New report prioritizes offerings at the University of Alaska Anchorage

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska — University of Alaska Anchorage officials plan to release a prioritization of its offerings, with the intent to grow some programs and eliminate others.

The public release of the prioritization project will be Wednesday and university officials declined comment until then. However, staff and faculty members were emailed the report on Monday, and some provided a copy to the Alaska Dispatch News (http://is.gd/IBjb2u). Those faculty members declined to comment ahead of the public release, as did university spokeswoman Kristin DeSmith.

The project was led by faculty and staff members, and found that the university should invest resources in traditional liberal art disciplines, such as history, philosophy, English, theater, dance and performing arts. At the other end, it says certificate programs and others that graduate few people should be eliminated.

The prioritization project began last fall to streamline offerings to better serve students and the state. Even though it wasn't part of the original intent, the evaluators said the recommendations will likely be used to justify program cuts in light of decreased funding from the Alaska Legislature.

Programs that were identified for further growth were Alaska Native, women's and international studies. Of the latter, evaluators wrote: "This program is core to what UAA wants to become."

Also receiving high marks were bachelor programs in languages like Russian, Japanese and German. Also considered important were dental hygiene, medical laboratory science, nursing and the culinary arts programs.

Not faring as well were bachelor's degrees in chemistry and music, and minors in physical education and athletic training.

Also landing in the "further review" category were a litany of certificate programs, everything from early childhood development to applied ethics. Evaluators wrote there were too many of these niche certificate programs and little evidence of student demand.

Non-academic programs were also evaluated. Those marked for further review or reduction include the literary journal, the Alaska Quarterly Review; the Alaska Moving Image Preservation Society; the Interlibrary Loan Department; cheerleading; and the intramural sports program.

Vice Chancellor Bill Spindle and Provost Elisha "Bear" Baker said in the email to faculty and staff that the rankings shouldn't be interpreted as a score or grade, but rather as a reflection of the program's "alignment with our mission."

The programs that fell in the bottom two categories will be reviewed over the next five months or so by the chancellor's cabinet before it makes final deletion decisions by winter.


Information from: Alaska Dispatch News, http://www.adn.com

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