Alan Fugleberg, one of three finalists to replace Barbara Bolson as director of Kodiak College vowed to fight for Kodiak’s slice of the higher education pie.
Speaking at a community reception Wednesday, Kodiak College’s assistant director for academic affairs and an assistant professor, Fugleberg is the only local candidate for the top job.
“I will work with each and every employee, each and every student who wants to stop by,” he said.
In his remarks to the attendees, Fugleberg said the college must face inevitable funding cuts, but painted a positive picture of how he would navigate the situation.
“We are coming into a time of change in the University of Alaska system,” he said. “We are not going to see as many resources as we’ve had in the past.”
As part of the response to impending cuts, Fugleberg said he would work at developing close relationships with UA departments and officials outside Kodiak.
“It’s also being the squeaky wheel,” he said. “Usually there’s a way to get the money.”
He also said the college will have to be proactive in seeking alternative funding sources, including business partnerships and grants.
“We’re going to continue down that path,” he said, but acknowledged the bottom line will be leaner.
“We’re going to have to take our little cut, that’s for sure,” he said.
Fogleberg discussed e-learning as another key part of the changes at UA. He said Kodiak College is well placed, with several highly certified instructors delivering about 4,000 online credit hours this semester.
“We’re going to see continued growth in that area,” he said.
On the topic of broader, statewide goals for higher education, Fugleberg spoke about a “cultural shift” in the UA system, including greater accountability to the citizens.
“We’re going to be called upon to promote diversity,” he said, adding that college will have to respond to the needs of industry and rural communities for training.
“Alaska is going to need to grow more of its own teachers,” he said.
He cited the university system’s Maritime Workforce Initiative, a partnership with business and government agencies, as an example of a focus for that energy. Under the initiative, he wants to develop a training program for vessel repair and maintenance at Kodiak College.
A native of western Montana, Fugleberg started his work career at the newspapers owned by his parents.
“So I have the smell of newsprint in my nostrils and printer’s ink in my veins,” he said.
He then attended Montana’s law enforcement academy and served as a deputy sheriff for five years before turning to freelance journalism and opening his own commercial photography studio.
“Then in 1995 I had a kind of life-changing experience,” he said.
A car wreck left him with severe injuries and he spent five years in recovery. During that time he began college studies with a paralegal program at the University of Montana and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and public law. In 2004 he completed a master’s degree in public administration.
Fuglerberg came to Kodiak in 2011. In addition to his administrative duties, he teaches courses including American government and business law
“As far as I am concerned, I am now an Alaskan by choice. I am no longer a Montanan,”
Fugleberg said he would consider serving as director the “capstone” of his career, and would stay about 10 years, until retirement.
He named his familiarity with Kodiak and the college as an advantage he brings, compared to the other director candidates.
“I love the campus, I love the people I work with,” he said. “This is my calling — working in the two-year educational environment.”
The college community hosted director finalist Lee Waller of Texas on April 28. The final candidate, Michael Gunn of Rapid City, South Dakota, will visit the campus May 5.