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Dean's monthly updates

November 2007

During the last three years, we have put significant effort into recruiting additional students into our academic programs. On November 1 and 2, Marine Advisory Program (MAP) Leader Paula Cullenberg and Deborah Hart from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game hosted a workshop on "Creating Pathways to Careers in Fisheries and Marine Science" in Fairbanks. Deborah is a 1996 SFOS fisheries graduate. Heidi Herter, our Nome MAP faculty member, assisted with the workshop. About 30 people from around the state and from as far away as Washington, DC, attended. I welcomed the group to Fairbanks and told them of our plans for expanding our fisheries degree programs with funding from the Rasmuson Foundation. Undergraduate Fisheries Coordinator Trent Sutton gave a complete presentation on our new B.A. degree and Assistant Professor Amanda Rosenberger and Recruitment and Retention Coordinator Katie Murra also participated. The pathways workshop was the first event held in our new SFOS classroom

The UAF Vision Task Force ( presented its recommendations to Chancellor Jones on November 1 and I attended the presentation. Each of the six working groups presented recommendations on how UAF can position itself to become one of the world's premier arctic research and teaching universities by 2017. SFOS Advisory Council member Douglas DeMaster, Director of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, served on the Research and Scholarship working group.

On November 6, the University of Alaska Board of Regents approved the FY09 budget request that will go forward to the Alaska legislature. The UA budget request includes $1,000,000 for ‘fisheries’ which is the match for the Rasmuson Foundation grant. The $1,000,000 would be added to the base budget for SFOS to provide continuing support for the fisheries expansion. During the month of November, we worked to have the Governor include the fisheries funding in her budget request by asking our supporters in the fishing industry to write or send an e-mail to the Governor supporting funding of the $1,000,000 in matching funds. I contacted 25 individuals throughout the state seeking their support. By the end of November, seven letters or e-mails had been sent to the Governor. Most of the senders received a response from Ms. Karen J. Rehfeld, Director, Office of Management and Budget. The Governor is now developing the FY09 operating and capital budgets that will be released to the public sometime in December.

I traveled to Anchorage on the evening of November 6 to attend the Alaska Sea Grant Advisory Committee meeting in Anchorage on November 7. Jeff Stephan from Kodiak is committee chair. Alaska Sea Grant participants were Brian Allee, Kurt Byers, Sherri Pristash and Gayle Hutson. UAF Professor of Ecology Terry Chapin spoke on "Resilience and Adaptation" during lunch and I gave an after dinner overview of SFOS activities throughout the state.

Natural Resources, Fisheries, and Sciences Career Day was held at the Reichardt Building in Fairbanks on November 8. SFOS Recruitment and Retention Coordinator Katie Murra spent the day meeting with students throughout the day. I gave an introduction to student opportunities within SFOS before the Employer Panel. The event was hosted by UAF Career Services.

On November 12-14, I attended the meeting of the Alaska Chapter of the American Fisheries Society meeting held at the Cape Fox Lodge in Ketchikan. I was invited to be one of the plenary session speakers and gave a presentation on "The Need for a Comprehensive Alaska Fisheries Research and Education Plan." Trent Sutton presented the SFOS plans for our undergraduate fisheries programs, "Charting a New Course for Fisheries Undergraduates in Alaska." Fisheries Division Director Bill Smoker, several other SFOS faculty, and many of our students also attended. Over 150 people attended the meeting including a large number of SFOS graduates.

Chancellor Steve Jones and Provost Susan Henrichs met with the assembled SFOS faculty on November 20. All five major SFOS locations (Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Kodiak and Seward) were connected. The Chancellor described his philosophy of how the purpose of his administration is to help the faculty. Questions ranged from how can you help us be more competitive in research to where should SFOS be in five or ten years.

On November 21 at 2:00 p.m. (the afternoon before Thanksgiving) I attended a meeting with the Marc Wohlford at UAF Department of Design and Construction to discuss plans for the docking the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) in Seward. Seward Marine Center Director Dan Oliver participated by phone. Dennis Nottingham of PND Engineers, Inc. presented several options for docking the ARRV in Seward. We are still pursuing the $3.0M in the 2005 Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) that was designated for the Seward Marine Center. Stay tuned.

Fundraising efforts to support the April 2008 National Ocean Sciences Bowl finals in Seward continued this month. We received contributions from the Marine Conservation Alliance and British Petroleum. We were notified on November 26 that the members of the Alaska Cruise Association have agreed to provide all the buses needed to move the students to and from the competition. All of the 2008 NOSB sponsors are listed on our web page at

Pamela Day, Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for Representative Don Young (R-AK) visited with me and Institute of Marine Science Director Terry Whitledge on November 30. We discussed our $123 million National Science Foundation cooperative agreement for the construction and operation of the ARRV. We also discussed the alternate options for docking the ARRV in Kodiak or Juneau, pending congressional approval, if a suitable dock facility could not be constructed in Seward.

I am pleased to announce that on November 13 Dr. Franz Mueter accepted our offer to join our fisheries faculty as an Assistant Professor. Franz has been teaching a statistics class for SFOS in Fairbanks for the past two years, and his faculty position will start in Juneau in summer 2008. Franz received his Ph.D. in fisheries oceanography at UAF in 1999 after receiving an M.S. in biological oceanography (1992) and statistics (1998). After a post doc at Simon Fraser University, Franz worked from 2002 to 2005 at the University of Washington Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean (JISAO). Please welcome Franz when you see him.

During November, I made only two trips within Alaska for a total of 2,416 air miles. I have reduced my travel significantly in order to conserve our tenuous FY08 SFOS budget.