Before state legislative lobbying begins, University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen is making a trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with Alaska’s congressional delegation to discuss federal priorities for the institute. 

Johnsen is set to meet with all three members of the state’s delegation — Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Rep. Don Young — to talk about federal funding opportunities for the university.

“The University of Alaska is fortunate to have such a strong and supportive congressional delegation. They understand the full nature of our mission, our educational impact in the state and the significant scientific contributions we’re making at the national level,” Johnsen said. 

Priorities range from research funding and individual grant opportunities to the university’s decadeslong struggle to receive land grant allocations promised before statehood.

The university is still due an additional 360,000 acres of land. 

“This is a 100-year problem that we are going to resolve,” Johnsen said. “While it won’t help our budget in the short-term, it will provide long-term benefits for our students and our state.”

Other areas of focus include Arctic research, a topic Murkowski and Sullivan have long supported as focus on climate change and military positioning in the Arctic come to the forefront of national discussions.

“Our leaders in Washington, D.C., play a key role in helping the university get the resources we need to build on our leading role in Arctic research, our important contribution to economic development, and our mission to provide wide access to educational opportunities for Alaskans,” Johnsen said.

The UA Board of Regents will meet later this week in Anchorage for the first full governance meeting of 2020. Among the topics to be taken up is a proposed 5% tuition hike that was tabled late last year following student outcry.

The meeting will be held Thursday and Friday in Anchorage in room 101 of the Lee Gorsuch Commons on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus. The Regents Governance Committee meeting is scheduled to be from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. with the full board meeting beginning at 1 p.m. Thursday.

The meeting will be livestreamed with the exception of any executive sessions. Those interested can watch the meeting at www.alaska.edu/bor/live.

Contact staff writer Erin McGroarty at 459-7544. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMpolitics.