Jim Johnsen

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James R. Johnsen
James R Johnsen.jpg
14th President of the University of Alaska system
Assumed office
July 28, 2015
Personal details
Alma mater
Salary$325,000 [1]

Jim Johnsen is the 14th president of the University of Alaska system, a position he was appointed to on July 28, 2015.[1] As president, Johnsen is the chief executive officer of the university system, overseeing three universities: University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Alaska Anchorage, and University of Alaska Southeast, which include twelve community campuses across the state.[2]

Johnsen is a commissioner on the Western Interstate Commission of Higher Education, a commissioner on the Denali Commission and a member of the board of directors of the Alaska Aerospace Corporation. He is past chair of the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education and chair of the Alaska Student Loan Corporation.[citation needed]

President of University of Alaska system[edit]


Johnsen led the university system through a systemwide Title IX compliance effort, a restructuring of academic programs and administrative services of the university- Strategic Pathways[3][4]- an initiative to align with Alaska's primary and secondary education sectors,[5] and a systemwide push to achieve the State of Alaska's goal for 65 percent of Alaska's working age population to have a post-secondary degree or certificate of value by 2025.[6]

University of Alaska Issues[edit]

Johnsen assumed the role of president during a period of budget cuts and difficult decisions.[7][8] The system has taken consecutive years of budget cuts as the state struggles with collapsed oil revenues. He makes the case for supporting Alaska's higher education system,[9] both extolling the virtues of education and the role the university can play in bolstering the state's economy.

Past roles[edit]

Prior to joining the university, Johnsen held executive leadership positions in the private sector with Alaska Communications and with Doyon, Limited, and in higher education at the University of Minnesota and the University of Alaska between 1992-2008 in executive roles including director of labor relations, vice president of administration and chief of staff. He was also a visiting scholar at the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California, Berkley.


His education includes a B.A. in politics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, master's in political science from the University of Chicago, and an executive doctorate in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania.


  1. ^ a b Edge, Josh (29 July 2015). "Jim Johnsen named new University of Alaska president". Alaska Public Media. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  2. ^ "About UA - University of Alaska System". www.alaska.edu.
  3. ^ Jensen, Andrew (6 April 2016). "UA president has big ideas to manage smaller budgets".
  4. ^ Granger, Erin. "UA president plans for post-cuts future".
  5. ^ "Support the University of Alaska". 2017-04-13.
  6. ^ "Alaska CAN! - Alaska CAN!". 65by2025.org.
  7. ^ Buxton, Matt. "After tough year, UA president remains optimistic".
  8. ^ newsengin (21 February 2018). "UA president delivers grim look after years of cuts".
  9. ^ "Q&A with Jim Johnsen, President, University of Alaska - Alaska Business Monthly - May 2017 - Anchorage, AK". www.akbizmag.com.