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Update: University of Alaska Fairbanks faces elimination of 23 academic programs

 The Board of Regents postponed consideration of two UAF Atmospheric Science programs until January 2021. (Alex Bengel/KTVF)
The Board of Regents postponed consideration of two UAF Atmospheric Science programs until January 2021. (Alex Bengel/KTVF) (KTVF)
Published: Jun. 9, 2020 at 4:54 PM AKDT
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UPDATE:

The University of Alaska Fairbanks will discontinue 23 programs, with two programs being revised and reduced.

Here is the full list of programs being discontinued:

• Programs Previously Suspended at the University of Alaska Fairbanks

o Master of Science in Water and Environment Science

o Undergraduate Certificate in Safety, Health and Environmental Awareness Technology

o Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry

o Master of Arts in Chemistry

o Master of Science in Biochemistry

o Master of Science in Environmental Chemistry

o Master of Science in Resource and Applied Economics

o Undergraduate Certificate in Mining Applications and Technologies

o Master of Science in Computational Physics

o Master of Science in Space Physics

o Undergraduate Certificate in Power Generation

o Associate of Applied Science in Renewable Resources

o Undergraduate Certificate in Veterinary Science

• Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks

• Bachelor of Science in Sociology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks

• Master of Education in Online Innovation and Design at the University of Alaska Fairbanks

• Master of Education in People, Place and Pedagogy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks

• Master of Education in Second Language Acquisition, Bilingual Education at the University of Alaska Fairbanks

• Bachelor of Arts in Earth Science at the University of Alaska Fairbanks

• Bachelor of Arts in Geography at the University of Alaska Fairbanks

• Bachelor of Science in Geography at the University of Alaska Fairbanks

• Undergraduate Certificate of Environmental Studies at the University of Alaska Fairbanks

• Undergraduate Certificate of Ethnobotany at the University of Alaska Fairbanks

And the programs designated for major revision and reduction is the Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Geological Engineering at the University of Alaska Fairbanks

ORIGINAL STORY:

On Friday, June 5th, the University of Alaska system Board of Regents voted to discontinue, merge, reduce or rename more than 40 academic programs around the state. The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) will see 24 of its programs discontinued.

Among the discontinued programs are the Bachelors of Arts and Science in Sociology, the B.A. and B.S. in Geography, and the Masters of Education in People, Place and Pedagogy. 13 of the eliminated programs had previously been suspended at the university.

Anupma Prakash, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor at UAF, oversees academic programs at the university. She said that all academic programs are routinely reviewed -- but because of budget concerns this year, they saw an expedited review process beginning in October of 2019.

During this process half of the programs at the university were evaluated on the basis of a variety of factors -- including cost, enrollment and how unique they are within the state. Eventually a recommendation was given to the Board of Regents on where to make the cuts.

"All our programs, really, these are good programs. None of these programs are programs that are not good,” she said, adding, “Every decision in itself is really hard because it does impact somebody."

Prakash said next year will see an evaluation of the rest of the university’s programs.

According to Prakash, 87 students are currently enrolled in the discontinued programs. These students will still have the opportunity to receive their degree before their program ceases, in a process known as “teaching out.”

Prakash emphasized that in many cases the skills being taught to students will continue within other programs. She encourages students not to let the loss of these programs affect their decision to enroll at the university. “The impact of COVID has changed the landscape of higher academia. Students are thinking differently on what they want to do with their lives, how they want to study, and we are adapting very quickly to the emerging needs of the students in this complex landscape,” she said.

UAF Chancellor Dan White expressed his thoughts on the cuts. “I am sad any time a program is eliminated, but it’s part of the process and it’s part of where we are with our budget,” he said.

White also encourages students to continue to enroll for classes, saying that the university still has much to offer. "If a student's planning to come to UAF, sign up now... and if you weren't planning to come to UAF, consider it,” he said.

Copyright 2020 KTVF. All rights reserved.

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