Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 106

01/22/2016 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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08:00:55 AM Start
08:00:58 AM Presentation: University of Alaska Consolidation Proposal
09:46:40 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Joint with University of Alaska Subcommittee
+ Representative Wilson will be presenting on: TELECONFERENCED
- University of Alaska Performance Update
- University Cost Update by Campus
- Potential Savings by Consolidation
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
                         JOINT MEETING                                                                                        
               HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
        HOUSE UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA FINANCE SUBCOMMITTEE                                                                       
                        January 22, 2016                                                                                        
                           8:00 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                              
  Representative Wes Keller, Chair                                                                                              
  Representative Paul Seaton                                                                                                    
  Representative David Talerico                                                                                                 
  Representative Harriet Drummond                                                                                               
  Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins                                                                                        
HOUSE UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA FINANCE SUBCOMMITTEE                                                                                 
  Representative Tammy Wilson, Chair                                                                                            
  Representative Paul Seaton                                                                                                    
  Representative Andy Josephson                                                                                                 
  Representative Adam Wool                                                                                                      
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                              
  Representative Liz Vazquez, Vice Chair                                                                                        
  Representative Jim Colver                                                                                                     
HOUSE UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA FINANCE SUBCOMMITTEE                                                                                 
  Representative Liz Vazquez, Vice Chair                                                                                        
  Representative Jim Colver                                                                                                     
OTHER MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                         
Representative Lora Reinbold                                                                                                    
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
PRESENTATION:  UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA CONSOLIDATION PROPOSAL                                                                      
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE TAMMY WILSON                                                                                                     
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION   STATEMENT:      Presented:   "University   of   Alaska                                                             
Consolidation Proposal,"  and responded  to questions,  on behalf                                                               
of  the House  University of  Alaska Finance  Subcommittee, which                                                               
she chairs.                                                                                                                     
MATT GRUENING, Staff                                                                                                            
Representative Tammy Wilson                                                                                                     
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Assisted in  delivering the  presentation,                                                             
"University of  Alaska Consolidation Proposal," and  responded to                                                               
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:00:55 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WES KELLER called the  joint meeting of the House Education                                                             
Standing  Committee and  the House  University of  Alaska Finance                                                               
Subcommittee meeting to  order at 7:55 a.m.  Present  at the call                                                               
to  order  from  the  House  Education  Standing  Committee  were                                                               
Representatives   Seaton,  Drummond,   Kreiss-Tomkins,  Talerico.                                                               
Present from the House University  of Alaska Finance Subcommittee                                                               
were Representatives Wool, Josephson, and Wilson.                                                                               
  ^PRESENTATION:  UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA CONSOLIDATION PROPOSAL                                                                 
8:00:58 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER announced  that the only order of  business would be                                                               
a  presentation   on  the  University  of   Alaska  Consolidation                                                               
Proposal,  presented by  the House  University of  Alaska Finance                                                               
8:02:28 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TAMMY  WILSON, Alaska State  Legislature, directed                                                               
attention  to  the  committee handout  entitled,  "University  of                                                               
Alaska  Consolidation  Proposal,  Three  Universities  Made  into                                                               
One."   She  explained that  the model  being presented  has been                                                               
adopted  from a  plan implemented  by the  State of  Georgia, and                                                               
lends  a  comparable framework  based  on  a similar  population.                                                               
Although the University  of Alaska System considers  itself to be                                                               
one institution,  it is comprised  of three major  campuses, with                                                               
services extended to 12 ancillary  facilities.  The thought is to                                                               
create  a   single  campus  infrastructure  with   a  centralized                                                               
administration, as  well as providing course  offerings utilizing                                                               
one   catalogue;   thus   ensuring  economic   efficiencies   and                                                               
minimizing  duplications  of  classes.     A  primary  complaint,                                                               
reported  by her  constituency, continues  to revolve  around the                                                               
inability to  transfer credits  from one  campus hub  to another.                                                               
Laying  the credit  issue to  rest  would be  among the  benefits                                                               
garnered from a streamlined, consolidated effort, she predicted.                                                                
8:03:57 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  paraphrased  from  a  written  statement,                                                               
which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                          
     The  following presentation  outlines our  proposal for                                                                    
     streamlining   and   consolidating   the   University's                                                                    
     overall  structure,   including  services,  coursework,                                                                    
     positions, and  many other aspects,  while at  the same                                                                    
