UAF drops Russian studies
Zack Sherman / Sun Star
With budget cuts looming, UAF Faculty Senate has given up the fight against the removal of the Russian Studies degree and minor and moves to cut the programs as of fall of 2016. UAF is the only school in the state offering the degree.
Removal of the Russian Studies program is not slated to remove any of the currently offered classes in Russian language, culture or literature, as those courses will continue to be taught through their respective departments.
Russian language will still be an available major under the Foreign Languages Bachelors of the Arts degree program.
The department has maintained low involvement over the past ten years with a high of only 8 enrolled majors during 2008 that fell to a low of 3 students in 2012 before dropping to 0 in 2015. The six students currently enrolled will be able to complete their degrees.
The department initially came under scrutiny during the 2010-2011 Program review cycle, a UA function used to track enrollments and program costs. The review committee noted at that time that enrollment was low but opted to keep the division with the caveat; “…if [enrollment] falls further, continuation of the program may not be possible,” the motion reads.
The 2013 Program Review showed no increase in enrollment and the Chancellor’s Cabinet recommended the program become part of the larger Bachelors of Foreign Languages degree.
Cutting the program does not remove any of the classes from the UAF catalog or reduce any staff.
Trina Mamoon, the associate professor of Russian, explained that the decision to cut the program came before she announced her early retirement for personal reasons. Mamoon’s departure is the only cost savings expected to be seen from the removal of the program
“There would have been no budget savings at all if I had not chosen to retire,” Mamoon said. “These cuts would not have effected anything, it is only for show.”
The existing course load is to be taught by her remaining colleague with help from an adjunct.
“The department (Russian Studies) asked for these cuts. To argue and try to hire a replacement faculty would have cost the university money,” said Debu Misra, Faculty Senate president for UAF.
This change is the fifth academic program offering change since the start of 2016 and was approved by the chancellor’s office prior to the April meeting of the Faculty Senate.