Caulfield wraps things up. Nothing too new today, I don’t think, but a couple interesting tidbits about the university system’s attempts to adapt and change for the future.
Caulfield says the Legislature has asked the Board of Regents to consider the possibility of having only one accredited campus instead of three. It’s not a new consideration, he says, but the regents are considering it once again.
Caulfield shifts gears to talk about the state’s budget proposals. Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s budget would cut the university system’s budget by 41 percent, Caulfield says. This cut, he says, is “extreme,” “breathtaking” and “hard to imagine.”
The current budget proposal from the Legislature is much more manageable, including only a $5 million cut instead of Dunleavy’s proposed $134 million cut.
Caulfield says the university system has 1,200 fewer faculty and staff than it did five years ago.
“The point is that already we’ve made some significant reductions,” he says.
Caulfield talks about the UAS partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard, specifically through its College Student Pre-commissioning Initiative (CSPI). He mentions Logan Holt, and also mentions former Empire employee Daniel Piscoya (an exciting moment for me personally), who are involved with the Coast Guard through UAS.
Caulfield says the university is at a standstill when it comes to the Auke Bay Marine Station due to budget uncertainty.
The marine station will be a new center for the university’s marine biology program and other science studies. UAS wanted the building to be complete by 2020, but it looks like that might not happen due to the state’s budget uncertainty (the Alaska Legislature has not yet passed a budget).
“We’re ready to move forward, we just need to have a little more clarity on the budget situation before we do so,” Caulfield says.
Caulfield says the university has a budget of about $24 million, which has been reduced by 13 percent since 2015.
Caulfield is starting his talk now. He says this will mostly be a broad overview, but he says he’ll address budget challenges and what might be next for the university.
He starts out by reminding people that UAS has three campuses: Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan.
As attendees introduce themselves, a couple of them point out that they have students at UAS. City and Borough of Juneau Assembly member Wade Bryson says he has a child who’s graduating soon from UAS.
There are stickers on the tables that say, “I proudly support University of Alaska and I vote.”
University of Alaska Southeast Chancellor Rick Caulfield is speaking to the Juneau Chamber of Commerce today, giving an update about the university. He’s set to start talking soon.