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Dean's monthly updates

January 2007

The UAF $98,000,000 proposal for the construction and operation of the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) was received by the National Science Foundation at 3:52 PM AST on January 26. The 221 page proposal is the product of over two years of effort from a proposal team that was directed by Terry Whitledge, Director of the Institute of Marine Science.  Terry's leadership in this effort was instrumental in producing an outstanding proposal of which we are all proud. The proposal team included:

Carin Bailey, SFOS Public Information Officer, went above and beyond the call of duty in undertaking the final editing and converting the final document to PDF format for submission.  Lori Nunemann in the SFOS Proposal office did an outstanding job with the budget, finalizing the proposal, and NSF submission.

Craig Dorman provided funds to support the ARRV proposal preparation and this support was crucial to producing an outstanding proposal.  In addition to supporting consultants and travel, we were able to have the draft proposal reviewed in early January by four senior reviewers who provided and important critique of our draft.  The final 15 days before submission were spent improving the proposal based on their comments and in finalizing the budget. The support we received from the UAF and UA administration in this effort was both needed and appreciated.

Considering how much effort during January went into the ARRV proposal, there should be little else to report, but somehow I managed to fly 8,584 miles in January – only to be outdone by Associate Dean Mike Castellini who flew 10,507 miles.

The SFOS Executive Council met in Anchorage January 11 and 12 to review SFOS faculty, staff, and student accomplishments for 2006 and plan SFOS activities and budgets for 2007. A major outcome of the meeting was the decision to begin the process of hiring enough faculty to bring the school back to full strength. During 2006, three new faculty joined our ranks (Dave Christie, Keith Criddle, and Amanda Rosenberger). A fourth faculty member, Trent Sutton – Associate Professor and Undergraduate Fisheries Coordinator, will arrive in Fairbanks in June. Faculty hiring in progress includes a Marine Advisory Program faculty member in Nome (search is complete) and two oceanography faculty in Fairbanks (these searches are almost to interview stage). We will re-advertise for the Juneau fisheries faculty position (Biometrician) from the unsuccessful search last year. Additional faculty hires will include:

We are also at the interview stage of hiring a new director for the Seward Marine Center and about to start the search for a new director of the Fishery Industrial Technology Center in Kodiak. The three new oceanography faculty positions and two of the additional fisheries positions will be supported using funds from the Rasmuson Foundation, when they arrive. The Rasmuson Foundation award letter had still not arrived by the end of January but we anticipate it will arrive in early February.

January 15-18, I traveled to Miami, Florida, to participate in meetings of the boards of the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education (CORE) and the Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Inc. (JOI). JOI and CORE are in the process of merging and the boards voted (four times – there was a lawyer in the room) to undertake the merger. The new body (name to be determined – suggestions welcome) hopes “to create a new, more effective organization that will build on the capabilities and activities of CORE and JOI and expand awareness and support for ocean research and education.” The idea is to have a high level organization that speaks with one voice for the oceanographic community in D.C. and manages major research projects like the ocean drilling project and the ocean observatories initiative.

After two days in the office (Friday and Saturday), I joined SFOS faculty and students at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium in Anchorage January 21-24. As SFOS was a meeting sponsor, I was the emcee for the first morning and had an opportunity to welcome the over 400 participants. Many SFOS faculty and students gave oral or poster presentations and Public Information Officer Carin Bailey staffed the SFOS display. Graduate student Kelly Newman’s presentation on orca research in the Pribilof Islands was the subject of a news article distributed by the Associated Press.

On Wednesday, January 24, UAF Chancellor Steve Jones joined me in Anchorage. We visited in the morning with SFOS Advisory Council member and former state Senator Arliss Sturgulewski and with Candice Cheshire, Human Resources Director, and Morgen Crow, Executive Director of the Coastal Villages Region Fund, an Alaskan not-for-profit company with 20 member fishing communities who represent 8,000+ residents in the Community Development Quota (CDQ) program. In both meetings we discussed SFOS programs and potential collaborative activities. That afternoon, Chancellor Jones and I addressed a meeting of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission to describe UAF's role as “ America’s Arctic University” and SFOS plans for the International Polar Year (IPY).

During the next two days (January 25 and 26) the Pollock Conservation Cooperative Research Center (PCCRC) held its January meeting at the MAP offices in Anchorage. Vera Alexander chaired the PCCRC meeting. Gordon Kruse, Bob Foy, Tony Gharrett, Shannon Atkinson, Paula Cullenberg and Joel Markis (for Brenda Konar) presented their results from PCCRC-funded projects and Keith Criddle, Ted Stevens Professor of Marine Policy, presented a report of his first six months of activities. The PCCRC agreed to fund $302,036 in new proposals beginning in April 2007. The second day of the PCCRC meeting focused on new directions for PCCRC funding and coincided with a meeting of the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) Board of Directors in the adjacent North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) conference room. I was torn between attending the PCCRC meeting where money was being given away and the ASLC meeting where the relationship between the ASLC and SFOS was being discussed – we are considering revising the current MOA. UA President Mark Hamilton was also attending the ASLC meeting and spent a few minutes speaking with the PCC industry representatives at the PCCRC Board meeting.

Somehow during the same two days, I managed to attend part of the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Summit organized by MAP agents Sunny Rice and Torie Baker among others. The workshop was “designed for young and new Alaska fishermen who are taking the helm of the future of the Alaska fishing industry.” Over 70 fishermen from all over the state, from many fisheries and gear types, attended this leadership training. Many were sponsored by their fishing association. The redoubtable Clem Tillion, former state senate president, fisheries coordinator to Gov. Hickel and past North Pacific Fishery Management Council chair, gave the opening address followed by Arne Fuglvog, Sen. Murkowski's fisheries aide, former North Pacific Fishery Management Council member and commercial fisherman from Petersburg. The summit made the front page of the Anchorage, Juneau and Fairbanks newspapers. While I missed most of the other presentations, I did manage to attend the evening reception at the Captain Cook.