     time  providing  a  better educational  experience  for                                                                    
     Alaskans  who  are   seeking  to  obtain  certificates,                                                                    
     training, or degrees; lastly,  but certainly not least,                                                                    
     we outline  how this  process would  result in  a large                                                                    
     amount of  tangible/quantifiable, as well  as potential                                                                    
     savings for the State of Alaska.                                                                                           
     Simply  making cuts  will  not  eliminate our  deficit,                                                                    
     which leaves us  with two choices:  wait  and pray that                                                                    
     oil prices  will soar  to $113 per  bbl. (the  point at                                                                    
     which  David  Teal informed  us  that  the state  would                                                                    
     begin to  start to balance  the budget) or  continue to                                                                    
     make cuts  and budget  responsibly in  combination with                                                                    
     changing the  current structure  of the  University; if                                                                    
     oil prices  do return  to levels  above $113  per bbl.,                                                                    
     responsible  budget cuts  and  consolidation in  unison                                                                    
     will  leave  the state  on  a  much better  footing  to                                                                    
     better  educate   Alaskans,  as   well  as   achieve  a                                                                    
     sustainable, balanced budget now and in the future.                                                                        
8:04:44 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  described the University of  Alaska System                                                               
as being  comprised of four  main units:   the system  office and                                                               
three separately  accredited institutions.  The  three university                                                               
centers  act  as  umbrellas for  numerous  outreach  centers  and                                                               
twelve  community campuses  across  Alaska:   UA Anchorage  (UAA)                                                               
campuses  serve Anchorage,  Kenai  Peninsula, Kodiak,  Matanuska-                                                               
Susitna, and  Prince William Sound;  UA Southeast  (UAS) campuses                                                               
include  Juneau,   Ketchikan,  and  Sitka;  UA   Fairbanks  (UAF)                                                               
campuses  include  Fairbanks,  Bristol  Bay,  Interior-Aleutians,                                                               
Kuskokwim,    Northwest,    and    Community    and    Technical.                                                               
Additionally, UAF has  extended sites overseen by  the College of                                                               
Rural   and   Community   Development.     Elaborating   on   the                                                               
opportunities of  consolidation she said that  it creates unified                                                               
pathways  to  obtaining  degrees and  certificates,  providing  a                                                               
clear and  concise direction.  Standardized  programs and courses                                                               
help  students gain  the flexibility  to transfer  to any  campus                                                               
without loss  of credits.   The effort  will serve  to strengthen                                                               
and unify  academic departments, providing  program opportunities                                                               
across Alaska while increasing  department efficiency and student                                                               
services.   Finally,  it  will create  a  modern university  that                                                               
balances access,  research and public  service, as it  relates to                                                               
the mission statement.                                                                                                          
8:06:47 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  explained   how  consolidation  might  be                                                               
accomplished, using the framework of  the Georgia model, with the                                                               
goal of  increasing the system's overall  effectiveness to create                                                               
more  educated Alaskans.   The  process must  be transparent  and                                                               
directly involve  all shareholders, involving each  campus across                                                               
Alaska.    She stressed  that  the  more  diverse and  broad  the                                                               
participation level the better the outcome might be.                                                                            
8:07:30 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON questioned the  timeline and whether the                                                               
current budget could be impacted.                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON responded that  the entire process may take                                                               
up to a  year to process and put in  place, but some efficiencies                                                               
might  be identified  and implemented  sooner,  resulting in  the                                                               
realization  of  an  immediate benefit.    The  House  University                                                               
Finance  Subcommittee  is  working   to  identify  and  eliminate                                                               
existing  duplication,  which  will  have a  timely  effect,  she                                                               
CHAIR KELLER  interjected that the  nature of the  current budget                                                               
situation is based  on non-existent revenue streams.   He praised                                                               
the subcommittee's  initiative, and  suggested that this  type of                                                               
action may be inspiring to other committees.                                                                                    
8:09:26 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON underscored  the need  for the  process to                                                               
include  a  broad  selection of  college  staff  representatives,                                                               
community  members,  as  well  as   past  and  current  students.                                                               
Referring to  the handout, she  read the five  guiding principles                                                               
of  consolidation, which  are to,  1)  increase opportunities  to                                                               
raise  education-attainment  levels;   2)  avoid  duplication  of                                                               
academic  programs while  optimizing  access  to instruction;  3)                                                               
create potential  for economies  of scale  and scope;  4) enhance                                                               
economic   development   across   Alaska;   and   5)   streamline                                                               
administrative  services  while   improving  service  levels  and                                                               
quality.  Opportunities to  raise education-attainment levels are                                                               
increased by standardizing programs  and courses, creating clear,                                                               
concise degree  pathways, and enhancing E-learning  programs, she                                                               
relayed.   Additionally,  it is  important to  build on  existing                                                               
collaborations,  which   would  strengthen  and   unify  academic                                                               
departments  to provide  program  opportunities while  increasing                                                               
