Legislature(2021 - 2022)BUTROVICH 205

01/24/2022 09:00 AM Senate EDUCATION

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09:04:30 AM Start
09:05:07 AM Update from the University of Alaska
10:31:52 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Presentation "Update from the University of TELECONFERENCED
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                        January 24, 2022                                                                                        
                           9:04 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Roger Holland, Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Gary Stevens, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator Peter Micciche                                                                                                          
Senator Tom Begich                                                                                                              
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Shelley Hughes                                                                                                          
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
UPDATE FROM UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
PAT PITNEY, Interim President                                                                                                   
University of Alaska System                                                                                                     
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Offered an update on the University of                                                                    
SEAN PARNELL, Chancellor                                                                                                        
University of Alaska Anchorage                                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented University of Alaska updates and                                                                
answered questions.                                                                                                             
DANIEL WHITE, Ph.D., Chancellor                                                                                                 
University of Alaska Fairbanks                                                                                                  
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented University of Alaska updates and                                                                
answered questions.                                                                                                             
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
9:04:30 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  ROGER   HOLLAND  called  the  Senate   Education  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 9:04  a.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order were  Senators Begich, Stevens, and  Chair Holland. Senator                                                               
Micciche arrived thereafter.                                                                                                    
^Update from the University of Alaska                                                                                           
              UPDATE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA                                                                          
9:05:07 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HOLLAND announced the committee  would hear a University of                                                               
Alaska update by President Pat Pitney.                                                                                          
9:05:35 AM                                                                                                                    
PAT  PITNEY,  Interim  President, University  of  Alaska  System,                                                               
Fairbanks,  Alaska,   stated  the  update  would   focus  on  the                                                               
workforce. Alaska  has three universities with  diverse missions.                                                               
University  of Alaska  Fairbanks (UAF)  focuses on  research; the                                                               
University of  Anchorage (UAA) is open  access and comprehensive;                                                               
and the  University of Alaska  Southeast (UAS) is  regional. Each                                                               
university is  associated with in-state community  colleges. Each                                                               
university provides  unique experiences that serve  the community                                                               
workforce, businesses, and industries.                                                                                          
9:07:28 AM                                                                                                                    
PRESIDENT PITNEY  moved to slide  2 and stated the  University of                                                               
Alaska is essential to the  state's economic recovery, diversity,                                                               
and growth.  The University  of Alaska  is focused  on workforce,                                                               
competitive   research,   and   cost-effective   operation.   The                                                               
university needs  financial and programmatic stability  to create                                                               
statewide trust.                                                                                                                
9:08:15 AM                                                                                                                    
PRESIDENT  PITNEY moved  to slide  3 and  said university  budget                                                               
reductions over the past eight  years are equivalent to one-third                                                               
of its  base funding. Since  FY19, the  university's unrestricted                                                               
funding has been  down over $70 million.  Although the university                                                               
has cut  fifty programs,  it has kept  the programs  that address                                                               
Alaska's  competitive advantages  and  priority workforce  needs.                                                               
The university footprint has been  reduced by selling twenty-five                                                               
facilities, demolishing  twenty-four old facilities,  and leasing                                                               
space to third parties. There are 2,400 fewer faculty and staff.                                                                
SENATOR STEVENS asked for the reduced faculty percentage.                                                                       
9:09:52 AM                                                                                                                    
PRESIDENT  PITNEY  estimated that  the  reduction  in faculty  is                                                               
around 15 percent.                                                                                                              
SENATOR BEGICH stated that one of  the highest costs in Alaska is                                                               
