FAIRBANKS—The University of Alaska Fairbanks unveiled the results of a sweeping program review on Wednesday, including the elimination of a half-dozen of its degree offerings.
UAF assembled a list of 45 academic programs last November that it planned to scrutinize for possible savings. Programs were selected because of low enrollment, declining enrollment or low numbers of graduates.
The results of that review, which was part of a plan to trim at least $14 million from next year's UAF budget, were released in a memo to staff and students from Chancellor Brian Rogers and Provost Susan Henrichs. Individual departments were notified of their status last week.
"We wish it was not necessary to reduce the number of programs we offer, but our state budget scenario leaves us few choices," the memo stated. "We will be facing cutbacks across campus, in addition to these, and are working hard to ensure we preserve as many academic programs as possible, as they are core to our mission as a university."
UAF plans to discontinue its philosophy, engineering management and science management degrees. It will also halt some degrees in chemistry, music and sociology, although it will continue to provide other offerings in those disciplines.
Even for the programs being eliminated, the impact won't be immediate. Although new enrollees won't be admitted, UAF must "teach out" existing students as they advance toward graduation to maintain its accreditation.
Because of that, UAF won't come close to its initial goal of cutting $3 million next year through the review process. In five years, the estimated savings are expected to be about $1 million, said UAF spokeswoman Marmian Grimes, but they'll be "minimal" next year.
"It's certainly a small part of the overall savings we're going to find," she said.
Along with the discontinued programs, more than 30 other offerings will be affected. UAF will suspend admission to its dental hygiene, master's of music program and power-generation programs while they face additional review. Graduate degrees in Arctic and environmental engineering will be merged into civil engineering concentrations, and two existing graduate degrees in electrical engineering will be consolidated into one. Journalism, theater and geography degrees will be overhauled during the next six months to attract additional students.
A dozen additional programs will either be required to implement a plan to boost student numbers or bring in more financial support. Another dozen remain "under review," with the results of their improvement plans to be shared in the future.
"There are many, many programs on this list that have a lot of work to do in the next six months," Grimes said.
A full list of programs affected by the review are listed at the UAF Office of Management and Budget website.
Contact staff writer Jeff Richardson at 459-7518. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMbusiness.