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Dean's monthly update

October 2005

The School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences (SFOS) was well represented at the 135th meeting of the American Fisheries Society (AFS) in Anchorage, September 11-15. Over 2200 scientists attended what was the largest AFS meeting ever and the largest convention of any type held in Anchorage this year.  Most SFOS Fisheries faculty and many Institute of Marine Science faculty attended along with several students.  Alaska Sea Grant had a large display at the meeting. Fisheries Division Director Bill Smoker and Academic Program Assistant Beth Olson staffed the SFOS exhibit in the display area.  At the Tuesday evening student social, many prospective students visited with our Fisheries faculty.  The meeting gave me an opportunity to learn more about fisheries in general and to hear presentations from many of our faculty.

The 23rd Lowell Wakefield Fisheries Symposium was held as part of the AFS meeting to consider the “Biology, Assessment and Management of North Pacific Rockfishes.”  This annual symposium is organized by Alaska Sea Grant and partially funded through an endowment from the Wakefield family.  Brian Allee and his staff (esp. Sherri Pristash and Adie Callahan) did an excellent job in organizing the symposium.  The opening presentation, a report of the American Sebastes Society (ASS) by Milton Love, University of California, Santa Barbara, made the entire meeting worthwhile.  Sea Grant Communications Designer Dave Partee was everywhere taking documentary pictures during the meeting and Kurt Byers collected some distinctive candid shots.

Alaska Sea Grant and Marine Advisory Program (MAP) hosted a reception for AFS meeting attendees and others on Monday September 12 at the MAP offices in Anchorage.  The crowd enjoyed many seafood delicacies including oysters and fresh Dungeness crab.  This event was followed by a Sea Grant dinner at the Captain Cook Hotel where members of the Sea Grant Advisory Board had a chance to visit with and hear an after dinner speech from Dr. Ron Baird, Director of the National Sea Grant Office in Washington, DC.

Dr. Jackie Alder, candidate for the Ted Stevens Distinguished Professorship in Marine Policy, visited Fairbanks on September 6 and 7.  She also interviewed with Fisheries faculty in Juneau on September 8 and with MAP faculty in Anchorage on September 9.

Chancellor Steve Jones and I traveled to Kodiak on September 7 and 8 to meet with Fishery Industrial Technology Center (FITC) faculty and students.  Scott Smiley and Bob Foy provided a tour of the FITC facilities for the Chancellor.  On the evening of September 7, we hosted a reception and dinner for about thirty Kodiak community leaders at Power House Restaurant.  State Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux and Sen. Gary Stevens attended the dinner and we met with them individually in their offices the next morning.  The mayor and Kodiak Island Borough Manager also were in attendance along with Jeff Stephan, chair of the Alaska Sea Grant Advisory Board.

I attended the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) meeting in Anchorage September 22 and 23.  The Board refined the request for proposals that will be issued on October 7.  NPRB will fund $5.15M in new proposals next year and $1.40M in continuing work, including $400,000 to support continuation of the SFOS Seward Line.  Last year, SFOS captured 30% of the NPRB funding.

Chancellor Steve Jones addressed the university in the 2005 Fall Convocation.  He focused his remarks on taking UAF “To the Top” and mentioned his recent trip to Kodiak and FITC during his remarks. The Chancellor's vision for UAF is that we are Alaska's Research University and America's Arctic University. He noted that the next six months will be critical to our future as the Alaska Legislature considers the University of Alaska request for $47M in new funding, of which $35M will go just to meet fixed costs for raises, retirement funding and health benefit increases. He stated that he will be asking the deans to take a bigger role in student recruitment and in development activities (fundraising).  I already spend much of my time and energy in those two activities, so we may be ahead of the other UAF colleges and schools in these areas.

Finally, I am sad to report the untimely death of Dr. Albert Tyler, former SFOS Associate Dean, who passed away peacefully at his home in British Columbia on September 6.  His death was unexpected and he will be missed for both the dedication and humor that he brought to all activities.  I knew him only briefly, but I respected the work he did in conducting the UAF Fisheries program when he was the Associate Dean.  He provided me significant advice with the Rasmuson Fisheries Research Center activities during my first year as Dean.  Al was a champion of our undergraduate Fisheries degree program. We are planning to establish an undergraduate scholarship in his honor.