efficiency  and student  services.   Representative Wilson  added                                                               
that the  main thrust,  for the university  system, should  be to                                                               
train students  to meet  job demands within  the state.   Certain                                                               
Alaskan  based industry,  such  as mining  and  oil, continue  to                                                               
import  workers due  to  the  lack of  trained  Alaskans to  fill                                                               
8:10:52 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  asked  for  clarification  regarding  the                                                               
creation  of  clear, concise  degree  pathways  and whether  such                                                               
action would  eliminate specific  programs, or identify  some for                                                               
expansion,  to bring  them all  into alignment.   He  offered the                                                               
example  of   the  teacher  education   at  UAS,   which  differs                                                               
significantly from UAA and UAF counterparts.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  responded that teacher training  is a good                                                               
example  of training  that exists  at the  three major  campuses.                                                               
She suggested that  trying to maintain a high  level of expertise                                                               
on  each   campus,  for   the  same   degree,  waters   down  the                                                               
universities ability  to provide the highest  level of expertise.                                                               
However, the program could be  strengthened by uniting forces and                                                               
bringing  uniformity.    She  said  that  some  programs  may  be                                                               
eliminated, depending on course  profiles of success; as measured                                                               
via graduation rates, job placement,  and other criteria.  Having                                                               
a uniform catalogue is an  important first step which would allow                                                               
a student to  begin studies in one locale, but  perhaps finish on                                                               
another campus  depending on  the degree  they decide  to pursue.                                                               
Transferable credit hours are an important factor, she stressed.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  recognized   that  each  campus  provides                                                               
different approaches  for attaining  a degree, such  as teaching,                                                               
and expressed  concern that students  may lose  options currently                                                               
offered by the primary campuses.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  pointed out that depending  on the funding                                                               
and success levels, competition for  one campus to offer a better                                                               
program   in  the   same  course   work,  could   be  eliminated.                                                               
Additionally,   course  needs   would  still   be  met   but  the                                                               
duplication of administration could be eliminated.                                                                              
8:15:52 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  KELLER  established  that  the  conference  of  university                                                               
officials, currently being held,  are aware of the subcommittee's                                                               
actions,  and  have  received  a   copy  of  the  proposal  under                                                               
8:17:43 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOSEPHSON  applauded  the idea  of  treating  the                                                               
university  system  as  one  institution,   in  terms  of  credit                                                               
portability.   He  pointed  out that  a key  issue  could be  the                                                               
public's perception for this approach.                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON answered  that the public has  not yet been                                                               
polled.  The  regent's may choose to form a  committee to address                                                               
various aspects of the proposal:   cost, viability, geography and                                                               
other considerations.  The approach  does mean that student's may                                                               
need to  move away from  home to attend  a campus for  a specific                                                               
degree, versus  attending locally.  The  e-learning courses could                                                               
be accommodated  in existing, local school  buildings rather than                                                               
dedicated university facilities.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON said it is  fairly common for an 18 year                                                               
old to  relocate for college,  but for  others it may  prove more                                                               
difficult.    He  provided a  scenario  of  mature,  established,                                                               
working parents,  who reside  in an area  such as  Ketchikan, and                                                               
the father decides to pursue his  passion for teaching.  He asked                                                               
if  such  a scenario  been  considered,  where a  possibly  great                                                               
teacher  might be  discouraged from  entering the  field, due  to                                                               
lack of local opportunity.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  pointed  out   how,  in  many  locations,                                                               
throughout the  state, para-professionals  are assisting/teaching                                                               
in classrooms.   The work  experience, brought to  the classroom,                                                               
is  valuable.   Professional experience  is substituted  for some                                                               
course   work,  with   the  possibility   of  gaining   classroom                                                               
techniques  via e-learning.   Thus,  non-traditional methods  are                                                               
already in  use and could be  expanded upon, which may  satisfy a                                                               
situation as described by Representative Josephson.                                                                             
8:22:15 AM                                                                                                                    
MATT GRUENING,  Staff, Representative Tammy Wilson,  Alaska State                                                               
Legislature, directed  attention to the committee  packet, Figure                                                               
2,  titled Proportion  of Student  Credit Hours  by Method  FY14-                                                               
FY15, to compare two years  of data regarding traditional and on-                                                               
line studies.   He  paraphrased from  a written  statement, which                                                               
read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                
       The point of this chart is that there are campuses                                                                       
      that appear to be regressing in the utilization of e-                                                                     
     learning;  although,   some  of  the  drops   could  be                                                                    
     explained as  a result of  the type of enrollment  in a                                                                    
     particular  year, the  trend for  e-learning should  be                                                                    
     moving  the other  direction in  an effort  to save  on                                                                    
     overall operational costs.                                                                                                 
8:23:32 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER noted the increase  in e-learning in the Mat-Su, and                                                               
the overwhelming  trend for e-learning  at the  Chukchi facility,                                                               
and asked for further details.                                                                                                  
MR. GRUENING pointed out that, due  to the low number of students                                                               
enrolled at  Chukchi the statistics  may appear  overtly dramatic                                                               
despite little  change in status.   He said the goal  would be to                                                               
see an e-learning increase on all campuses.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON added  that, particularly  with e-learning                                                               
options, facilities outside of the  state are competing to enroll                                                               
Alaskan students.                                                                                                               
8:25:10 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON referred  to Figure 2, and  pointed out the                                                               
omission  of  UAS data.    Mr.  Gruening  agreed to  provide  the                                                               
8:25:33 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL noted  the Interior  Alaska statistics,  and                                                               
asked  if that  represents  a  campus.   Mr.  Gruening agreed  to                                                               
provide  further  information.     Further,  Representative  Wool                                                               
clarified  that  the  graphic   does  not  include  participation                                                               
numbers, only the method used to course.                                                                                        
MR.  GRUENING  confirmed  that  Figure  2  is  to  provide  trend                                                               
information for e-learning.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL asked whether  such information might help to                                                               
minimize redundancies on the ancillary campuses.                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON responded that, in  an effort to create one                                                               
system, population participation will be  a guide.  In areas that                                                               
have a  need for  engineers, an engineering  campus may  still be                                                               
maintained. University focus groups  have already eliminated some                                                               
programs.  However, some small campuses  may need to be closed if                                                               
the usage is primarily e-learning.                                                                                              
8:31:05 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON identified  that  the  policy question  is                                                               
based  on the  assumption to  further the  use of  e-learning and                                                               
that  the  shift towards  that  method  should be  continued  and                                                               
bolstered, as an effective learning  forum for Alaska.  He stated                                                               
reservations for the dynamics of  e-learning, as a primary method                                                               
to  earn  a  full,  two  or  four year  degree.    A  short  term                                                               
certificate, he opined, could be effectively handled via e-                                                                     
learning, particularly  in situations requiring credits  to renew                                                               
licensure,  or  for  refresher  courses.   He  requested  that  a                                                               
distinction be clearly drawn between the traditional and e-                                                                     
learning applications and the appropriate  use of each method, as                                                               
the consolidation consideration unfolds.                                                                                        
8:33:14 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER pointed out that  the university is working on these                                                               
issues and that  the committee may take a lead  from the Board of                                                               
Regents.  The university has led the  way on many of the early e-                                                               
learning applications, pioneered in the 1980's.                                                                                 
MR. GRUENING offered that e-learning  is a necessary component of                                                               
consolidation,   in   a   cost   effective   move   to   minimize                                                               
administration and building costs.                                                                                              
CHAIR KELLER  pointed out  that the  legislature allocates  via a                                                               
block  appropriation.    Funding  distribution by  line  item  is                                                               
handled at  the university level.   He  said it is  important for                                                               
the    committee   to    communicate   concerns,    issues,   and                                                               
recommendations, for  the regents  to consider  when establishing                                                               
each campus' budget and offerings.                                                                                              
8:35:48 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  added  that student  preference  is  also                                                               
considered.  Recent enhancements  to e-learning have improved on-                                                               
line   ability  for   interaction;   effectively  enhancing   the                                                               
interface to reflect a classroom experience.                                                                                    
8:37:46 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON   stressed  the  importance   to  identify                                                               
duplication  of  academic  programs while  optimizing  access  to                                                               
instruction.   In  addition to  the University  of Alaska  System                                                               
offerings, other  facilities, such  as the Alaska  Native Science                                                               
and Engineering Program (ANSEP),  and other private institutions,                                                               
also exist.   She drew attention to the next  eleven pages of the                                                               
handout, pages 9-20, with a  partial listing of course offerings,                                                               
by campus, to  illustrate some of the  possible duplication under                                                               
8:39:04 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON asked whether  a state institution might                                                               
be closed  because a private  facility was in  proximity, despite                                                               
the possibility of a higher tuition in the private school.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  underscored  the   need  for  review  and                                                               
analysis  of course  offerings and  locations.   The question  of                                                               
whether private industry offerings  might supplant what the state                                                               
is  currently  listing, in  the  course  catalogue, needs  to  be                                                               
asked, she opined.   In situations where the state  appears to be                                                               
competing with private sector entities,  it may be prudent to not                                                               
spread the state resources thin to  cover the same field of study                                                               
offered by  a private  facility.   She expounded  on the  need to                                                               
identify what are  necessary offerings in order  to fulfill state                                                               
hiring needs.                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  JOSEPHSON  pointed  out the  complication  behind                                                               
some  fields  of study,  such  as  nursing,  where a  variety  of                                                               
advanced certificate levels  may be attained.   He questioned how                                                               
these areas  of study, with  complicated splinter  degrees, might                                                               
be handled.                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  opined  that a  fluid,  informed,  campus                                                               
should be  prepared to fill  the ever changing  placement demands                                                               
and make course offering adjustments as necessary.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON  returned to  the nursing  class example                                                               
and said  the degree requirements  are specific  and complicated.                                                               
He asked if the degree/course offerings would be minimized.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON responded  that health  professionals will                                                               
provide  information on  the expected  hiring needs,  and courses                                                               
may be trimmed where the demand is low.                                                                                         
8:45:02 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL  noted  that  many of  the  programs  listed                                                               
appear  not to  be  redundant  but rather  vary  by  length.   He                                                               
suggested  that  it allows  for  degree  attachments, similar  to                                                               
additional  toppings  on a  pizza,  versus  a separate  field  of                                                               
study; however, as listed, there is an appearance of redundancy.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  explained the  scope of the  proposal, and                                                               
that  what  is  listed  is  a  small  sample  of  the  university                                                               
8:46:48 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  praised the Alaska  Vocational Technical                                                               
Center  (AVTEC) program,  and said  the facility  has is  able to                                                               
place 100 percent of its graduates.   She noted that the field of                                                               
nursing has greatly  expanded, and is an active  hiring sector in                                                               
the  state;  with an  unfilled  need.    Further, 80  percent  of                                                               
Alaska's  teachers are  still brought  in from  out of  state and                                                               
retention continues to be a challenge.   She that the model being                                                               
implemented, was adopted from the State of Georgia.                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  reiterated the  need to  identify deficits                                                               
in the  work force and for  the university to be  able to respond                                                               
with   appropriate   training   opportunities.      The   finance                                                               
subcommittee,  which she  chairs, is  working towards  gaining an                                                               
understanding of where overlaps  in programs are occurring within                                                               
the  University  of   Alaska  System,  as  well   as  with  other                                                               
facilities, such as  AVTEC.  Concentration of  effort is expected                                                               
to  provide better  services for  students, as  well as  economic                                                               
efficiencies.    Any policy  change  would  be initiated  by  the                                                               
standing  committee,  and  the subcommittee  will  determine  the                                                               
financial ramifications,  she said, and then  invited all members                                                               
to attend the round table discussions being scheduled.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND asked  whether quantitative  evidence is                                                               
available  to support  how consolidation  reforms affect  student                                                               
retention and completion of programs.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON   reported  that  the   Georgia  retention                                                               
numbers  exceed  Alaska's  and  said  the  graduation  rates  are                                                               
contained  in the  committees handout,  and  will be  highlighted                                                               
further into the presentation.                                                                                                  
8:51:39 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  interjected  that  program  reform  is  a                                                               
continuous process.  The educational  task force, which he sat on                                                               
six years  ago, addressed  similar issues.   He  said it  will be                                                               
interesting to have  a report from the university  on what degree                                                               
offerings  have changed,  since that  time.   The discussion  may                                                               
seem adversarial,  but the  questions must  be asked  and program                                                               
reform is an ongoing process.                                                                                                   
CHAIR  KELLER agreed,  and  said that  an  evaluation of  program                                                               
needs is  important.   An increase in  the university  budget was                                                               
approved by the  Board of Regents, which, given  the state budget                                                               
situation, poses a red flag or disconnect.                                                                                      
8:53:48 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOSEPHSON echoed  the comments  of Representative                                                               
Seaton, regarding  the importance  to raise questions.   Further,                                                               
he  offered  that available  talent  exists  in the  professorial                                                               
ranks.  The  best colleges may receive as many  as 400 applicants                                                               
for every opening  and the applicants are  often highly achieved,                                                               
PhD holding, professors who are  competing for a single position.                                                               
He  predicted  that  Alaska  will   be  able  to  easily  attract                                                               
excellent professors, as needed.                                                                                                
8:55:29 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  maintained  that   every  idea  would  be                                                               
brought to the  table for discussion, and that the  thrust is not                                                               
to  chop  programs,  but  to  bolster services.    She  said  the                                                               
interest  is  to  bring   greater  access  to  workforce-oriented                                                               
degrees.    The  UAF  regional campuses,  such  as  Bristol  Bay,                                                               
partners with the UAA School  of Nursing to provide residents the                                                               
opportunity to attain  a degree and become a  candidate for local                                                               
employment.    A  coordinated approach  is  also  important,  she                                                               
stressed.    For  example,  the   university  is  developing  and                                                               
improving  programs  in  partnership with  the  Alaskan  Fishing,                                                               
Seafood and  Maritime Initiative (FSMI),  to build a  skilled and                                                               
qualified maritime workforce.                                                                                                   
8:57:26 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   WILSON   said   other  guiding   principles   of                                                               
consolidation  include:   increasing economic  development across                                                               
Alaska through enhanced  degree programs, community partnerships,                                                               
and   improved   student   completion;   building   on   existing                                                               
collaboration  between university  centers; and  streamlining the                                                               
administrative  offices while  improving  levels  and quality  of                                                               
8:57:39 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  reviewed   the  administrative  services,                                                               
provided  at  each  major campus,  and  said  streamlining  these                                                               
services could  provide savings without effecting  programs.  The                                                               
consolidated  institutions will  merge  functions and  leadership                                                               
positions   to  eliminate   inefficient  and   complex  reporting                                                               
relationships.     Streamlining   provides   the  potential   for                                                               
improving   administrative  efficiencies   and  yielding   a  net                                                               
savings,  she said.   The  University of  Alaska System  has four                                                               
major campus  units, each headed  by a chancellor who  reports to                                                               
the  president.    Each  campus   possesses  multiple  levels  of                                                               
administrative services,  which include:   Vice  Presidents, Vice                                                               
Chancellors, Associate Vice  Chancellors, Deans, Associate Deans,                                                               
Special Assistants,  Provosts, Directors, and an  Athletics Coach                                                               
III.     Currently,  all  regional  university   centers  support                                                               
extended community  campus sites across  the state.   Focusing on                                                               
the compensation  for executive positions, she  reported that the                                                               
average pay  for an  executive position,  in 2014,  was $257,778,                                                               
while  58  employees  make more  than  $208,000,  equaling  $14.1                                                               
million.   To put  the numbers in  perspective, she  offered that                                                               
the  Governor   of  Alaska  receives  $145,000.     She  directed                                                               
attention  to the  handout, pages  26-27, listing  administrative                                                               
job class titles and associated cost.                                                                                           
8:59:34 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON  questioned the  accuracy of  the figure                                                               
indicating that professors are each paid $225,258.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  clarified that  the total shown  refers to                                                               
the  12 professor  positions  included in  the  top 58  employees                                                               
compensation report and includes benefit costs.                                                                                 
9:00:26 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  asked about  the  current  status of  the                                                               
optional  retirement plan,  which  the education  task force  had                                                               
identified as a huge expense and recommended for reform.                                                                        
9:02:12 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL asked for information  relating to the growth                                                               
of administrative  costs in comparison to  student body increases                                                               
and whether the ratio been proportional.                                                                                        
9:03:15 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  directed attention  to  page  28, of  the                                                               
handout, showing a  potential savings of $3.4 million,  if the 58                                                               
executive positions were consolidated to  13.  She indicated that                                                               
the merging of the positions  would be a cooperative process, and                                                               
the end result may not be exactly what is listed in the packet.                                                                 
9:04:32 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON turned  to a color coded map  of the United                                                               
States,   titled,  "Higher   Education  Attainment   Levels",  to                                                               
illustrate student retention  rates.  Alaska is  among the lowest                                                               
ranked  states, with  63.3  percent of  the  first year  students                                                               
leaving to  attend other universities  after completion  of their                                                               
freshman  year.    Alaska's  retention   statistic  needs  to  be                                                               
improved upon,  she opined.   She followed  this with a  chart to                                                               
indicate  eight years  of statistics  tracking first-time,  full-                                                               
time  freshman   graduation  rates  for  associate   degrees  and                                                               
certificates or  occupational endorsements,  for each  campus, as                                                               
well as the extended university system.                                                                                         
9:05:45 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   JOSEPHSON   questioned  the   statistics   being                                                               
presented.  He pointed out  that certification renewal should not                                                               
count as a  degree, and asked whether that  statistic is included                                                               
in the  chart.  Additionally,  he asked about  the accountability                                                               
status for students  who complete their freshman  year in Alaska,                                                               
but finish their degree elsewhere, such as Harvard.                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON directed attention  to the footnote, citing                                                               
the  source of  the information,  and said  the chart  relates to                                                               
returning freshman;  excluding students who seek  endorsements or                                                               
certificate renewals.   She opined  that the reported  86 percent                                                               
of students  lost are probably not  attending other universities,                                                               
