Faculty stakeholder meetings to be held on strategic plan organizational structure proposals

September 14, 2010 | News, UToday
By Jon Strunk

The Strategic Planning Committee will hold faculty input and feedback sessions on the draft of the recalibrated strategic plan Thursday, Sept. 16, and Friday, Sept. 17.

The two four-hour sessions are designed to allow faculty members another opportunity to participate in the evaluation of the draft of “Directions 2010” and provide feedback to the committee.

The Sept. 16 meeting will be held in the Savage Arena Grogan Room and run from 8 a.m. until noon. Click here to add this event to your Outlook calendar.

The second session on Sept. 17 will be held in the Dana Conference Center Williams and Defiance Rooms on Health Science Campus from 1 to 5 p.m. Click here to add this event to your Outlook calendar.

Interested participants are asked to RSVP with the desired session(s) to Marcie Ferguson at marcie.ferguson@utoledo.edu.

Elements of the most recent draft of the document will be discussed at each meeting; this will include the somewhat controversial discussion document from the Implementation Committee on Strategic Organization, which is one of 10 working groups of the Strategic Planning Committee.

At the latest meeting of the entire strategic planning group, Dr. Jamie Barlowe, co-convener of the Strategic Planning Committee and chair and professor of women’s and gender studies, and Dr. Beverly Schmoll, dean of the College of Health Science and Human Service and convener of the Committee on Strategic Organization, discussed the thought process behind the strategic organization work group’s proposal.

Watch a video of that discussion below

The proposal works from the dean level up and suggests creating a “college within a college” structure, in which three overarching colleges would house the current 11 colleges at the University. Each college would then be encouraged to look at its own structure individually.

Barlowe said the Committee on Strategic Organization group started the process of proposing a reorganization by looking at what The University of Toledo does.

“[The purpose of this was] to think about us,” she said. “What do we do? How do we educate? How do we provide care? How do we connect? What are we stewards of? What do we need to change? What are we really good at? How do we get better?

“[At UT] we have liberal education, we have science and health-care education, and we have professional education,” Barlowe said. “So we thought if you have those three big prongs, what if you had a model with three ‘uber’ colleges that represented that?”

In the proposed model, the deans of each current college would rotate into a position of executive dean in the appropriate umbrella college and work to provide greater opportunities for collaboration between faculty, cross-educational programs for students and other initiatives that improve interdisciplinary interactions.

Participants acknowledged the proposal has been met with some confusion and controversy since it was first unveiled in early July. An ad hoc committee from the College of Arts and Sciences has submitted a secondary proposal that looks at that college’s specific structure.

According to the secondary proposal, “The Committee on Strategic Organization merely ‘rearranged departmental boxes.’ It failed to provide any structure to promote the desired ‘cross-pollination.’” The ad hoc committee’s suggestion would create three campus-wide associate deans designed to fill that perceived void.

At the latest Strategic Planning Committee meeting of the whole, the group decided to fold the Arts and Sciences ad hoc committee into the Committee on Strategic Organization working group so that both proposals could be evaluated together.

“We are, in fact, very grateful to the ad hoc committee,” Barlowe said. “It’s such an interesting proposal. It filled in some gaps in our proposal and that’s what that conversation creates.”

The organizational discussion is only one part of the overall strategic planning process, which has been ongoing for more than six months.

If you’d like to get involved and add your voice to The University of Toledo’s strategic plan, attend a stakeholder meeting or go to utoledo.edu/strategicplan.

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