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Divisional Structure Pilot Taking Shape

I want to thank college stakeholders who provided input about our divisional structure pilot (DSP) over the past four months. Faculty and staff members who engaged with the DSP task forces in the fall semester gave extensive feedback. Members of the task forces provide summaries in their January 2023 reports, which are posted in the resources section of the DSP website. Responses to the DSP Qualtrics survey can also be found on the website, and the survey remains open for your participation.

I learned a lot from individual and small group meetings with the college’s department heads, associate deans, and directors that took place from November through February. My meetings with our three Faculty Senate caucuses, with the chairs of our interdisciplinary programs, and with our Graduate Student Senate representatives were very informative, as were the conversations that I had during my departmental listening sessions in February and March and my drop-in office hours in the Student Union. I am continuing office hours in the Student Union for the rest of the spring semester, as indicated on the DSP website.

Earlier this semester, I also consulted with the leaders of colleges of arts and sciences at a number of institutions that already have a divisional college structure. These institutions include the University of Washington, the University of Michigan, the University of Georgia, and the University of North Carolina. My Zoom meetings and email conversations with these individuals provided valuable insight into the ways that a divisional structure can support the needs of faculty and departments.

Divisional Dean Searches

In the message I sent to college faculty and staff last week, I noted that searches for the three new divisional dean positions would begin later this month. You can learn more about the position responsibilities by visiting the DSP website. Once the positions have been officially posted on Interfolio, I will send a college-wide announcement. Information about the searches, including a list of opportunities for stakeholders to meet with candidates, will be shared through both the DSP website and email messages.

Implementation of a divisional structure will require changes to the college bylaws. Please watch for an announcement of in-person faculty meetings in April where we will discuss these changes. Following these meetings, our tenured and tenure-track faculty will vote electronically on proposed amendments, as indicated in Article VIII of the bylaws.

Associate Dean of Research and Facilities

In last week’s message, I also announced that we will split the role of associate dean for research and facilities into two associate dean positions: one for research and creative activity and one for facilities and infrastructure.

As a thriving center of discovery, our college is home to students and faculty who pursue research, scholarship, and creative activity across a wide range of fields. The college’s associate dean for research and creative activity will promote and facilitate the college’s discovery and scholarship mission. They will also work to build a college research office that supports our faculty and students. We will carry out an internal search for this position later this semester.

Our college has a substantial space and facilities footprint, totaling more than 800,000 square feet. Overseeing space and facilities management, renovation, and improvements for the college is a full-time job. The associate dean for facilities and infrastructure will assume these responsibilities and will represent the interests of the college and its units as the campus implements its new master plan.

Thank you for your participation and active engagement as we continue our preparations for the divisional structure pilot. I am excited to work together to strengthen the experience of every student, staff member, and faculty member in our college.