Wednesday, May 06, 2015

University of Alaska Southeast Gets New Chancellor With PhD

It may not seem to be notable for a university to have a head with a doctorate, but for a number of years the University of Alaska system hasn't had any PhD's in any of the top positions.  Neither the president of the system nor the chancellors of the three main campuses - Fairbanks, Anchorage, and Southeast (Juneau) -  have doctoral degrees.

There are times when someone without a doctoral degree can head a university and even bring some fresh new ideas and administrative intelligence.  But to have all the positions devoid of a strong academic background is problematic.

So, it's good to see that we're finally getting some academic depth into a position of leadership at the University.  Maybe when the new chancellor at Fairbanks and the new president of the system are selected, we'll be up to three out of the four top positions with doctorates.

All that said, with the current budget cutting, Dr. Caulfield has a daunting task before him.  I wish him well.  And perhaps we will start seeing strong advocacy for the university again, as we saw when Mark Hamilton was president.  Rather than passive acceptance of cuts.

Here's the part of the bio the university released with the announcement.

"Dr. Caulfield has been a part of the University of Alaska for more than 30 years. He began his higher education teaching career in 1985 at the university’s Bristol Bay Campus. He became a full professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks as part of the Department of Alaska Native and Rural Development. His research interests took him to Greenland, Denmark, Canada, New Zealand, and Russia. He has published two books and numerous other professional publications and served on national and international science steering committees and boards, including the NSF Oceans-Atmosphere-Ice Interactions Scientific Committee, the International Arctic Social Sciences Association, and the University of the Arctic.

A 40-year Alaska resident, Dr. Caulfield has combined academic and professional interests with experiences in commercial fishing, flying, sailing, home construction, dog mushing, hunting, recreational fishing, and other outdoor pursuits.

Dr. Caulfield earned a PhD in Development Studies from the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom, a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and BA and BS degrees in Political Science and Natural Resources from the University of California, Berkeley."

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