energy. He  asked what the  university is doing to  capitalize on                                                               
the shift to alternative energy.                                                                                                
9:11:24 AM                                                                                                                    
PRESIDENT PITNEY  said that  UAF's Alaska  Center for  Energy and                                                               
Power   collaborates  with   UAA   engineering  on   multi-source                                                               
optimization   of   microgrids.  Multi-source   maximization   of                                                               
renewable  energy  studies  includes  wind-diesel,  solar-diesel,                                                               
hydro-wind, tidal, and in-stream river.  There is also a focus on                                                               
bringing  self-contained  nuclear   battery  power  sources  into                                                               
Alaska.  The Alaska  Center for  Energy and  Power is  willing to                                                               
present more details on its research.                                                                                           
9:13:13 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH opined that the  university is key in planning the                                                               
state's  renewable  energy course.  He  asked  if the  university                                                               
could partner with private companies  to aid Alaska's transition.                                                               
He stated  Santos has five  hubs worldwide and fears  Alaska will                                                               
not  be a  hub. Partnering  with Santos  at the  university level                                                               
could be advantageous.                                                                                                          
PRESIDENT PITNEY replied yes.                                                                                                   
CHAIR  HOLLAND  inquired  about   the  Sustainable  Village  Cold                                                               
Climate Housing Research Center project.                                                                                        
PRESIDENT PITNEY  replied that center  is not a UAF  program even                                                               
though it is located on  campus property. The university leased a                                                               
highly efficient small  housing operation to the  center who does                                                               
the  monitoring. The  project is  focused on  residential housing                                                               
efficiency and not energy.                                                                                                      
9:15:12 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HOLLAND acknowledged Senator Micciche joined the meeting.                                                                 
9:15:19 AM                                                                                                                    
PRESIDENT PITNEY turned to slide  5 and expressed appreciation to                                                               
Senator   Murkowski  and   the  Alaska   State  Legislature   for                                                               
establishing  a  federal  land  grant with  the  Bureau  of  Land                                                               
Management for UA.  The grant would allow up to  360,000 acres to                                                               
be identified and conveyed to UA  for use. Alaska has the largest                                                               
landmass and smallest land grant in the nation.                                                                                 
9:16:20 AM                                                                                                                    
The  University  of  Texas  (UT) and  the  University  of  Alaska                                                               
received  land grants  in the  1980s. UT  received a  2.1 million                                                               
acre land grant that has generated  $21.4 billion as of 2019. The                                                               
University  of Alaska  received 150,000  acres and  has generated                                                               
$6.8 million  as of  2019. In contrast,  the Mental  Health Trust                                                               
Authority has  1 million  acres and  has generated  $10.6 million                                                               
since  2019.  Although the  land  grant  does not  replace  other                                                               
funding, it adds stability to the university.                                                                                   
CHAIR  HOLLAND asked  if Texas's  land revenue  of $21.4  billion                                                               
came from  oil. He  wondered what  the significant  land revenues                                                               
were for Alaska.                                                                                                                
PRESIDENT  PITNEY  replied that  major  land  revenues in  Alaska                                                               
include timber, gravel, subdivisions, and mining.                                                                               
9:18:35 AM                                                                                                                    
PRESIDENT PITNEY  said that full-time employees  had been reduced                                                               
by 22percent,  part-time employees  are down  35percent, students                                                               
are  down 36.5percent,  and graduates  are down  18.6percent. She                                                               
deduced  that students  are graduating  at  a higher  proportion.                                                               
Also, the  programs the  university kept  are those  that produce                                                               
more graduates.                                                                                                                 
9:19:36 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH   commented  that  UAA's  contact   tracers  were                                                               
included in the  number of part-time employees,  so the part-time                                                               
employee  reduction  percentage  is greater  than  35percent.  He                                                               
asked what  the future bodes  for a  student body decreased  by a                                                               
PRESIDENT PITNEY  replied that with  stability, the  future bodes                                                               
well.  The turmoil  of budget  reductions  and Covid  are in  the                                                               
past. The university  is positioned to highlight  the strength of                                                               
