FAQs

Archive of Frequesntly Asked Questions - FY20 Review

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General Process FAQs

The compact agreement between the Governor and the Board of Regents means that UA will be facing a $70 million budget cut over three fiscal years. In response to this agreement, the board instructed the three chancellors to conduct expedited reviews of academic programs and administrative areas at their respective universities. Using specific criteria defined in University Regulation and considering campus priorities, each campus and the university system must take a hard look at programs and administrative functions.
Although not directly engaged in teaching, the statewide administration provides “shared” services to all three universities, including broadband access, enterprise software, finance, human resources, insurance, land management and labor relations. UA’s structure has been separately reviewed many times by a number of independent experts who have said it’s more cost effective to perform shared services centrally. For example, in FY20, UA’s system wide consolidation of HR and procurement saved $800,000. Shared services at the system level achieves efficiencies and economies of scale, which alleviates cost for students, and system level coordination ensures that UA stays focused on remaining accessible and affordable.

The criteria used to review academic programs included enrollment, student/faculty ratio, donor support, importance to state needs and cost efficiency. Each university established its own internal timeline for completing the expedited review and the number of programs to be reviewed. UAA chose to review all of their programs. UAF used the most recent results of the Delaware Cost Study, and other factors, to review programs that have higher instructional costs. UAS chose a select number of interdisciplinary programs to review.

The Board of Regents gave the three Chancellors the ability to make their own decisions about how best to conduct expedited reviews at their respective universities. Therefore, not all expedited reviews will be conducted on the same timeline.  

They will only have to go through the expedited review, they will not be subjected to two forms of review.

You can reach out to your academic advisor, university provost or chancellor for more information. UAA, UAF, UAS

There are several important dates in this review process, the chancellors will hand their recommendations to the statewide administration on March 23, and the Board of Regents final decision will be handed down at its June 4-5 meeting. For more details please visit the expedited review site for your university:  UAAUAFUAS.

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Student FAQs

The University of Alaska is committed to supporting students whose programs might be suspended or discontinued by providing comprehensive advising and degree completion options.
Students and other stakeholders are able to offer feedback to the Academic and Student Affairs Committee as well as through public testimony to the Board of Regents. Students with further concerns should reach out to their local student governments. Each university will also hold public forums over the coming months. The first scheduled is at UAA.

Each university is required to provide reasonable opportunities and options for students who are in their programs to complete their degree. This could be done at their current institution or through on-line or other teaching options offered at one of our other universities.  Should the decision be made to complete the teach-out at the current institution, faculty may be retained until that teach-out is complete.

No, your degree program is still valid because of your university’s accreditation and your degree will demonstrate that you graduated from a quality program.  The programs considered by the Board were all in good standing, and the decisions were made, not because of quality issues, but rather because of budget and enrollment considerations.

A systemwide overhaul of this magnitude would take multiple years, more than the three fiscal year timeline that the university was given to make its $70 million reductions. Instead of redoing the entire university system the Board of Regents and university president felt it prudent to make reductions and find alternative sources of revenue to better maintain the current status quo of academic and research opportunities.

In making these difficult reductions, UA is focusing on its unwavering, unquestioned strengths. While we do not want to shut the door to future opportunity, pressing fiscal realities dictate that we make difficult decisions, and redefine what Alaska’s collegiate experience is.

Before changing your major, talk to your advisor about options elsewhere in the UA system that might be available for you. Also you might be far enough in your program that you will be able to complete the courses for your degree before the program is finally discontinued.  Again your advisor will help you there. The Offices of the Registrar of the three universities have the necessary change of major paperwork. This paperwork requires your advisor's approval, therefore the Offices of the Registrar strongly encourage you consult with your advisor or mentoring professor before completing the request. UAA Registrar, UAF Registrar, UAS Registrar.

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Employee FAQs

If a program reduction or elimination affects continued employment of any staff or faculty housed within the program, those individuals will receive timely and clear communication about those decisions, with appropriate notice period and accommodations as outlined in Board of Regents’ policy, the CBA where appropriate and university regulations.

Layoff status continues for one year after the effective date of layoff. Please review R.04.07.110 for detailed information regarding benefits and privileges while in layoff status. For more information please visit the HR site https://alaska.edu/hr/layoff/

Some of the benefits include:

  • Coverage by the university health plan through the remainder of the calendar month in which the layoff becomes effective
  • Tuition waiver program benefits for the laid off employee for two years, up to 60 credits
  • Compensation of any accrued annual leave as of the effective date of layoff, up to a maximum of 240 hours
  • Eligibility to be considered as an internal applicant for any other university position, if qualified, however, will receive no other special consideration.
  • A potential or notified layoff employee may be transferred, contingent upon qualifications and the ability to perform the work available, to other vacant positions in the same or another administrative unit within the same university following an order of priority.
  • Human Resources will endeavor to assist notified layoff employees and employees in layoff status to find alternative employment within the university system. Information regarding a layoff pool in careers.alaska.edu will be provided to affected employees.

Other resources include online counseling options (text or video) through Premera’s Talkspace program and a wide variety of counseling, referral and consultation services available through our Employee Assistance Program Deer Oaks. Eligibility for Deer Oaks services continues for six months after termination of employment.

Effort is being made to give the maximum amount of notification and to provide support and training opportunities for affected employees.

Officers, Senior Administrators, & Exempt Regular Staff generally receive a minimum of 8 calendar weeks of notice.

Non-Exempt Regular Staff generally receive a minimum of 4 calendar weeks of notice.

Regular Faculty in UNAC generally receive sixty calendar days of notice, per the 2017-2019 UNAC CBA.

Local 6070 (Crafts & Trades), and Local 1324 (Firefighters): These CBAs incorporate Regents' Policy and University Regulation, including financial exigency, so these employees would be treated as other non-exempt staff under BOR policy P04.09.040, who generally receive a minimum of 4 calendar weeks of notice.

Certain At-Will Employees – employees who serve at-will, e.g., temporary and probationary employees, including adjunct faculty, can be terminated without notice.

A furlough is defined in University Regulation R04.01.115 as a temporary unpaid leave for a designated period of time or a prospective temporary reduction in pay imposed to meet a budgetary shortfall. Furlough plans affecting individual universities are recommended by the chancellor and approved by the president system wide furloughs are approved by the president. More information on Furloughs can be found on the HR Furlough page.

Administrative reductions will be included and in the FY21 and/or FY22 budget requests to the Board of Regents.

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Administrative FAQs

The System office provides value but understands that it needs to be efficient. In fact, an independent report by the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS), demonstrates that SW accounts for 5.2% of UA’s total expenditures. However, when direct support for campuses is subtracted, the UA System Office share of total expenditures would be 3.5%. According to that report, the number of administrative employees are within efficient parameters compared to other system offices. The higher than average administrative expenditures are in proportion with higher than average total expenditures throughout the system due to the expense of working in Alaska and the system's overall low enrollment. The centralization of certain services into Statewide serves the system well. 

In reality, UA Statewide (SW) has seen a 38% cut in Unrestricted General Funds (UGF) since FY14, experienced an 18% reduction in staff in the same timespan, and accounts for a small portion of the total shared expenditures. Statewide performs critical, unduplicated services on behalf of the entire system.

As has been demonstrated with the consolidation of Human Resources (HR) into Statewide, there are true cost savings with shared services. Six positions were eliminated as a result of HR’s redesign. According to an independent report by the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS), UA’s Controller's Office (Finance) and Office Information Technology (OIT) are more efficient at the system level and provide broad based support and uniformity.

As more cuts and greater revenue losses accrue a greater reliance on deficit spending is seemingly inevitable. According to a memo from UA’s Chief Financial Officer a structural deficit is likely to occur in FY22 and beyond if there is not a change to the revenue allocation formula. In FY22 base expenditures will exceed UA income.

The amount varies between universities, however, the estimate is about $20 million. 

All possibilities are on the table. Savings through temporary furlough is possible, as is the suspension of planned compensation increases or market adjustments, suspending annual leave cash-in, and greater emphasis on shared services and inter-university collaboration could all be utilized to meet reduction targets.

When expenditures are not decreased at the same rate as enrollment, per student costs increase. Retention and recruitment are top priorities for the UA system.

COVID-19 has added significant pressure to the UA budget. Unanticipated costs, even considering the availability of federal funds, currently total $22 million.

