Restructuring Academic Units

Reference Number: S20-290
Senate Approval Date: Tuesday, May 05, 2020
Presidential Approval Date: 
Thursday, May 14, 2020

Policy #:                       S20-XXX

Supersedes:                 N/A 

Senate Approval:  05/05/2020 

Presidential Approval:   05/14/2020 

Effective:   Fall 2020

Last Review:                 Spring 2020

Next Review:                Spring 2023

 

Policy on Restructuring Academic Units

Source Committee: Academic Policies Committee

Unit(s) Responsible for Implementation: Academic Affairs

Consultations: Division of Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning, College Deans and University Librarian

 

 

History

 

Version

Approved

Revisions(s)

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

05/14/2020

Original.

Replaces S-92-178L Academic Senate Principles Regarding Academic Reorganization.

Informed by RS92-104: Resolution Establishing Principles Regarding Academic Reorganization and RS94-135: Resolution to Conduct a Referendum for the Approval of the Creation of a School of Education and a School of Health and Human Services.

Informed by S19-260L College Naming Policy

 

Rationale

The purpose of this policy is to outline the principles and process by which academic units can be restructured: transferred, merged, divided, or reorganized. A restructuring process might be initiated due to changes in units’ academic fields, a desire for more synergies between units, cost savings, or administrative reforms, among other possible reasons.

 

 

Table of Contents

I.               Principles

II.              Definitions

III.            Process

 

Policy

Principles

The following principles should guide any process of restructuring: transfer, merger, division, or reorganization.

 

 

 

 

•       The process through which restructuring take place should be largely faculty-driven.

•       Transparency should be embedded throughout every aspect of the process.

•       Wide consultation involving, at a minimum, every unit involved in the process, should take place prior to any action involving academic unit restructures. All involved should strive to include the participation of as many faculty members as possible.

•       Consideration on how any changes would affect the faculty, staff and students within the unit should be part of any process, and consultation with HR and Faculty Affairs shouldbe made.

•       Any process or action should strive to ensure fairness to all.

•       To help ensure transparency and openness, if at all possible, decisions made over the summer orother times when the University is not in full session should be avoided.

•       Prior to any decision, both the benefits and the challenges involved in any action should be considered.

 

 

Definitions

1.     Academic Units: For the purpose of this policy, an academic unit is a credential or degree-granting program, department, school, or college.

2.     Transfer: A transfer of academic units does not refer to the transfer of individual faculty members but of their academic units.

3.     Merger: A merger of academic units is the combining of existing units into a new unit.

4.     Division: A division of units is when one or more parts of a larger unit break apart into smallerunits

5.     Reorganization: A reorganization is the restructuring of academic units within a larger academicunit.

6.     Restructure: A restructure is a transfer, merger, division, or reorganization of academic units.

7.     Faculty: an individual with a current full- or part-time appointment to a unit (i.e., Unit 3 employees).

 

 

Process

Overall, each process for academic unit restructuring should involve:

•       Full disclosure to faculty and staff who could be involved;

•       A fair and open decision-making process that includes all involved;

•       An implementation process; and,

•       An evaluation of the restructuring 3 years after the action takes place.

 

The President, Provost, dean, or the majority of the members of a unit can initiate the request for a unit to be restructured through transfer, merger, division, or reorganization.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Process When Requested by President, Provost, or dean.

If a restructuring request is initiated by the President, Provost, or a dean, the following process should be followed.

•       The process is initiated by a memorandum copied to the dean(s) and faculty whose colleges includethe affected units along with the Chair of the Academic Senate, stating the:

o   Nature of the change requested (transfer, merger, division, reorganization);

o   A full description of the desired transfer, merger, division, or reorganization along with a comparison with the existing structure;

o   The units involved;

o   The goals involved in making the requested changes;

o   A full justification for making the proposed changes;

o   Any request initiated for cost cutting purposes needs to completely outline the proposed cost savings, the expected costs of the restructuring, and the net savings to any restructuring;

o   The faculty and staff who would be affected;

o   The number of majors and minors (with estimated FTES) involved;

o   The desired timeline; and,

o   An outline of anticipated issues to be resolved before any restructuring could be completed.

