The University of Alaska President Pat Pitney announced Wednesday her selection of Aparna Dileep-Nageswaran Palmer as the new leader of the University of Alaska Southeast after a monthslong search.
Palmer will begin her new post on July 1, taking over the role from outgoing chancellor Karen Carey, who in the fall announced her plans to retire from her position at UAS at the end of the spring semester having served three years in the position.
“I am honored to be appointed as chancellor of such an amazing and distinctive university and I am committed to UAS, the UA System, and to Alaskans,” Palmer said in a new release. “I look forward to working with the incredible faculty and staff to support their work and educational mission, and creating more opportunities for students to access higher education.
Carey told the Empire Wednesday that she is excited about the announcement and to welcome Palmer, but noted it’s also a little bittersweet.
“I’ve been here since 2016, and I really love the place, and it’s hard to realize I’m not going to be doing this in a couple of months,” she said. “It’s something that needs to happen, however, I need to retire, but I am really going to miss it.”
Palmer was selected out of a pool of five final candidates, which included a wide range of backgrounds and locations of work spanning across Alaska and into the Lower 48.
According to UAS, Palmer currently serves as vice president of Front Range Community College in Longmont, Colorado, a position she has held since May 2021. Before that, she worked at Mesa University and Western Colorado Community College as the assistant vice president of academic affairs. She also worked as a professor of biology for more than a decade at Mesa University and was the interim department head of the Physical and Environmental Sciences Department from 2018 to 2019.
Carey said she hopes to see Palmer get involved with the Juneau community beyond UAS upon her arrival. She said Palmer is entering the UA system at a critical time amid the university’s newfound fiscal stability and said she hopes to see her take advantage of the position and move UAS toward further growth.
“I have not met her yet, but I think she’s going to fit in really well with the community,” she said. “I think that I’m leaving her in a really good situation and now that we’re fully in a stable position I hope we can stay on this path and keep growing.”
• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (651)-528-1807. Follow her on Twitter at @clariselarson.