Academic Affairs Reorganization Implementation Plan

Karen Moranski, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs and Jenn Lillig, Associate Dean of Academic Programs
September 19, 2023

Our departments are currently exploring new organizational structures with the aims of  growing enrollment for programs, maintaining curricular integrity with losses of faculty, and developing interdisciplinary practices that encourage student-centered and inclusive pedagogies and foster faculty success. As these discussions continue, we are writing to update you on how the academic affairs reorganization will be implemented. In this email, we are focusing specifically on the development and approval of the new department/school/college structure and processes related to fall 2024 scheduling and assignment of work for course instruction.

The implementation process of the administrative reorganization is being led by Jenn Lillig, Associate Dean for Academic Programs. Jenn has been meeting with units from across the university to identify impacts within their purview. These impacts range from PeopleSoft implications to faculty governance policies, procedures, and structures. If you think your unit may be impacted and you are not currently in contact with Jenn, please leave a note in this Google Form and she will contact you to discuss your unit’s needs.

Jenn is working closely with faculty governance leadership during the implementation process. Governance decisions regarding college-level committee structures and participation in review processes (e.g. curriculum, RTP, etc) are in the purview of the faculty. Processes, timelines, and communications related to changes in governance, curriculum, and review structures will come from the Chair of the Academic Senate. 

Processes related to shared governance consultation and feedback from the faculty and staff will be communicated by the Chair of the Academic Senate and Chair of the Staff Council, respectively.

Administrative purview focuses on budget and fiscal management and personnel decisions. It is important to note that the final decisions related to department, school, and college reorganization lie with the Provost, in consultation with the President.

Department and School Reorganization Process

Proposals for department partnerships should be submitted through this Google Form by individual faculty through October 6, 2023. If departments are discovering multiple interesting opportunities for partnerships, more than one proposal may be submitted. You may make it clear in the notes section of the form which proposal you prefer. An agreement between departments does not have to have been reached in order to submit a proposal with an idea. Jenn Lillig will collate all proposals and submit them to the Provost for review and consultation with Deans and faculty. The Provost will provide an update the week of October 9 with all the proposals listed.

Between October 6 and November 3, we would like departments to focus on the naming of proposed school(s) and to work with other proposed schools to explore ideas for colleges. All proposals for colleges with school groupings and themes, may be submitted through the same Google Form as above by November 3, 2023. Faculty may submit multiple ideas for college structure. Once proposals have been submitted, the Provost will begin consultations with current Deans, faculty governance leadership, and individual departments as necessary in order to create an omnibus proposal that describes all aspects of the new organizational structure. This proposal will be released by December 7 for additional review and will then go through a consultative process in the spring. Feedback on the proposal will be received and considered through the beginning of April 2024 prior to final approval by the Provost and submission of the proposal to President Lee for review and comments in late April 2024. Changes in the academic infrastructure within PeopleSoft are expected to be live July 1, 2024, which will allow time for any additional processing and for union notifications by HR and Faculty Affairs and Success, testing of additional software that interfaces with PeopleSoft, website updates, etc. New signage and any physical reassignments of space are proposed to occur between the fall and spring semesters of 2024-2025.

Fall 2024 Scheduling and Chair Selection

In addition to planning details associated with the technological and physical restructuring of our departments and schools, we are also focused on processes that are impacted by the decision-making timeline. While the Provost will provide initial projections related to assigned time for Chairs in early Fall 2023, final determination of assigned time for Chairs must occur after the omnibus proposal is submitted to governance on December 7. The draft assigned time proposal will be available for comment with governance and deans prior to workload assignments. While the scale of Chair duties may change depending on the characteristics of the departments under the Chair’s charge, the administrative scope of the position will remain the same.

After the final decision on the reorganized structure, Chairs will be elected prior to the end of spring semester 2024, and they will assume responsibility for the Departments in their new Schools in Fall 2024. As departments discuss groupings, we encourage faculty to have open conversations about their leadership possibilities. 

Scheduling for Fall 2024 and individual oversight of current departments will continue by current Chairs through Summer 2024. Faculty Affairs and Success will provide Professional Development for current Chairs focused on questions and concerns related to the reorganization in late Fall 2023 and Spring 2024.

Written guidance regarding Fall 2024 scheduling, including budget information and assignment of work in light of the reorganization, will also be provided at the beginning of the Spring 2024 semester. 

We will continue to provide details on the timeframe and processes involved in implementation of the reorganization. If at any time you have questions, comments, or concerns regarding the implementation process, please leave your thoughts in this Google Form and the Provost or Associate Dean for Academic Programs will respond to you directly and through our Frequently Asked Questions.