February 20, 2018

February 20, 2018

UA president tells ns to be confident in the university

ANCHORAGE--University of President Jim Johnsen told Anchorage community leaders in his annual State of the University address today that ns should have confidence in the university to deliver on its promise to meet the state’s future workforce needs and take pride in the students who are working to populate that future workforce.

Speaking at Commonwealth North’s monthly luncheon, Johnsen emphasized the university’s important role in innovation and entrepreneurship, announcing that the University of Fairbanks will launch a new business incubator aimed at linking entrepreneurs and inventors to university researchers who can assist by developing prototypes to move ideas into the private sector. The Center for Innovation, Commercialization, and Entrepreneurship (Center ICE) at UAF “is an innovation hub designed to accelerate innovation, promote economic diversification, and encourage entrepreneurialism in the University of system,” he said. The first Center ICE class will consist of five university spinoff companies and 10 individual innovators and entrepreneurs. Similar initiatives are being
developed at UAA and UAS. In fact, earlier this month, Johnsen announced the first President’s Innovation Challenge for students at UAA encouraging them to partner with an Anchorage business and use innovation to solve a community problem.

Johnsen said ns should be confident in the university because it is developing these innovative programs along with middle colleges for high school students and programs focused on science, math and engineering for University of Alaska Native students.

“We are working… with school districts and the state Dept. of Education to increase student success, college readiness and college-going,” he said, adding that the university has made it a goal to create a culture in that values education.

Speaking to the ongoing budget cuts UA has sustained for four straight years, Johnsen said the university is a wise investment. “For every $1 the state gives us, we generate another $2 (in economic activity). In research, we generate $4.”

The university, he said, has demonstrated it can make tough decisions, pointing to the 37 percent in reductions to statewide administration, wage freezes, a 32 percent reduction in travel, the improved transferability of course credits across our campuses, consolidation of programs and efficiencies made to employee health care costs.

Looking forward, he said, the university has a plan for helping meet its needs in creating a better life for University of Alaska families and communities. But, he said, the university needs state support.

“Now more than ever, it’s up to us. Do we continue to disinvest in the University of , with only negative consequences for our state? Or do we follow the lead of our founders – and of every successful state and nation in history – and invest in our university, and in a culture that values the education of our people?”


For more information, contact Roberta Graham at robbie.graham@alaska.edu or 907-786-1190 (office).