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Staff members honored at Board of Regents meeting

University of Alaska Pat Gamble has presented awards to four
outstanding UA employees for exceptional service.
The recipients of the annual Staff Make Students Count award for 2013 are:
* Gabrielle Hazelton, administrative assistant for the University of
Alaska Fairbanks’ School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences;
* Abby Kosmos, program assistant for University of Alaska Southeast’s
Ketchikan Campus Workforce Development;
* Zlata Lokteva, administrative assistant at the University of Alaska
Anchorage’s School of Engineering;
* and Michael O’Brien, an attorney at the UA System’s general counsel office.
“The recognition structure is what makes these awards notable.
Recipients are not selected by myself or the board, but the staff
themselves - the people working right beside them,” Gamble said.
“Peers across the system recognize these four individuals for their
exceptional work. They lead by example and have demonstrated their
commitment toward students and student achievement every day of the
year.”
The award includes a plaque , two Alaska Airlines travel vouchers and
$1,000. The recognition was part of a 2 ½ -day Board of Regents’
meeting in Fairbanks last week.
Board members approved a number of projects and programs, including
selling the Bill Ray Center office building in Juneau, the proceeds of
which will help fund the new freshman residence hall on the University
of Alaska Southeast’s Auke Bay Campus. That approval was key in
allowing the 120-bed project to keep moving forward.
The board also approved selling the Diplomacy Building about a quarter
mile away from the University of Alaska Anchorage campus and using the
proceeds toward the purchase of the Bragaw Office Building, on Bragaw
Street in Anchorage. Another approval involving UA property a timber
development and disposal plan at Edna Bay, in Southeast Alaska. Timber
sales and leases are one of the ways that the university creates
revenue from its land grant allocations.
Action on academic programs included approval of a Master of Science
degree in Mechanical Engineering at UAA and deletion of three programs
that are being phased out at UAA after a thorough program review.
Board members voted against a solar array project on the UAF campus.
Several board members were absent during the vote, which needed six
positive votes to pass (the vote was five in favor, three against).
The project could come back to the board at a future meeting once
questions are answered and clarifications can be made.
In other business, the board heard an update on UA’s ongoing efforts
to shape Alaska’s future through the Strategic Direction Initiative,
or SDI. The three chancellors presented a number of efforts under the
five broad SDI themes that focus on student achievement; partnerships
with Alaska’s schools; partnerships with public and private
industries; university research and development that build and sustain
Alaska’s economic growth; and accountability back to the people of
Alaska.
Terry MacTaggart, a national leader in higher education who's advising
the Board of Regents and President Gamble on UA's Strategic Direction
Initiative, told board members UA is one of a handful of universities
doing strategic planning right. The gap between faculty and
administration at UA, huge at many universities, is "miniscule" by
comparison, MacTaggart said.
A lighter moment during the meeting featured Alaska State Sen. Pete
Kelly presenting a legislative citation honoring UA budget chief
Michelle Rizk’s recent appearance on the Alaska Journal of Commerce’s
prestigious “Top 40 Under 40” list. The citation notes Rizk’s skill,
patience, forbearance and tenacity, as well as being a true team
player and a person who nurtures a positive environment. “The
combination of ambition, talent, humor and compassion make Michelle
Rizk a true standout,” the citation says.

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