UAA Faculty Senate approves executive board's push for removal of UA President Johnsen
The University of Alaska Anchorage Faculty Senate Executive Board is asking for University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen to be removed from his position.
Letters sent to the University of Alaska Board of Regents and Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities President Sonny Ramaswamy Wednesday ask for the suspension of Johnsen, citing the faculty's lack of confidence in his leadership.
In an executive board resolution recommending Johnsen's suspension, there is also mention of removing UA Board of Regents Chair John Davies from his position.
"They're not just another group," Davies said. "I mean they're the faculty of the university, so of course we pay very close attention to what they are thinking."
The letters are in response to a previous letter sent by Ramaswamy on Sept. 26, which expressed support for the students of Alaska and concern for "the ongoing efforts to respond to the funding challenges faced by the state’s institutions of higher learning."
"We are continuing to be concerned that the letter and the issues that are addressed in terms of the accreditation standards, the Board of Regents is not addressing them," UAA Faculty Senate President Scott Downing said. "There continues to be administration consolidation across the the university."
Downing says these discussions should be driven by the university chancellors.
"The chancellors are the leads, administrative heads, of the three separately accredited universities," Downing said. "That's where accreditation is held."
Davies says the chancellors of the state's three universities have been and continue to be a part of the process in establishing what accreditation and university model the system will take on.
A survey about leadership at the university system was recently sent to full time faculty members at UAA. Results show faculty are not confident in Johnsen's leadership and are in support of removing him from his current position.
Those who responded said they are also not confident in the Board of Regents' ability to make informed decisions to protect UAA, UAF and UAS accreditation.
"It's our position and our recommendation that he be suspended," Downing said. "And that statewide authority over these processes be suspended because at this point, the way these processes are going forward, administrative consolidation and this academic review process is going forward, that it violates, continues to violate the accreditation standards that President Ramaswamy had noted in his letter."
The UAA Faculty Senate passed the executive board's resolution on a 33-3 vote at a meeting Friday afternoon meeting. The Board of Regents has scheduled an emergency meeting Monday in Fairbanks to take advantage of the time with NWCCU.
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