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Dean's monthly update

June 2006

Several staff changes took place in the SFOS central office during  June.  Angela Gies, one of our top notch grant technicians, has moved  up to become the fiscal officer for the School of Education.  This  move was a tremendous promotional opportunity for Angela and we wish  her every success.  Sharice Walker became the full-time, permanent  (hopefully) Assistant to the Dean on June 26.  Sharice is a graduate  of the UAF journalism program who has worked for the Fairbanks Daily  News-Miner and as anchor and news director of CBS Channel 13 in  Fairbanks.  Sharice is my third assistant in two years and I hope she  will be here (can put up with me?) for a while.

The SFOS budget for fiscal year 2008 (FY08) was finalized by the unit  directors on June 12.  We established an $8.59M budget for the school  with $6.27M provided from UAF general funds.  $88,000 will be  allocated to debt reduction as the third of five payments on our FY03  budget deficit, further reducing our operating revenues.  We did  receive an additional $75,000 to partially pay for a new fisheries  faculty position.  All units received budgets that will require  careful planning to meet their mission goals within the established  financial constraints.

Mark Johnson and I attended the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS)  meeting in Anchorage on June 14.  We discussed the redistribution of  AOOS funding for next year along with plans for implementing an ocean  observing system in Alaska.  NOAA has awarded AOOS $1.7M for this  year and Mark’s Data Management and Analysis Group (DMAG) is funded  to develop numerical models and to implement a Live-Access-Server  (LAS) system to distribute real-time data streams.

MAP Leader Paula Cullenberg arranged for me to spend June 26 and 27  in Dillingham to meet with people involved in the fishing industry.   We met with Bristol Bay Native Association CEO Ralph Andersen and  Molly Chythlook to discuss SFOS plans for improving our undergraduate  fisheries program.  They have a summer internship program that would  be ideally suited for our students.  Their program is being run this  summer by Valli Peterson, one of our UAF fisheries majors who will be  a senior in the fall.  Our meeting with Bristol Bay Economic  Development Corporation members Bryce Edgmon (Chief Operating  Officer), Kyle Belleque (Education Director), and Andy Ruby (Regional  Fisheries Coordinator) inspired some research ideas.  We discussed  opportunities for student field work in Bristol Bay and learned about  the two-week Salmon Camp they sponsor each year for middle school and  high school students.

Paula and I also visited with Tim Sands, the Area Management  Biologist for Bristol Bay  Westside.  Tim received his undergraduate  degree in fisheries at UAF and is finishing his M.S. degree.  He is  the ADF&G employee who decides when to open and close the fishery in  Dillingham.  We met with Norman Van Vactor at Peter Pan Seafoods,  Inc. to discuss potential student internships.  The Peter Pan cannery  was my first visit to a salmon processing plant.  Our visit with  Deborah McLean-Nelson (Director of the UAF Bristol Bay Campus) and  Todd Radenbaugh (Associate Professor, Environmental Science) provided  me the opportunity to learn more about how UAF's rural campuses  operate.  We also discussed how we could recruit more rural Alaskans  to our undergraduate fisheries degree program.

June 30 marked the end of my second year as dean of the School of  Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.  Having survived two winters in  Fairbanks, I no longer qualify as the “new dean” but am probably not  yet eligible for "sourdough" status either.  After all, I was in  balmy Anchorage in January (at one degree below zero) when it was 51  below in Fairbanks.  It is hard to remember winter with the beautiful  weather we are having in Fairbanks this summer  more rain and less  smoke that the past two summers.