Summary: Regents met for just under an hour to discuss their meeting schedule for 2020. The plan outlines when the regents will discuss the various measures being adopted to reduce university expenditures in light of the $70 million in cuts agreed to with the Dunleavy administration in August. According to the draft version of the work plan, the regents are planning reductions for 2020 and 2021 as well as tuition increases. Any policy decisions made by the regents will need to be audited by the Governance Committee. The University of Alaska received a letter from the regional body which accredits universities saying there was concern with the way the restructuring process was taking place. On Dec. 5, regents officially delayed restructuring the university system until the University of Alaska Fairbanks had completed its accreditation process in 2021.
The regents voted unanimously to approve the 2020 work plan.
The regents had discussed with UA General Counsel Michael Hostina what the policy auditing process will look like. Hostina says that it will be a lot of work but his office should be able to handle the workload.
Regent Chair John Davies asks if there will be an opportunity to consult with stakeholders again once policy decisions have been made in June. Hughes says there could be, but that all regent meetings are public and documentation are provided online. Davies suggests including a consultation opportunity in the plan and provide a way for stakeholders to provide feedback in September and November.
Regents are being asked if they have any comments or questions for the work plan.
Regent Gloria O’Neill asks about when discussion of the university’s facilities will fit into the plan. Facilities are one of the university’s greatest assets, she says, and wants those things to appear on the plan. Regent Mary Hughes agrees and asks that facilities to be added to the plan.
Hughes says the governing committee needs to audit the planning process for the Regents. The University of Alaska received a letter on Sept. 30 from the regional accrediting body, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities which expressed concern at how the planning process was taking place.
The governing committee will meeting in the morning of Jan. 16, Hughes says. In the afternoon a workshop will “probably have three to four hours of policy discussion,” she says.
Hughes says she expects that from February to June, there would be at least one meeting a month where the regents would meet with stakeholders (staff, faculty and students amongst others) to discuss policy decisions.
One of the issues listed in the NWCCU letter was that stakeholders were not being consulted as policy decisions were being made.
The regents are discussing broadly what the plan will involve. Regent Sheri Buretta is talking about how reductions have affected the university system. Tuition increases are a difficult decision that will need to be looked at seriously, she says.
The work plan is meant to give regents a good overview of the planning for the coming fiscal year, University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen says. The “deep dive” into the policies will begin in January. Hopefully, he says, meetings laid out in the plan will give regents an understanding of fiscal and policy details for when decision making occurs.
Regents are meeting to discuss their work plan for 2020. The plan outlines a schedule for meetings in the coming year and which subjects will be taken up at what time. On the work plan for 2020 are issues including reductions for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 as well as proposed tuition increases. The agenda and a draft of the work plan can be found at the regent’s website.