December 10, 2018

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SIU Carbondale Colleagues,

As I have been on campus meeting with faculty, staff and students, I have often been asked about the status of academic reorganization. I write to share an update.

The first question I am most frequently asked is whether reorganization is moving forward. The answer is a strong “yes.” As I’ve noted earlier, many people were concerned that it might stall or be put on a back burner following the death of Chancellor Montemagno in October. I’m pleased to let you know that it is continuing to move forward under the leadership of Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Meera Komarraju, who has been overseeing the reorganization process since her appointment in April.

As you might imagine, reorganization of academic administrative structures is a complex process guided by operating papers, a collective bargaining agreement, as well as university, system and Illinois Board of Higher Education policies and practices. The restructuring process began in September 2017 with a draft proposal submitted to the campus for both formal and informal feedback. The feedback and discussion led to significant changes to proposed college and school structures.

The next step was for the university to incorporate feedback into program change plans/proposals and accompanying RMEs to be vetted by faculty in affected units, the Faculty Senate, the Graduate Council and the Faculty Association. (“RME” is an Illinois Board of Higher Education term for modification to an existing program or administrative structure.) You can get a look at the process and where it stands today here.

To date, more than half of the 20 proposed schools -- 13 --have been through the campus RME process. (One school, Accountancy, already exists and does not need to go through the process.) Eight of the 13 that have been through the review process have been recommended for approval by both the Faculty Senate and Graduate Council:

  • Applied Engineering and Technology
  • Biological Sciences
  • Computing
  • Earth Systems and Sustainability
  • Health Sciences
  • Justice and Public Safety
  • Mathematical and Statistical Science
  • Psychological and Behavior Sciences

Conversations are continuing regarding the remaining five proposed schools that have been through the RME review process but have not been recommended for approval by the Faculty Senate or Graduate Council. Our hope is that we can address concerns raised as part of the review process. These schools are:

  • Agricultural Sciences
  • Analytics, Finance and Economics
  • Education
  • Management and Marketing
  • Human Sciences

Program change proposals have been prepared for the following proposed schools, but the proposals and accompanying RMEs have not been referred to the Faculty Senate and Graduate Council. The schools are:

  • Architecture, Art and Design
  • Engineering
  • Humanities
  • Media, Communication and Performing Arts
  • Physical Sciences
  • Social Science and Multicultural Studies
  • Transportation

We anticipate new proposals to be submitted by the administration, faculty or both jointly for some of these schools.

The eight schools that have been recommended for approval by the Faculty Senate and Graduate Council have been forwarded to the president’s office for review. Following guidance from the Illinois Board of Higher Education, we will be asking the Board of Trustees to affirm both the concept of reorganization as well the IBHE-recommended use of the RME process at its meeting this week.

The final approval lies with the Illinois Board of Higher Education. We will forward the school RMEs to the IBHE as they are approved through the president’s office. Once approved by the IBHE, faculty can begin collaborating to bring their schools together. We anticipate that a number of schools will be ready to go before the fall semester of 2019.

The renaming and restructuring of colleges will follow a similar RME process (but without the Article 9 process required by the collective bargaining agreement for the proposed schools) as recommended by the Illinois Board of Higher Education. We will begin this work once all of the schools in a proposed college have been approved.

Because proposed schools are at different points in the reorganization process, we will likely have a mix of structures for the immediate future. The most important point is that we are continuing to move forward through a collaborative, detailed process that will yield a new, more effective and efficient organizational structure.

One final point: It is important that we help students understand that academic reorganization does not affect their individual programs or their progress toward graduation. In fact, the impact on students may be very positive as they take advantage of new multi-disciplinary opportunities for learning and research in their new schools.

Thank you for your continued work to advance academic reorganization.

Kevin Dorsey, M.D., Ph.D.
Acting Chancellor, SIU Carbondale
Interim President, SIU System