faculty and building expenses etc. With the expansion to web-based delivery, the Community and Technical College only receives 75 percent of the tuition generated by the web courses. This impacts enrollment management for how many students we have to have in a course in order to balance the budget. Are there plans to increase the allocation of tuition to CTC from web-delivered courses? If so, when will there be a change, and what will the allocation be?

A: We are in the midst of changing budget scenarios. UAF will need to revisit how tuition and revenues are distributed across its various units, and leadership is actively engaged in these discussions. The chancellor has also established a task force on eCampus integration. This task force will also look at what is the best fiscal model for a healthy integration of eCampus with other traditional academic offerings.

— Anupma Prakash, provost and executive vice chancellor

Q: What about on-campus housing? If it was cheaper and more affordable for students, more would be able to stay on campus, closer to classes. This year, they are even raising the rates. For example, the two-bedroom Howard Cutler apartments will be $3,000 a semester per student, and there are four students per Cutler apartment.

A: UAF’s housing rates are comparable to other institutions of higher education across the country and within the state, as well as Fairbanks-area housing with similar amenities. Rates were set based on campus location, the environment within the residence hall, square footage, room type, renovations and amenities. Many factors went into the decision to increase rates, and the decision wasn’t made lightly. This increase will allow us to better serve our residents by modernizing the student experience through our facilities, living and learning environments, and through programming, leadership and community development efforts.

— Ali Knabe, associate vice chancellor for student affairs

Q: Would you consider asking students why they don't stay at UAF or why they would choose not to recommend that others enroll there? I get bombarded by messages about how UAF is "naturally inspiring," but I have concrete reasons why I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. Nobody has asked me that question or anything like it. If someone asked the question to all students they could contact, left the format open-ended, and took the time to look for themes across students, it might help the university retain more students and increase enrollment.

A: Student feedback is solicited in a variety of ways. Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Keith Champagne has a monthly Coffee with the VCSA, where he is available at Arctic Java for 1.5 hours to meet with students and discuss issues that are important to them. Students were engaged in UAF Campus Master Plan via focus groups with the consultant — more specifically about spaces and how they interact with them and what kind of campus they'd like to see. We've enlisted opinions from students off and on throughout the years, and there are student engagement surveys, such as the National Survey of Student Engagement, a national survey, to gauge the overall academic student experience as it compares to other national institutions.

— Mary Kreta, associate vice chancellor of enrollment management

Q: UAA still has different tuition and fee payment deadlines than UAF. This creates serious issues for enrolled students who are taking courses at both campuses, as UAA students get potentially dropped because UAF drops for nonpayment a week before tuition and fees are due at UAA. With students taking more online courses from across the state, why isn't the common calendar enforced?

A: The UAA and UAS provosts and the statewide leadership are aware and are actively working on finding a solution.

—Anupma Prakash, provost and executive vice chancellor

Q: Transfer students can only get their course work evaluated after they apply for admission, which makes it difficult for them make a decision to enroll at UAF (can't plan their degree or plan the cost of attendance). Has there been consideration to have the transfer credit evaluation process in the front of the admissions process? I know that will cost additional resources, but it could also result in an enrollment increase.

A: The Office of the Registrar places a high priority on continued improvement of the transfer credit process and have made notable strides this year. They have investigated several options (including technology and additional personnel) to determine what it would take to provide a transfer credit evaluation before admission.  This topic is also under discussion in a strategic enrollment planning work group.

The Office of the Registrar now provides an excellent  transfer credit resource website that  is an unofficial reference for undergraduate students considering transferring to UAF. The “Transfer Credit Search” button at the bottom of this website allows a student to select the state or province of the school they come from and match how a class at their school transfers to UAF. The database behind this search is extensive (and expanding) and includes almost all the classes UAF has accepted thus far for transfers. This resource will help a majority of the students to evaluate the bulk of their course transferability options. Unique cases will still require additional resources for individual transfer credit evaluation, which UAF can carry out only after the student has formally applied to UAF.

— Mary Kreta, associate vice chancellor of enrollment management

Q: Since the UA education colleges have been restructured under strategic planning, what has been the UA enrollment trend in this field? How much money has this restructuring saved?

A: The UAF School of Education was merged with UAF College of Natural Science and Mathematics only in July 2018. There is considerable enrollment fluctuation due to recent transfer of students from UAA to UAF. Accommodating the transfer students has also required UAF to add resources to meet the need to serve the student population. Given all the fluctuations in a very short time, it is premature to comment on any real enrollment trends or cost savings.

— Anupma Prakash, provost and executive vice chancellor

Q: I heard the answer on the correlation between tuition increases and enrollment declines. Clearly there is a price break. Start basic: If tuition was free, would enrollment go up? I think we can agree, yes. If tuition was the same as Harvard, would enrollment be down? I think we can agree, yes. Somewhere in between is a price point that will optimize enrollment and revenue. We should set tuition at that level. Why don't we perform this sort of economic analysis and base our tuition rate on it?

A: I agree with your thoughts and analysis. We constantly evaluate our tuition and fee structure in an effort to find that right balance. Any proposed change to the tuition structure will be based on such an analysis. Currently our tuition and fee is way below that of our aspirational peers, and is at the low end of our peer institutes.

