January 26, 2009

T0:   UAF faculty and staff

From:   Chancellor Brian Rogers

Subject:   Spring semester update and welcome back


Welcome back to a new semester. It's hard to believe that more than half a year has gone by since I assumed the duties of interim chancellor in July 2008. As I said in a recent interview with the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, my biggest learning experience thus far has been gaining a better understanding of how many different things are happening at UAF. Every day I learn about something new going on at UAF -- great accomplishments happening within our classrooms, laboratories and in the field, that are positively affecting the lives of our students and the peoples and communities of Alaska.

A lot has happened just within the last month, even when temperatures were dipping down to 50 below! I want to bring you up to speed on recent activity before we get too wrapped up in the frantic pace of the spring semester.

We've made a lot of progress with the transition team process. More than 250 ideas came out of the hard work done by the 15 different teams. Out of that list of ideas, more than 100 action items are underway and two dozen or so have already been implemented. I'm extremely pleased with the work that has been done, and I encourage you to visit the transition website at http://www.uaf.edu/transition/ to learn more about what has been accomplished. There's more to come, particularly from groups such as the Family Friendly Task Force and the Sustainability Task Force, so I encourage you to visit the transition website on a regular basis so you can stay informed on these endeavors and others.

Shortly before the holiday break I told you about how the economy might adversely affect UAF. The concerns I raised are still there, but we also have some new opportunities available to us. President Barack Obama's recently announced federal stimulus package provides some unique opportunities for universities, with significant support for research universities, particularly in areas in which we excel such as renewable energy and biomedical research. I've asked deans and directors to help me gather a full inventory of UAF projects that fit within the goals of the proposed stimulus funding categories so we'll be able to successfully position ourselves as funding distributions are being considered.

In terms of the budget, I plan on having open forums, both on and off campus, to discuss where we are in the budget process. More importantly, these forums will give me an opportunity to hear from you about what we are doing and where we are going. The forums will take place Feb. 3 from 6:30 - 8 p.m. at the Morris Thompson Cultural Center and Feb. 27 from 3:30 - 5 p.m. in the Schaible Auditorium.

I always welcome your input and thoughts, and encourage you to e-mail me at chancellor@uaf.edu. Thanks for all you do to make UAF the great place that it is.

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