Roselynn Cacy

1.    What critical roles do you see UAA playing in the state in the next two years?

Getting back the accreditation so UAA can increase the number of locally grown teachers.

Providing short term training, Associate Degrees, Baccalaureate Degrees and Graduate education so that Alaska can have skilled labor and professionals.

Cultural opportunities.

Research.

2.    How do you see UAA serving the constituents in your district?

A lot of our high school students take University classes.

Providing research like it did for the Municipality during the first part of the COVID crisis.

Training child care workers, nurses, and teachers.

Safety training for the very dangerous jobs in our ports and along the highways and railroad.

3.    This year, the University received a modest budget increase after more than five years of severe cuts to operating funds. What do you see as the appropriate path forward related to the University budget and processes?

UAA needs to let the legislature and Alaskans know how it benefits the State of Alaska and how it can do more.

When I was Director of the UAA Adult Learning Center (ALC), we received $100,000 each year in General Funds and the rest of our 2 million dollars in income came through grants, contracts, tuition, and gifts. The ALC was closed to save money so that UAA could focus on advanced degrees. The result was a loss in income to the University and a pathway for many students without a high school diploma.

The recent cuts that resulted in programs losing their accreditation or closing hurt the budgets of the students and staff as well as affecting our state’s reputation and ability to obtain future funding. The cuts were a net loss to Alaska.

4.    UAA has a growing need to properly maintain its facilities for housing and classrooms, and for its research, engineering, health, technical, and sports programs. What is your position on capital funding for facilities maintenance at UAA?

I strongly support capital funding for facilities maintenance at UAA. Maintenance is the key to a safe, quality, and welcoming campus.

 
James Kaufman

1.    What critical roles do you see UAA playing in the state in the next two years?

Workforce development is essential. We are experiencing a critical need for workers in all sectors of our economy, and UAA has an opportunity to play a crucial role in delivering much-needed training. It has also been shown that the University System’s research in subjects that are of unique benefit to Alaskans such as Arctic Studies and petroleum industry research is useful in Alaska’s economy. UAA also should play a critical role in attracting young adults to Alaska and there are many more indirect benefits provided by the University.

2.    How do you see UAA serving the constituents in your district?

At present UAA provides an opportunity for in-state higher education, jobs, and a venue for local research. To better serve the constituents in District F, the university must implement the steps in my responses to the following survey questions. The future of UAA could be as a premium destination-education opportunity if it can drive continuous improvement, improve the delivery of quality education, and leverage its unique location in Alaska’s biggest city and proximity to wilderness activities.

3.    This year, the University received a modest budget increase after more than five years of severe cuts to operating funds. What do you see as the appropriate path forward related to the University budget and processes?

My ideal path forward related to the University’s budget and processes would be for my proposed legislation reworking the state’s Executive Budget Act to pass and be implemented. The University currently produces a strategic plan, but I believe it needs to be refocused and budgeting should directly be tied to an action plan, performance management, and improved outcomes.

The university needs to drive performance through lean management processes. The mission needs to be focused (relentlessly) upon the efficient delivery of quality education.

The current mission statement is not focused on delivering improved education at a lower cost, it seems to be focused on the indirect value of the university as an institution.

Serious internal continuous improvement/lean management work should be undertaken before or in conjunction with increases in the budget.

4.    UAA has a growing need to properly maintain its facilities for housing and classrooms, and for its research, engineering, health, technical, and sports programs. What is your position on capital funding for facilities maintenance at UAA?

Alaska’s deferred maintenance backlog comes in waves due to high levels of capital project investment when the state benefits from high oil prices and low or no investment during periods of revenue constraint. My GDP-Based spending cap would provide needed fiscal restraint which would smooth out the state’s deferred maintenance backlog and save money so that it would be available when maintenance is needed.

Also, the State and University should seek private partnerships with key stakeholders/ beneficiaries of training programs. The State and University should do a criticality analysis of the facilities to ensure that the property is being managed for the highest value and look for opportunities to reduce where market economics do not support the property holding and related maintenance workload. As in the recent past, if the fiscal situation deteriorates or disagreement becomes too large, the legislature, governor, and University should continue to seek state funding within the framework of a longer-term improvement plan agreement.