•       Once initiated, all those affected by the proposed action are to be informed as soon as possible. Upon receipt of the initiating memorandum, the deans in receipt of the initiating memo would immediately inform all faculty in the involved units, the Provost, and the Chair of the Academic Senate and would meet with the involved units to outline their views on parameters and issues that may need to be resolved.

•       Upon receipt of information about a requested structural change, the Senate Executive Committee should appoint an Independent Committee of three individuals not directly affected, two of whom are faculty and one of whom is an administrator. This committee will meet with the Planning Committee throughout the process to ensure fairness and openness.

o   The role of the Independent Committee would be to review the proposed voting process and the proposed MOU. They would then be expected to make a recommendation to the faculty of all affected units prior to any vote on the effectiveness, fairness, andappropriateness of the voting process and MOU.

•       Upon initiation of a restructuring process, a committee of faculty involved in the proposed reorganization should be formed to create a proposal and, ultimately, a MOU for the proposed reorganization. The planning committee will be comprised of two faculty members from each involved unit. Potential members of the planning committee have to first be nominated by faculty from that involved unit and would have to accept the nomination. The department would then hold elections and eligible faculty would vote to select Planning Committee member, using a secret ballot. Along withrepresentation from the administrators

 

 

 

 

requesting the restructuring (each administrator requesting the change, or their designee), these faculty comprise the Planning Committee for the proposed restructure.

•       The Planning Committee shall then develop a Memorandum of Understanding that outlines the rationale for the reorganization, the pros and cons of the move for each involved party, the budget impact of the proposed reorganization, and the issues that need to be resolved between the units before a reorganization could take place. The MOU also needs to lay out, in detail, the issues necessary to be resolved in the reorganization and the subsequent resolution of each issue. These issues should include the proposed division of resources like budget, space, staff, student assistants, faculty lines, etc.

•       The MOU should then be circulated among all involved faculty members and submittedto the deans involved for their information and feedback.

•       After a full discussion by the faculty, the restructuring proposal as represented by the proposed MOU will go to the faculty for a vote of all involved units. The vote will be a by secret ballot. Voting processes and the participation by part-time lecturers would be governed by a department’s own by-laws outlining the definition of voting members; if there are no by-laws, voting can be by faculty appointed time-base. A two-thirds vote of each unit involved is required for the approval of any restructuring. The restructuring process involves the required approval of the unit(s) joining / splitting /reorganizing and the unit being joined / leaving, done through agreed upon voting processes.

•       To move forward with a restructuring, a majority of affected faculty within each unit must approve. For just two examples, this includes any of these situations:

o   An academic unit asking to separate from a larger unit and go forward as an independent unit would require the majority approval of both the original unit and of the faculty involved in the unit seeking to be independent.

o   An academic unit seeking to separate from a larger unit and then join another academic unit would need a majority approval of the unit seeking to move, the original unit, and of the receiving unit.

•       If the MOU is not approved by the faculty, then the proposal goes no further.

•       If the MOU is not approved, the parties must wait a year before another attempt ismade using the same version.

•       After faculty approvals, the MOU then goes to the dean(s) for approval then to the Provost forapproval.

•       After the Provost has approved the MOU, the proposal then goes to the Senate as an information item.

•       If the MOU is not approved by either the dean(s) or the Provost, they must provide a justification in writing to all affected faculty.

•       If the MOU is approved and the reorganization implemented, after three years, the involved unitsshould submit to the President and Provost a report reviewing the restructuring actions and an assessment of their successes and challenges. All involved faculty need to sign the report to indicate their knowledge of its contents. If issues have arisen due to restructuring, each dean should work with the involved units to resolve the issues.

 

 

Process When Requested by Faculty.

 

 

 

 

•       The process is initiated by a memorandum to the dean(s) whose colleges includethe affected units, stating the:

o   Nature of the change requested (transfer, merger, division, reorganization);

o   A full description of the desired transfer, merger, division, or reorganization along with a comparison with the existing structure;

o   The units involved;

o   The goals involved in making the requested changes;

o   A full justification for making the proposed changes;

o   Any request needs to completely outline the proposed cost savings, the expected costs of the restructuring, and the netsavings to any restructuring;

o   The faculty and staff who would be affected;

o   The number of majors and minors (with estimated FTES) involved;

o   The desired timeline; and,

o   An outline of anticipated issues to be resolved before any restructuring could be completed.

