Sunday, April 2, 2017

UAF Economics Program and SWEET

Hello all!

Sherri will not be able to attend this next couple of meetings, however, SWEET will still be in session. This week's discussion topic is..... the peril of our economics program at UAF. Below is an excerpt from the report I wrote a couple of weeks ago on Sherri's lecture.

Now, all subdivisions of the economics program, including minors, majors and organizations such as Students Who Enjoy Economic Thinking, are at risk for being cut for financial reasons. . .

. . . Enrollment in the economics major started its suspension in April. Wall criticized this decision, saying the board should consider the cost/benefit analysis of cutting the economics program before making a final decision around June.

The current decision-making process overlooks the benefits of keeping the program in the university, Wall said. The economics program is ranked 80 out of the 280 programs here at UAF. Despite being on the bottom of the School of Management curriculum, the program generates a copious amount of student credit hours for those in and out of the School of Management.

Cutting the economics program would cost more in lost opportunities than it would save in cash, according to Wall.

“The suspension of the program was cited for financial reasons… However, after just doing a brief cost-benefit analysis, the savings of eliminating the economics program would be very negligible,” Wall said. “It ignores things like return on investment, and where students go and how they are giving back and contributing to society. An economics degree is a very, very valuable degree.”

You can read the full article at

Other good articles to read and ponder (although a little outdated) include:


  1. What does economics mean to you?
  2. How has economics impacted your life?
  3. What value do you see in keeping economics at UAF?
  4. As a non-economics major, what value do you see in keeping SWEET?

I look forward to seeing you all on Wednesday!


1 comment:

  1. 1. Economics is a way of logically making choices about my limited resources. Being able to better understand my decision-making process and how I should view my expenditures helps increase my quality of life. This is what having a better understanding of economics does. It also helps bring a framework of reason to emotionally charged issues like child labor, marriage, and immigration.

    2. Economics has impacted my life in helping me develop a better way of thinking when it comes to my spending. I think I have made better choices about my spending. Further, it has helped me better understand the financial motivation that drives individuals and business.

    3. There is a huge value in keeping an economics program at UAF. Alaska’s future should be determined by those who live in Alaska, those who have skin in this game. Alaska, also, is very different from the Lower 48 states. People who graduate from other programs will have little understanding of Alaska’s economy and the needs of our citizens. We need economists with strong connections to this state and an understanding of our citizens to make the fiscal decisions that best help our state. In short, you need to cultivate economists here.

    4. I’ve already discussed how economics has helped me make better decisions. SWEET reinforces and expands on the economics education I have had. It presents case studies every week for discussion, and I am forced to consider, then reconsider my views on these issues. The fact that our meetings are based in economics helps provide a logical framework for the discussions. This sort of analysis and practical decision-making will be useful in my future career as an engineer and manager.

    Finally, purely my opinion, I think that university is for people to develop job skills. The economics program here was better than most of the other programs at UAF, was growing, and was a money maker. When the news hit that the administration was closing the program, there was no public outcry. Yet the basketball team, which costs the university money and has produced, as far as I know, one professional athlete, received tremendous public support when athletics cuts were being considered. These cuts have been reversed after pressure was put on university leaders by the public. The fact we are cutting academic programs and not sports teams is short-sighted, displays a lack of judgment, and, frankly, is pathetic. The decision-makers in the UA system need to get their priorities in order.