The academic programs in Natural Resource Management are being considered for a special program review, which could result in restructuring, reduction, or elimination of those programs, but which might also result in their continuation. There has not been a final decision, yet, on whether this “special” or early program review will occur. If NRM programs are selected for review, the decision will be made in May, and the review will most likely be carried out in Fall of 2016. Program review is a multistep process, which culminates in a decision by the Board of Regents if there is a program elimination or reduction.
The question of whether or not the School of Natural Resources and Extension will be restructured is partly linked to future decisions about the NRM programs. There is no intent to eliminate or substantively change the mission of either the Cooperative Extension Service or the Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. However, if NRM academic programs were eliminated, there would be little reason for SNRE to continue, since “schools” must contain academic programs. CES or AFES might continue as standalone units or perhaps some other combination of units would be created. Regardless of the future decision on NRM academic programs, SNRE is one of UAF’s smallest schools, and with further, substantial UAF funding reductions, it could be necessary to consolidate some of UAF’s smaller units. There is no specific plan to do that right now, and it’s very unlikely that changes to SNRE would occur before the NRM academic program reviews are completed.
Any changes would be a year or more away. Thorough program review, with opportunity for stakeholder input, will require much of next academic year. Even if some or all of the NRM academic programs are eliminated, the University has the responsibility ensure that students who are currently enrolled in academic programs have the opportunity to complete them within the normal time frame. UAF also has contractual obligations to provide notice to any faculty who are non-retained, and for many of the faculty, one year of notice is required.