In these uncertain days of the pandemic I am heartened by everyone’s efforts to pitch in to help their colleagues. I see faculty helping each other get their courses into alternative delivery modes as well as staff and administrators plugging holes and filling gaps in the work while people are quarantined or out on sick leave. Thank you!

In my
budget update on March 11, I discussed the budget compact agreement between Governor Dunleavy and UA Board of Regents Chair Davies, outlined our approach to managing our share of the $70 million reduction from FY20 through FY22. UAF’s approximate reduction for FY20 through FY22 is $44.3 million. Since October, of 2019, we have been amidst an expedited program review as an attempt to address some portion of this budget gap.

In accordance with Regents’ Policy 10.06.10, and as required by University Regulation 10.06.10.C.2, UAF followed the following process for expedited, exceptional Program Review that was tailored to UAF’s particular financial circumstances. The process and timeline are included on the
Provost’s web site. The effort began last October and we are now nearing the final stages of the process. Remaining steps are as follows:
  1. Monday, March 23 by noon - Submit feedback on committee recommendations via email at
  2. Monday, March 23 by 5pm - Chancellor recommendations will be sent to the UA President and VP of Academic Affairs.
  3. April 1, 2020 – President’s recommendations go to the BOR Academic and Student Affairs Committee.
  4. April 9, 2020 – BOR Public Testimony
  5. April 14, 2020 – BOR Academic and Student Affairs committee meets to discuss recommendations
  6. June 4-5, 2020 – Board of Regents meets to vote on any program changes, including eliminations.
As noted, I will be putting my recommendations forward to President Johnsen on Monday, March 23 by 5pm. Following that, my formal recommendations will be posted online.

My program review recommendations will be based on my review of the committee’s analysis and recommendations, dean’s reviews, consultation with the Provost, faculty senate motions, public input, budget considerations, and our need to make vertical cuts rather than ongoing horizontal cuts. I specifically did not ask the program review committee to reach a budget target. I did not because I wanted to make sure that the review committee members were given the latitude to evaluate all of the aspects of the programs and not pit programs against each other. As a result, and not surprisingly, very few program reductions were recommended by the committee. I think that is a reasonable result of the process to date. While it is true that all of our programs have value, history, and students, it is also true that some programs will need to be reduced. All aspects of the university will play a part in meeting our budget targets. Furthermore, in a significant amount of feedback, I have been implored to make some vertical cuts to programs, not just horizontal percentages from everyone. As a result, my recommendations for program reduction will likely be greater than what has been recommended by the committee. Even with greater reductions, academic programs are only one aspect of our overall reductions. I continue to focus on reductions in space, functions at the edges of our mission, and reducing footprint. And we still have to consider what work to stop doing.

As I review recommendations, committee and dean feedback, I wanted to give you a brief overview of programs I’m considering for reduction or elimination in order to allow for feedback via email submission at through Monday, March 23 at noon.

The following are not decisions I have made
, but they are an early indication of possibilities given all of the input received to date. As the following are not set in stone, I am interested in your continued feedback. That said, I am leaning towards deferring to the review committee recommendations for suspension or deletion in the following areas:
  1. BA Arctic & Northern Studies – Delete
  2. MS Water & Environmental Studies – Delete
  3. AAS Drafting Technology – Suspension
  4. MEd People, Place and Pedagogy – Delete
  5. MEd Second Language Acquisition, Bilingual Education and Literacy – Delete
  6. MS Geological Engineering – Delete
  7. Certificate Safety, Health and Environment Awareness Technology - Delete
The following areas I have questions about:
  1. Anthropology — possible candidate for reduction or elimination. Possible refocus with synergistic programs on campus — possible alternative appointments at UAF for research intensive faculty, including museum appointed faculty
  2. Atmospheric science — possible candidate for elimination. Possibly recombine elements with existing departments in similar areas — possible alternative appointments at UAF for research intensive faculty
  3. Education — possible elimination of M.Ed: Online innovation and design
  4. Certificate Environmental Science — possible deletion with plan to transition to OE’s
  5. Certificate Ethnobotany — possible elimination with plan to transition to OE
  6. BA Fisheries — possible elimination
  7. BA Earth Science — possible elimination
  8. Geography — possible elimination of program with potential recombination with synergistic programs — possible alternative appointments at UAF for research intensive faculty
  9. Mining and Geological Engineering — separate programs. Keep Mining Engineering program in its current form but eliminate separate Geological Engineering program and offer an emphasis in Civil Engineering.
If implemented, all of the program cuts , including those not yet decided, would save approximately $3M and could cost us at least this much in research expenditures. Cuts described above are departments and programs, not horizontal percentages. It is important to note, that only half of our programs were being considered this year. We will look at the other half next year. This means many of our less expensive programs (on a per student basis) will have the same scrutiny.

If UAF’s reduction is ~ $30M over the next two years, how will $3M get us there? That is roughly 10% assuming it were all achieved. I do think that we will identify significant savings for this year as a result of our expedited administrative review, our shared services proposals and continued strategic use of land, facilities and resources. The programs above were selected because there are logical paths for many of the students in those programs to continue to pursue degrees at UAF.

This is a difficult time within the university and within the state. No decision made on program reductions or resource elimination are made lightly. As academic needs, wants and delivery strategies change, we have to change with them and understand that we are committed to a long term strategy and looking north to the future.

Again, the above are not yet decisions I have made, they are only early indications of change based on all of the feedback I have received. Please continue sending in feedback. I appreciate your time and commitment to this process. Thank you.
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