but fail to re-enroll at an Alaskan campus.                                                                                     
9:07:04 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  clarified that Alaska's  university system                                                               
encompasses  both two  and four  year programs,  which is  unique                                                               
among  the  majority of  states.    Most commonly,  two  separate                                                               
systems exist, with  one providing two year  degree programs, and                                                               
a  separate  four  year  university.    When  comparing  Alaska's                                                               
statistics  to  those  of  other  states,  he  cautioned,  it  is                                                               
necessary to consider this difference.                                                                                          
9:09:22 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  provided  information covering  the  four                                                               
year graduation rate.  She  suggested the need for a conversation                                                               
regarding   college  preparedness.      Remediation  levels   are                                                               
reportedly  high, and  the  consolidation  effort should  include                                                               
discussions focused  on ensuring  that high school  graduates are                                                               
well  prepared  for  a   postsecondary  education.    Appropriate                                                               
preparedness would  eliminate the  need for  remediation courses,                                                               
and possibly  increase the  retention rate.   The  biggest reason                                                               
students drop out,  at the first level, is because  they don't do                                                               
very  well, she  opined.   Of primary  interest are  the students                                                               
that  don't make  transfer requests.   Why  have these  student's                                                               
chosen  not to  transfer, or  return, and  what might  bring them                                                               
back to campus.                                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON  noted that the chart,  handout page 31,                                                               
indicates  that  the trend  for  the  UAF  campus is  going  very                                                               
9:11:29 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. GRUENING  pointed out  how the  two charts,  being discussed,                                                               
were  purposely compiled  to indicate  the two  year versus  four                                                               
year  programs,  thus  providing  a  point  for  comparison  with                                                               
national  averages, for  two year,  community  colleges and  four                                                               
year universities.                                                                                                              
9:13:21 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  turned to  a projection chart  to indicate                                                               
what a retention  increase of 10 percent versus  20 percent would                                                               
have  made on  the University  of Alaska  System budget,  for the                                                               
FY13 and FY14  associate and bachelor programs.   She paraphrased                                                               
from  a  written  statement,  which  read  [original  punctuation                                                               
     We  believe  that  the  University  Consolidation  will                                                                    
     result  in  increased  student retention  due  to  many                                                                    
     aspects associated  with the consolidation  itself, not                                                                    
     least  of which  are  the clear  and consistent  course                                                                    
     requirements  and  degree  pathways,  as  well  as  the                                                                    
     ability of a student  to transfer between the different                                                                    
     campuses  without  losing  valuable  credits;  remember                                                                    
     that losing credits represent a  loss of time and money                                                                    
     that  can frustrate  someone who  is making  a decision                                                                    
     regarding  whether to  continue their  higher education                                                                    
     in Alaska or seek a degree elsewhere.                                                                                      
9:14:07 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   SEATON   clarified   the  application   of   the                                                               
percentages provided,  and pointed  out that the  university does                                                               
not make money  on students.  Thus, the 10  and 20 percent totals                                                               
indicated are  not inclusive  of related  expenses that  would be                                                               
incurred along with the enrollment increase.                                                                                    
9:18:25 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON said  challenges for  consolidation exist,                                                               
based on  the historic competition  between the campus  hubs that                                                               
have led  to distinct university  cultures and pride, as  well as                                                               
to  a disunion  within  the  University of  Alaska  System.   The                                                               
regional  university centers  currently  have different  branding                                                               
and  marketing strategies.    Achieving  efficiencies from  three                                                               
university  centers and  twelve community  campuses will  present                                                               
operational challenges, she said.                                                                                               
9:19:40 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON,  turned to  the handout, page  34, titled,                                                               
"2006-2016 Management  Plan versus  FY17 Governor's  Budget," and                                                               
reviewed budget  categories to  point out  significant increases.                                                               
In  response  to a  committee  member's  question, she  said  the                                                               
figures  were not  adjusted  to reflect  the  ten year  inflation                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  suggested that  adjusting for  inflation may                                                               
see a decrease in certain totals, such as travel.                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON concurred.                                                                                                
9:21:46 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOSEPHSON recalled  that,  in  recent years,  the                                                               
state  contribution has  been reduced  significantly, due  to the                                                               
university expanding revenue through a  variety of means, such as                                                               
expansion of grants and additional federal options.                                                                             
9:23:17 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON maintained  that, despite state reductions,                                                               
it   is   still   important  to   scrutinize   the   universities                                                               
administrative  and  program  expenditures.     The  regents  are                                                               
provided  a lump  sum  state allocation,  and  it's important  to                                                               