 
Loki Tobin

1.    What critical roles do you see UAA playing in the state in the next two years?

UAA's most critical role in our state is being the catalyst for keeping working-age Alaskans in state. The data is clear: families and working age folks are leaving the state. The high cost of living, economic volatility, and lack of housing are some of the key factors. I suspect much of our population attrition can also be contributed to the weak ties folks who choose to leave have with our community. According to a UA Workforce Development report, 96.9% of graduates stay in Alaska. Going to school in Alaska keeps you in Alaska, whether it is because our public universities are deeply tied to our communities or because advanced training/degrees increase earning potential. Recruiting more folks to attend our public universities means more folks will stay in Alaska.

2.    How do you see UAA serving the constituents in your district?

As a graduate of UAA's College of Arts and Sciences, I know UAA plays a significant role in training folks who work in hospitality and many of our community's fine establishments are located in downtown Anchorage, my district. It's delightful to see DJ Spencer Lee (who I worked with while serving on the UAA Concert Board) mixing it up on the Anchorage Museum front lawn. I often enjoy dinner out at the Captain Cook, where I know many UAA culinary students have honed their skills.

As the spouse of a graduate of the UAA Aviation Management program, I am also aware that a UAA campus is right in my backyard (we live in Fairview). It is clear that UAA is one of the chief trainers and employers of my district and along with the many other extracurricular activities UAA has to offer (consortium library, pool access, music, lectures, debates), UAA provides a critical service that almost every person I know accesses.

3.    This year, the University received a modest budget increase after more than five years of severe cuts to operating funds. What do you see as the appropriate path forward related to the University budget and processes?

I am a strong advocate of the UA system and I will continue in the legacy of my predecessor in fighting for increased UA funding. All of my close friends in Alaska are UA graduates, and that is not by coincidence. It is because of the critical role our public university system plays in keeping Alaskans in Alaska. Personally, I struggle with the closures of degree programs; I know that UA went through that process not by choice. It is my dream to see our university thrive and flourish, possibly reinstating programs that mean so very much to so many of us.

4.    UAA has a growing need to properly maintain its facilities for housing and classrooms, and for its research, engineering, health, technical, and sports programs. What is your position on capital funding for facilities maintenance at UAA?

As a former Resident Advisor for UAA, I strongly believe in properly maintaining student housing facilities. For many, an on-campus experience is a critical component of their academic journey. As the former chair of the UAA Concert Board, we need well-funded on campus theaters and art spaces centers to ensure our students receive a well-rounded education and exposure to diversity of thought. As a former classmate to many student-athletes, I know we need state-of-the-art facilities to ensure not only the safety of our students, but to attract the best athletic program candidates possible. As a former student of the College of Arts and Sciences, I cannot undersell the exemplary experience I had engaging in active research with many of my professors. The aesthetics of our UAA campus are as important as the physical safety of our students and the quality of the educators inside. We need to invest in the whole package to keep Alaskans in Alaska.

 
Forrest Dunbar

1.    What critical roles do you see UAA playing in the state in the next two years?

As the son of two University of Alaska graduates who moved to Alaska specifically to attend UAF, I understand the powerful impact our universities can have on our community. Today, the field of economic development embraces a concept called “Campus as Catalyst.” That is, most of the thriving cities around the world have at least one large, high-quality university that is closely integrated with local industry and government.

I know that UAA can be a critical tool in reducing and reversing brain drain, and be an economic engine for Alaska’s jobs of the present and future. For example, I recently toured the UAA Aviation Technology Center, which has tremendous programs training pilots, maintainers, and aircraft controllers. But UAA goes beyond just vocational education; if Alaska is going to adapt to the 21st century and settle some of the issues and divisions that currently hold back our state, we need well-educated citizens and voters capable of having tough conversations in a civil manner. UAA will play a critical role in building those bridges and educating our body politic.

