Governor's FY20 budget proposal

February 13, 2019

Dear UAF community,

By now, most of you are aware of Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed $134 million budget cut — a reduction of 41 percent in state funding for the UA system — and have seen President Johnsen’s communication to the UA community in response. The governor’s proposal to reduce the university’s state funding by close to half would significantly change postsecondary education in Alaska.

As noted in President Johnsen’s communication, the governor’s proposal is one step in the process of crafting a state budget. The process is designed to provide many opportunities for input, and these opportunities will be critical. The president is proposing a coordinated advocacy effort for the UA system, and we will know more about this effort soon.

The president and his staff will meet with chancellors on Monday, Feb. 18, to discuss immediate steps, system-level direction and future decision points. This meeting will provide some guidance and a system-wide context within which we can plan going forward. I will focus on UAF’s strategic goals so that we remain a research university with a focus on the modern student experience under the governor’s current proposal or other possible budget scenarios as the legislative process plays out.

In addition to advancing our research status and modernizing the student experience, our strategic goals include leading in Alaska Native and Indigenous studies, growing a culture of respect, diversity, inclusion and caring, commercializing UAF technology, and revitalizing academic programs. At UAF, we will continue our pursuit of leadership in research, STEM education, and professional and workforce development. The way things play out will be different if the dramatic reductions remain in place. It is important, however, that we look to the future of UAF and focus on strategies to advance those things core to our mission.

Regardless of changes that will need to be made in the coming year, I want UAF to be a destination for those seeking economic opportunity, social mobility and educational advancement. Our university actively promotes diversity and inclusion and seeks all those with special abilities and disabilities, veterans and active-duty service members and their families, and people of all backgrounds, nationalities, races, ethnicities and genders.

I will be sharing budget information with you each week in the Cornerstone for the foreseeable future as we work through the budget process. As I have already done, I will continue to establish task forces of faculty, staff and students to look both at options and to generate new ideas. I would like to invite all of you to join me this Friday from 2:30-3:30 p.m. in in the Wood Center multilevel lounge for a town hall-style listening session. I will be there along with members of my leadership team to listen to your concerns and your ideas on keeping UAF strong and moving in a positive direction.

Thank you for all you do for Nanook Nation and for your continued support.

Dan White