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Site last updated Nov. 20, 2009

Message from Provost Wilcox regarding his presentation to the Board of Trustees

Oct. 30, 2009

In recent weeks I have talked about the kinds of changes that will be necessary to dramatically reduce our costs while deliberately shaping our future. Broadly, these changes can be categorized as adjustments in operations and functions, policies and practices, services to students, academic offerings and organization, as well as additional efficiencies. I indicated that we would begin by initiating some of the academic changes because of the time required for consideration and consultation in our governance processes.

Today for our Board of Trustees I overviewed a set of academic changes I have endorsed for referral to Academic Governance. I reminded the Board of the criteria we are using to reshape our future: our core values, Boldness by Design, and our design principles. As I considered academic programs and units, these guidelines and the metrics attached to them were critical to my deliberations.

It is important to note that in many areas, I am simply recommending that we curtail one set of academic activities or offerings (like an undergraduate or graduate major), not discontinue work across an entire area of study. In other instances, areas of study are being reorganized. I expect there will be additional recommendations for reorganization or reconfiguration of academic activities that can be referred to Governance in the coming weeks, including some teacher certification programs.

The PowerPoint presentation shared with the Board of Trustees (opens in new window) is here, which contains the list of academic program and unit changes being recommended. Along with those slides are two which detail how enrollment moratoria, program discontinuations, and unit disbandments are processed. Please note that even if actions are taken to disband a program, all students currently enrolled in that program will have the opportunity to complete their requirements for that degree.

Accompanying the list of recommended academic changes is an update on a series of operational and functional changes resulting from the review of all non-academic support units. The functional analyses of these units are in various stages of completion. The purpose of this exercise is to identify areas less essential to the operation of the University, and target them for reduction. A more detailed description of the changes in University Relations (opens in new window), one of the completed units, is discussed in a separate memorandum from Vice President Terry Denbow, Dr. Poston, and me. Changes in the remainder of the units will be discussed in later updates.

Again, this is the first set of many changes we will need to initiate. Every decision is difficult and challenging, and I struggle with how each will impact our campus and our community: not just today, but into our future. These recommendations are not about good or bad programs, but rather which activities we can and must release in order to have the resources to support those which are necessary for the future of our University.

Kim A. Wilcox
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs


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