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Redesigning the College Academic Structure

As part of the AG Futures process, the college is addressing the consolidation of academic units by focusing on programmatic synergies across resident instruction, extension education, and research programs. Six teams, consisting largely of college faculty, were assembled to undertake this effort.

We used the AG Futures process this past fall to formulate a new longer term strategy for the college. We are now asking six teams to spend the next four weeks identifying potential program synergies to create at least six independent creative proposals for a new academic unit structure. The structure that emerges from those proposed by the teams will be the platform from which we move forward to implement our longer term strategic direction. Team members will identify their alternatives to take advantage of potential synergies across academic degree programs, research programs, and Extension Natural Work Groups. Team members will not represent their own unit or discipline but rather will address the best interests of the broader organization. During early February each unit leader will hold at least one discussion with faculty and staff and will provide the dean with a summary of ideas raised. The process will include multiple opportunities for all college employees and external stakeholders to provide feedback and comments.

Each of the six teams should produce at least one proposed new academic structure that considers each of the 12 current academic units and takes advantage of potential program synergies. The new structure might include the current capacities of all 12 existing units or may identify elements of our current units and programs that should not be included in the new structure. The proposal must contain the following:

  • Proposed academic unit configurations including ownership of current degree programs, research programs, and Extension Natural Work Groups. Include suggested program reorganizations to enable us to achieve greater impact.
  • Current and future societal issues that each academic unit will be positioned to address, including the overarching issues of economic growth and workforce development.
  • Industries, organizations, and audiences that could rely on each unit's graduates and expertise for solutions.
  • Rationale for the recommendations, including the ways in which the proposed structure will position us to accomplish the goals of our strategic roadmap -- successful implementation of our strategic imperatives, grounded in our core competencies and values, in support of our declaration.

Decision Criteria

  • Degree to which the team's rationale provides a strong platform to successfully implement our Strategic Imperatives and achieve our Declaration while upholding our Values and strengthening our Core Competencies.
  • Best fit to ensure a smaller number of focused, robust, and forward thinking resident and extension education programs that meet societal needs.
  • Best fit to ensure innovative research that achieves our strategic imperatives and strengthens our core competencies.
  • Potential programmatic synergies to ensure growth that will warrant further strategic investment.
  • Degree to which recommendations for all three functions will lead to appropriate financial support.

Resources Available

  • Team facilitators and staff support
  • AG Futures Strategic Leadership Roadmap, strategic imperative team reports, and 2011 stakeholder survey results
  • Strategic plans for University, College, and Academic Units
  • College Diversity Plan, Sustainability reports, and study group reports from 2004, 2008, and 2009
  • Core Council recommendations
  • 10 year history for undergraduate and graduate enrollment and degrees conferred
  • Cooperative Extension Natural Work Groups and program catalog
  • Links to the list of all college centers and institutes and academic unit research programs

Presentation of team recommendations

Team leaders will meet with the AG Futures steering team on Wednesday, February 9 to provide a progress report. Completed recommendations should be sent to Dawn Holsopple no later than Wednesday, February 23. All teams will present their recommendations and rationale in a group meeting to be held Friday February 25. An additional feedback period will follow from February 25 to March 31. A draft of the new structure will be shared during the Dean's webinar on Friday, March 18, with the final structure announced during the Dean's webinar on Friday, April 8. After April 8 we will start resetting budgets, revising operational processes, and addressing curricular changes to support the implementation of the new structure.