Legislature(2019 - 2020)BUTROVICH 205

02/21/2019 09:00 AM EDUCATION

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Audio Topic
08:59:48 AM Start
09:00:04 AM SB53
09:17:18 AM Presentation: the Power of University Research
10:23:58 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> --
-- Teleconference Listen Only --
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
+ Presentation Rescheduled from 2/19/19: TELECONFERENCED
University of Alaska: "The Power of University
Research" by Dr. Larry Hinzman, UAF Vice
Chancellor for Research
-- Teleconference Listen Only --
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                       February 21, 2019                                                                                        
                           8:59 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Gary Stevens, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Shelley Hughes, Vice Chair                                                                                              
Senator Chris Birch                                                                                                             
Senator Mia Costello                                                                                                            
Senator Tom Begich                                                                                                              
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 53                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to the duties of the Board of Regents of the                                                                   
University of Alaska."                                                                                                          
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PRESENTATION: THE POWER OF UNIVERSITY RESEARCH                                                                                  
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB  53                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: UNIV. REPORTING REQS FOR ACCREDITATION                                                                             
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) STEVENS                                                                                                  
02/11/19       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/11/19       (S)       EDC, FIN                                                                                               
02/21/19       (S)       EDC AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
TIM LAMKIN, Staff                                                                                                               
Senator Gary Stevens                                                                                                            
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced SB 53 for the bill sponsor.                                                                    
MILES BAKER                                                                                                                     
Associate Vice President for Government Relations                                                                               
University of Alaska                                                                                                            
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION   STATEMENT:  Testified   on   University  of   Alaska's                                                             
accreditation reporting requirements.                                                                                           
LARRY HINZMAN, Ph.D., Vice Chancellor for Research                                                                              
University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF)                                                                                            
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented the Power of University Research.                                                               
MARK BILLINGSLEY, Director                                                                                                      
Intellectual Property and Contracts                                                                                             
University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF)                                                                                            
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented the Power of University Research.                                                               
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:59:48 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  GARY   STEVENS  called   the  Senate   Education  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 8:59  a.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order were  Senators Costello, Birch, and  Chair Stevens. Senator                                                               
Begich and Hughes joined shortly thereafter.                                                                                    
         SB  53-UNIV. REPORTING REQS FOR ACCREDITATION                                                                      
9:00:04 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS  announced the  consideration of  SB 53.  He stated                                                               
his intention to  introduce the bill, hear  public testimony, and                                                               
hold the bill.                                                                                                                  
9:00:48 AM                                                                                                                    
TIM   LAMKIN,  Staff,   Senator   Gary   Stevens,  Alaska   State                                                               
Legislature, Juneau, Alaska,  said that, very simply, SB  53 is a                                                               
result of the  loss of accreditation by the  University of Alaska                                                               
Anchorage  School of  Education. It  is a  plain bill.  There are                                                               
currently  other  reporting  requirements   in  place.  The  most                                                               
recent, AS 14.41.190,  requires the Board of Regents  to submit a                                                               
report to the legislature by  the 30th legislative day biannually                                                               
on their efforts "to attract,  train, and retain qualified public                                                               
school teachers."  He noted that  the report was due  Friday, but                                                               
the Senate Secretary's  office had not received that  yet, to his                                                               
knowledge. He  did not prepare  a sectional for the  bill because                                                               
it  would  be  one  sentence,  that this  bill  would  require  a                                                               
biannual report on the various  accreditations across its system.                                                               
He  pointed out  that the  committee  packets have  a summary  of                                                               
current accreditations. There is zero fiscal note.                                                                              
9:02:51 AM                                                                                                                    
MILES BAKER,  Associate Vice President for  Government Relations,                                                               
University of Alaska,  Juneau, Alaska, said AS  14.41.190 has two                                                               
reporting requirements  for the  University of Alaska.  The first                                                               
is  a long  report submitted  every year  as part  of its  budget                                                               
submission  to  the  legislature  regarding things  such  as  the                                                               
condition of university property,  receipts and expenditures, and                                                               
unobligated university receipts. The  second is commonly referred                                                               
to  as  the  SB  241 report,  Alaska's  University  for  Alaska's                                                               
[Schools] Report. He  said he believed Chairman  Stevens was part                                                               
of  passing   that  law  in   2008.  That  report   is  completed                                                               
biennially.  This  report  updates  the  legislature  on  teacher                                                               
preparation, retention, and recruitment  programs. He said it was                                                               
submitted this  year. He  will check to  make sure  the committee                                                               
gets a copy of that.                                                                                                            
CHAIR STEVENS said  they would probably schedule  a joint session                                                               
with the House Education Committee to discuss that report.                                                                      
MR. BAKER said  this legislation would require  a third reporting                                                               
requirement.  As  part of  its  biannual  report, the  university                                                               
would  update   the  legislature  on  the   status  of  regional,                                                               
