Chancellor Dan White
Friday, April 2, 2021

Dear UAF staff and faculty,

In mid-December 2020, I charged a committee of faculty, staff and students to conduct an expedited administrative management review to serve in parallel with the expedited academic review. The committee was composed largely of faculty, staff and students appointed by the governance groups, Faculty Senate, Staff Council and the Associated Students of UAF. The committee was chaired by Dean Emeritus Joan Braddock. The original committee members are posted on my website; however, due to some committee changes, the contributors to the final report are listed in the report itself (PDF).

The review committee was charged with providing recommendations to me for improvements that might be made to administrative management positions and structures and, to the extent possible, contribute to budget savings. Additionally, the committee was asked to assess the extent to which each administrative position works on issues that affect the entire statewide system, including the system office. The committee charge did not include a review of individual incumbents’ performance, compensation, or a departmental/programmatic review of units reporting to executive positions.

A total of 58 positions classified as EX (executives and senior administrators) and FR (non-represented faculty, 51% administrative workload) were reviewed during this process.

All positions fell within one of the six areas reviewed:
  1. Vice Chancellor for Rural, Community and Native Education
  2. Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
  3. Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services
  4. Vice Chancellor for Research
  5. Executive Vice Chancellor/Provost
  6. Chancellor direct reports
The committee outlined seven overarching recommendations. They are summarized as follows:
  1. Continue to pursue more efficiencies through shared services. The committee noted the need for these to be shared services for and at UAF.
  2. Focus on reducing the UAF mission and vision to reflect the new budget scenario.
  3. For all areas overseen by a vice chancellor, review the organization’s structure and ensure it meets current needs.
  4. Review the role of the vice chancellor for research to ensure it is linked with and supports all research and scholarly activity at UAF.
  5. Review the current structure of the vice chancellor for rural, community and Native education to ensure it is the most efficient and effective in terms of academic structure and student success.
  6. Establish transparent guidelines for EX positions.
  7. Recognizing that some work has already been done on “outward facing activities” at UAF, the committee recommends continuing those efforts toward a combined outreach unit (including shared services) to make outreach activities more widely recognized, efficient and available.
Among the recommendations in the report, some we can make progress on quickly. Other recommendations we can begin pursuing now but they will take more time. A few recommendations, along with several recommendations that were outside the committee’s scope, I plan to set aside for future reconsideration. Specific recommendations in the areas of the vice chancellors will require their attention.

Among the overarching recommendations, I hope to move quickly on a few before the end of the semester.
  1. Since we are closing in our strategic planning effort, this is the perfect time to establish a group to reflect on a revision of our mission statement and establish a vision statement for UAF to accompany our strategic planning effort. I will appoint a committee this month for this important work.
  2. I will appoint a task force to review additional shared service opportunities. The committee will also review the successes and challenges of the shared services already implemented.
  3. Vice Chancellor Stern is in the process of strategic planning for CRCD and CTC, and I will ask that a review of structure be included in her planning process.
  4. We are in the process of beginning a search for a permanent vice chancellor for research. The position description will be modified to reflect the committee’s recommendations with respect to support for all research and scholarly activity. Additionally, I will ask that when faculty are back on contract this fall, we look for organizational opportunities to improve in this area.
  5. I will ask the Task Force on Outward-Facing Activities chair to propose a set of next steps for the important work of streamlining, and sharing services of outreach, a critical part of UAF’s mission.
  6. Before the end of the semester we will seek clarification and guidelines for EX positions from UA Human Resources per the committee’s suggestion.
My thanks to the committee for their work. The work reflects the good thinking of a thoughtful and committed group of individuals. Admittedly, the group had limited time, was very small, and could not reflect the many voices at UAF. Be assured, however, that as I establish work groups to address some of the issues, I will be reaching across the university to engage a wide variety of stakeholders so that we can increase the diversity of perspectives. The Expedited Administrative Management Committee work is concluded, and I thank each member for their service.

Thank you.

— Dan White, chancellor

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