The University of Alaska Southeast recently announced the selection of five final candidates in the running to fill its chancellor position six months ahead of the expected retirement of current Chancellor Karen Carey. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)

The University of Alaska Southeast recently announced the selection of five final candidates in the running to fill its chancellor position six months ahead of the expected retirement of current Chancellor Karen Carey. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)

University of Alaska Southeast announces chancellor finalists

The position is set to begin July 1, following the retirement of the university’s current chancellor

The University of Alaska announced the selection of five final candidates in the running to fill its chancellor position beginning no later than July 1.

The announcement comes just under six months ahead of the expected retirement of current Chancellor Karen Carey. The search to fill the post started in early September after Carey announced her plans to retire in May 2022

The final five candidates have a wide range of backgrounds and locations of work spanning across Alaska and into the Lower 48. Many of the final five have already held positions at UAS or within the University of Alaska system.

“We had a strong pool of applicants, and the finalists bring a diversity of backgrounds and experiences that would all do well for UAS. I’m looking forward to meeting with the finalists to find the best fit for UAS,” said UA President Pat Pitney in an email to the Empire.

Here are the five candidates, and their backgrounds, according to UAS.

Meet the candidates

Candidate Cathy LeCompte currently serves as the division director of the Alaska Vocational Technical Center a part of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development in Seward, a position she has held since 2016. Before then, she worked at the University of Alaska Anchorage as the associate dean of Academic Affairs and was the campus director of the UAS Ketchikan campus from 2005-2010, among other positions at the campus.

Candidate Joe Nelson currently serves as chairman of the Sealaska Corp. Board of Directors in Juneau, a position he has held since 2014 having been on the board since 2003. Nelson also serves on the Board of Trustees at Sealaska Heritage Institute and is a member of the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian tribes of Alaska and the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe. Nelson grew up in Yakutat. He also has a background working in multiple positions at UAS, notably serving as vice chancellor of enrollment management and student affairs.

Candidate Aparna 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 2018-2019.

Candidate Lisa Parady currently serves as executive director of the Alaska Council of School Administrators in Juneau, a position she has held since 2014. Parady serves as an adjunct professor at UAS teaching educational governance, a position she has held since 2019, and in 2022 she taught politics, law and ethics in education at UAA. Before then, she served as both assistant and acting superintendent at the North Slope Borough School District in Northern Alaska from 2008-2014.

Candidate James Taylor currently serves as the senior associate vice president at Utah State University, in Logan, Utah, a position he has held since 2016. There, he also served as an associate professor in sociology and anthropology and has received multiple academic awards, including Teacher of the Year by the Utah Work-Based Learning Association in 2019 and was named Post-Secondary Educator of the Year by the Association for Career and Technical Education.

Leaving her position, staying in Juneau

Carey said although she will miss being chancellor at UAS, she is excited about what the future chancellor will bring to UAS.

“I just hope that they have the dedication and are excited about what this campus is and what it can be in the future,” Carey said. “It’s just a great place to work and whoever comes I’m sure will do great.”

Carey, who has served as UAS chancellor since November 2020, said she still has full intention to finish off the remainder of the academic year, but said she has not been involved in the candidate selection process. Carey, who is 70, said once her duty is finished at UAS, her first plan of action with her new abundance of free time is to go on a river trip down Europe’s Rhine River with friends.

Carey said she plans to continue living in Juneau and will remain active in the community. Carey encouraged students and residents in Southeast Alaska to get involved in the selection process and voice questions or concerns to the candidates at their upcoming visits.

Important dates

In the coming weeks, the five candidates will visit the three Southeast Alaska campuses to meet with students, faculty and staff along with other campus leadership positions.

— Parady is expected to visit the Juneau campus on Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 23-24, before visiting the Ketchikan campus on Wednesday, Jan. 25 and the Sitka campus on Thursday, Jan. 26.

— Taylor is expected to visit the Juneau campus Thursday and Friday, Jan. 26-27, before visiting the Ketchikan campus on Monday, Jan 30 and the Sitka campus on Tuesday, Jan. 31.

— Palmer is expected to visit the Juneau campus on Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 30-31, before visiting the Ketchikan campus on Wednesday, Feb. 1 and the Sitka campus on Thursday, Feb. 2

— LeCompte is expected to visit the Juneau campus Thursday and Friday, Feb. 2-3, before visiting the Ketchikan campus on Monday, Feb. 6 and the Sitka campus on Tuesday, Feb. 7.

— Nelson is expected to visit the Juneau campus Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 6-7, before visiting the Ketchikan campus on Wednesday, Feb. 8 and the Sitka campus on Thursday, Feb. 9.

• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at clarise.larson@juneauempire.com or (651)-528-1807. Follow her on Twitter at @clariselarson.

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