national, and  programmatic accreditations  at the  university no                                                               
later than the 30th day  of the legislative session. The existing                                                               
board policy requires each of  major campuses to regularly assess                                                               
all  institutional   programs  to  evaluate  their   quality  and                                                               
effectiveness. This review  is designed to meet  the standards of                                                               
applicable  accrediting bodies.  Annually,  each university  must                                                               
provide  the Regents'  Academic  Committee on  Student Affairs  a                                                               
report  on  the  status  of   program  reviews.  It  includes  an                                                               
extensive  discussion  of  academic accreditation.  They  already                                                               
have  an internal  process  to compile,  track,  and report  this                                                               
information annually  to the  board, so they  can report  that to                                                               
legislature biannually without any  problems. He pointed out that                                                               
their  packets have  a compiled  list  of the  status of  ongoing                                                               
accreditation at all the universities                                                                                           
MR. BAKER  said this committee  of the board has  their regularly                                                               
scheduled  meeting today.  One  agenda item  is  a discussion  of                                                               
program  accreditation and  a review  of the  compiled list.  The                                                               
regents  want  to  be  aware   of  any  accreditations  that  are                                                               
challenged or  having difficulty.  There will  be an  interest in                                                               
clarifying  current regent  policy  regarding accreditation.  The                                                               
situation  with UAA  regarding initial  licensure was  that while                                                               
reports  were being  provided to  the board  subcommittee in  the                                                               
fall, they were  not detailed enough for the Board  of Regents to                                                               
have  the  full  story  of   the  potential  situation  with  the                                                               
accreditation. The board will want to update that policy.                                                                       
9:08:33 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS  said the  impetus for  this bill  was the  loss of                                                               
accreditation at  the Anchorage  campus. "And  that's a  very big                                                               
thing,  as   we  all  know.   Universities  don't   usually  lose                                                               
accreditation. This is the only  one I've seen in my experience,"                                                               
he said.                                                                                                                        
CHAIR STEVENS continued,  "It's a very, very  important thing and                                                               
it's  particularly important  because  of  the students.  Because                                                               
we're putting  them in jeopardy,  asking them to pay  tuition and                                                               
go through all  the work of getting their classes  done, yet when                                                               
they  leave the  University of  Alaska,  they are  going to  have                                                               
trouble, particularly if they transfer out of state."                                                                           
CHAIR STEVENS said, "The only reason  for this bill is because of                                                               
that  loss of  accreditation.  Something went  terribly wrong  in                                                               
this process."  He chaired an  accreditation committee  before he                                                               
retired from the  university. He knows it is a  long process that                                                               
involves  meetings  with  the accreditation  committee  to  learn                                                               
about any concerns,  so changes can be made, so  by the time they                                                               
get to the end of  the accreditation process, hopefully they have                                                               
answered all the concerns the accreditation committee has.                                                                      
CHAIR STEVENS  said, "Again, something  went terribly  wrong. The                                                               
president  of the  university, who  I have  the greatest  respect                                                               
for--I'm so glad he's there  during these tough financial times--                                                               
yet he did not know of  the jeopardy the university faced because                                                               
of that accreditation  study. The Board of Regents  did not know.                                                               
Mr. Baker,  it is a  terrible situation.  We're not going  to run                                                               
the university.  We don't want  to do that,  but we want  to know                                                               
what's going  on. We want to  know why the university,  the Board                                                               
of Regents,  the president, the  entire administration,  were not                                                               
monitoring  that process  or not  responding to  it. If  they had                                                               
known   about  it,   I  assume   there  would   have  been   some                                                               
CHAIR STEVENS continued,  "I'm a little annoyed as  a citizen, as                                                               
a senator,  that that this  occurred. And it can't  happen again.                                                               
All we're  asking in this bill  is for the university  to monitor                                                               
the situation,  to let us know,  and you should already  be doing                                                               
that. And I keep hearing people  say, 'Hey, we're doing that. Why                                                               
would you have this bill because  we're doing it.' But you're not                                                               
doing it. It fell apart. Somebody  was asleep at the switch. It's                                                               
a terrible black eye on the  university and we simply cannot have                                                               
this happen in future. I mean,  are there other areas that are in                                                               
jeopardy  in  the  university for  loss  of  accreditations.  I'm                                                               
sorry.  I'm just  not happy  with  this at  all. I  think it's  a                                                               
terrible situation to be in. I'm  ashamed. I know you are. I know                                                               
the  university  president is  ashamed  that  this happened.  All                                                               
we're saying, for heaven's sake, is  monitor this and let us know                                                               
what is going on."                                                                                                              
9:12:10 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES said  she shared his frustration.  The fiscal note                                                               
states that the internal processes  already exist and the reports                                                               
are  happening annually  to the  board,  but Mr.  Baker said  the                                                               
Board of Regents will be  revisiting that policy. She assumed the                                                               
board would be  considering whether to increase  the frequency of                                                               
checking in  on that type of  thing. She would hope  that any red                                                               
flags would be reported to  the Board of Regents immediately. The                                                               
legislature  would  not hear  as  soon  as  the board,  but  that                                                               
information would be  included in the report to  them. The bill's                                                               
idea is  that having  some oversight  establishes accountability.                                                               
She asked whether they would receive the report every two years.                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS answered twice a year.                                                                                            
