From Provost Kerri Schuiling:
I have been traveling for work this summer and so am behind on my updates about what is happening in Academic Affairs. My apologies!
The Implementation Task Force (ITF) continues to review the Quintile 4 transformation plans that were submitted in April/May. We have asked the Deans and many DHs to be present for the academic reviews and associated staff for the support program reviews to assure we are not overlooking important nuances of each plan. This has been immensely helpful. In a few instances the ITF has asked for a revision of a plan, which once completed, is reviewed again. If you are unclear which departments were asked to submit plans please go to the SRA site (https://www.nmu.edu/sra/home) where the placement of programs in quintiles is identified. Cindy Paavola is keeping a running record of what plans were reviewed and the outcome decisions. She will be sharing this document with the campus following our July BOT retreat. Additionally, a copy of all transformation plans will be provided to the AAUP (per their request).
A review of Quintile 3 programs will begin once the Quintile 4 program reviews are completed.
Restructure of Academic Affairs Proposal
As many know, the President asked me to lead a plan for restructuring Academic Affairs. It continues to be his goal for us to reduce the number of administrators while at the same time, encouraging cross collaboration amongst the disciplines. The Deans and the members of the Academic Cabinet assisted me with this task. It was helpful to have the work that was previously completed by two tasks forces that looked at various models for Academic Affairs, including Department Head versus Department Chair models. I took to heart the request from the DHs and many faculty to 1) not divide the College of Arts & Sciences into two separate colleges, 2) support the autonomy of the departments and 3) not merge departments unless the request came from the departments involved.
This work began in earnest this past May. We developed a few models and finally arrived at one that we believe meets the aforementioned requisites, increases efficiency and is true to the mission of the university. However, this is still a work in progress. Some changes that are being suggested have come directly from the faculty involved. For example, there is a proposal to have a School of Music, Theatre and Dance. Music remain as its own department and Theatre and Dance would become a department of its own. This is has been done at other universities and has been quite successful in increasing the number of students in all the disciplines involved. A draft of the proposal is being presented to the BOT at its next formal meeting.
Institute for Innovation and Transformational Education
A steering committee made up of individuals who attended and/or visited the Virginia Commonwealth University's da Vinci Center is working to develop a proposal for an innovation institute on our campus. A group of faculty who expressed interest when Garret Westlake was here (think Design Thinking Workshop) will be invited to an update and to assess interest. More to come on this initiative as it moves forward.
Strategic Plan for Academic Affairs
Deans and Department Heads met twice to work on a strategic plan for Academic Affairs. The work was led by Marlo Rencher, PhD. Marlo is the VP of Tech Town in Detroit and has a significant background in business and innovation. Our goal is to develop a simple tool (not to be misinterpreted as simplistic) by which Academic Affairs can operate; using it as a filter to make decisions. An initial draft will be ready in mid-July.
I sincerely hope you are finding quality time for some much deserved relaxation and time with family and friends. Please do not hesitate to call me or email me if you have questions or suggestions.