its  programs. Student  reduction would  have been  about twenty-                                                               
five percent without Covid. UAA  was impacted by the rapid budget                                                               
changes  and switch  to online  learning. UAF  and UAS  were less                                                               
affected because they were online-centric before the pandemic.                                                                  
9:21:37 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS  commented that nationwide college  enrollment is                                                               
down because many students are  opting to work. Still, statistics                                                               
show  that  higher  education leads  to  better-paying  jobs  and                                                               
happiness in  life. He  asked how  the trend  can be  reversed so                                                               
that students choose to become more accomplished.                                                                               
9:23:01 AM                                                                                                                    
PRESIDENT PITNEY replied  that it takes everybody  to express the                                                               
importance  of education,  whether a  two-year technical  degree,                                                               
associate's, or  bachelor's degree.  It needs to  be part  of the                                                               
state's culture.  Middle college is  helping to show the  path to                                                               
higher  education.  Working  closer with  industries  also  helps                                                               
students see direct connections to  jobs. Alaska's problem is not                                                               
the number of  students going out of state to  college. It is the                                                               
number of  students not going to  college. It has been  a chronic                                                               
problem for Alaska.                                                                                                             
SENATOR STEVENS  stated UA faced many  reductions. He appreciates                                                               
that its future looks bright.                                                                                                   
9:25:11 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MICCICHE asked  if exit  cards were  sent to  the 11,000                                                               
non-returning students to determine their reasons for leaving.                                                                  
PRESIDENT PITNEY deferred the question to Chancellor Parnell.                                                                   
SEAN  PARNELL,   Chancellor,  University  of   Alaska  Anchorage,                                                               
Anchorage,  Alaska,  replied  that  a   blitz  was  done  by  the                                                               
administration  and faculty  to determine  why students  were not                                                               
returning  for the  Fall semester.  Life adjustments  were cited.                                                               
Similar adjustments have been seen with adults in the workplace.                                                                
9:28:14 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HOLLAND stated he knows  students who quit attending UA and                                                               
started  working due  to the  educational  disruptions caused  by                                                               
Covid. They have not returned to school but plan to.                                                                            
SENATOR MICCICHE stated  he worked in an  industry that partnered                                                               
with  the  university to  provide  process  technology and  other                                                               
programs  to  prepare  new  employees.  The  programs  saved  the                                                               
employer $90,000  in training costs.  He asked if  the university                                                               
has an outreach  team to partner with industries  and discuss job                                                               
training  needs.  For  example,  the mining  industry  uses  Mine                                                               
Awareness Training (MATS).                                                                                                      
PRESIDENT PITNEY replied that outreach  is done on a case-by-case                                                               
basis. When state funding was  available, the university expanded                                                               
process  technology   programs  and   doubled  the   nursing  and                                                               
engineering programs.  These programs have helped  lessen Covid's                                                               
negative impact on graduation rates.  There will be some outreach                                                               
through the  infrastructure bill,  but the universities  focus is                                                               
9:30:58 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH  stated Senate  Bill  10  would provide  monetary                                                               
resources to  students. It would  be a  way to get  federal Covid                                                               
funds into  Alaska's university system, increase  enrollment, and                                                               
get students into partnership programs at the university.                                                                       
9:32:14 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR   STEVENS  requested   the  university   investigate  the                                                               
training  required to  operate  automatic  baiting equipment  and                                                               
whether it could offer the training.                                                                                            
PRESIDENT PITNEY  accepted the  request and moved  to slide  8 to                                                               
discuss signs  of hope in  student enrollment.  Students enrolled                                                               
exclusively  at  community  colleges  increased  in  2021.  UAA's                                                               
academic  units, Kodiak  and Prince  William  Sound Colleges  saw                                                               
increased enrollment,  as did UAS's  School of  Career Education.                                                               
UAF's  academic units  saw increased  enrollment, and  graduation                                                               
increased 5percent.  Graduation rates for  UA are at  an all-time                                                               
high. UA's  focus on Alaska  Native enrollment,  recruitment, and                                                               
