Board of Regents approves UAF Master Plan and discusses budgets, and a timeline for expedited academic reviews
Finances, future outlook and positive highlights were the center of discussion during the Board of Regents two-day meeting in Fairbanks. All three chancellors provided updates on recent accomplishments, awards and activities at their universities, and President Johnsen offered a positive look at the future of the university and its vision for 2040.
U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan addressed the board on Thursday, and restated his strong commitment to the University of Alaska. Specifically, he discussed the role of the university in federal initiatives including Arctic research, national defense, and broadband communications. He also expressed his appreciation for university student interns serving in his office, and the Congressional delegation’s efforts to address the university’s long-standing federal land grant deficit.
“We know that the land grant promise that is part of this great university’s history still needs to be fulfilled,” Sullivan said.
As part of the ongoing review of university programs, regents approved a new Masters of Public Policy at UAA and discontinued a handful of other programs. In addition, they spent considerable time discussing the expedited academic program review process currently underway at each university. In October 2019, the board charged each university to conduct an expedited review of academic programs. Each university has developed a process and timeline. Final recommendations from all three universities are due to the UA president March 23 and will be forwarded to the board’s Academic and Student Affairs Committee for review in April. Final program decisions will come before the full board in June. Multiple opportunities for public comment are planned in advance of the board decisions.
Expedited academic program reviews are occurring in order to meet new fiscal realities resulting from $70 million in state funding cuts to the university system over a three-year period (FY20-22). In addition to academic programs each university and Statewide administration are reviewing administrative functions and processes to seek additional savings.
Regents approved the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus Master Plan, which sets forth the long term vision for campus infrastructure in support of a more modern student experience. Additionally, the board discussed the need to address the structure of the Alaska College of Education and received an update on athletics, a report from the UA Foundation on fundraising progress, and an update on university prevention and response to sexual misconduct.