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Three Months In – What’s Changed?

It has been three months since we began the college’s divisional structure pilot. I wanted to take in this edition of Dialogue to provide an update on what has changed.

Increased Staffing in Key Areas

The college office has increased staffing in several key areas to provide better service to departments and faculty. We’ve hired two academic personnel specialists to help process promotion and tenure dossiers and requests for faculty appointments; they’ll work closely with Marla Roberts, who’s been promoted to the position of senior academic personnel specialist.

Our communications office is welcoming a social media coordinator, a web developer, and a writer to the team, and plans to hire a graphic designer to help units promote events and lectures with high-quality print and digital posters.

We’re building out the college’s research office, hiring both a director of research and a second research coordinator, who will collaborate with our current research coordinator, Annie Brown, to help serve faculty members pursuing or holding external grants and contracts.

In the near future, we’ll add college office staff dedicated to academic program development and market analysis, assessment of student learning outcomes, student recruitment, and space and facilities management. Watch for a message introducing all of our new college office staff members in the near future.

The Digital Transformation Continues

In addition to staff hires, we’ve accelerated the ongoing transformation of the college’s web presence. Several departments’ websites have been converted to a new format that provides a more contemporary user experience, and we aim to have all departments moved over to this new format by January 2024.

The college website is also undergoing its own overhaul, including the creation of a college-wide intranet site – our administrative gateway – that will provide faculty and staff with centralized one-stop access to key documents, policies, and processes. As we roll out the intranet, we will also conduct an analysis of the college’s business processes to reduce email traffic and increase the use of web-based forms for important transactions.

An Eye on Strategic Hiring

We’ve asked the college’s departments to provide us with three-year strategic hiring plans for tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty members. The divisional deans will work with each other and with department heads to identify inter-departmental synergies for faculty hiring, including opportunities for informal “cluster hires” that can support cross-disciplinary areas of inquiry in the college.

As we build out our faculty hiring plans, we’ll ask departments to identify key departmental and divisional staff positions that can provide support to the college’s faculty and students.

Updating College Bylaws

We will need to consider updates to the college bylaws now that the School of Music is no longer part of the college. Our promotion and tenure committee has 10 members, all of whom must be full professors, and two of whom are chosen from the college’s arts units. With the departure of the School of Music, only full professors from the School of Art and the Department of Theatre are eligible for election to the two arts-division seats on the promotion and tenure committee.

Should we consider a reconfiguration of the promotion and tenure committee that aligns more closely with the three-division structure of the college? Please discuss this possibility with your colleagues, and in particular with your unit’s representative to the Dean’s Advisory Board, as the Dean’s Advisory Board is charged with recommending changes to the college bylaws.

The Chancellor is fond of noting that we are a “university on the rise.” The same can be said of the college; we’ve been able to harness the university’s new budget model to secure badly-needed investments in our academic infrastructure, and the divisional structure pilot promises to provide greater levels of advocacy and service to the college’s academic units and research centers and institutes. Watch this space for further updates in early spring 2024!

RJ Hinde
Interim Executive Dean
College of Arts and Sciences