retention has had positive signs.                                                                                               
9:35:33 AM                                                                                                                    
DANIEL  WHITE,   Chancellor,  University  of   Alaska  Fairbanks,                                                               
Fairbanks,  Alaska,  said  that  edX is  a  free  platform  where                                                               
students can  take courses.  The cost of  a certificate  is about                                                               
$200. There  are approximately  20,000 students  worldwide taking                                                               
edX courses  from UAF. He  anticipated that by 2024,  there would                                                               
be  100,000 students  taking  the classes.  The  amount of  money                                                               
earned  from the  platform  is small.  The  benefit is  worldwide                                                               
exposure to  the opportunities available  at UAF. It  is believed                                                               
that  all students  enrolled in  the One  Health master's  degree                                                               
program  either came  into  the  program through  edX  or had  an                                                               
affiliation with a person who entered through edX.                                                                              
9:37:34 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH suggested UAF be  deliberate in collecting data to                                                               
solidify  the   connection  between   edX  users   and  increased                                                               
enrollment  because affirmation  would  garner  support from  the                                                               
PRESIDENT  PITNEY noted  that  UA served  Alaskans  by running  a                                                               
Covid contact tracing  team and offering training.  It has shared                                                               
its  epidemiology  experts,  worked with  small  businesses,  and                                                               
assisted with mental health emergency response.                                                                                 
9:39:32 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS  asked what UA  has done to protect  students and                                                               
faculty from Covid.                                                                                                             
PRESIDENT  PITNEY  replied  that  the university  uses  a  three-                                                               
layered approach  that includes  masking, social  distancing, and                                                               
vaccination. Vaccination is required  in school dormitories since                                                               
there  is  not  enough  space  for  social  distancing.  UAF  has                                                               
research  contract  agreements  of   $100  million  that  require                                                               
vaccination. Therefore,  vaccination is  required within  the UAF                                                               
campus  proper.   Some  class   sizes  have  been   limited,  and                                                               
protection  barriers  have  been  placed  where  needed.  Contact                                                               
tracing is also being done.                                                                                                     
9:42:03 AM                                                                                                                    
PRESIDENT  PITNEY moved  to slide  10 to  discuss middle  college                                                               
programs.  Middle college  programs exist  in Anchorage,  Mat-Su,                                                               
Kenai,  Fairbanks,  online  and  within the  Alaska  Native  STEM                                                               
Program  (ANSEP).  The  Alaska   Advantage  program  is  Alaska's                                                               
virtual  middle college  which opened  the  Fall semester  before                                                               
Covid. The  program was  developed in  response to  Arizona State                                                               
offering Alaskan students participation  in its' virtual program.                                                               
UAF  and  UAS successfully  run  the  program. UA  and  secondary                                                               
schools are focused on increasing enrollment.                                                                                   
9:43:51 AM                                                                                                                    
PRESIDENT  PITNEY  stated  that  actions were  taken  to  address                                                               
Alaska's need for  trained teachers. Since each  university has a                                                               
teaching  program, a  board-approved Alaska  Education Consortium                                                               
was  established to  build a  team of  faculty and  leadership to                                                               
work  on pathways.  Anchorage has  a  2+2 program,  and other  UA                                                               
programs have teacher mentoring.  The website teachalaska.org was                                                               
launched to  highlight UA's teaching  programs and  pathways. The                                                               
site  allows people  with various  backgrounds  and interests  to                                                               
quickly  determine  which  teaching  program  best  serves  their                                                               
purpose. UA  is also running  advertisement campaigns  to capture                                                               
student   interest  and   promote   teaching   as  a   worthwhile                                                               
9:46:15 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH  requested a  graphic  update  on the  number  of                                                               
students  enrolled  in  teacher education  programs  compared  to                                                               
previous years. Last year's graphic  showed a significant decline                                                               
in  teacher enrollment.  He opined  that having  the visual  aide                                                               
helps  facilitate important  recruitment and  retention dialogue.                                                               
He mentioned  the role of  Western Governors University  (WGU) in                                                               
augmenting teachers  for Alaska in  the 1990s. He  suggested that                                                               
