Aparna Palmer named new University of Alaska Southeast chancellor

Aparna Palmer
Aparna Palmer has been named chancellor of the University of Alaska Southeast. (Courtesy Aparna Palmer)

University of Alaska President Pat Pitney has appointed a new chancellor for the University of Alaska Southeast.

Aparna Palmer is vice president of Front Range Community College in Colorado. She was previously the assistant vice president for academic affairs at Colorado Mesa University, where she taught biology.

At a public forum earlier this year, Palmer said her work as a marine biologist made her especially happy to be in Juneau.

“I’m really excited to be here between the mountains and the ocean, because this is the biology that excites me the most,” she said.

Palmer holds a doctorate in zoology from Washington State University and bachelor’s degrees in biology and English from Colorado State University. 

She said her priorities include student recruitment and fiscal stability, and she wants to work with local industries to connect graduates with jobs.

“We don’t grow if the region doesn’t grow,” she said at the forum.

Palmer was born in India and moved to the United States as a child. She said promoting equity and inclusion is personally important to her.

“I think about how important it is to me that I have a language that I inherited from my family, and how sad it would be for me if I didn’t have that language, because it’s so particular to the way you understand the world,” she said.

Palmer’s first day as chancellor will be July 1. She replaces Karen Carey, who is retiring after three years on the job.

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