Regarding the recent ADN editorial, “The University of Alaska has dodged a bullet. What should it do next?”:
The dictatorial “one university” merger plan centralizes power with the statewide Office of the President, and the ideas are largely gleaned from President Jim Johnsen’s 2006 dissertation, whereas the three-university consortium plan was developed by 23 education experts and would keep power local with our highly engaged and accessible chancellors.
President Johnsen and some of our regents keep using the idea of student interests while actively ignoring students at every opportunity. For example, Johnsen canceled twice on a University of Alaska Anchorage town hall and sent a video message (a move from Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s playbook) instead of answering student questions.
Regarding the 2011 Fisher report: It was solicited with the intent of making reductions at our universities. It was a cherry-picked summary of much older research with a particular goal in mind and did not consider other data that conflicted with a reductionist agenda. Conversely, the 2016 Thomas study is the most recent research, is not a cherry-picked summary, and it does side-by-side comparisons of different models. Thomas’ clear conclusion was that a single accreditation merger is a terrible idea on multiple levels.
— Shane Brodie
Graduate student, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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