the state consider partnering with WGU again.                                                                                   
9:48:01 AM                                                                                                                    
PRESIDENT PITNEY replied  that the graphic is part  of a required                                                               
biennial  education   report.  Still,   she  would   provide  the                                                               
committee with the graphic.                                                                                                     
SENATOR STEVENS  asked how Alaska can  help place-based residents                                                               
to become certified teachers.                                                                                                   
9:49:00 AM                                                                                                                    
PRESIDENT  PITNEY  replied  that  UA has  partnered  with  school                                                               
districts  to  assist  teacher  aides  in  determining  the  best                                                               
pathway to  become certified teachers.  Many of the  programs are                                                               
available   entirely  through   distance  learning.   The  online                                                               
availability  of  a  program  can   be  ascertained  by  visiting                                                               
PRESIDENT PITNEY advanced  to slide 12 and reiterated  that UA is                                                               
interested in meeting  the workforce needs of  Alaska. Last year,                                                               
UA studied industry sectors to  determine the number of graduates                                                               
working in  Alaska and their  yearly earnings. From UA's  oil and                                                               
gas  process technology  programs,  there were  790 students  who                                                               
graduated over a  ten-year lookback in two  locations. Almost 700                                                               
are employed in Alaska, and the  average wage after five years of                                                               
employment is  $130,000. The program  is a tremendous  benefit to                                                               
both the industry  and the graduate. She noted  that the industry                                                               
sector reports are available online.                                                                                            
PRESIDENT PITNEY  said she  would be talking  with the  Labor and                                                               
Commerce  Committee  regarding  the  workforce  needs  that  will                                                               
result  from the  federal infrastructure  bill. Alaska  is in  an                                                               
interesting  position because  the number  of working-age  adults                                                               
has  declined by  30,000 over  the last  several years.  The wage                                                               
differential Alaska once had no  longer exists in its industries.                                                               
Alaska's ability  to meet its  economic opportunities  depends on                                                               
building the workforce from within the state.                                                                                   
9:52:56 AM                                                                                                                    
PRESIDENT PITNEY advanced  to slide 14 and stated  that UA offers                                                               
many  programs  that would  help  meet  the tremendous  workforce                                                               
needs that the infrastructure bill would create.                                                                                
9:53:30 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. PARNELL stated that UAA is  aware of its key role in Alaska's                                                               
economic comeback. Alaska's  comprehensive university offers more                                                               
programs  than  many  residences  realize.  He  began  a  calling                                                               
initiative  to address  the workforce  demands of  the state.  He                                                               
speaks  with Alaska  Native corporation  and tribal  leaders, oil                                                               
and   gas   executives,   telecom,  healthcare,   and   financial                                                               
institutions.  He stated  that the  university's chancellors  and                                                               
president  interact  to  ensure that  university  programs  match                                                               
workforce needs.                                                                                                                
9:55:07 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  PARNELL  stated  his  appreciation  for  the  suggestion  of                                                               
partnering  with Western  Governors University  (WGU). UAA  spoke                                                               
with WGU, and  ways to partner are being considered.  UAA is open                                                               
to suggestions  that create more opportunities  for students. UAA                                                               
is  Alaska's  largest  workforce   provider  and  offers  master,                                                               
bachelor,  and  associate  degrees and  occupational  endorsement                                                               
certificates. UAA  takes the  lead for  UA's health  programs and                                                               
offers  45 programs,  such as  surgery technician,  stenographer,                                                               
and medical  assistant. The demand for  UAA's healthcare programs                                                               
exceeds its capacity, so it is looking to expand.                                                                               
UAA's  College of  Engineering is  poised to  meet the  increased                                                               
needs of  the workforce from  the infrastructure  bill. Employers                                                               
need  bookkeepers, accountants,  and  quantitative analysts.  The                                                               
College of Business  and Public Policy can  meet employers' needs                                                               
for  bookkeepers, accountants,  and analysts  and is  prepared to                                                               
help  students  transfer into  the  programs.  He commented  that                                                               
students  could begin  a  career and  work  towards a  bachelor's                                                               
