Reviewing the University of Alaska

The dramatic reduction in state funding necessitates a review of all aspects of the University of Alaska system. The concept of a "New UA" begins with a question: how does the University of Alaska system best meet the state’s needs and organize ourselves to meet those needs?

It is important to separate this question from any predetermined outcome. A new UA DOES NOT mean “one UA." This website is a tool for proposing, sharing, tracking and evaluating all options for organizing and operating a university system for all of Alaska. Please share your feedback and suggestions using this FORM.
[Latest updates Oct. 14]

All Systemwide Academic reviews are suspended until the president consults with the chancellors on the way forward.

DECEMBER 3 - FY20 Compact Agreement Report

The University of Alaska’s FY20 Compact Agreement report regarding UA’s progress toward its strategic goals and the terms of the agreement.

NOVEMBER 22 - FY20 UA Legislative Intent Language Response
Please find here the University of Alaska’s response to the following legislative intent language enacted in the FY2020 Operating Budget (CCS SSHB 39): It is the intent of the legislature that the Board of Regents consider a plan to transition the University of Alaska from three separately accredited academic institutions into a single accredited institution with multiple community campuses, and that the Board of Regents provide an update to the legislature on the development of such a plan by December 1, 2019.

OCTOBER 7 - UA Board of Regents ceases consideration of single accreditation and suspends system-wide academic program reviews
In an emergency meeting, the University of Alaska Board of Regents voted to modify two previous decisions made when it was facing a state funding crisis. The first, by a vote of 9-2, was to cease consideration of a single accreditation until after the University of Alaska Fairbanks secures its institutional accreditation in 2021. If the board chooses to actively consider single accreditation in the future, it will direct the president to conduct an independent cost benefit analysis and clearly examine accreditation issues. In the second action, by a vote of 9-1, the board suspended the systemwide expedited academic program review process until the Board has the time to consult with chancellors and the president on a path forward. READ FULL RELEASE 

MOTIONS OCT. 7, 2019 - PDF

Message from President Johsen to Chancellors Oct. 7:
"In response to the BOR decision today, the system level expedited review process we were previously directed by the BOR to conduct is suspended. So, you may cancel team meetings, virtual town halls, and planned presentations until further notice. Please capture and preserve data and other documents and provide them to Paul, who will make them all available to you if you would like to use them for your university level reviews."

BOARD OF REGENTS DIRECTIVES

  • TRANSITION PLANNING: The UA Board of Regents voted July 30 to authorize President Jim Johnsen to immediately reduce administrative costs and propose a plan for a transition to a single institution. READ MORE (June 30 release) That directive was amended on Sept. 13 to clarify that other options beyond single accreditation will be considered by the board.
  •  AMENDED DIRECTION: At its Sept. 13 meeting the board revised its July 30 motion, replacing a directive to prepare a plan for board approval to transition to a single institutional accreditation over the 2019-2020 academic year, with preparing options regarding university structure for board consideration that includes single and multiple accreditation. 
  • EXPEDITED REVIEWS: On Thursday, September 12 the Board passed a motion directing the president, working with the chancellors, to form inter-university teams to conduct expedited program reviews of units and programs system-wide. Further detailed planning will occur through the November Board of Regents meeting.

Motion approved by the Board of Regents July 30 -- Revised September 13, 2019

The Board of Regents, pursuant to its duty to govern the University of Alaska in the best interest of the state, authorizes the president—with interim oversight from a Regents’ subcommittee to be appointed by the Chair—to implement the following steps toward increasing the share of resources devoted to academics and student services by developing a revised organizational structure for the University of Alaska:

  1. reducing administrative costs immediately through consolidation and standardization of processes in “back office” functional areas including but not limited to information technology, finance, university relations, and procurement;
  2. preparing a strategic approach to combining duplicative academic colleges and schools, consolidating research institutes, and enhanced integration of community campuses—for review and approval by the Board at its meeting on September 12-13, 2019.
  3. preparing a plan for Board approval to transition to a single institutional accreditation over the 2019-2020 academic year; and
  4. consulting through the above steps with student, faculty, and staff governance groups.
Replace #3 with: Prepare options for university structure for board consideration that includes single and multiple institution accreditation.

Expedited Program Reviews:

PASSED AS AMENDED
“To reduce costs and increase the share of resources dedicated to academic programs and student services, the Board of Regents directs the president, working with the chancellors to form inter-university teams to conduct expedited program reviews of units and programs system-wide, including but not limited to the following, to determine how best to integrate, reduce or discontinue units and programs:

• Engineering
• Teacher Education
• Health
• Indigenous Studies
• Management
• Natural Science
• Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
• Career & Technical Education (CTE)
• eLearning
• Organized Research
• Public Service
• Libraries
• Athletics

The board further directs 
the president to work with academic review teams to prioritize and determine which areas may require additional time past the November 7-8, 2019 meeting and to provide those new target dates to the board in November along with recommended changes or findings, these reviews shall include typical information considered in routine program reviews to the extent available. This motion is effective September 12, 2019.”

Reference Materials

Stakeholder survey results
Consultant Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld reported on a stakeholder survey completed by more than 3,900 students, staff, faculty and community members.  READ FULL REPORT

Background budget context: Budget Compact
On August 13 a budget agreement with Governor Dunleavy was signed by UA Board of Regents Chair John DaviesThe agreement announced a multi-year compact that preserves the legislative funding amount for this fiscal year at $302 million- a reduction from the FY19 budget of $25 million. The compact proposes additional reductions of $25 million in FY21 and $20 million in FY22, which would bring the University of Alaska’s overall state appropriation from $327 million in FY19 to $257 million by FY22.

The press release announcing the compact can be found at: https://gov.alaska.gov/ newsroom/2019/08/13/ university-of-alaska-and- governor-dunleavy-reach- budget-agreement/