SENATOR HUGHES  said that would  help because at this  point, the                                                               
legislature is receiving a report once  a year, but this would be                                                               
twice a year.                                                                                                                   
9:13:52 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH  said  when  the  committee  first  talked  about                                                               
accreditation, he put  a conflict of interest on  the record, but                                                               
after checking with ethics, he found  he does not have a conflict                                                               
of interest with this bill.                                                                                                     
CHAIR STEVENS  said that is an  issue these days with  changes in                                                               
law. He  has no conflict.  He last  worked for the  university 20                                                               
years  ago  and  retired  as  a tenured  professor  and  has  not                                                               
received any renumeration from the university for 20 years.                                                                     
MR. BAKER  said the bill  as currently drafted would  require the                                                               
report at the  start of each legislature, so every  two years. He                                                               
wanted  to clarify  that  the university  does  not review  every                                                               
academic program every year. The  regent policy is at least every                                                               
seven  years.  Most  of  the  institutions  are  doing  five-year                                                               
reviews, but  the status  of those program  reviews and  how they                                                               
relate  to accreditation  are reported  to the  Board of  Regents                                                               
every  fall. They  have  an internal  process  for compiling  and                                                               
reporting that information  to the Board of  Regents, but regents                                                               
would share  Senator Stevens' concern  that the reports  have not                                                               
been adequate to keep the  regents informed. They will be working                                                               
on that internally.                                                                                                             
9:15:51 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS opened  public  testimony  and after  ascertaining                                                               
there was none, closed public testimony.                                                                                        
SENATOR HUGHES asked if the intention  is to change the report to                                                               
twice a year.                                                                                                                   
SENATOR STEVENS said he thought twice a year would be best.                                                                     
SENATOR HUGHES said she agreed with that.                                                                                       
SENATOR BEGICH  asked if his  intent was to change  the reporting                                                               
from  biennial to  biannual and  to get  an update  on a  regular                                                               
basis. He agreed that twice a year would be better.                                                                             
9:16:57 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS answered that that is  the intention and held SB 53                                                               
in committee.                                                                                                                   
9:17:12 AM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
^Presentation: The Power of University Research                                                                                 
         Presentation: The Power of University Research                                                                     
9:17:18 AM                                                                                                                    
Chair Stevens announced the presentation  the Power of University                                                               
9:19:42 AM                                                                                                                    
LARRY HINZMAN,  Ph.D., Vice  Chancellor for  Research, University                                                               
of  Alaska  Fairbanks  (UAF), Fairbanks,  and  MARK  BILLINGSLEY,                                                               
Director,  Intellectual  Property  and Contracts,  University  of                                                               
Alaska   Fairbanks    (UAF),   Fairbanks,    Alaska,   introduced                                                               
DR.  HINZMAN said  that  the  University of  Alaska  (UA) has  an                                                               
unexcelled reputation  for Arctic  research. They do  more Arctic                                                               
publications, more  research, than  any other institution  in the                                                               
world.  In the  last  eight  years they  have  generated over  $1                                                               
billion in  research benefits to  the state of Alaska.  They take                                                               
on  a  lot  of  pragmatic  research that  pays  off  in  economic                                                               
diversity for the state.                                                                                                        
DR. HINZMAN displayed a slide  showing return on investment. Last                                                               
year, for  every dollar received  from the state,  they generated                                                               
$6  from external  resources. People  think that  if they  remove                                                               
that one  dollar from the  state, they will  have $5 to  do other                                                               
research work,  but that  is not  the way  it works.  They cannot                                                               
write proposals using federal money.  They need the one dollar to                                                               
generate the $6. If they lose  that one dollar, they lose the $6.                                                               
The money  does not come to  them. They must go  after the funds.                                                               
The  one dollar  in state  support is  critical to  maintain this                                                               
strong research program that they have built over the years.                                                                    
DR. HINZMAN reviewed the benefits of research:                                                                                  
        • In 2018, UA brought in $141 million in external                                                                       
          research expenditures                                                                                                 
        • $23 million in state research funding multiplied by 6                                                                 
        • $90 million direct wages and salaries; 1250 direct                                                                    
        • Another $27 million indirect income, 350 jobs from                                                                    
          multiplier effects of direct employment                                                                               
        • $70 million in purchases, contracted services, travel,                                                                
          student aid and equipment                                                                                             
DR.  HINZMAN said  most of  the $70  million in  the last  bullet                                                               
point is spent in Alaska.                                                                                                       
DR. HINZMAN  said apart  from the economics,  there are  also the                                                               
pragmatic effects and value to the state:                                                                                       
        • Research opportunities attract outstanding faculty                                                                    
        • Research integral to curriculum that reflects up-to-                                                                  
          date knowledge                                                                                                        
        • Undergraduate and graduate student involved in                                                                        
        • Quality of UA research institutions attracts out-of-                                                                  
          state students and retains Alaskan students                                                                           
        • Builds a pipeline of outstanding students who become                                                                  
