Message to Deans’ Council and Faculty Senate Steering Committee – September 5, 2019

Provost Janet Levit shared the following with the TU Deans’ Council and Faculty Senate Steering Committee on Sept. 5, 2019:

We are here today to jointly decide how to move forward. I’d like to discuss areas that seem to have caused the greatest distress and confusion.  In all my conversations, what I’ve heard most is the desire to address, and potentially revisit, the issue of reorganization with respect to divisions in Arts & Sciences, Engineering & Natural Sciences and our professional colleges.  The underlying objective of the proposed move to divisions and a professional “super college” was simple: to create some economies of scale in places where we were are currently divided into small, inefficient, and sometimes counterproductive, siloes.

We are open to an alternative plan – or plans –  from Faculty Senate that will support our same objectives.  This decision is about bringing unity to this campus. I don’t know any better way to show the trust I have in you than to say to you what I am saying now: Please, bring us better proposals.  I will support you in putting this plan together and champion it before the Board of Trustees as an alternative to the current plan.

We are not abandoning our currently defined path forward. What we are doing is opening the door for alternatives to achieve the same objectives. Tasks forces are currently in place, and we do not want to suppress their forward motion and work. A&S has elected a task force to look at the question of administrative restructuring, and the professional colleges’ task force and Graduate School task force are working, as well.  Additionally, I see that questions pertaining to divisions and the professional colleges are already baked into the various charges of the Faculty Senate’s standing committees.

In the name of moving this campus forward and moving beyond this moment, I want to hear from you. I need your advice, insight and experience – what is the best process to involve the Faculty Senate to identify alternative plans?  We are calling you together now because time is of the essence; our budget cycle starts afresh on January 1, when we start pulling the budget together for the new fiscal year.  We will need alternative proposals by that time so, if the proposals are supported by the administration and then the board, they can be baked into next year’s budget rather than the current plans.