Lately, the majority of regents at the University of Alaska have opted to grant the president authority first and ask for a detailed plan later.
On Tuesday, the regents voted to grant President Jim Johnsen the authority to begin taking steps to consolidate the Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau campuses into a single university. No one asked about whether this might generate additional overhead at the statewide office, when many services at campus locations will continue to require local administrators. No questions were raised about how the president would avoid triggering a similar drop in enrollment for consolidated programs as has occurred with other hastily concocted university mergers. No questions were asked about the cost of re-branding or the impact on alumni donations. And no regent inquired about how responsibilities would be handed over from the chancellors to the president in less than a year. Some regents assumed that the chancellors and their cabinets would help with the transition, but local administrators have no incentive to remain until they are fired.
These basic questions and many others should have been asked first before voting to initiate a plan that may have to be reversed if it runs afoul of accreditation requirements this year.
— Joel M Potter
Assistant Professor of Philosophy, UAA
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