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UAA Chancellor Sean Parnell reflects on his first semester

UAA Chancellor Sean Parnell says he has one goal in mind, student success
Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 10:16 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - University of Alaska Anchorage Chancellor Sean Parnell, former governor of Alaska, says he has had one goal in mind since he was appointed to his position earlier this year: student success. This week marks the end of his first semester at the university and a defining moment, he says, in having that goal be achieved.

“I think about our students graduating, and their commencement into their careers starts this Sunday,” Parnell said.

Almost 700 hundred students will be graduating this weekend from the university. Parnell said getting his students to that moment is what brought him to the position in the first place.

“That’s the whole reason I took this job was to provide opportunity for Alaska students,” Parnell said.

“We worked as a team to make sure, you know, that they had their performance scholarships,” he continued. “We worked as a team to make sure that in the years ahead we’ve got level tuition for our students. We understand how important an affordable education is here, so we made sure that that’s gonna happen at least in the next year and a half.”

These students are part of what will refuel Alaska’s economy, he said.

“Really, it’s about letting Alaskans know about the opportunities that are here for them with respect to education,” Parnell said.

In addition, he said an important aspect was making sure they are prepared for life post-graduation. That’s something he said this graduating class is ready for.

“For these graduates specifically, they been well prepared for the workforce,” Parnell said. “I really see the University of Alaska Anchorage as just a spark plug for Alaska’s economic comeback.”

The end of Parnell’s first semester also wrapped up with a hopeful look towards the financial future of the University. Parnell stepped into his position following three years of budget reductions in the state’s education sector.

“Part of my initial role working with President Pitney, and the University of Alaska team was too was to work for budget stability,” Parnell said. “I think we’re in that moment where we’re starting to see more stability with respect to the state’s finances coming to the university. I think legislation and the governor, I think they’re going to make this the education session coming up and I’m really excited about the prospects for the University of Alaska Anchorage and our students going forward.

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