•       Once initiated, all those affected by the proposed action are to be informed as soon as possible. Upon receipt of the initiating memorandum, the deans in receipt of the initiating memo wouldimmediately inform all faculty in the involved units, the Provost, and the Chair of the Academic Senate and would meet with the involved units to outline their views on parameters and issues that may need to be resolved.

•       Upon receipt of information about a requested structural change, the Senate Executive Committee should appoint an Independent Committee of three individuals not directly affected, two of whom are faculty and one of whom is an administrator. This committee will meet with the Planning Committee throughout the process to ensure fairness and openness.

o   The role of the Independent Committee would be to review the proposed voting process and the proposed MOU. They would then be expected to make a recommendation to the faculty of all affected units prior to any vote on the effectiveness, fairness, andappropriateness of the voting process and MOU.

•       Upon initiation of a restructuring process, a committee of faculty involved in the proposed reorganization should be formed to create a proposal and, ultimately, a MOU for the proposed reorganization. The planning committee will be comprised of two faculty members from each involved unit. Potential members of the planning committee have to first be nominated by faculty from that involved unit and would have to accept the nomination. The department would then hold elections and eligible faculty would vote to select Planning Committee member, using a secret ballot. These faculty comprise the Planning Committee for the proposed restructure.

•       Along with representation from each dean involved (or their designee), these faculty comprise the Planning Committee for the proposed restructure.

 

 

 

 

•       The Planning Committee shall then develop a Memorandum of Understanding that outlines the rationale for the reorganization, the pros and cons of the move for each involved party, the budget impact of the proposed reorganization, and the issues that need to be resolved between the units before a reorganization could take place. The MOU also needs to lay out, in detail, the issues necessary to be resolved in the reorganization and the subsequent resolution of each issue. These issues should include the proposed division of resources like budget, space, staff, student assistants, faculty lines, etc.

•       The MOU should then be circulated among all involved faculty members and submitted to the deans involved for their information and feedback.

•       After a full discussion by the faculty, the restructuring proposal as represented by the proposed MOU will go to the faculty for a vote of all involved units. The vote will be a by secret ballot. Voting processes and the participation by part-time lecturers would be governed by a department’s own by-laws outlining the definition of voting members; if there are no by-laws, voting can be by faculty appointed time-base. A two-thirds vote of each unit involved is required for the approval of any restructuring. The restructuring process involves the required approval of the unit(s) joining / splitting /reorganizing and the unit being joined / leaving, done through agreed upon voting processes.

•       To move forward with a restructuring, a majority of affected faculty within each unit must approve. For just two examples, this includes any of these situations:

o   An academic unit asking to separate from a larger unit and go forward as an independent unit would require the majority approval of both the original unit andof the faculty involved in the unit seeking to be independent.

o   An academic unit seeking to separate from a larger unit and then join another academic unit would need a majority approval of the unit seeking to move, the original unit, and of the receiving unit.

•       If the MOU is not approved by the faculty, then the proposal goes no further.

•       If the MOU is not approved, the parties must wait a year before another attempt is made using the same version.

•       After faculty approvals, the request then goes to the dean(s) for approval then to the Provost for approval.

•       After the Provost has approved the restructuring, the proposal then goes to the Senate as an information item.

•       If the MOU is not approved by either the dean(s) or the Provost, they must provide a justification in writing to all affected faculty.

•       If the MOU is approved and the reorganization implemented, after three years, the involved unitsshould submit to the President and Provost a report reviewing the restructuring actions and an assessment of their successes and challenges. All involved faculty need to sign the report to indicate their knowledge of its contents. If issues have arisen due to restructuring, each dean should work with the involved units to resolve the issues.

 

 

(Resources: University of Arizona-Guidelines for Reorganizations and Mergers of Academic Units at the University of Arizona; Indiana University- Merger, Reorganization and Elimination of Academic Units and Programs Involving Core Schools (ACA-79); IUPUI Policy on Transfer, Merger, Reorganization, Reduction, and Elimination of Academic Programs)

Signed Memo: