Ketchikan Daily News

UAF to eliminate economics degree

FAIRBANKS (AP) — The University of Alaska Fairbanks is discontinuing its economics degree program.

The Board of Regents made the decision to cut the program during its most recent meeting.

Two faculty members recently received layoff notices, giving them one year left to teach, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Tuesday.

The university’s Faculty Senate met at the end of April to discuss the potential discontinuation of several academic programs. Economics was on that list, as well as sociology, geography and dental hygiene, among others.

While the faculty voted in favor of keeping economics, administrators chose otherwise.

Enrollment in the program was suspended in March 2016. However, the program will remain intact for several years, allowing the 20 students with declared economics majors enough time to graduate.

“If an academic program is discontinued, we are still required to ‘teach it out’,” University of Alaska Fairbanks spokeswoman Marmian Grimes said. “So we have to provide a reasonable amount of time to students for them to complete their degree.”

A larger and more fully staffed economics program will remain at the Anchorage campus, Provost and Vice Chancellor Susan Henrichs said.

The Alaska Legislature continues to drop the University of Alaska Fairbanks annual budget — decreasing it by $8 million this year alone.

While eliminating programs may decrease costs, there are trade-offs, Henrichs said.

“Cutting costs is clearly a necessary thing to do in the current economic situation,” she said. “I don’t really see any gain beyond that. Broadly, if we have somewhat fewer programs, we can be a little more efficient, but there are trade-offs. And when we eliminate programs, we’re certainly concerned that we won’t be able to attract as many students.”

Sherri Wall, an economics professor, said she believes discontinuing the program is a significant disservice to the…

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