Expedited Program Review update

April 15, 2020

Dear UA Community –

This week, the Board of Regents’ Academic and Student Affairs Committee met to review and make recommendations to the full Board on a slate of academic program reductions. The discussion was rigorous during the two-day meeting, and ultimately the committee voted to recommend discontinuation, suspension or reduction of 46 academic programs proposed by the chancellors, endorsed by the Academic Council, and supported by me. The committee also set aside three programs for further discussion in May.

During the meetings this week, the committee discussed each recommendation in detail with input from the provosts, deans, and faculty governance leaders. In evaluating these program changes, the committee noted that in many cases, academic opportunities will still be available to students through other existing programs and course offerings. The decisions, if adopted by the full Board in June, would reduce our academic program costs by $4 million. To meet our overall budget reduction of $45 million in FY21 and FY22, there likely will be reductions in additional academic areas as well as proposed administrative reductions.

This review process is the result of months of hard work by the faculty and administration at each university and input from the broader community. I want to thank all of you, including the more than 430 of you who participated in my two virtual sessions on the academic program reductions. I appreciate your thoughtful comments, questions and the time you took to engage on this most important topic.

Regarding administrative savings, we are considering a number of options including implementing furloughs, delaying compensation increases, suspending leave cash-in, and implementing more shared service models and inter-university coordination. We will be talking with you in the days ahead about these topics.

Of course, the committee meeting this week is one step in the process to align the university’s administrative and academic programs with its declining budget and student enrollment. I applaud the hard work done to date by all involved, and I urge you to follow the process through regularly updated information, found at https://www.alaska.edu/ research/review/index.php.

Sincerely,
Jim Johnsen