Friday, April 21, 2017

Program review ends and NRM degrees will continue

A special academic review of many UAF degree programs has ended with recommendations to eliminate several programs, but all of the degree programs offered by the School of Natural Resources and Extension have been spared.

SNRE Academic Director Dave Valentine said that includes the Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and professional master’s degree in natural resources management, and a doctorate in natural resources and sustainability.

“That’s good news,” he said.

For the past year, UAF has been conducting special reviews of academic programs identified by the UAF Planning and Budget Committee. The goal has been to find savings by considering deletion of programs with lower enrollment and graduation numbers. Among those programs were the degrees offered by SNRE.

Valentine said Provost Susan Henrichs told the SNRE faculty that the degrees would revert to the usual five-year review cycle. In a recent meeting, she encouraged faculty to seek more external grant funding, increase enrollment and put as many courses as possible online. She also discussed the possibility of the NRM degree programs moving into another school at UAF.

Valentine said he will ask each academic faculty member to develop at least one online class in the coming year. “We want to get our degrees out there and more available online,” he said.

He notes that the school continues to face serious challenges due to budget cuts and departing and retiring faculty who can’t be replaced. Because of reductions, the school may have to reconsider some of its offerings and fill in more with classes from other programs, possibly broadening its degrees, he said. “It’s clear that we can’t keep doing what we’re doing currently.”

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