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Potential budget cuts lead to the reorganization of academic colleges at UCM

The administration is making changes to the structure of programs after seeing the possibility of more budget cuts in the future.

Interim Provost-Chief Learning Officer Mike Godard spoke to Faculty Senate about a working plan the administration has to restructure the colleges. This would result in going from four colleges to three – dissolving the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and distributing the programs to the other colleges.

“The initial step with this was working with each of the academic deans, coming up with clustering that were based on a couple of factors that I asked for them to consider,” Godard said.

He said the factors included looking at the broader majors such as science, business, education, health services and others. They looked at where students migrate when they decide to change majors. They also sought similarities in earlier courses between classes.

“With those, the deans kind of came up and looked at renditions, and we all kind of spun through it, and then all of your chairs were involved in that process,” Godard said.

David Ewing, faculty senator from the College of Health, Science and Technology, asked Godard about faculty input throughout the process.

“The reason for my concern is before, when we had done restructuring, the administrators picked the department and where they were going to be placed, but they didn’t ask the faculty,” Ewing said. “Sometimes administrators go by the name, but they don’t know the program itself.”

Godard said the next step in the process includes getting feedback from faculty.

“At this point, what I’ve asked from the deans and the chairs is that they get more input and feedback from faculty so that we can make sure we aren’t missing anything,” he said. “Nothing is going to be perfect in terms of the reorganization, and not everyone is going to feel like they are perfectly placed in terms of their program.”

Faculty Senate Vice President Steve Price said when he first saw the document that listed majors clustered into their new potential colleges, it was presented in a way that seemed final.

Godard said this was false.

“This is still a work in progress. That’s why they’re not clustered in schools already. That’s why they’re alphabetical,” Godard said. “It’s because we’re not trying to influence individuals as we look for additional feedback as we move through this process.”

He said April is a critical month in the process and the administration would like to have decisions made by then so they aren’t made over the summer while faculty is gone.

“It’s really important that we get out a final document within the next couple of weeks,” Godard said.

David Babcock, faculty senator of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, said it seemed like the college he represents is going to disband and be dispersed, and other than that, he didn’t see a change in the colleges.

Godard said that CAHSS will not have a dean after this fiscal year.

“We are looking at what we have in terms of leadership currently and where we’re at in terms of redesigning things so that they make sense, but we have got direct feedback,” he said. “Mike Sekelsky (interim dean of CAHSS) has been a huge part of us looking to see what makes sense.”

Price asked Godard if the administration plans on visiting with each department to make sure the changes are working.

“Faculty are having a knee-jerk reaction to this document, as you can imagine, and I have actually said, ‘How do you know it’s not going to work?’” Price said.

In response, Godard said he looks forward to that feedback.

“We want what’s best for our students, and I know that’s what all of you want,” Godard said. “What we want to make sure of is that the program’s integrity is maintained.”

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