Alaska Quarterly Review May Fold

September 4, 2014

In an effort to prioritize its investments, a task force comprised of faculty and staff members at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) has identified the 32-year-old literary journal, Alaska Quarterly Review, among other “non-academic programs,” as needing “further review, consideration for reduction or phase out.”

UAA professor and novelist Don Rearden wrote a blistering editorial in response to the recent task force report, asking that UAA not end “one of the most respected publications to ever come out of Alaska.”

“The findings of that task force place AQR in the lowest quintile…In the ‘consider for higher investment’ category come such perennial student favorites as parking services, dean of students office, and the chancellor’s office,” Rearden writes. “What ‘distinction,’ acclaim, or honor do those units bring our university and our state that warrant a consideration for higher investment, while a little, underfunded journal called ‘one of the nation’s best literary magazines’ by the Washington Post gets a spot on the chopping block?”

Issuing a call to arms of sorts, Rearden asks readers to take to social media and “tweet #UAAmazing” to change the story emerging. “Alaskans like nothing more than a good survival tale,” he writes, “and with the community stepping up to help, the story of AQR has the potential to be the most #UAAmazing story yet, a survival story of triumph and an Alaska celebration of discovery and creative achievement.”

According to Alaska Dispatch News, critics of the prioritization process “had worried it would take aim at humanities and arts degrees in favor of more industry-friendly science or technology offerings” but the university, after thirteen months of study, has indeed prioritized investments in arts, language, and humanities programming. Programs like Alaska Native studies, language, dental hygiene, medical laboratory science, and culinary arts made the cut, while early childhood development certifications, chemistry, and physical education ended up at the bottom of the heap.

UAA administration will make its final decisions regarding program deletions this winter. To read more about the possible dismantling of AQR and how to reach administrators at UAA, read this blog post by the Missouri Review, or search the hashtag #saveAQR on Facebook and Twitter.

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