          employees of Alaska businesses                                                                                        
DR.  HINZMAN  said students  are  also  drawn to  the  university                                                               
because of  research. Eighty  percent of  those students  stay in                                                               
the  state. It  is  an important  attraction  for some  wonderful                                                               
people. Most graduate  students are involved in  research, and 40                                                               
percent of undergraduate students are.                                                                                          
DR. HINZMAN  said instruction, mentoring, research,  and outreach                                                               
are all wrapped together. It  benefits the state, the nation, and                                                               
students and has lasting value to the state.                                                                                    
DR.  HINZMAN  reviewed  BLaST: Biomedical  Learning  and  Student                                                               
Training,  a   $23  million  project   funded  by   the  National                                                               
Institutes of  Health (NIH).  The purpose is  to bring  rural and                                                               
Alaska Native  students into health professions.  It received one                                                               
of the  highest rankings from  the NIH  and was just  renewed for                                                               
another  five  years. NIH  is  using  it  as  a model  for  other                                                               
DR. HINZMAN  said UA research  makes communities  healthier. They                                                               
have done  a lot  of work with  respect to  wildlife populations.                                                               
They  have also  done  a  lot of  work  regarding mental  health,                                                               
suicide  prevention, and  opioid addiction.  Alaska is  unique in                                                               
solutions that must be applied.  A lot of techniques developed in                                                               
the  lower 48  for suicide  prevention are  counterproductive. UA                                                               
solutions   are  numerically   effective.   They  will   continue                                                               
researching suicide prevention and opioid addiction.                                                                            
9:26:09 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  HINZMAN  said they  have  been  working  on the  One  Health                                                               
initiative for five years. The concept  is that the health of the                                                               
people  depends  on  the  health of  the  environment,  which  is                                                               
dependent on the  health of the animals. Urban  and rural society                                                               
are tied  to nature.  The health of  the environment  does affect                                                               
the  health of  the people.  Things  such as  a rabies,  zoonotic                                                               
diseases, and brucellosis have an  impact on Alaska's population,                                                               
including other  environmental factors such as  mercury toxicity.                                                               
It is  all wrapped up  together. They  have taken a  national and                                                               
international lead on this.                                                                                                     
DR.  HINZMAN  reviewed  the  work  of  the  Pollock  Conservation                                                               
Cooperative Research  Center. The  seafood industry  is investing                                                               
in research  to improve  the quality of  their product,  make the                                                               
work they do safer, and get a higher return on investment.                                                                      
DR.  HINZMAN  said the  Wilson  Alaska  Technical Center  at  the                                                               
University  of  Alaska  Fairbanks  just became  a  Department  of                                                               
Defense  (DoD) University  Affiliated Research  Center. Seventeen                                                               
of these  centers are  under the  Navy, Army,  or the  Air Force.                                                               
They are  the only one  strictly under DoD,  so they can  take on                                                               
any  project under  DoD. Since  2008  the center  has focused  on                                                               
monitoring above-ground  nuclear detonations. Being  a University                                                               
Affiliated Research  Center opens  a lot  of doors  for a  lot of                                                               
other DoD  research. Everyone  working in  the Wilson  Center has                                                               
national  security  clearance.  It  makes the  state  and  nation                                                               
safer. Some  of their students  have gotten jobs  with high-level                                                               
national security defense agencies.                                                                                             
DR. HINZMAN noted that State  Seismologist Michael West had given                                                               
a presentation on  the Alaska Earthquake Center a  few weeks ago.                                                               
They are trying  to expand the network of  monitoring stations in                                                               
the  central and  northern part  of  the state  primarily for  an                                                               
early warning  system. Even  a warning  of a  few seconds  can be                                                               
used  to  shut  down  the   pipeline,  trains,  and  natural  gas                                                               
facilities. They can achieve this. It  is the system they have in                                                               
Japan, and  they ought  to have  it in Alaska  to make  the state                                                               
safer.  They are  pushing to  get more  funding for  the USArray.                                                               
They are  working with  United States  Geological Survey  and the                                                               
National Science  Foundation to  continue funding  those stations                                                               
for the next five years.                                                                                                        
DR.  HINZMAN  said  that  UA  has been  doing  research  for  the                                                               
military  with the  U.S.  Navy ICEX  ice camp.  For  the past  20                                                               
years, the  Navy has been  using the University of  Washington to                                                               
provide information  about the safety  and security of  their ice                                                               
camps. Last  year a disaster  occurred when  the ice broke  up. A                                                               
lot of equipment  was lost and people had to  be evacuated during                                                               
the emergency. Now  the Navy has come back to  UA,, which has the                                                               
world's  expertise in  ice forecasting.  He hoped  this continues                                                               
for  a  long  time. They  are  doing  a  lot  not only  with  ice                                                               
forecasting  but  ice  concentrations for  navigation  and  other                                                               
processes, such as weather predictions.                                                                                         
SENATOR BIRCH  said this is great  news and great work.  He noted                                                               
that their senior U.S. senator  mentioned that construction of an                                                               
ice breaker might be  in the works. He asked if  UA is engaged at                                                               
all with those efforts.                                                                                                         
DR.  HINZMAN replied  absolutely.  They have  pushing  for a  new                                                               
icebreaker for at least 30  years. They have participated in many                                                               
workshops to  design the characteristics  of a new  icebreaker. A                                                               
new  icebreaker would  be  a  Coast Guard  asset,  but they  want                                                               
scientific capabilities to  be part of it also.  It is critically                                                               
