March 23, 2020

Dear UAF community,

Today, I forwarded to President Johnsen and Vice President Layer my recommendations as part of the University of Alaska’s Expedited Academic Program Review process.

As you know, the Expedited Academic Program Review Committee forwarded to me their recommendations last Friday, March 20. I have reviewed those recommendations along with stakeholder input gathered via our online feedback form, my public listening session held March 17, and feedback from those of you who reached out to me and Provost Prakash to share your thoughts directly. As I shared with you last Friday, this is one step in a longer process. The final decision to modify or discontinue programs will be made by the Board of Regents in June.

I have been asked why we would continue with this process in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The short answer is that we are still in a budget crisis. The university’s budget was cut $70 million. A step down reduction plan or (compact) over three years was agreed to by the governor and UA president in August 2019. In June 2020, the BOR will approve a plan to implement a $45 million reduction across the UA system in FY21 and FY22. As much as we would like more time, the reality is-- we just don’t have it. I must present a plan that will outline how UAF will manage our budget cuts going forward. This is going to require the reduction of programs. My recommendations to President Johnsen can be found here (PDF). The recommendations will also be added to the summary of committee and chancellor recommendations by program (PDF) on March 24.

UAF programs that are discontinued will be phased out over time. We are committed to ensuring students affected by any program changes are able to complete a degree program. Likewise, we will work closely with affected employees.

As I mentioned above, this is one step in a longer process. There will be further opportunities to provide additional feedback to the Board of Regents during public testimony on April 9 and May 26. More opportunities, to include a town hall, are being scheduled and will be communicated when finalized.

Thank you for your time, effort and patience as we move through this process. Thank you for choosing UAF.

— Dan White, chancellor
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