Expedited Review Recommendations and next steps

University of Alaska, President James R. Johnsen


March 23, 2020

Dear UA Community,

Today, the chancellors provided me with their recommendations for academic program reductions and discontinuation. As you know, the state’s reduction to the UA budget means that we must reduce our costs by $45 million –  $25 million for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020 and an additional $20 million beginning July 1, 2021. Due to notice and “teach out” requirements, decisions need to be made by the Board of Regents in June 2020. The added costs and reduced revenues caused by the COVID-19 virus make these decisions even more critical and urgent.

The recommendations received today have been very difficult for the chancellors to make, and I thank them for their leadership in such stressful times. I also thank all of you who have made time to provide your input, either by attending a forum, writing an email or letter, or expressing your views personally.

As we evaluate the possible outcomes over the next several months our commitment to you is to be transparent, inclusive, and to work together to best position the university to serve our students and the state.

At every decision point, we know that there are students, faculty, donors, community members and employees with compelling interests. As we go through this review process, involving cost, demand, and other data, we will do so with compassion. We also recognize that in applying the data and analytics to decisions about what to reduce or discontinue, we must preserve what is core to our mission and adapt it to fast changing demographic, technological, and economic forces.

Between now and the Board’s decision in June, there will be many opportunities for you to provide additional input and testimony. We will post information and updates, including the chancellors’ recommendations, at https://alaska.edu/research/ review/index.php. I urge you to check the website often and add to your calendar the dates for virtual town halls, committee meetings, and public testimony opportunities.

I also plan to hold a virtual Town Hall from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on March 26, along with Vice President of Academics, Students and Research Paul Layer, to discuss the recommendations from the chancellors, describe the process moving forward and answer your questions. A form to submit questions is now available. The livestream of the Town Hall, a link to the question submission form, and additional options for providing feedback and input can be found at https://www.alaska.edu/ research/review/engagement.php . This will be the first of several virtual community sessions to address your input and questions about this important process.

We are living in difficult and stressful times, with multiple issues pressing on us at the same time. Rest assured, in these unprecedented times, we will use all the tools available to do what’s right for our university, for the students we educate and the communities and state we serve.


Jim Johnsen