Academic Reconfiguration Report

Report on Academic Reconfiguration from February - November 2009

November 30, 2009

Dear BGSU Community:

I want to provide you with another update on academic reconfiguration, a brief synopsis of the deans' macro-level work, the significant work accomplished with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, and our next steps together. Before doing so, I must emphasize that any reconfiguration proposal or action will follow the process as outlined in the Charter (see seven academic reconfiguration criteria, XIV.A).

Economic consideration, clearly within the seven criteria, is a factor of great importance to BGSU's immediate future.  Reconfiguration decision making and action in this period of economic challenge are acts of good stewardship.

Yet, the primary emphasis of the seven Charter criteria and transcendent benefit of our academic reconfiguration work is our opportunity to advance the academic quality of BGSU.

Transparent, Collegial, Shared Governance

Deans Macro-level Reconfiguration Sketches and Talking Points

Deans have provided the following regarding macro-level academic reconfiguration.

  • Eight academic themes, a core for program to University-level reconfiguration:
    • Math, Science and Technology,
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences,
    • Humanities, Communication and Media,
    • The Arts,
    • Education,
    • Health and Wellness,
    • Business, and
    • Applied Management (management within specific contexts).
  • Sketches of new academic organization configurations down only to the college-level:
    • A three college model, a four college model, and two five college models,
    • Each model was contextualized by current enrollment data, and
    • Each model was presented with associated challenges and opportunities.
  • Transcendent thoughts on macro-level reconfiguration:
    • These address only senior- and mid-level administrative cost reductions/savings,
    • Would potentially produce long-term savings rather than short-term savings, and
    • Would work only if resources are strategically allocated with programs.

Significant Work Accomplished with Faculty Senate

The Faculty Senate has been very engaged.  Not only have I reported to the Senate, but I have had conversations with the Committee on Academic Affairs, the Executive Committee, and two joint meetings of the Senate Executive Committee with the deans and myself.  Your colleagues are providing me with wonderfully useful information and priceless insights about the reconfiguration process and the need to act now.

They have also, so to speak, "called the question."  For ideal macro-level reconfiguration to make sense for academic quality, and for purposes of good and immediate economic stewardship in this economic downturn (and an anticipated $10 million reduction in support next year), program, department, and school reconfigurations must first be addressed, now.

I agree.  Therefore, we have initiated a transparent, collegial process to address academic reconfiguration at the course, program, department, school level.  The Charter will be honored as governance and BGSU constituents will be engaged.

Next Academic Reconfiguration Steps

The Faculty Senate Executive Committee and deans have offered meeting times which will be utilized to engage BGSU in the micro-level academic reconfiguration process.  As those times approach, the deans, Senate Executive Committee, and I are doing the following.

  • Multiple BGSU criteria to inform recommendations and decisions are being collaboratively informed and crafted,
  • Good existing data is being assembled from the Compacts and across BGSU,
  • The Strategic Plan, deans' academic themes, Centers of Excellence, plans in Compacts and Program Reviews, initiatives such as "Connecting the Undergraduate Experience" (CUE), the interdisciplinarity and interdependency of programs, etc. are being placed in juxtaposition to the criteria, and
  • Appropriate conversations with you are being scheduled.

A timeline for decisions and action in this fiscal year has been suggested and will be refined. 

  • Mid-December; a Charter obligation regarding non-renewal must be met.

Late February; so the new budget process can reflect reconfiguration.

Contributions

The Faculty Senate Executive Committee has been a model of collegial, shared governance and the deans have been most helpful in responding to a difficult call for academic reconfiguration.  All have BGSU's best interests in mind.  We will continue to work within the Charter to improve our academic configuration relative to its economic and academic quality criteria.  We look forward to your contribution to the good stewardship work of academic reconfiguration.

Respectfully submitted,
Kenneth W. Borland, Jr.
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs & Provost