degree through the certificate and pathway programs.                                                                            
9:58:39 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MICCICHE   asked  if  UAA   is  pursuing   true  program                                                               
partnerships, as  was done with  the process  technology program,                                                               
where a  company heavily subsidizes  program costs.  He suggested                                                               
there  could  be  opportunities   in  the  seafood  and  medicine                                                               
MR.  PARNELL  responded  yes;   for  example,  Providence  Alaska                                                               
Medical Center has  a memorandum of understanding  (MOU) with the                                                               
College of  Health. He recently  learned that there  are hundreds                                                               
of active MOUs that need  attention. He visited the Kenai Process                                                               
Technology  facility and  saw its  cutting-edge training.  At the                                                               
tip  of UAA's  strategy are  more partnerships  like the  Process                                                               
Technology program has with the oil industry.                                                                                   
10:01:46 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR MICCICHE asked if the  effectiveness of state funding can                                                               
be   increased  by   promoting  its   high-quality  programs   to                                                               
institutions that have inferior programs.                                                                                       
10:02:59 AM                                                                                                                   
PRESIDENT   PITNEY   replied   that  effectiveness   is   program                                                               
dependent.  UA's  fully  online emergency  management  degree  is                                                               
highly effective  and was  made popular outside  of the  state by                                                               
word of mouth. On the  other hand, equipment-heavy programs, like                                                               
process technology, which  are already at capacity,  are not made                                                               
more  effective  through  promotion. Out-of-state  tuition  never                                                               
covers the  total cost of a  program. Therefore, it is  better to                                                               
focus  on  promotion  in-state,   where  workforce  retention  is                                                               
10:04:54 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR STEVENS  stated it was  a shock  to Alaska when  UAA lost                                                               
its  accreditation for  its teaching  program. He  asked what  is                                                               
being done  to ensure students  receive the education  needed for                                                               
certification  and whether  the university  intends to  apply for                                                               
MR. PARNELL  replied that UAA  is fully accredited. If  a student                                                               
wants  to  become  a  teacher, there  are  pathways  at  Alaska's                                                               
universities.  He  deferred   further  explanation  to  President                                                               
10:06:28 AM                                                                                                                   
PRESIDENT  PITNEY  added  that  the Board  of  Regents  passed  a                                                               
comprehensive  reporting  system  centered  on  accreditation  in                                                               
November.  All of  UA's institutions  have strong  accreditation.                                                               
Many  individual programs,  such  as  business, engineering,  and                                                               
chemistry,  have  additional  certification.  The  focus  of  the                                                               
accreditation  policy is  on  early  indicators, monitoring,  and                                                               
PRESIDENT  PITNEY  said  that  UA   has  pathways  and  education                                                               
leadership  programs at  UAA  and  is adding  a  PreK    3  Early                                                               
Childhood  bachelor's program.  She stated  that when  she became                                                               
the  interim  president,  the   university  faced  an  additional                                                               
reduction  of $20  million.  Therefore,  any additional  programs                                                               
needed  to be  cost-neutral.  Since UAA  already  had a  two-year                                                               
program,  creating a  four-year program  would be  a cost-neutral                                                               
way of attracting more students.                                                                                                
10:09:08 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  STEVENS opined  that  the largest  campus  in the  state                                                               
needs to have  a school of education with  an accredited teaching                                                               
program. He  stated his concern  that UAA provides  students with                                                               
certifiable  teacher   education  programs.   He  asked   if  the                                                               
university would be seeking accreditation.                                                                                      
10:10:21 AM                                                                                                                   
PRESIDENT PITNEY replied  that the university is  in a downsizing                                                               
environment. Each program within the  school of education must be                                                               
accredited. The process needs to be  done in steps, and the first                                                               
step for UAA is the Early  Childhood program. The other step is a                                                               
seamless pathway through TeachAlaska.org.  Two years of study are                                                               
done  at UAA  followed by  two years  at UAF  to obtain  a BA  in                                                               
elementary education.                                                                                                           
MR.  PARNELL  stated  that UAA's  School  of  Education  graduate                                                               
