KPC focuses on success in face of financial strain

In the face of Alaska’s fiscal crisis, Kenai Peninsula College has been working to maintain a quality education with decreased funding, according to the college’s annual report which spans from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.

“Funding for the university has been reduced the last three years,” Gary Turner, the college’s director and CEO said in a letter attached to the annual report. “We hope that trend is coming to an end. We have strategically dealt with these reductions and while KPC may look a bit different we will continue to serve you, our students, stakeholders and customers, in the outstanding way we have done over the last 53 years.”

According to the report, the Kenai Peninsula Borough provided over $750,000 to the college in FY17, totalling over $11 million in the last 25 years.

The report highlights the addition of new buildings at renovations at the Kenai River and Kachemak Bay Campuses, but says that finances have shifted the school’s focus.

“Due to the state’s fiscal condition, we don’t expect to see such major changes in the foreseeable future,” Turner said. “However, while physical infrastructure is important and we continue to maintain our facilities in excellent condition, it is the resources inside the buildings that make the difference and are the key to our success.”

Some of these successes include the publication of Professor Jeff Meyers’ book “The Criminal-Terror Nexus in Chechnya,” and KBC Director Carol Swartz’s induction into the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame in May

In February, the college held it’s first “Exploring KPC event,” which brought high school students, counselors and community members to the campus.

“The event focused on highlighting degree programs, courses and campus services offered at the college,” the report states. “’Exploring KPC’ had representation from 17 degree programs, six campus departments and the KRC Student Union … Sessions covered a variety of topics, from Alaska Native Languages and Corrections, to Financial Aid and tours of the Residence Hall.”

The report also highlighted successes of the Educational Technology Team, which created a “KPC Faculty Orientation” for all instructors to utilize throughout the year.

Throughout the year, the college hosted a total of 4,288 videos for faculty lectures, staff training and student assignments. They can all be accessed online.

“We could not do all these wonderful things without the public’s support,” Turner said. “… The continuing support from our neighbors is ever present on our campuses and extension sites, and the various communities we serve. Because of this support, KPC has strong enrollments, and increasing graduation and retention rates. We also continue to see increasing numbers of rural and Alaska Native students and veteran students choose KPC.”

Reach Kat Sorensen at kat.sorensen@peninsulaclarion.com.

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