Date of Press Release: July 31, 2014
The University of Alaska Southeast is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Karen Schmitt as Dean of Arts and Sciences and Vice Provost for Research and Sponsored Programs. Dr. Schmitt is returning to UAS from a position as dean at UAA. Previously she served as UAS dean in the schools of Management and Career Education. She replaces Dr. Marsha Sousa who returned to UAF in Fairbanks after four years in Juneau.
“UAS is very fortunate to have the benefit of Karen Schmitt’s leadership once again” said UAS Provost Rick Caulfield. “She was widely respected by faculty and staff alike during her earlier tenure here, and she brings a dynamic and forward-looking perspective to her new role. Plus, she knows Southeast Alaska well and looks forward to engaging with the UAS community at all three campuses—in Juneau, Ketchikan, and Sitka.”
Dr. Schmitt’s academic background includes a PhD in Geological Sciences from Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory of Columbia University, a master’s degree in Geology from the University of Otago in Aotearoa/New Zealand and a BS degree in Geology and Geophysics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Schmitt was Phi Beta Kappa as an undergraduate student and received a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship while at Columbia. In addition to her recent university leadership roles in Alaska, she served as Assistant Dean of the College of Ocean and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington, as Senior Research Geologist for Exxon Production Research, and as Marine Projects Coordinator with ITT Antarctic Services.
In addition to the arrival of Dean Schmitt, Caulfield announced two other changes in academic leadership at UAS. Ms. Vickie Williams (MBA, CPA, CGMA) is taking on the position of Interim Dean, School of Management. Williams is a longtime accounting faculty member at UAS. Prior to UAS, she was employed with Citicorp in New York and with Arthur Andersen and Company. She is taking on this interim role while the university begins a search for a permanent Management dean. The previous dean, John Blanchard (MBA/CPA), is returning to his original position as Assistant Professor of Accounting while also maintaining an active presence working with community and industry partners. Says Caulfield, “while John Blanchard is returning to teaching, I can’t thank him enough for his outreach to partners here in Southeast Alaska—including Juneau Economic Development Council and to the tourism industry. He’s pioneered some important new pathways for employees in the tourism industry to advance their education at UAS.”
Caulfield also announced that Mr. Pete Traxler will be expanding his role as Associate Dean for Juneau Programs within the UAS School of Career Education. Traxler is Assistant Professor of Construction Technology at the UAS Technical Education Center near downtown Juneau. “Pete brings a solid background in construction and project management to UAS, plus an ability to work effectively with industry and community partners in career and technical education. We’re lucky to have him in this expanded leadership capacity,” Caulfield said. His work includes overseeing partnerships with high schools through Tech Prep and coordinating career education in Juneau with the Sitka and Ketchikan campuses.