UAA Releases Prioritization Report Findings, Recommendations

The University of Alaska Anchorage on Tuesday released it’s report on the findings of the prioritization process it has been working on for the last year and a half.

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Though the report provides a basic outline of the findings and a brief explanation of what will come next – many questions are still unanswered.

“You won’t see money, funding reductions in here because, first of all, we don’t think that’s the right place,” Bill Spindle, the vice chancellor of administration at UAA, said. “This part is mainly about alignment and we mainly did this exercise to better align all our programs and functions with our overall mission.”

Alignment is determined largely by the data collection and analysis done by two faculty task forces, which took a deeper look at both the academic and support aspects of the university.

The findings place support functions and academic programs into rank 1 – which means it’s a priority for enhancement – through 5 – which calls for further review, and potentially elimination. But, Spindle says just because something is ranked in category 5, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s doomed, but a closer look is needed to bring the it into alignment.

“Somebody has to be at the bottom. Now, we looked at everybody at the bottom though, and we need to make sure we’re all – and there’s a lot of alignment issues that we need to work on and we’ve identified those, we have it pretty well under control what we’re gonna do,” Spindle said. “And in some cases it’s already been done.”

Though this report focuses more on realignment and reorganization than sweeping cuts, Diane Hirshberg – who is a professor education policy and the president of the faculty senate at UAA – says faculty are still uneasy as state funding declines.

“The administration is being very cautious and trying to let people know that they’re trying to, that they’re gonna put into place a process for budget cutting that is not going to lop off essential limbs, but I think faculty are going to be very, very nervous until we see what this really looks like,” Hirshberg said.

Ultimately, there will cuts, but at this point it’s unclear what exactly those cuts will entail.

In a letter sent from UAA Chancellor Tom Case, he says revenue projections have fallen as much as $30 million over the next 3 to 5 years – and the savings from prioritization won’t make up that difference.

This is a developing story.