Yes, the initial input was gathered at each university by chancellors and then compiled into a series of recommendations sent to President Johnsen. Going forward,  input from represented and non-represented employees will be solicited through surveys, feedback forms and virtual listening sessions.

 About $20 million of the $25 million required in FY21.

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Academic Program FAQs

No. Of the 46 programs recommended for discontinuation, the Board of Regents Academic and Student Affairs Committee (ASA) approved all but three. The programs set aside for further consideration were: 

  • UAA Environment and Society (BS), originally voted for continuation, but a reconsideration vote moved further discussion to the May 13-14 meeting

  • UAF Geological Engineering (BS), vote postponed to May 13-14 meeting

  • UAF Geological Engineering (MS), vote postponed to May 13-14 meeting

The other 43 program specific motions were passed out of committee, to be considered by the whole Board at its June 4-5 meeting. 

 

The 43 program-related motions that were approved and will go to the Board of final consideration at its June meeting can be found in a PDF, but are also listed below along with a letter designation related to the ASA agenda item. 

UAS 

  • Geography and Environmental Resources (BS) Discontinue

  • Geography, Environmental and Outdoor Studies (BA) Rename

UAA

  • Legal Nurse Consultant Paralegal (UC) Discontinue

  • Civic Engagement (UC) Discontinue

  • Aviation Administration (AAS) Discontinue

  • Hospitality Administration (BA) Discontinue

  • Welding and Nondestructive Testing (AAS) Discontinue

  • Logistics and Supply Chain Operations (AAS) Discontinue

  • Logistics and Supply Chain Operations (UC) Discontinue

  • Management Information Systems (BBA) Discontinue

  • Creative Writing & Literary Arts (MFA) Discontinue

  • English (MA) Discontinue

  • Early Childhood Special Education (MED) Discontinue

  •  

  • Sociology (BA) Discontinue

           Sociology (BS) Discontinue

  • Theatre (BA) Discontinue

  • Languages (BA) Reduction

  • Journalism and Public Communication (BA) Reduction

UAF

  • Following 13 programs were considered in one motion, they were previously suspended. 

    • Water & Environment Science (MS) Discontinue

    • Safety, Health and Environmental Awareness Technology (Certificate) Discontinue

    • Chemistry (BA) Discontinue

    • Chemistry (MA) Discontinue

    • Biochemistry (MS) Discontinue

    • Environmental Chemistry (MS) Discontinue

    • Resource and Applied Economics (MS) Discontinue

    • Mining Applications and Technologies (Certificate) Discontinue

    • Computational Physics (MS) Discontinue

    • Space Physics (MS) Discontinue

    • Power Generation (Certificate) Discontinue

    • Renewable Resources (AAS) Discontinue

    • Veterinary Science (Certificate) Discontinue

  • Sociology (BA) Discontinue

  • Sociology (BS) Discontinue

  • Online Innovations and Design (MED) Discontinue

  • People, Place and Pedagogy (MED) Discontinue

  • Second Language Acquisition, Bilingual Ed (MED) Discontinue

  • Atmospheric Science (MS) Discontinue

  • Atmospheric Science (PhD) Discontinue

  • Earth Science (BA) Discontinue

  • Geography (BA) Discontinue

  • Geography (BS) Discontinue

  • Environmental Studies (Certificate) Discontinue

  • Ethnobotany (Certificate) Discontinue

Yes. The three program motions that were tabled in April and approved in May are 

  • UAA BS Environment and Society Discontinue

  • UAF BS & MS Geological Engineering Major Revision and Reduction


No. All but two motions were approved by the Board of Regents at their June 4-5 meeting. The discontinuation of UAF’s MS and PhD in Atmospheric Science programs was postponed until the January 2021 meeting of the Board of Regents.

Of the 35 program related motions that were included in the Consent Agenda, 33 were approved, and the consideration of two were postponed until the January 2021 Board meeting. 

