Jim Johnsen discusses 'moving forward' at the Chamber of Commerce Luncheon

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President of the University of Alaska Jim Johnsen addressed the Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce Tuesday to discuss the changes underway at the University of Alaska system.

Jim Johnsen during his speech, explaining how the University of Alaska was negatively affected by coverage focusing on UA's challenges. (Carly Sjordal, KTVF)

The speech included the challenges that the UA system faced throughout the year including budget reductions, clarification of roles for the Board of Regents and the letter threatening de-accreditation.

He spent the majority of the speech discussing his regrets that more positive aspects of the university were not being covered such as the University of Alaska being featured in such publications as The Chronicle, The New York Times, Inside Higher education and the Washington Post.

He especially noted how the public perception of the UA system seems negative after all of their latest challenges. He reported that such negative publicity caused the loss of staff and students, and a ‘3 notch downgrade’ to UA’s credit rating.

“Article after article focused on the negative effects, the rise in intermeshing within the university system. people pointing at ‘those guys’ should take the cuts as opposed to us, and all of that playing out in the public for our students to see, for our alumni to see, for our faculty to see, for our employers to see, our donors to see,” said Johnsen.

President Johnsen ended his speech by talking about the future goals of the University, which include lowering the tuition for community campuses, and investments that focus on economic development, workforce development, research, educational attainment and cost efficiency.

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