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Dean's monthly updates

July 2008

As I began to write this report, I looked back with amusement to my June report where I wrote Summer arrived in Fairbanks in June with warm days and cool evenings. Summer ended in Fairbanks on July 4 after the temperature rose to 85 F. Then came the rain and July ended as the sixth wettest July recorded in Fairbanks with 20 days of light rain, 2 days of heavy rain, and 4 days of thunderstorms resulting in an average temperature for the month of 60.6 F. It has been much the same at other SFOS locations. Someone from Seward told me he had lived in Alaska for 34 winters and 30 summers. Now I know what he means.

June 30 was the end of the UAF fiscal year, FY08. Again this year the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences finished the year with a positive budget balance. In January, we had predicted a budget deficit and the SFOS unit directors made some difficult decisions in reducing our budget by 5% mid-year. Without that mid-course correction, we would not have ended the year in the black. Because of the choices they made, we have an FY08 surplus of $208,830 some of which will be applied to start up funds for the new faculty who arrive in August. These funds will help assure that our new SFOS faculty get off to a great start.

Two new staff members joined the Dean's Office in July. On July 7, Angela Gies returned to SFOS as our Financial Manager. Angela worked for SFOS as a grant technician for two years before spending the last two years as the fiscal officer with the School of Education. As Greg Simpson correctly noted upon Angela's return to SFOS, We are fortunate to have a manager familiar with many of the diverse, interesting and complex issues, programs, and projects that make up the tapestry of the school and who is familiar with many of the personnel at SFOS. Entirely new to SFOS is Tara Delana who joined us on July 28 as Assistant to the Dean. Tara, a graduate of West Valley High School in Fairbanks, will receive her BBA in Business Administration and Accounting (double major) in December from UAF. She has worked at the university previously as the general manager and production director of KSUA 91.5FM Radio & TV, the student run station. Tara has also worked at UAF Purchasing and Procurement as a Procurement Card Systems Intern and Office Assistant. I am pleased that we were able to find two excellent people have our office fully staffed as we begin the new academic year.

On July 2, Interim Chancellor Brian Rogers and I had an opportunity to address the U.S. Arctic Research Commission during their summer meeting in Fairbanks. It was interesting to see the effect when science and politics interact during the state's presentation on the listing of polar bears as an endangered species. The State of Alaska has now sued the federal government over the listing. Chancellor Rogers reinforced the idea that UAF is America's Arctic University and described to the commission our commitment to Arctic research. I provided a status report on the NSF-funded Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) and brought to their attention the difficulty of having the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) fund a collection of scientifically based time series. The commission chair, Mead Treadwell, noted that when the NPRB was set up one of the intentions was for it to fund collection of long term data.

I met with Interim Chancellor Brian Rogers on July 8 to provide him an overview of SFOS activities and issues. Provost Susan Henrichs also participated in the hour-long discussion. We discussed the complexity of managing a school with so many remote locations and how he could help us with our development activities with various foundations and private donors. Our space issues dominated part of the meeting. I asked Chancellor Rogers to join me as I make site visits to our major locations around the state during the next few months. He suggested we start with a late October visit to Seward.

SFOS Recruiting and Retention Coordinator Katie Murra and I hosted a Fisheries Recruiting Roundtable in Anchorage on July 15. UAF Marine Advisory Program faculty and recruiters from UAF, UAA, and UAS joined participants from NOAA, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and the Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program (ANSEP) in formulating new ideas for recruiting undergraduates into our fisheries degrees. The meeting produced 18 new ideas that will be further reviewed for inclusion in our Enrollment Management Plan.

On July 18, I attended the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) Board of Directors meeting in Seward. ASLC Executive Director Tylan Schrock was recognized at the meeting as he is leaving after seven years to pursue other interests. A search is underway for a new director and an announcement could be made in August. While in Seward, I had the opportunity to meet with several of our faculty to discuss issues unique to their operations in Seward. On the way the Seward, I stopped in Anchorage to attend the farewell luncheon at Simon and Seafort's for MAP faculty member and now Professor Emeritus Don Kramer. Don is retiring after a long and distinguished career with UAF and will be moving to British Columbia.

SFOS Development Officer Teresa Thompson and I traveled to Seattle July 20-23 to meet with fishing industry representatives who support our school. We also met with several people who might be interested in supporting our work in the future. Teresa set an aggressive schedule for us with the first meeting in the SeaTac airport right after we claimed our luggage. During the three days, we met with Lori Swanson, Groundfish Forum; Inge Andreassen and Jan Jacobs, American Seafoods Company; John Bundy, Glacier Fish Company; Bill Hurley and Peggy Noethlich, The Glosten Associates; Doug Christensen, Arctic Storm Management Group; Dave Benson and Joe Plesha, Trident Seafoods Corporation; Terry Shaff and Pete Maloney, Unisea, Inc.; Charlie Ball, Princess Tours; Craig Cross and Barry Ohai, Starbound/Aleutian Spray Fisheries; and Arni Thomson and Edward Poulsen, Alaska Crab Coalition. During our visit to Glosten, we also had an opportunity to meet with Gary Smith who is the UAF Construction Manager for the ARRV. Gary has been working at Glosten refreshing the ship design in preparation for the ARRV Final Design Review scheduled for the week of October 20 at the National Science Foundation. Teresa's eyes glazed over during the exciting discussion of berthing arrangements, deck loading, and winch locations. She was much more excited later when we visited with Arthur Nowell, Dean of the College of Ocean and Fisheries Sciences at the University of Washington, and his development officer, Cara Mathison. UW has just completed a $2.5 billion capital campaign.

My quickest trip to Washington, DC since becoming Dean occurred July 30-31. I traveled to the Minerals Management Service (MMS) offices in Herndon, Virginia, to support the efforts of John Kelley, Sathy Naidu, Arny Blanchard and Doug Dasher (Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation) to secure funding for their project: Chukchi Sea Offshore Monitoring in Drilling Area (COMIDA): Chemical and Benthos (CAB). The team made an outstanding presentation to MMS who seemed receptive to the both the proposed work and the qualifications of our faculty. I was proud to have been asked to accompany the proposal team in spite of having to make a 47 hour round trip across the country.

Six SFOS students turned in their theses (1 Ph.D. and 5 M.S) for final review in July. The students, their degree program and advisors are listed below.

Congratulations to these students as they move forward to the next stage in their careers.