Just days after the start of a new academic year, the University of Alaska Southeast has announced another new beginning as it undertakes its search for a new campus chancellor.
The Juneau-based university’s current chancellor, Karen Carey, announced in May she will be retiring from her position at UAS and is set to bid farewell to her position at the end of the academic year in June 2023 — which means the search has begun to fill her shoes after what she said was an unexpected time filling the role.
Originally starting as provost for the university, Carey said she was a part of the 2020 process of finding a new chancellor for UAS after the previous chancellor, Rick Caulfield, retired but did not have intentions to fill the position.
She said she planned to be a helping hand to the chosen candidate before she planned to retire, but that changed when former UA President Jim Johnsen announced his plan to consolidate UAS with University of Alaska Fairbanks which led to the chancellor search being called off.
But, soon after Johnsen announced his retirement, his replacement, current UA President Pat Pitney, called off his consolidation plan, which in turn meant the UAS would need a chancellor after all.
“It was very very weird — it was complicated,” Carey said in an interview. “Shortly after Pat became president, she asked me if I’d serve as chancellor,” she said. “So I was interim chancellor, then appointed permanent chancellor in November ‘20.”
Carey, who is 70, said she’s retiring now because of age and said “getting a fresh person in there is just the right thing to do at this time.” She’s going to miss “everything” about being chancellor at UAS and is excited to use her free time traveling once her retirement begins next summer. But, she won’t be too far away as she said she intends to stay in Juneau after falling in love with the city during her time working at UAS.
She is set to finish off this academic year before her spot is expected to be filled no later than July 1, 2023, according to a UAS news release. The application period to fill her position is currently open and will remain so until the end of October.
“We’re really excited about it,” said Jennifer Ward Brown, the search committee co-chair and the UAS faculty senate president. “We’re really excited about new possibilities.”
Ward Brown said Pitney appointed nine UAS leaders this early summer to work together throughout this academic year to compile a list of finalists.
She said from there, the committee will go through multiple processes including chances for faculty, staff, students, alumni and community stakeholders to voice opinions before a candidate is chosen for the position.
“When we are at the point where we have our finalists, we will definitely have a series of chances for different people to meet with the finalists, ask them questions, and then give feedback to the search committee,” she said.
Ward Brown said it’s “sad” to say goodbye to Carey but said she is excited for the new possibilities that come with bringing on a new leader.
“She served UAS very well throughout the time that she has been here and been a really fierce advocate for us — we’re sad to see her go,” she said.
Ward Brown said the search committee is looking for someone who is a “collaborative leader” and will listen and advocate for the staff and students at the university. She said she hopes having a new chancellor will have a positive impact on the students and will “continue the great work chancellor Karen has done.”