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Dec. 3, 2021

Dear UAF staff and faculty, 

In December 2019, UAF’s Governance Coordinating Committee requested formation of an expedited administrative review (EAR) to occur in parallel with the expedited academic review that was ongoing at the time. That review occurred throughout 2020. In its report, the committee recommended that shared services be more broadly adopted at UAF. As a result, a number of shared service initiatives were implemented.

In late 2020, again in parallel with expedited academic review, UAF governance requested another round of expedited administrative reviews for the purpose of providing me with recommendations on possible savings in administration. As such, a small committee was formed to look specifically at UAF’s administrative positions. On March 29, 2021, the committee submitted its final list of recommendations to me for consideration. 

On April 22, 2021, I released a message that outlined a series of steps that I, along with the provost and vice chancellors, would take towards some of the committee’s recommendations. Early this fall I asked UAF’s leadership team to review the recommendations and provide me with any additional updates as a matter of closure. I am happy to share these updates with you. Included below are only those actions or recommendations that have changed since my April 22 communication.

  1. Now that we have completed our strategic plan, I have established a group to reflect on our mission statement and establish a vision statement for UAF to accompany the strategic plan. 
  2. UAF successfully launched the Travel Customer Service Office (TCSO) on April 1, 2021. In addition, UAF also created a warehouse and procurement shared services option to leverage procurement expertise for campus customers.

    The TCSO has an active survey available to help communicate traveler needs directly to Amanda Lash, the TCSO travel manager. In addition, Vice Chancellor Julie Queen and Associate Vice Chancellor Amanda Wall are working to establish a UAF Shared Business Services Advisory Group regarding a post-travel transition review, and to review service efficiency and customer service.

    VC Queen is also working with the System Office and the vice chancellors for administrative services at UAA and UAS to create an advisory structure to contribute feedback on UA HR and UA procurement functions, also recently transitioned to UA.  
  3. Vice Chancellor Charlene Stern is in the process of strategic planning for the College of Rural and Community Development and the Community and Technical College. She has retained a strategic planning consultant to assist with organizational planning. The consultant is aware of the expedited administrative management review and recommendations therein. The strategic planning efforts are expected to extend through the academic year and will guide decisions related to structure and operations.  
  4. We are concluding the search for a vice chancellor for research (VCR). The position description reflects the committee’s sentiment with respect to support for research and scholarly activity. The permanent VCR will be asked to consider committee recommendations. The public presentations by the finalists for vice chancellor for research are now available. A feedback form is available for each candidate on the executive search webpage. The deadline to submit feedback is 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17.
  5. We have made a request to UA HR to consider additional guidance for establishing or evaluating EX positions. When UA HR makes progress on this, UAF will update our campus community, as appropriate.
  6. On outreach and extension, in the spring semester I plan to revisit the next steps for the important work of coordination and sharing services in outreach. 

Additional comments within VC units In addition to the six items outlined above, I asked each vice chancellor to review and comment on recommendations in their area. 

Vice chancellor for research (VCR) Review of committee recommendations for the VCR  will be considered when our search is concluded and a VCR is appointed. 

Vice chancellor for student affairs (VCSA) The permanent vice chancellor for student affairs (VCSA) position has been vacant since May 2021. The recruitment for the vice chancellor position for student affairs and enrollment management is underway and now includes an emphasis on enrollment management in its title. The position of associate vice chancellor for enrollment management has been eliminated.

The committee recommended support of the dean of students position. While we do not have a dean of students position, investments have been made in the Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities (CSRR), which serves the same purpose. We have added two CARE and outreach coordinators, and one Clery compliance officer. The UAF CARE team is housed in the CSRR. In addition to being part of the CARE team, these case managers provide outreach and support to students in crisis and those impacted by a crisis, death, significant illness, etc. 

The committee suggested considering having Dining Services included with other service contracts under the purview of the VCAS. This is not being considered at this time, however, the VCSA and VCAS work closely on dining contract issues.

Vice chancellor for rural, community and Native education (VCRCNE) The committee recommended a new reporting structure in which all academic programs report to the provost. Prior to this review, several structural options were considered and discussed with the College of Rural and Community Development and the Community and Technical College. At the end of this process, some programs were moved to provide greater attention to Alaska Native student success. Included in this move was the Alaska Native Language Center from the College of Liberal Arts into the College of Rural and Community Development. This merger successfully took place in early summer 2021. No other programs are being considered for restructure at this time.

The committee had concerns about the community campus director positions. There have been significant challenges in recruiting people to serve in these positions, and there has been high turnover. Vice Chancellor Stern has reviewed the campus director positions and will keep these positions in  place. 

The committee also recommended that a permanent task force be established as part of the implementation of the UA Regents Initiative’s five-year plan to ensure success in solidifying our global leadership in Alaska Native and Indigenous programs. At this time, the UA System Office is developing a process, based on the ANSI strategic plan 2022-2027, which addresses this concern. Vice Chancellor Stern is the head of the UAF action team for this initiative.

Vice chancellor for administrative services The committee suggested merging or reorganizing all remaining business offices at UAF into three specific categories (administrative, research, academic) and having the units report to the VCAS. It is recognized that units need to retain executive officer and/or fiscal officer positions within the unit.

At this point, further centralizing of business offices is not being considered, as the first set of functional reorganizations (travel and procurement) need to be evaluated for effectiveness as they mature. Improving existing structures will be of priority. Additional shared services or different configurations for optimal service delivery could be considered.

The committee recommended consideration of the fire chief and the environmental health, safety and risk management positions as to why neither are executive level when the police chief position is. 

The fire chief classification has not thus far been a deterrent to hiring but will be examined this year for its comparison to peer positions within the VCAS unit and to ensure the job classification is updated. As UAF is the only university with a fire chief, there is no peer within the UA System for comparison. UAF will follow UA HR guidance on criteria for executive positions. 

The committee also recommended working as much as possible with Statewide to ensure that data requests are as reasonable as possible and that there is sufficient warning and time allowed for completion of unique requests. This feedback will be shared with the UA System Office leadership. 

Provost The committee recommended that the structure of the research enterprise at UAF be re-evaluated, by an independent group, as consistent with recommendations in other parts of this report.

Together with the provost, the VCR is continuously evaluating the structure of the research enterprise. One tangible change as a result of such an evaluation was that the Alaska Center for Energy and Power was moved out of the College of Engineering and Mines’ Institute of Northern Engineering and is now an independent research institute directly reporting to the VCR. With the assistance of an external facilitator, we are also now engaged in strategic planning with the College of Natural Science and Mathematics, a unit that has the most extensive joint-hiring with research units.

The committee recommended that the School of Education be moved out of CNSM and that the director report directly to the provost.

Almost a year prior to the expedited administrative review process, UAF began reviewing and looking at moving the School of Education and K-12 out of CNSM and directly under the provost. This was approved by the Board of Regents on June 4, 2021, and was made effective on July 1, 2021.  


At this point, all of the committee recommendations have been reviewed and were taken into consideration. All current and previous communications on the expedited administrative management review, along with this memo, can be found on the UAF Office of the Chancellor’s communications or planning web page. Any further communication on this topic will occur in the event that substantive matters arise.

Thanks for choosing UAF.

— Dan White, chancellor


UAF is an AA/EO employer and educational institution and prohibits illegal discrimination against any individual: www.alaska.edu/nondiscrimination/.