Trouble finding faculty members and a growing hole in the state budget have forced the University of Alaska Anchorage to suspend its degree programs for chemistry majors.
UAA said the decision would not affect current chemistry students, but the school will not be accepting new chemistry majors until the program can be restarted.
John Stalvey, dean of UAA's College of Arts and Sciences, said there are 95 chemistry majors enrolled at UAA. Ten of those are co-enrolled at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, which will retain its chemistry degree program.
The program's suspension came as a surprise to students and professors, Stalvey said, but the program could not be sustained.
"It's one of those things that has happened over a period of years," Stalvey said. "We have been unable to fill an organic chemistry faculty position that has been open for several years, with several failed searches. One of our young professors will leave this year. Unfortunately his family didn’t love Alaska as much as we love Alaska, and we have another retirement coming up in May."
The university is in the process of finalizing its Program Prioritization Report, which is due for release in a few months. That report will help UAA officials decide which programs to enhance and which to potentially cut, as the state -- the main source of the university's funding -- faces an estimated $3.5 billion per year shortfall over the next two years....I'm not an academic, but it seems to me that the hiring and retaining of young faculty is one of the most prominent responsibilities of department chairs and university administrators. Instead, we have a dean throwing a (soon-to-be)-former employee's family under the bus. Well done, Dean Stalvey!
Pardon my language, but there's no f---in' shortage of people who want to be academic organic chemists. You could hire this position on at $39,000 and there'd be takers. If you can't fill this position, it's on YOU.