programs had  accreditations reaffirmed in August.  The associate                                                               
degree  in  Early  Childhood Education  is  accredited.  UAA  has                                                               
sixty-seven  accreditation bodies  and reviews.  Accreditation is                                                               
essential,  and  steps  are  being  taken so  that  UA  does  not                                                               
experience the revoking of a program's accreditation again.                                                                     
SENATOR  BEGICH  expressed  appreciation   and  joshed  that  Mr.                                                               
Parnell  would  be under  pressure  because  all members  of  the                                                               
Senate Education Committee are from UAA's south-central region.                                                                 
10:13:26 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. WHITE said that at UAF  workforce is discussed from the level                                                               
of  GED   support  to  graduate  degrees   because  all  programs                                                               
contribute to Alaska's workforce.                                                                                               
UAF  is Alaska's  research university.  It creates  new jobs  and                                                               
career paths through research and  new technologies. For example,                                                               
UAF's  Alaska Center  for  Energy  and Power  is  working on  new                                                               
energies. It is  a place where people get  trained for tomorrow's                                                               
UAF  developed   a  four-year  financial  aid   program  to  help                                                               
bachelor's  degree students  get into  the workforce  quickly. It                                                               
provides  a  four-year  commitment  of  financial  assistance  to                                                               
students.   Hence,   they  are   confident   of   the  cost   and                                                               
affordability of their  chosen program. The intent  is to prevent                                                               
students from interrupting their studies to earn money.                                                                         
10:15:40 AM                                                                                                                   
UAF has 45  online degree programs designed to meet  the needs of                                                               
working Alaskans. Online programs  allow students to take courses                                                               
where  and   when  they   need  them.   It  also   offers  micro-                                                               
credentialing  that enables  students to  take classes  that have                                                               
value in  the workforce,  such as  social media  marketing, small                                                               
business development, and entrepreneurship.                                                                                     
10:18:05 AM                                                                                                                   
UAF  also offers  traditional workforce  programs, such  as fire,                                                               
paramedicine,  mining,   and  oil   and  gas.  UAF   operates  an                                                               
underground mine  and partners with petroleum  companies to train                                                               
in  the Kenai  peninsula region.  When students  graduate from  a                                                               
program, they  are ready  to be  employed. Tribal  management and                                                               
rural human services  are offered to prepare students  to work in                                                               
rural native communities.                                                                                                       
10:19:34 AM                                                                                                                   
PRESIDENT PITNEY moved to slide  17 and stated Juneau, Sitka, and                                                               
Ketchikan  are  integrated  to  form  the  University  of  Alaska                                                               
Southeast  (UAS). The  Ketchikan  campus is  focused on  maritime                                                               
education. Its  maritime training  center has  a state-of-the-art                                                               
simulator to train boat captains,  and it is closely aligned with                                                               
the  Alaska  Vocational  Technical  Center  (AVTECH)  in  Seward,                                                               
Alaska. Juneau's  power technology program focuses  on the mining                                                               
workforce.  Juneau's  education  programs are  offered  statewide                                                               
online. UAS also offers a  one-year intensive teacher certificate                                                               
10:20:57 AM                                                                                                                   
PRESIDENT  PITNEY  stated  that  Anchorage's  college  of  health                                                               
provides nursing cohorts  in Juneau. In addition,  UAS offers two                                                               
shorter programs, medtech and  certified nursing assistant (CNA).                                                               
An area  of significant  focus at the  board level  is increasing                                                               
the  presence   of  fisheries  and   ocean  sciences   through  a                                                               
partnership  with UAS  and UAF.  UAF has  a research  facility at                                                               
Lena Point, Juneau.  The fisheries and ocean  science program has                                                               
expanded by  combining UAF's research and  graduate programs with                                                               
UAS's  undergraduate   program,  creating  a  pathway   into  the                                                               
graduate  program for  undergraduates. Also,  Sitka has  a strong                                                               
fisheries tech program.                                                                                                         
10:22:15 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  STEVENS stated  he is  impressed  with Juneau's  teacher                                                               
education program.  He asked  how many  students are  enrolled in                                                               
UAS's education programs.                                                                                                       