important for  so many aspects  of Alaska. He mentioned  the need                                                               
to use  a Russian icebreaker  when Nome had  had a fuel  crisis a                                                               
few years  ago. There is  increasing activity in the  Arctic with                                                               
very little rescue capabilities.                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGHES said  UA's research on unmanned  aircraft was part                                                               
of  that effort  to bring  fuel  to Nome  as a  drone guided  the                                                               
icebreaker in.                                                                                                                  
DR.  HINZMAN  said  that  ACUASI,   Alaska  Center  for  Unmanned                                                               
Aircraft Systems  Integration, has  expanded. They have  over 200                                                               
drones.  They can  do remarkable  work  with wildlife  population                                                               
surveys and mapping out ice  leads. Most unmanned aerial vehicles                                                               
cannot fly  out of the line  of sight of the  operator. ACUASI is                                                               
one of the  few places with permission from  the Federal Aviation                                                               
Administration to do  this. He called that a  tremendous coup for                                                               
the center.                                                                                                                     
9:35:26 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES said  they were also the first in  the nation with                                                               
permission to  fly in the  approach area  of an airport,  in this                                                               
case the Deadhorse Airport.                                                                                                     
DR. HINZMAN said ACUASI is a leader for the nation.                                                                             
DR. HINZMAN  reviewed the Arctic Domain  Awareness Center, housed                                                               
at the University of Alaska  Anchorage. The only customer for the                                                               
center is  the Coast  Guard. It  is funded  by the  Department of                                                               
Homeland Security to  make Coast Guard operations  safer and more                                                               
effective  and efficient.  Every  project must  be something  the                                                               
Coast  Guard  values,  needs,  and  wants to  be  part  of  their                                                               
operations. It is  renewed annually. He showed an  image from the                                                               
work of using underwater drones to map oil spill plumes.                                                                        
DR. HINZMAN  said the Alaska  Satellite Facility is an  asset for                                                               
the  nation. Most  days of  the  year, the  facility receives  at                                                               
least 60 percent  of NASA's data. They are trying  to put up more                                                               
satellite  dishes at  Oliktok  Point on  the  North Slope,  which                                                               
would increase the polar orbiting  satellites they could observe.                                                               
The facility  has done  a wide range  of research  projects. They                                                               
want to put up an army  of CubeSats to detect ships going through                                                               
the Arctic Ocean that are  not broadcasting transmitting signals.                                                               
Then  they could  detect those  ships and  track and  monitor all                                                               
vessel  traffic  throughout  the  world. It  could  be  used  for                                                               
tracking drug smugglers or other nefarious vessels.                                                                             
CHAIR  STEVENS said  the CubeSats,  the small  satellites, are  a                                                               
major technological  innovation. He  understands that  the Kodiak                                                               
rocket launch facility can launch up to 50 at a time.                                                                           
DR. HINZMAN  responded that they  have the  only university-owned                                                               
rocket  launch  facility  in  the  world.  It  is  becoming  more                                                               
important to  DoD and  other agencies because  they have  a large                                                               
area  where the  launch vehicle  can land  and be  recovered. The                                                               
White Sands  facility can only  recover launch vehicles  over 100                                                               
miles. They can recover them over  600 miles, so DoD is utilizing                                                               
the facility more.                                                                                                              
DR.  HINZMAN said  they  are  doing work  across  the state  with                                                               
economic geology. They  are helping to enhance  recovery of gold,                                                               
zinc, coal,  silver, and  more. They are  trying to  increase the                                                               
resources  used   for  geothermal  and  looking   at  rare  earth                                                               
minerals. They  are trying to  enhance the  resource capabilities                                                               
of the  state. The mining industry  values the work they  do, and                                                               
the university is being responsive their needs.                                                                                 
DR.  HINZMAN said  they are  using  dense polymer  in a  flooding                                                               
experiment  to enhance  the recovery  of heavy  oil. The  work is                                                               
funded   by  the   National  Energy   Technology  Laboratory   in                                                               
partnership with Hilcorp and BP.                                                                                                
DR.  HINZMAN  introduced  Mark   Billingsley,  who  is  the  only                                                               
licensed,  practicing   patent  attorney  in  the   state  and  a                                                               
mechanical engineer.                                                                                                            
9:41:30 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BILLINGSLEY  said he  worked for  the Office  of Intellectual                                                               
Property  and Commercialization.  He practiced  criminal law  for                                                               
while in Fairbanks, and then  became a patent attorney. He spends                                                               
only a portion  of his time practicing law. The  core work of the                                                               
office is identifying  intellectual property that is  a result of                                                               
university research, protecting it,  and getting it licensed, and                                                               
getting it out into the  public for the public's benefit. Turning                                                               
research into  reality benefits Alaska  in a number of  ways. The                                                               
plan is to bring in problems  from the community, solve them, and                                                               
give the solution back to the community.                                                                                        
MR.  BILLINGSLEY noted  a Senate  resolution  last year  declared                                                               
2019  the  year  of  innovation. He  reviewed  some  examples  of                                                               
research  in  the  process  of being  commercialized.  One  is  a                                                               
project to  use mushrooms for microremediation  of diesel spills.                                                               
If there  is a diesel  spill in  a village in  Alaska, techniques                                                               
used  down south  are  not feasible.  The  Kodiak Marine  Science                                                               
Fisheries Center  has been working with  the Pollock Conservation                                                               
Research  Center  to  find  uses  for  fish  waste  from  pollock                                                               
processing.  One  potential  use  is  making  dog  food.  Another                                                               
