Friday Focus: Planning UAF's future

January 25, 2019

Tori Tragis

Dan Whiteby Dan White, chancellor

January 2019 has been a busy month on campus. Thank you for your renewed commitment to UAF! As we move forward into the new year we’ll be wrapping up several initiatives, working toward new goals, planning for our FY20 budget and beginning work on the FY21 budget proposal.

Current initiatives include the 2019-2025 strategic planning effort, strategic enrollment planning, or SEP, and UAF’s renewal of accreditation through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, or NWCCU.

The strategic planning committees are hard at work and are targeted to finish their effort by the end of May. While the committee work will end in May, the draft strategic plan will then be out for open comment until July 2019 and final release in fall 2019. The strategic planning goals include:

  1. Modernizing the student experience

  2. Solidifying our global leadership in Alaska Native and Indigenous programs

  3. Achieving Tier 1 Research status

  4. Transforming UAF’s intellectual property development and commercialization enterprise

  5. Embracing and growing a culture of respect, diversity, inclusion and caring

  6. Revitalizing key academic programs, from occupational endorsement to Ph.D. 

Thank you to executive officer Nickole Conley and all of those who are working on the committees for each strategic planning goal and for all UAF faculty staff and students who have expressed strong support for this exciting effort! A second effort, with a similar title to strategic planning but specific to enrollment, is also scheduled to wrap up by fall 2019. Strategic enrollment planning has been a major university effort to grow our impact across the state and the world through enrollment. My thanks to Associate Vice Chancellor Mary Kreta, her team and all those who are participating in this engaging process. Everyone at the university has an interest in and role to play in growing our enrollment.

UAF accreditation review by NWCCU is part of a seven-year cycle and is guided by our mission statement and five core themes. UAF’s self-study report is due July 2019, with a site visit to follow in September.

UAF’s core themes include, in a broad sense, everything we do. They include:

  • Educate: Undergraduate and graduate students and lifelong learners

  • Research: To create and disseminate new knowledge, insight, technology, artistic and scholarly works

  • Prepare: Alaska’s career, technical and professional workforce

  • Connect: Alaska Native, rural and urban communities by sharing knowledge and ways of knowing

  • Engage: Alaskans through outreach for continuing education and community and economic development

Speaking of initiatives and planning for new goals, our legislative session and funding cycle have begun for the FY20 budget year. UAF has many priorities and needs to meet in the coming year. As we move forward we will be shaping our FY20 budget and our FY21 budget request using our strategic plan, SEP enrollment goals and the core themes of UAF’s NWCCU accreditation, all within the context of the UA Board of Regent’ priorities and FY20 budget request, and UA statewide’s budget guidance.

While I think that we are all aware of the budget challenge facing the state, UAF is a world-class university with a critical mission. As I reflect on the strategic planning goals, I work with renewed enthusiasm and appreciate anew the contributions each of you make to our great university.

As you go about the semester’s work, please know that your leadership is committed to a campus that is strengthened by respect, diversity, inclusion and caring. Our faculty, staff and students deserve all four. Thank you for choosing UAF!