March 23, 2020

TO:                 James R. Johnsen, President, University of Alaska
FROM:         Daniel M. White, Chancellor, University of Alaska Fairbanks
RE:                  UAF Expedited Academic Review

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 with this step constituting step number 1, below:

  1. Monday, March 23 by 5pm - Chancellor recommendations will be sent to the UA President and VP of Academic, Students, and Research.
  2. April 1, 2020 – President’s recommendations go to the SW Academic Council
  3. April 9, 2020 – BOR Public Testimony
  4. April 13-14, 2020 – BOR Academic and Student Affairs committee meets to discuss recommendations
  5. June 4-5, 2020 – Board of Regents meets to vote on any program changes, including eliminations.

My program review recommendations are 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 did not ask the program review committee to reach a specific budget target 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 one another. 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 need to play a part in meeting our budget targets. Furthermore, I have received feedback imploring me to make some vertical cuts to programs, not just horizontal percentages from all units. As a result, my recommendations for program reduction are 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 will continue to identify what work we can simply stop doing.

Per the review committee’s recommendations we will proceed to deletion the following programs already suspended.

  1. Chemistry
    1. BA Chemistry
    2. MA Chemistry
    3. MS Biochemistry
    4. MS Environmental Chemistry
  2. Construction Trades Technology
    1. AAS Construction Trades Technology
  3. Economics
    1. MS Resource and Applied Economics
  4. Physics
    1. MS Computational Physics
    2. MS Space Physics
  5. Power Generation
    1. Certificate in Power Generation
  6. Process Technology
    1. Certificate in Mining Application and Technology
  7. Renewable Resources
    1. AAS Renewable resources
  8. Sociology
    1. BA Sociology
    2. BS Sociology
  9. Veterinary Science
    1. Certificate in Veterinary Science

Per the review committee’s recommendations we will reinstate the following program already suspended

  1. Music
    1. Masters in Music, Music Performance

I agree with the review committee’s new recommendations for suspension or deletion in the following programs:

  1. AAS Drafting Technology – Suspension
  2. MEd People, Place and Pedagogy – Delete
  3. MEd Second Language Acquisition, Bilingual Education and Literacy – Delete
  4. Certificate Safety, Health and Environment Awareness Technology – Delete
  5. MS Water and Environmental Science – Delete

I concur with the committee’s recommendations in all other areas of continuation or deletion except in the following where I have recommended a different path:

  1. Atmospheric science – delete with opportunities for students in existing departments in similar areas (e.g., physics, chemistry, engineering) including possible alternative appointments at UAF for research intensive faculty
  2. BA Earth Science – delete
  3. BA in Arctic and Northern Studies – continue
  4. Certificate in Ethnobotany – delete
  5. Certificate Environmental Studies – delete
  6. Masters of Education, Med Online Innovation and Design – delete
  7. Geography – delete with opportunity to recombine with synergistic programs, including alternative appointments at UAF for research intensive faculty
  8. Mining and Geological Engineering – Separate programs. Maintain Mining Engineering BS and MS. Merge Geological Engineering with Civil Engineering in order to offer the ABET accredited GE program with fewer resources than currently needed.

The programs above were selected because there are logical paths for many of the students in those programs to continue pursuing degrees at UAF. It is important to note that only half of our programs were considered this year. We will look at the other half next year. This means that our less expensive programs (on a per student basis) will have the same scrutiny.

If UAF’s reduction is ~ $30 million over the next two years, how will these reductions get us there? We expect less than 10% of the cuts to come directly from academic programs. I do think that we will identify significant savings for this year as a result of our expedited administrative review, our shared services model, and continued strategic use of land, facilities and resources.

This is a difficult time within the university and within the state. No decisions 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 longterm strategy and looking to the future. Thank you.