The University of Alaska Anchorage released its latest program prioritization report Feb. 3. UAA Chancellor Tom Case and his cabinet evaluated 313 academic programs and 178 support functions, then placed them into five quintiles based on budgets and alignment with UAA’s mission. The first quintile described programs that have potential growth and strong need for resources, and the fifth quintile describes programs that must be revised or eliminated. Programs in Quintile 5 have the possibility to be eliminated, and their futures remain uncertain.
Both bachelor of arts programs for music and music performance were placed in Quintile 5 for further review and possible elimination.
Music freshman Harrison Jennings is concerned with the results.
“It was brought to my attention last semester, and when I first heard about it last semester I wasn’t freaking out about it,” Jennings said. “The program has seen a lot of improvements since I’ve been here. I’ll keep my eye out on it, though.”
Jennings said he would do anything to study music, even if it meant switching schools.
“Music is my livelihood,” he said.
Music Department Chair Christopher Sweeney feels frustrated and believes “eliminating degree programs, music or otherwise, based on a three-year time span is extremely short-sighted.”
The B.A. in music and music performance programs are being reviewed for elimination because they are “expensive programs with little student demand,” according to the findings report.
In contrast to the possible elimination of the B.A. in Music and Music Performance programs, the Chancellor’s Cabinet placed the music education program into Quintile 2, a category for programs doing well with consideration for enhancements — but this does not guarantee students an easier fare.
“Losing two of our three programs would most likely result in a lower number of students in our courses, which means the department brings in less money, and costs per student credit hour would probably actually go up as a result,” Sweeney said.
In a memo released with the report, Case notes, “Some programs and functions need to evolve, consolidate, contract or partner for efficiency. Some need to go away.”
Beyond the music and music performance programs, more than 100 other programs and functions were placed in Quintile 5 and are being reviewed for possible elimination including the B.S. in chemistry, B.S. in aviation technology and engineering master’s programs.
Additionally, 73 programs and functions were placed in Quintile 3. This category is for programs that will maintain their budgets and resources. They are strong and support the mission of UAA. Some of these successful programs include the B.A. in journalism and communication program, B.A. in political science, B.A. in economics, B.S. in geology, B.S. in biology and M.S. in nursing science.
Case said he is “pleased with the prioritization process. Its results overall indicate we have much to be proud of.”
The university anticipates saving $1-2 million attributed to the prioritization process. It is unclear when revisions or eliminations will be made for Quintile 5 programs. University officials say the Board of Regents will have to make the final decision on programs that are slated for elimination.
For more information about prioritization and to view the report visit http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/program-prioritization/index.cfm.