April 15, 2019

TO:                  UAF Provost and Vice Chancellors
FROM:          Daniel M. White, Chancellor
SUBJ:            FY20 Planning

Last Thursday, President Johnsen requested that by Friday April 19, 2019, chancellors articulate a strategy to meet approximately $40 million in combined reallocations and reductions for the system (i.e., case #2 in his UA BoR presentation). Although we do not know specifically what fraction of this reallocation/reduction we would be our responsibility, UAF has historically represented approximately half of the system-wide budget.

In his email, President Johnsen also directed the chancellors to increase the student to faculty ratio at each university by two students (per faculty) for the coming fiscal year. To meet this task we would need to boost enrollment and/or reduce positions.  Based on the positive work of our strategic enrollment planning teams, I hope to reduce the need for position reductions. To the extent that we do need to reduce faculty positions to meet the president’s target for student to faculty ratio, we can employ a targeted early retirement program, and find some reductions in the area of temporary faculty.

UAF is a world-class university that solves the world’s grand challenges at the same time we meet local workforce needs. We will address this year’s budget challenges with the same vigor that we address the work being done from culinary arts to space physics. So as we think about meeting the two directives, I ask that you adopt the following strategies: 1) use UAF’s strategic goals as guidance, 2) reduce expenses first by shrinking our facilities footprint, 3) seek to streamline administration, 4) as a research university, protect our successful research faculty models, 5) unless they are central to our mission, reduce the number of undersubscribed programs that are otherwise expensive or inefficient to operate, 6) accomplish workforce reductions through a targeted early retirement program to the extent possible, 7) continue to focus on enrollment growth including dual enrollment with the Fairbanks North Star Borough and other school districts, 8) look for new revenue sources, such as sales of underutilized facilities and university generated commercial products, and finally, 9) focus on growing diversity and inclusion for all of UAF’s faculty, staff, and students.

As the chancellor’s faculty task forces on relevant topics (e.g., class sizes, adjunct teaching, eCampus integration, etc.), finish their reports, please use them as a source of ideas and guidance. I expect that this week’s short planning window will only equip us with an initial suite of possible actions to meet the president’s direction. Additionally, as we work through a round of vertical reductions, know that horizontal reductions will be minimized wherever possible. 

Please respond to the following items by 12:00 noon on April 18, 2019: 

  1. Facilities
    1. The VCAS will continue to work with all VCs to determine what building use can be consolidated or suspended to find savings.
    2. The VCAS will proactively work to reduce UAF’s footprint by demolishing facilities that have a ratio of deferred maintenance to replacement cost of higher than 0.65. Five buildings are currently slated for demolition or removal.
  2. Organizational changes
    1. The provost and VCRNE will work with deans and directors to determine what organizational changes can be accomplished in colleges to find savings (i.e., consolidate departments).
    2. The provost will consider if any combination of colleges would be practical or would produce savings.
    3. The provost, VCRNE and VCR will consider consolidated business operations for research and academic units.
    4. The VCAS will conduct an assessment of units in facilities services to determine if reorganization or consolidation is practical and would produce savings.
  3. Programmatic changes
    1. OECs and other certificates that are not active or have minimal participation will be eliminated as a matter of cleaning up our books.
    2. We will revisit the most recent special program review to determine if results of that review that review could or should be reconsidered in light of new budget considerations.
    3. The provost and VCRNE will work with deans and directors to identify additional programs to undergo a special review. These reviews will be expedited and will include but will not be limited to low enrollment programs.
    4. The provost and VCRNE will work with deans and directors to determine if early retirement options exist.
    5. The provost and VCRNE will work with deans to look across the university at course sections to determine where:
      1. multiple sections could be combined,
      2. what resources (e.g., TAs) would be needed to manage larger enrolled courses,
      3. what GERs currently taught by adjuncts could be taught by full-time faculty, and
      4. where opportunities for cross unit teaching might be effective.
  4. Student affairs
    1. VCSA will work with student support units, including housing, dining, athletics, recreation and others to determine where increases in revenue and private fundraising could be accomplished, or savings identified.