- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 29, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The University of Alaska Board of Regents has named a new university president after a monthslong search for the right candidate.

The board announced Tuesday that Jim Johnsen would replace retiring University of Alaska President Pat Gamble. Johnsen, currently the senior vice president of Alaska Communications, will take over as president on Sept. 1.

Johnsen was selected as the sole candidate for the university’s top position in June. He has spent the last month speaking with faculty, staff, students and the public at UA’s three main campuses in Fairbanks, Anchorage and Juneau. According to a statement from UA, those visits “demonstrated that he listens and solicits input from the campus community.”

Johnsen will take over as president at a time when UA struggles to deal with dwindling state revenues. Another round of budget cuts, as much as $30 million throughout the system, is expected to hit campuses next year.

“I think the issue now is the budget - how do we continue to serve Alaskans and even grow while we work through that,” he said in a telephone interview with the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Johnsen signed a five-year contract with the university and will earn an annual salary of $325,000. He could also get an annual performance bonus of up to $75,000 based on terms to be decided by Sept. 30.

Johnsen said his first plans as president will be to meet with UA employees, students and stakeholders as he travels to each of UA’s 16 campuses.

“I want to make sure I understand their thoughts, their concerns, and really connect with people,” he said.

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Information from: Alaska Dispatch News, https://www.adn.com


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