project  is  to  find  a  remote,  noninvasive  wireless  way  of                                                               
measuring blood  oxygenation in  lab mice.  This is  essential in                                                               
research regarding strokes and heart attacks.                                                                                   
MR. BILLINGSLEY  reviewed a  graphic showing  Alaska's innovation                                                               
pipeline.   The university cannot  do basic and  applied research                                                               
in a  vacuum. They are  working with  people across the  state to                                                               
build an ecosystem.  It must grow if they want  to be competitive                                                               
with the  lower 48.  Their core  work is  protecting intellectual                                                               
property  and licensing  it, but  they  are trying  to work  with                                                               
partners across  the state. They  have a number  of complementary                                                               
programs. The  federal government has shown  interest in building                                                               
economic and energy resiliency in Alaska.                                                                                       
MR.  BILLINGSLEY  reviewed  how   UA  feeds  Alaska's  innovation                                                               
        1. Direct licenses to existing companies for UA-developed                                                               
          IP (Intellectual Property)                                                                                            
        2. Forming spin-off companies to commercialize UA-                                                                      
          developed IP                                                                                                          
        3. Working with industry to develop new ideas and                                                                       
        4. Supporting   student    innovation   to    build    an                                                               
          entrepreneurial workforce for tomorrow                                                                                
CHAIR  STEVENS said  that  in order  to  continue innovation,  he                                                               
assumes there must be some sharing of the rewards.                                                                              
MR. BILLINGSLEY answered yes, that is  set up by Board of Regents                                                               
policy. The first $10,000 and  50 percent thereafter that come to                                                               
the university are given back  to the inventors. All universities                                                               
have their own  policies, but it is usually around  that range. A                                                               
lot of  academics just want  to see their  work get out  into the                                                               
real world. Hopefully some will  make money, and others will want                                                               
to pursue commercialization of their research.                                                                                  
MR. BILLINGSLEY  said V-ADAPT, Inc.,  was the  university's first                                                               
big   startup  in   2013.  Eighteen   researchers  developed   32                                                               
technologies.  V-ADAPT  is  a  suite  of  technologies  to  track                                                               
volcano ash  clouds. The market  applicability is  commercial air                                                               
traffic, among  other things. It was  a product of many  years of                                                               
research  with  funding  from  the Air  Force.  This  summer  the                                                               
university will offer its first  class of Hacking for Defense. It                                                               
started at Stanford,  and a dozen schools around  the country are                                                               
offering this. The  military procures problems and  gives them to                                                               
schools so  that students  can work  on real-world  problems. The                                                               
university  wants  to  procure problems  from  within  the  state                                                               
because  of the  large military  presence in  Alaska and  to take                                                               
advantage of Arctic research.                                                                                                   
9:53:03 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BIRCH responded  that he  was intrigued  by V-ADAPT,  as                                                               
everyone in Alaska should be who flies. He asked how it worked.                                                                 
DR.  HINZMAN said  it  is based  on both  seismic  models of  the                                                               
volcano and weather  models to simulate the  plume movements. The                                                               
chemical characteristics  of the plume  are just as  important as                                                               
its  position.  Various components  went  together  to make  this                                                               
happen. It is a complex, physical problem.                                                                                      
9:54:32 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COSTELLO asked if there is  any way to involve middle and                                                               
high school students in the  model of solving real-world problems                                                               
that the  military is  starting to  do. Age is  not a  barrier to                                                               
ideas and innovations.                                                                                                          
MR.  BILLINGSLEY  said  absolutely, innovation  education  starts                                                               
early.  It's a  mindset.  He  would love  that.  The Hacking  for                                                               
Defense  is a  well-established program,  so they  would need  to                                                               
work with them on that. The  program is the early stages of being                                                               
spread  across the  country. Hacking  for Defense  needs this  to                                                               
permeate and  be successful.  Some of  that involves  getting the                                                               
support  of  state legislatures.  He  can  bring it  the  faculty                                                               
member leading the charge on this.                                                                                              
SENATOR COSTELLO said  at one point they had looked  at where the                                                               
best in  the world is  coming from as  far as innovation  and new                                                               
ideas.   It's    a   small   country   that    has   afterschool,                                                               
intergenerational clubs.  She is  interested in ways  of bringing                                                               
generations   together  in   Alaska.  The   ideas  generated   by                                                               
elementary school Lego Leagues are  phenomenal. Young people tend                                                               
to be natural  innovators. She asked how involved  and costly the                                                               
process is to patent something.                                                                                                 
MR.  BILLINGSLEY said  he cannot  give legal  advice except  to a                                                               
client,  but  he  does  talk  to people  who  come  in  from  the                                                               
community. He talks to them; he  does not give them legal advice.                                                               
There are  patent search firms.  Someone shouldn't pay  more than                                                               
$1,750  to  get 85  percent  of  the  answer. He  understood  her                                                               
question to be how hard it is  to get a solid answer. Someone can                                                               
get 85  percent of the  answer with  a high level  of confidence.                                                               
The last  15 percent is  dealing with the patent  examiner. There                                                               
are always  grey areas in the  law. They can always  find ways to                                                               
reject claims.                                                                                                                  
SENATOR COSTELLO mentioned the  Pacific NorthWest Economic Region                                                               
Foundation  has   an  innovation   working  group.  She   is  the                                                               