track how it's used, she stressed.                                                                                              
9:24:54 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  noted that the chart  combines the grant                                                               
and benefits figures, and asked for clarity.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON deferred.                                                                                                 
9:27:23 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  acknowledged   that  consolidation  is  a                                                               
difficult task,  and stressed the  need to consider  every option                                                               
for savings while realizing that  university and college campuses                                                               
provide a variety of services within  a community.  It's not just                                                               
about education, she  said, and reiterated the  major points made                                                               
in the presentation to finish.                                                                                                  
9:27:59 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  reported that he serves  on the university                                                               
budget committee  and offered that  the layers  of administration                                                               
have been  under scrutiny for the  past year.  He  stated support                                                               
for the  considerations presented and  said another area  not yet                                                               
mentioned  is athletics.    The university  pays  the travel  for                                                               
sports teams to come to Alaska  for competitions, which may be an                                                               
expense  to consider  and  policy  to review.    He relayed  that                                                               
reports  indicate  how, of  all  the  football teams  across  the                                                               
nation, perhaps  five universities make money  on their programs.                                                               
The majority  of schools draw  approximately $1,000  per enrolled                                                               
student,  per year,  from tuition  and fees  to support  football                                                               
teams;  despite  low attendance  at  competitions.   He  recalled                                                               
attending  the University  of California  at Santa  Barbara at  a                                                               
time when  a new  football stadium has  been constructed  only to                                                               
have  the  student  body  cast votes  to  eliminate  the  program                                                               
altogether; which, to little dismay, has never been revived.                                                                    
9:31:59 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TALERICO expressed  interest in  scrutinizing the                                                               
area  of  sports  and  seeing   the  numbers  for  income  versus                                                               
9:32:37 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  introduced  the  final 14  pages  of  the                                                               
handout,  dedicated to  the University  of  Alaska System  Budget                                                               
Review, and  suggested members review it  individually.  Finally,                                                               
she   invited   members   to  attend   the   University   Finance                                                               
Subcommittee, which  she chairs, to gain  a further understanding                                                               
of  the budget  review.   Drawing attention  to pages  43-50, she                                                               
pointed  out the  listed degrees  a certificates  issued by  each                                                               
campus, with the  associated costs.  The Chukchi  Campus only had                                                               
one degree issued  and the cost indicated is inflated  due to the                                                               
minimum number being included in the statistical analysis.                                                                      
9:37:39 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  KELLER  suggested that  it  would  be  helpful to  hold  a                                                               
presentation to  compare degree  costs with  that of  other state                                                               
programs, and  a university  official be  invited to  address the                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON agreed.                                                                                                   
9:38:40 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  directed attention  to pages  47 and  48, to                                                               
note  the  number of  degrees  and  certificates awarded  by  the                                                               
Anchorage  versus  Fairbanks   facilities,  with  the  associated                                                               
costs, and questioned the significant variance.                                                                                 
MR. GRUENING offered to provide a breakdown of the totals.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON interjected that  the numbers presented are                                                               
not discriminatory between degrees and certificates earned.                                                                     
9:40:26 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON  returned to page 31  and indicated that                                                               
there  is  an  influx  of  tuition and  fees  from  students  not                                                               
completing programs,  which effects the total  degree cost figure                                                               
shown on  page 47.   He pointed out  that anyone not  finishing a                                                               
baccalaureate  degree,  infuses  money   into  the  system,  thus                                                               
offsetting some of the cost  for administering the degree; a cost                                                               
of $56,251.                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON agreed that students  who do not complete a                                                               
degree provide a subsidy to those who go onto finish.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  JOSEPHSON  shared  that, beginning  in  1982,  he                                                               
pursued  a bachelor's  degree, at  the  private Whitman  College,                                                               
Walla  Walla,  Washington.    The   cost  was  $8,900,  per  [two                                                               
semester]  year, but  today, the  same degree  carries a  cost of                                                               
approximately $58,000.   Our students cannot afford  this type of                                                               
tuition, he  opined, and subsidization  is necessary to  have the                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  expressed hope that consolidation  will be                                                               
advantageous  and  improve  student   benefits  using  a  smarter                                                               
approach to the budget.                                                                                                         
9:44:44 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  KELLER  thanked  the presenters,  and  stressed  that  the                                                               
committee  holds  the  reins for  university  appropriation,  but                                                               
lacks line  item control.   He underscored  the need  to consider                                                               
all opportunities to ensure fiscal efficiency.                                                                                  
9:46:40 AM                                                                                                                    
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Education Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 9:46 a.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Revised UOA Campus Consolidations and Budget Final 1.pptx HEDC 1/22/2016 8:00:00 AM