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Dean's monthly update

July 2005

June was the month we finalized the SFOS state-funded (Fund 1) budget for the next fiscal year (FY06) and I thought I would spend a few moments describing the process and outcome.  A generous projection of our revenue for FY06 is $8,124,883.  This total includes $5,813,739 from the UAF General Fund, $1,876,218 in Indirect Cost Recovery (ICR) or returned overhead, and $424,926 in Student Tuition and Fees. Unit operating budgets were prepared by all directors and their staff based upon faculty and staff salaries and benefits and other needs (supplies, rents, fuel oil, other services, etc.). This first step produced a set of projected expenditures totaling about $8,912,000, almost $800,000 above projected revenues.  Thus during the month of June, the unit directors and I had to cut planned spending by about $800,000 to produce the balanced budget that was submitted to UAF on June 23, 2005. Our FY06 budget is actually $466 less, yes less, than last fiscal year, yet it still provides funds for faculty and staff raises.  UAF provided only 80% of the cost of the raises which means that most of the unit operating budgets were reduced from last year.  We can keep hoping that the Alaska Legislature will be more generous to the university next year.

I am pleased to report that Governor Murkowski signed the Capital Budget on June 28 and $10,000,000 for completion of the Fisheries Division building at Lena Point was included.  If things go according to plan, we should have the final design approved by the UA Board of Regents in September.  We hope to execute a construction contract in November and conduct a ground breaking ceremony in Juneau next March.  Actual construction should begin in July 2006.

Another highlight of the month was the recognition of some of our faculty for their excellence in research.  University of Alaska President Mark Hamilton hosted a reception at his home in Fairbanks on June 21 for the Board of Regents and some outstanding faculty.  Ray RaLonde (MAP) and Tom Weingartner (IMS) were honored along with Tony Gharrett (Fisheries Division) who made it only as far as Anchorage thanks to Alaska Airlines.

On June 10, I had my first opportunity to present SFOS faculty accomplishments to the U.S. Arctic Research Commission which met in Anchorage.  I described our graduate programs and research activities, highlighting the work of the Pollock Conservation Cooperative Research Center (PCCRC), the West Coast and Polar Regions Undersea Research Center, Coastal Marine Institute, Cold Water Diving Program, and Census of Marine Life (CoML) studies in which SFOS faculty have a leadership role.  Terry Whitledge provided the Commission with an update on the status of design and funding for the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV).  As you might expect, the Commission is very supportive of efforts by the National Science Foundation to fund this vessel.

I spent three days in Seattle this month (June 13-15) meeting with NOAA scientists and administrators at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) and the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) and thanking representatives of the At-Sea Processor companies for their financial support of the PCCRC.  In a whirlwind tour of the city, I met with (in order):

Visitors to the Dean's office this month included former IMS faculty member Dr. Tom Royer, whose wife Susan is teaching in Fairbanks this summer, and Dr. Leonard Johnson who was here for a meeting on climate change.  Dr. Peter Santschi, a friend from Texas A&M University, was here to present an IMS seminar on the "Role of Exopolymeric Substances in the Ocean."

We also interviewed the second candidate for the Ted Stevens Distinguished Chair in Marine Policy.  Dr. Seth Macinko, Assistant Professor of Marine Affairs at the University of Rhode Island, visited campus on June 30 and presented a seminar on "Thinking Differently, New Possibilities for Communities, Quotas, and Fisheries Management."

Congratulations to our staff and students who participated in the 10K Midnight Sun Run.  Graduate student Alison Banks had the best SFOS time, our HR person Rose Froese finished next and student worker Elizabeth Balster finished just 2.8 seconds ahead of Executive Officer Ruth Post.  My participation in the race was limited to handing out cups of waters to the runners at the 8 km point, which did earn me a MSR T-Shirt.

Finally, I am pleased to report that the SFOS Student Assistance Fund that we set up with the University of Alaska Foundation has exceeded $1,000.  This fund was established "to provide financial assistance to SFOS graduate students or SFOS employees who work with graduate students who have experienced a personal emergency."  Thanks to all who have contributed. Once the account surpasses $2,000, we should be in position to provide assistance to students in need.  You may contribute to this fund through the UA Foundation or by contacting the Dean's office.

I hope you and your family have a great Fourth of July!

Denis