PRESIDENT PITNEY replied that she would report back.                                                                            
10:23:12 AM                                                                                                                   
PRESIDENT PITNEY moved  to slide 18 and stated that  the Board of                                                               
Regents approved an $8 million  operating budget increase, making                                                               
the FY23 budget $280 million. The  budget amount in FY14 was $379                                                               
million.  The university  wants to  achieve fiscal  stability and                                                               
grow  by  working with  industries.  This  takes time  so  modest                                                               
increments  to the  budget  help. The  university  will focus  on                                                               
targeted  programmatic areas.  She noted  that faculty  contracts                                                               
are  still being  negotiated and  are  not included  in the  FY22                                                               
budget of $280 million.                                                                                                         
PRESIDENT  PITNEY  advanced to  slide  19  and commented  that  a                                                               
priority project  for the capital  budget is  modernizing student                                                               
IT  infrastructure.  The  current   Enterprise  data  system  was                                                               
installed  in  1995  and  interfaces   poorly  with  more  modern                                                               
technology. Federal  or state funds  can be used for  the upgrade                                                               
as it is a long-term investment central to UA's future.                                                                         
PRESIDENT  PITNEY  stated  that  there was  $31  million  in  the                                                               
legislature's  budget last  year  that was  vetoed. The  previous                                                               
year's  deferred  maintenance  projects  need  to  be  addressed.                                                               
Deferred  maintenance   is  $1.4  billion.  An   annual  deferred                                                               
maintenance budget  of $50 million  would keep the  university on                                                               
track.  A long-term  deferred maintenance  strategy  needs to  be                                                               
figured out.                                                                                                                    
10:26:00 AM                                                                                                                   
PRESIDENT PITNEY stated that areas  of economic impact for Alaska                                                               
that  were presented  to  the Board  of  Regents include  drones,                                                               
critical  minerals, enhanced  oil  recovery, alternative  energy,                                                               
mariculture, and health care programs.  The university is excited                                                               
to request  state discretionary  federal funds  for use  in these                                                               
projects  because   it  advances  the  initiatives   faster.  The                                                               
expansion of the Health Care program is a base request.                                                                         
PRESIDENT PITNEY said  UA's drone program is one of  seven in the                                                               
nation. Alaska  is a perfect testbed  for commercialized flights.                                                               
Faculty   serve  on   committees   with   the  Federal   Aviation                                                               
Association (FAA) to  determine how to have  safe flights. Drones                                                               
could  be a  game-changer  for monitoring  the pipeline,  sending                                                               
freight  to  small  communities,   counting  fish  and  game,  or                                                               
monitoring coastal land and water.  Once more test facility setup                                                               
and pilot training are arranged,  these opportunities could exist                                                               
for Alaska.                                                                                                                     
10:28:39 AM                                                                                                                   
PRESIDENT PITNEY  said that Alaska  has the elements for  a green                                                               
economy and could sustainably mine  rare earth minerals. Research                                                               
is needed  to make  mining economical.  This research  would give                                                               
the United States independence from  China. UA plans to meet with                                                               
industries, environmentalists, and  state and federal governments                                                               
in August  to discuss unlocking  critical minerals in  Alaska. UA                                                               
would  work with  the  Department of  Natural  Resources and  the                                                               
Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys.                                                                                 
PRESIDENT  PITNEY  mentioned that  the  state  is waiting  for  a                                                               
judgment regarding  whether the Higher Education  Investment Fund                                                               
(HEIF)  can  be  swept  into the  Constitutional  Budget  Reserve                                                               
(CBR). If the lawsuit does  not prevail, the university will need                                                               
legislative assistance to restore the fund.                                                                                     
10:31:05 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  BEGICH  asked  about  the status  of  the  UA  President                                                               
PRESIDENT  PITNEY   replied  that  the  board   would  decide  in                                                               
10:31:52 AM                                                                                                                   
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair Holland  adjourned the Senate Education  Standing Committee                                                               
meeting at 10:31 a.m.                                                                                                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
UA Senate Education Committee Presentation 1 21 2022 - Final from President Pitney.pdf SEDC 1/24/2022 9:00:00 AM