government cochair.  One of the goals  is to have a  national lab                                                               
of the  Arctic named  in Alaska.  It is such  a natural  fit. The                                                               
university   already  has   relationships.  She   asked  if   the                                                               
university would be interested in pursuing that.                                                                                
10:00:37 AM                                                                                                                   
DR. HINZMAN answered  that they have been working  on many fronts                                                               
in that  regard. They did host  a National Lab Day  last May with                                                               
the   assistance   of   Senator   Murkowski.   They   have   been                                                               
collaborating closely with national  labs across the nation. They                                                               
did try  hard to establish  a national  lab in Alaska,  but other                                                               
national labs are not so keen  on that. They can accomplish a lot                                                               
of what  they want to  do through collaboration with  those other                                                               
national labs.  There are other things  they are trying to  do in                                                               
that  regard,  such  as  trying   to  create  Arctic  Centers  of                                                               
Excellence. The  Arctic Domain Awareness  Center is one  of those                                                               
centers of  excellence. They are  working with the  Department of                                                               
Homeland Security  to expand  that to  become an  Arctic Maritime                                                               
Center of Excellence.  They are working with the DoD  to create a                                                               
Center of Excellence for Arctic research.                                                                                       
SENATOR  COSTELLO  said   another  goal  of  this   group  is  to                                                               
declassify  DoD information  that no  longer needs  that category                                                               
and to put  it out into the general public  for entrepreneurs and                                                               
innovators. She asked if he had heard of that.                                                                                  
DR. HINZMAN  answered that  they have  had great  success getting                                                               
access  to classified  imagery of  sea ice  with incredibly  high                                                               
resolution. It  doesn't necessarily have a  military application,                                                               
but it us useful to them  to do the dynamics of lead propagation.                                                               
They  have been  more  successful  on the  marine  side than  the                                                               
terrestrial side, but they are still pushing for that.                                                                          
SENATOR HUGHES said  that at the University  of Alaska Anchorage,                                                               
Dr.  Helena  Wisniewski established  the  Alaska  chapter of  the                                                               
National Academy of Inventors. Students  who are risk takers need                                                               
to be  encouraged. The intergenerational connection  is important                                                               
to  tap into.  She  wondered  if he  had  thought  of starting  a                                                               
chapter in  Fairbanks because it  inspires faculty  and students.                                                               
Since 2019  is the year of  innovation, they should get  the word                                                               
out about the exciting things  happening at the universities. She                                                               
also asked if he was doing anything about public awareness.                                                                     
MR. BILLINGSLEY replied  that they have limited  staff. To create                                                               
a  culture of  innovation  and  entrepreneurialism, two  separate                                                               
things, they  need to let people  know what they are  doing. They                                                               
get out  as often as they  can and accept every  invitation, even                                                               
though  they do  not  have  a lot  of  people.  They welcome  the                                                               
legislature's  support.  This  is   a  grassroots  and  top  down                                                               
approach to  change the  mentality. They  need legislators  to go                                                               
back to  their districts and  encourage their  constituents. They                                                               
are  working  as hard  as  they  can  within the  university  and                                                               
outside the  university. They have  a good relationship  with Dr.                                                               
Helena  Wizinksi and  Dr. Kamberov,  who is  leading that  effort                                                               
now.  All  of  this   innovation  thrives  on  interdisciplinary,                                                               
intergenerational, and intercampus relationships.                                                                               
DR. HINZMAN said he agreed  with everything Senator Costello said                                                               
about   intergenerational  engagement.   This  can   be  learned.                                                               
Students can capture this, but they must be exposed.                                                                            
10:10:35 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  BILLINGSLEY  presented  information  on  the  grid  bridging                                                               
system,  which addresses  issues with  using multiple  sources of                                                               
power.  Alaska  Village  Electric  Cooperative  (AVEC)  has  been                                                               
working with  the Alaska Center on  Energy and Power to  create a                                                               
hardware/software  set   that  can   be  used   as  off-the-shelf                                                               
technology.  AVEC came  to the  university about  this consistent                                                               
problem. A  field demonstration  is being  launched this  fall in                                                               
St. Mary's.  It is an  example of procuring challenges  in Alaska                                                               
by  going to  communities  and companies  and  asking what  their                                                               
problems  are and  how can  the university  help. The  university                                                               
should be serving the state's needs.                                                                                            
SENATOR  BEGICH  said his  office  has  been working  with  small                                                               
communities to develop long-term battery  storage. The big nut to                                                               
crack has  been how to  take a small  utility and retrofit  it to                                                               
take  in different  levels  and  types of  energy.  He asked  for                                                               
information about the system be provided to his office.                                                                         
SENATOR COSTELLO  asked if he  could share the list  of community                                                               
problems with the committee.                                                                                                    
MR.  BILLINGSLEY  replied  that  he would  and  that  the  Alaska                                                               
Community Challenge could also be found online.                                                                                 
MR.  BILLINGSLEY  said  the  innovation   pipeline  needs  to  be                                                               
supported from  early stage  research to  commercialization. They                                                               
have partnered with Wells Fargo and  the 49th State Angel Fund in                                                               
Anchorage  to  deploy  prototype  funding.  It  just  rolled  out                                                               
yesterday and applications are due April 14.                                                                                    
MR.  BILLINGSLEY  said  NemaMetrix  is an  example  of  licensing                                                               
technology outside.  C. elegans is  a common model  organism used                                                               
to  test  drugs.  There  is   a  whole  industry  on  c.  elegans                                                               
