Over the past several years, colleges and universities in the Lower 48 have been forced to deal with significant declines in state funding. Although we haven't felt the same rapid decline in state dollars in Alaska, it is clear the impact of lower oil prices and the change in the world economies will have an effect on the University's future funding from the state. We have already received guidance from the State that operations funding for the university will likely decline in the next fiscal year.

In light of potential changes in UAA's funding picture, and with the objective of becoming an even better institution, UAA has begun work toward a comprehensive examination of the way in which our resources are being invested at UAA. Our approach to this effort is modeled on the process outlined in Prioritizing Academic Programs and Services by Robert C. Dickeson. This model encourages a well thought-out change management approach that recognizes the important role that faculty, administration and staff have in shaping UAA's future.

The prioritization of academic programs and administrative functions will include an assessment of each program or function in comparison to all other programs or functions. Our evaluation criteria and weighting percentages have been designed particularly for UAA, and will provide us with the tools necessary to complete a thorough analysis of our programs and functions. This process involves a systematic and thoughtful analysis of how our current programs and services align with our mission and our Strategic Plan 2017, coupled with a strategic cost and demand analysis of our programs and services.

This effort is lead by two task forces: one to examine academic programs and one to examine administrative support functions. The academic task force is comprised of faculty members and the support task force is primarily comprised of staff with some representation from faculty. In addition, a facilitation team has been formed to assist the two task forces in completing their work.

The prioritization process began in earnest this May when each of the task forces met to develop assessment criteria, weighting percentages for those criteria, and ranking categories. During the summer of 2013, the support task force will move forward with data collection and population of program templates. The academic task force will begin this same work fall of 2013.After the templates are populated with data, the deans and/or administrative function supervisors will review them for accuracy; the templates will then be submitted to either the academic task force or the support task force for evaluation, discussion and ranking. Ranking will be done by placing each program or function in one of five quintiles: Priority for higher investment; Consider for higher investment; Sustained resources; Transform; Subject to further review or consider for phase out. Each quintile for academic programs will contain an equal number or programs, and each quintile for administrative support functions will contain an equal number of functions.

Once all of the programs and functions have been evaluated and ranked by the task forces, the Chancellor and his Cabinet will review the findings and recommendations and make the final decisions on what changes to implement at UAA. Some changes may happen quickly, others may take place over an extended period of time.

Though this is the first time UAA has undertaken a process such as this, the university intends to use the systems and framework developed throughout this process to continue to evaluate and assess our programs and functions on a regular basis.