 

Programs Approved for Discontinuation

  • Bachelor of Science in Geography and Environmental Resources at the University of Alaska Southeast

  • Undergraduate Certificate in Legal Nurse Consultant Paralegal at the University of Alaska Anchorage

  • Undergraduate Certificate in Civic Engagement at the University of Alaska Anchorage

  • Associate of Applied Science in Aviation Administration at the University of Alaska Anchorage

  • Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality Administration at the University of Alaska Anchorage

  • Associate of Applied Science in Welding and Nondestructive Testing at the University of Alaska Anchorage

  • Associate of Applied Science in Logistics and Supply Chain Operations at the University of Alaska Anchorage

  • Bachelor of Business Administration in Management Information Systems at the University of Alaska Anchorage

  • Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Literary Arts at the University of Alaska Anchorage

  • Master of Arts in English at the University of Alaska Anchorage

  • Master of Education in Early Childhood Special Education at the University of Alaska Anchorage

  • Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Sociology at the University of Alaska Anchorage

  • Bachelor of Arts in Theatre at the University of Alaska Anchorage

  • Programs Previously Suspended at the University of Alaska Fairbanks

    • Master of Science in Water and Environment Science

    • Undergraduate Certificate in Safety, Health and Environmental Awareness Technology

    • Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry

    • Master of Arts in Chemistry

    • Master of Science in Biochemistry

    • Master of Science in Environmental Chemistry

    • Master of Science in Resource and Applied Economics

    • Undergraduate Certificate in Mining Applications and Technologies

    • Master of Science in Computational Physics

    • Master of Science in Space Physics

    • Undergraduate Certificate in Power Generation

    • Associate of Applied Science in Renewable Resources

    • 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

  • Bachelor of Science in Environment and Society at the University of Alaska Anchorage

 

Programs approved for major revision and reduction

  • Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Geological Engineering at the University of Alaska Fairbanks

  • Bachelor of Arts in Dual Languages Option (Secondary Language Selection in Chinese) at the University of Alaska Anchorage

  • Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Public Communication at the University of Alaska Anchorage

 

Approved program name change

  • Bachelor of Arts in Geography, Environmental and Outdoor Studies to the Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies at the University of Alaska Southeast

 

New program approvals

  • Interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts at the University of Alaska Southeast

  • Merging the Associate of Applied Science in Computer and Networking Technology with the Associate of Applied Science in Computer Systems Technology, and renaming as the Associate of Applied Science in Computer Systems and Network Technology at the University of Alaska Anchorage

  • Approval of the Undergraduate Certificate in Local Knowledge Educator at the University of Alaska Fairbanks

 

Postponed consideration until January 2021

  • Master of Science in Atmospheric Science at the University of Alaska Fairbanks

  • Doctorate of Philosophy in Atmospheric Science at the University of Alaska Fairbanks

Your university has a requirement that you be permitted to continue in that program. You will need to work with your academic advisor on an individualized teach-out plan for completing your degree program in a timely manner. In most situations, while specific degree programs are going to be discontinued, the departments and many of the courses will remain, and will continue to offer quality programs. Students may opt to change programs as an alternative to completing their current program through a teach-out plan, or they could consider transferring to a program at another UA university. For more information about teach-out, refer to the FAQ’s later on this page.

That is a decision for the Board in the future, it is very unlikely that such a decision will be rendered before the university meets its budget reduction requirements by the end of FY 2022. An important consideration is that once these programs slated for deletion have been taught out and are gone, it will likely be prohibitively expensive to restart them. 

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Teach-out FAQ

Contact your academic advisor or department chair.  We have already started the process of seeing where you are in the program and what courses you will need to complete to receive your degree.  Your advisor can let you know if there are any planned changes in the sequence of offering or alternative classes that will meet program requirements and help design a plan to meet your needs. 

All students in programs requiring teach-out will receive individual teach-out plans. Students, in consultation with their advisor, will create an individualized completion plan based on the program’s periodic course rotation. 

Possible alternatives include substituting other classes available at the student’s university, or taking the necessary course from another UA University or from another institution. 

The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, the accrediting agency for all UA universities, has established guidelines for teach-out. As long as UA follows these guidelines, there likely will be no accreditation issues.

Yes. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities has established guidelines for teach-out processes. These guidelines include:

  • A teach-out plan is a written plan that provides for the equitable treatment of students in ceased programs. 

  • A plan will be approved if it is consistent with applicable standards

  • A plan will be approved if it provides that the institution will maintain the necessary experience, resources, and support services to provide an educational program that is of acceptable quality and reasonably similar in content, structure, and scheduling to that promised to the students upon enrollment. 

  • A plan will be approved if it offers the program to students without additional charge over what had been previously in place

 

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