nematodes.   University  of   Alaska  Fairbanks   researchers,  a                                                               
graduate student and  an undergraduate, came up with  a cheap way                                                               
to sort c. elegans. They were able  to license it to a company in                                                               
SENATOR BIRCH asked how it works.                                                                                               
MR. BILLINGSLEY  answered that it is  a process that uses  a type                                                               
of filter  that catches or does  not catch the organism  based on                                                               
10:15:42 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  BILLINGSLEY  recounted  the  story of  Coupi.  A  researcher                                                               
worked for DoD  in Fairbanks and then worked  for the university.                                                               
He  needed a  tool on  how  to model  how items  interact at  the                                                               
granular  level. He  modeled the  traction of  tires on  the Mars                                                               
Rover  before it  went  to Mars.  He built  a  piece of  software                                                               
simulating interaction  at the granular level  through working on                                                               
multiple  research   projects.  He   retired  and   licensed  the                                                               
technology from  the university.  He has employees  in Fairbanks.                                                               
It pays some revenues back to  the university and created a high-                                                               
tech company  in Alaska. They are  located at the UAF  Center for                                                               
Innovation, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship.                                                                             
CHAIR  STEVENS  asked where  the  money  generated from  research                                                               
MR. BILLINGSLEY answered that Board  of Regents policy determines                                                               
what percentage goes to the  inventor. An internal memo addresses                                                               
distribution after  the first $10,000 and  50 percent thereafter.                                                               
A large percentage  goes to the researcher's  department in order                                                               
to  encourage the  department to  continue thinking  innovatively                                                               
and entrepreneurially. Some of it goes  to the office of the Vice                                                               
Chancellor for Research.                                                                                                        
10:18:03 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  BEGICH said  earlier in  the  presentation he  mentioned                                                               
that suicide techniques from the  lower 48 are not very effective                                                               
in  Alaska. He  is on  the Suicide  Prevention Council  and would                                                               
like to  see that research.  He also noted  that the peak  of the                                                               
economic crisis in 2014 led  to substantial cuts. He wondered how                                                               
their capacity for innovation has been affected.                                                                                
DR. HINZMAN  responded that the  suicide research is  very recent                                                               
work.  Stacy Rasmus,  Director of  the Center  for Alaska  Native                                                               
Health Research,  found that approaching  a community  asking why                                                               
the suicide rate is high  is counterproductive. They are changing                                                               
the  approach  to  the  community  by saying  this  is  a  strong                                                               
community, how can it be  made stronger. It has been surprisingly                                                               
effective. This  is a joint  project called the  American Indian-                                                               
Alaska  Native  Clinical  and Translational  Health  Research  in                                                               
partnership with  Montana State  University. He  will put  him in                                                               
contact with Stacy.                                                                                                             
DR. HINZMAN  said the cuts have  had an effect. In  the last five                                                               
years, the  university has lost  1,200 people. He showed  a slide                                                               
on  UA research  return on  investment. He  noted it  is hard  to                                                               
track research activity  from the funds coming  in because grants                                                               
are for various periods of time.  It is easier to report how much                                                               
they spend  each year on  research activity. The amount  spent in                                                               
one year  depends on the  success of previous years.  They cannot                                                               
lose 1,200 people without an impact.                                                                                            
SENATOR BEGICH said the graph shows  peaks in Fiscal Years 17 and                                                               
18. Because of the cyclical  nature of multiyear grants, they are                                                               
seeing a peak. He asked if that  number would go down in the next                                                               
few years,  or do they  have the  capacity to keep  those numbers                                                               
up, or  is it  the legislature's responsibility  to make  sure he                                                               
has the capacity to keep those numbers up.                                                                                      
DR. HINZMAN said  they are working their tails off  to keep those                                                               
numbers  up.  They have  been  scrambling.  Any of  the  research                                                               
institutes will  have cars in  the parking  lots at three  in the                                                               
morning because  of people  working. They lost  a lot  of faculty                                                               
and  staff.  It's  tough.  They  have invested  a  lot  of  their                                                               
resources in training people how  to write good proposals so they                                                               
will be successful.  They have put a lot of  effort into external                                                               
reviews. That  training pays  off over  the years.  Their success                                                               
rates have gone up. In the  short term there are payoffs for that                                                               
training, but there are long-term repercussions from working                                                                    
people at this intense rate.                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS expressed appreciation and admiration for what the                                                                
presenters are doing.                                                                                                           
10:23:58 AM                                                                                                                   
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
Chair Stevens adjourned the Senate Education Standing Committee                                                                 
at 10:23 a.m.                                                                                                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB053_UnivAK_AccreditReporting_BillText_VersionA.pdf SEDC 2/21/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 53
SB053_UA_Accred_Reporting_SponsorStatement_20Feb2019.pdf SEDC 2/21/2019 9:00:00 AM
SFIN 3/13/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 53
SB053_UnivAK_AccreditReporting_FiscalNote01_UnivAK_16Feb2019.pdf SEDC 2/21/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 53
SB053_UnivAK_AccreditReporting_Research_CAEP_RevocationLetter_11JAN2019.pdf SEDC 2/21/2019 9:00:00 AM
SFIN 3/13/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 53
SB053_UnivAK_AccreditReporting_Research_CAEP Report_Dec2018.pdf SEDC 2/21/2019 9:00:00 AM
SFIN 3/13/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 53
SB053_UnivAK_AccreditReporting_Research_BOR Policy_April2014.pdf SEDC 2/21/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 53
SB053_UnivAK_AccreditReporting_Research_Existing UA Accred Summary_21Feb2019.pdf SEDC 2/21/2019 9:00:00 AM
SFIN 3/13/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 53
SEDC_Presentation_Power Of Research_ 21FEB2019.pdf SEDC 2/21/2019 9:00:00 AM
SEDC Presentation - Univ AK - Power of Research - Feb 21, 2019