— Anupma Prakash, provost and executive vice chancellor

Q: There are a small number of students per year who are enrolled in classes that are never graded by the instructor (NS grade), myself included. NS grades can impact financial aid eligibility, it violates a student's right under FERPA to have an accurate and non-misleading record, and it generates a lot of ill will from students when they are informed that they have to approach the instructor to get the grade issue resolved.

Similarly, Residence Life's policy that students have to be in three credits of on-campus classes in order to avoid being evicted also generates ill will among students who are taking distance ed classes or thesis/project classes. How do these punitive and outdated policies impact enrollment? Have we considered what other policies that we have on the books that frustrate students to the point of leaving UAF altogether and/or discouraging their friends and family from coming here?

A: The underlying question is a great one: What are the internal processes and policies that have a negative impact on the student experience and, therefore, enrollment. The Process Improvement & Training Crew has led several projects impacting enrollment, and we hope this cross-campus collaboration will continue.

Additionally, Residence Life is in the process of reviewing and adjusting its policies to better align with the students of today. We agree that this policy creates an unnecessary hurdle for students, and it will be changed immediately.

The Office of the Registrar has increased communication to faculty regarding late and missing grades, and have seen a decrease in occurrences of this in recent years. At the end of fall 2018, there were 28 missing grades, which is less than 0.3 percent (30 percent of 1 percent) of all grades. There is room for improvement, though,  and the Office of the Registrar and the Office of the Provost are collaborating on this issue. If your grade has still not been entered after talking to your instructor, please bring it to the attention of your dean.

— Mary Kreta, associate vice chancellor for enrollment management; Ali Knabe, associate vice chancellor of student affairs

Q: Faculty are driving students away. Are there plans to train faculty on how to deliver information in a respectful manner?

A: Chancellor White has rolled out UAF’s Strategic Plan, which includes embracing and growing a culture of respect, diversity, inclusion and caring as one of our six goals. I continue to echo the same message to the faculty directly, and indirectly via the academic deans and directors. If you have concerns about a specific faculty members action, please bring it to the attention of the cognizant dean for action.

—Anupma Prakash, provost and executive vice chancellor

Chancellor White hosted a forum on staff morale.The discussion was led by the chancellor and included the following speakers:

  • Jenny Campbell, director, Division of Design and Construction; and Staff Council representative
  • Brad Lobland, director, Office of Human Resources
  • Anupma Prakash, provost and executive vice chancellor
  • Evon Peter, vice chancellor, rural, community and Native education

If you missed it, you stream the forum on staff morale.

Q: Many of us are non-exempt and may not be given more than two weeks notice before we lose our jobs. How is the university going to help us transition out of jobs that many of us have had for years?

A: There are notice periods for both exempt and non-exempt staff.  Board of Regents Regulation R04.07.110. Layoff, Recall, and Release D. outlines notice periods for exempt and non-exempt staff. We will do our best to let employees know as soon as possible if there position may be impacted by the budget.  

Brad Lobland, director, UAF Human Resources

Q: My overall morale has slipped in the last year, as my immediate supervisor (and his, whom I work closely with) seem to not take an interest in what I have to say or do and I continually get no feedback. I have approached both of them on three separate occasions about this. There have been no solutions to the problem. What else can I do?

A: Please contact your Human Resources Consultant to see if there other options available to address your concerns with your supervisors.

— Brad Lobland, directior, UAF Human Resources

Q: My department approved a 5 percent merit raise. However, when the paperwork went to HR the response back from HR was that I could not have a raise as I was already fairly compensated. This has had a negative impact on myself as well as my coworkers. We are all student-centered professionals who care about our students. However, where is the incentive to do well, when a promised and budgeted for merit raised is held up by HR?

A: We are currently under a compensation study which is slated to be completed in Summer 2019.  HR has been closely reviewing in-grade requests to ensure we don't create pay inequities as well as it is difficult to review data and make sound recommendations if the data is constantly changing.  Your department can re-submit your the request in July 2019 or once the pay equity study is complete. 

Brad Lobland, director, UAF Human Resources

Q: Do you foresee the consolidation of all three UA campuses into one because of state budget limitations? UAF could offer classes on all three campuses with UA Statewide combining with UAF administration.

A: It is not my expectation at this time that there will be a consolidation of all three campuses into one.

Chancellor Dan White

Chancellor White hosted a forum on strategic planning. The discussion was led by the chancellor and included the following topics and speakers:

  1. Modernize the student experience, Alex Hirsch, CLA
  2. Solidify global leadership in Alaska's Native and Indigenous programs, Patricia Sekaquaptewa, CRCD
  3. Achieve Tier 1 research status, Taryn Lopez, GI
  4. Transform UAF's IP development and commercialization enterprise, Peter Webley, GI
  5. Embrace and grow a culture of respect, diversity, inclusion and caring, Jessie Young-Robertson, AFES and SNRE
  6. Revitalize key academic programs, Jennifer Tilbury, CTC

If you missed it, you can stream the forum on strategic planning.

Visit this page for updates to questions that have been answered since the last forum.

  • 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