Academic Senate discusses preliminary Academic Organizational Review recommendations


The Academic Senate meets on Jan. 30 in Pearce Hall.

Ian Davison, senior vice provost for academic reorganization initiative, presented the initial committee recommendations of Academic Organizational Review to the Academic Senate at its Jan. 30 meeting. 

The preliminary reports of the AOR were released on Jan. 29 after the three committees concluded their first phase of work. Those reports are available on the AOR webpage on the CMU website. Visitors can reach that page by hovering their arrow over the "About" section on the CMU home page and click on "Strategic planning."

Academic senators asked questions and addressed concerns about specifics of the reorganization. 

Since the preliminary reports have been posted, the next step for the AOR Strategic Planning team is soliciting feedback. 

"It would be useful to the committee if you were to explain rationale and identify unintended consequences of the recommendations," Davison said. "We would be grateful for suggested modifications and alterations to the report."

The university community can provide feedback and input on the reports by:

  • An anonymous survey on the AOR website
  • Emailing or meeting with Davison or any of the committee members
  • Participation in facilitated feedback sessions on Feb. 7 and 8. 

Suzanne Shellady, a faculty member in the Department of Counseling & Special Education, shared concerns with the participation limits of the feedback sessions. All feedback sessions are limited to 24 attendees (12 faculty, six staff and six students), and one session is limited to students only.

"What accommodations, if any, will be made for faculty who try to RSVP and cannot get into a session, but still would like to have that discussion format of a forum?" Shellady asked. "In the past, forums have been live-streamed so that faculty who are interested could watch, and that might be another option to consider given there are limits."

According to the overview of the review process posted to the AOR website, the departments and colleges will be formally notified of any changes to recommendations by Feb. 16. After that voting will begin in the departments, colleges and Academic Senate. 

Michelle Bigard, a representative of CMU's counseling center, raised concerns that the center has not been represented in any of the review process.

"The counseling center provides integral service to our students," Bigard said. "We are not revenue-generating, we are the sole center for students. I would like to ask how we can be represented and have our voice heard, and be invited to the table to make some decisions."

Committee I recommendations include proposed changes in all the colleges except the College of Business Administration and the College of Medicine. 

Some recommendations include a division of departments, such as the division of the Department of Mathematics into a Department of Mathematics and a Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science. Some include the transfer of a department to a different college, such as the transfer of a Department of Food and Nutrition from the College of Education and Human Services to the College of Health Professions.

The six Committee II recommendations include implementing mandatory advising for all students starting with the freshman class of 2019 and consolidating all university-wide recruitment efforts and recruitment marketing within Enrollment and Student services.

The five Committee III recommendations include creating a unified framework for budget management within departments and colleges, and improving financial analysis of current and approved academic programs.

Other business

The deletion of the Computer Science - Mathematics Major was approved by the Academic Senate. The program has been on hiatus since August 2016 and no students are currently enrolled.

In his first President's Report since announcing his decision to step down, President George Ross acknowledged that while presidential transitions can be challenging, "the momentum doesn't stop" and the administration will continue to move forward.

The Board of Trustees will hold public committee meetings on Feb. 14 and meet in formal session on Feb. 15, where they will have conversations about the process of choosing the next president. Agendas will be available on the Board of Trustees website closer to the meeting.