Transition - May 13, 2008

To:       UAF Community

From:     Brian Rogers, Incoming Interim Chancellor

Re:       Transition

A goal accomplished, pride in a job well done and a future that is filled with potential and possibilities. On Sunday my wife, Sherry Modrow, and I watched the UAF commencement ceremony at the Carlson Center, wondering what new adventures are in store for these bright men and women who worked diligently to earn their degrees. I thought about the many commencements I've attended here in Fairbanks, and in the community campuses in Dillingham, Bethel, Nome and Kotzebue. Our celebrations of the beginning of our students' new lives are important milestones.

I have the same sense of excitement about the future for us - the future of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. I look forward to taking on the role of interim chancellor, and for the opportunity to work with the entire UAF community. Everyone associated with this institution - faculty, staff and students - has something to offer. From my first day as interim chancellor, I want to work closely with you. I am thrilled to have the chance to learn your stories, so I can tell of your successes. I know there are too many to count.

This week is the start of the transition process for me. The transition begins now and will continue until early July.

As I prepare to serve as your interim chancellor, I want you to know that our transition process will be inclusive and open. The transition process has nothing to do with personnel decisions. The transition is designed to inform me on how I can best support the faculty and staff in charting the best way forward for UAF.

I have taken only a few steps so far, wanting this transition to wait until after commencement, which should be a time to focus on our students and their families.

Since President Hamilton announced my appointment two weeks ago, I have:

(1) met briefly with the Faculty Senate to seek their advice on transition planning;
(2) asked Journalism Professor Charles Fedullo to help me design an open and transparent transition process, and to assist in coordinating the transition teams; and
(3) started a list of potential transition topics to consider and address.

Over the next two weeks, I will appoint a series of transition teams - consisting of faculty, staff, students and members from the communities weserve - in each of the transition topic areas to examine successes, frustrations and areas of focus, and to make recommendations to me. Some of the topic areas will be broad in nature (student services, research, administration, etc.) while others will be more targeted (child care, campus sustainability, etc.). Some of these topics arose from members of the UAF community during my campus forum while others come from my own experience or suggestions made in the last two weeks. New topics are likely to emerge from your suggestions.

I will ask these transition teams to identify immediate actions, major issues and reasonable goals for the two years I am your interim chancellor. The goal of the transition process is to have reports to me to review and discuss at the end of June when I officially assume my duties. This process will set the stage for September's convocation, at which I will lay out our agenda for the next two years.

As I noted earlier, my goal is that all of this transition activity will be accomplished in a manner that is open and transparent. I have just started discussions on who should participate in the transition teams, and have made no final decisions on what the teams are or who will participate. Some of you will be asked to serve on these transition teams, while I will be asking others to assist in other capacities. If you are interested in serving as a volunteer on a transition team, or have suggestions for what your interim chancellor can do to help UAF achieve its greatness as Alaska's first university, please contact me at

In addition to the transition team process, I will meet separately with the chancellor's cabinet, deans and directors, and community campus leadership, as well as others who ask for meetings, to seek advice and suggestions for improvements. I will invest time this summer, and at the beginning of the fall semester, to visit staff, faculty and students so I can hear directly from you. I am open to your suggestions.

Finally, I want to thank Chancellor Steve Jones for his contributions to UAF. Under his stewardship over the past four years, UAF has grown in many areas, particularly philanthropic giving and international recognition. The work his Vision Task Force accomplished will guide the institution's development over the coming years. I will continue to build on the accomplishments of Steve and his cabinet. I appreciate his openness and significant cooperation in creating a smooth transition.

UAF is a complex enterprise, with an amazing diversity of faculty, staff and students. I plan to work closely with the UAF community to ensure that we maintain our high standards in teaching, research and public service.

Thanks for all that you do, and have a great summer.