2.    How do you see UAA serving the constituents in your district?

Given that UAA is in the heart of my district, and there are a great number of UAA employees, alumni, and students that live nearby, UAA is a great source of jobs, training opportunities, and educational services for my constituents. UAA is a positive source of entertainment too, and a force for community-building. During my time on the Assembly, I saw the university as a partner for the neighborhoods in my district, and I believe that will still be the case in the State Senate. Of course, in order to maximize UAA’s potential for serving my constituents, it needs to be both adequately funded and connected to the rest of the community via safe and convenient bike and pedestrian facilities, as well as public transportation (which is particularly important for folks in Muldoon). I am excited to see the results of Destination U-MED, and while I will have to leave AMATS if I win my State Senate race, I’m still hoping that we can find ways to partner between the University, the Municipality, the State, and the neighborhoods in order to bring in federal transportation and other infrastructure funds to improve those connections.

3.    This year, the University received a modest budget increase after more than five years of severe cuts to operating funds. What do you see as the appropriate path forward related to the University budget and processes?

For UAA to serve as a true community hub and ensure the equitable success of its students, it must be adequately funded. Like many Alaskans, I was deeply concerned by Governor Dunleavy’s proposed 2019 budget. As an Assembly Member I stood against cuts to public education and UAA. As a State Senator I will be a fierce advocate for fully funding the university and my door will always be open to UAA Faculty and staff who have ideas for how to improve the university, recruit and retain the best employees and students, and prevent further draconian cuts.

4.    UAA has a growing need to properly maintain its facilities for housing and classrooms, and for its research, engineering, health, technical, and sports programs. What is your position on capital funding for facilities maintenance at UAA?

I support capital funding from the State to maintain and enhance infrastructure at UAA. Students’ choice of major shouldn’t be impacted by which course has adequate facilities to meet their needs, nor can we let deferred maintenance continue to accumulate indefinitely, as it will only grow more expensive if we wait.

 
Jim Cooper

1.    What critical roles do you see UAA playing in the state in the next two years?
The University system is crucial to a healthy, vibrant economy and community. The higher the graduation rate from a higher learning establishment the higher the GDP of the local and national level. Also, with graduates remaining in the local area, the higher the standard of living becomes. The entire community prospers when a fully functional University system is in the neighborhood. The University also provides higher paying jobs which assists to bolster the community. By having a University system that provides an education which allows students to stay in Alaska is crucial to our economy.
2.    How do you see UAA serving the constituents in your district? 

As you know our local college, Mat-Su is an extended college of UAA and as such is an important part of our community. Approximately 38% of the Valley's workforce commutes to Anchorage, one can assume a large number of students do as well. Having a local college allows students to stay closer to home and not be concerned about a long commute. The local UAA college allows students to take a variety of courses and perhaps obtain a two year degree is critical in an area that is the fastest growing area in the state.
3.    This year, the University received a modest budget increase after more than five years of severe cuts to operating funds. What do you see as the appropriate path forward related to the University budget and processes? 
The University budget, with the exception of this year, has been reduced over the past 5 years. This year was an anomaly as the state received an enormous amount of federal relief dollars. I don't see the University's budget increasing anytime in the future. The University system is one of the most important resources we have and they are responsible to educate our most important resource, young people. The state needs to realize that and respond accordingly. The University needs to be more than adequately funded; it needs to be fully funded if we want to maintain accreditation and continue to draw students from all over the US. Fully funded also allows for new and improved classes to be offered so students who attend will want to stay in Alaska.
4.     UAA has a growing need to properly maintain its facilities for housing and classrooms, and for its research, engineering, health, technical, and sports programs. What is your position on capital funding for facilities maintenance at UAA? 
No good comes from broken down, dilapidated or run down facilities. The backbone of any University (other than instructors) are the facilities. Without adequate facilities, potential enrollment drops then other things follow. I believe in fully funding facility maintenance. Without adequate funding, we have the potential to lose a great asset to the state. The University teaches over 15,000 students and houses over 11,000. What a travesty it would be to lose such a valuable resource.