Trustees approve University reorganization

October 11, 2010 | News, UToday
By Meghan Cunningham

The University of Toledo Board of Trustees on Monday unanimously approved a planned reorganization intended to elevate the stature of UT and prepare it for the future.

In presenting his proposal to the board, UT President Lloyd Jacobs said the proposed plan will build synergy and creativity and is a student-centered plan for a student-centered university.

“If we do this, the synergy I believe is great,” he said. “The energy will make it worth it. The creativity will make it worth it. The ability to hear voices in the organization will make it worth it.”

The reorganization plan includes structuring UT into colleges, schools and departments while maintaining the position of centers and institutes throughout the institution.

The final proposal included several changes from what was first discussed Sept. 24 at a Strategic Planning Committee meeting.

A new College of Innovative Learning will include the areas of adult and lifelong learning, Learning Ventures, libraries and First-Year Experience. Previously, the College of Adult and Lifelong Learning was to be a separate entity, and library and learning systems were grouped with the College of Graduate Studies, which now stands alone and remains unchanged.

The colleges approved include:

Schools were created within the College of Innovative Learning, College of Engineering, and College of Medicine and Life Sciences, with Jacobs noting deans will create additional schools as appropriate. He encouraged cross-disciplinary schools.

In response to questions about the cost of implementing the new plan, Jacobs said that at least the first phase of reorganization will not increase operating costs. The president also said he does not anticipate layoffs or position eliminations in direct response to the new organizational structure of the University.

The board in its resolution expressed gratitude to Jacobs for his thorough and thoughtful response to its direction and directed the president to begin the reorganization process as soon as possible with an implementation strategy that engages relevant stakeholders.

Trustees Chairman William C. Fall noted some concerns about the perceived fast timeline of the reorganization, but said that this has been in motion since at least the merger of The University of Toledo and the former Medical University of Ohio. He said he is confident that Jacobs and an implementation team will work with diligence, respect and good listening to achieve these changes and move the University forward.

“I’m very confident in Dr. Jacobs’ style in achieving an end result that will make us all proud,” Fall said.

UT Trustee Linda Mansour said she was at first apprehensive about a reorganization as a new trustee without the historical context, but said by reviewing the plan and what other universities are doing around the world that UT needs to make a change.

“I’m excited about what can happen here,” she said.

Faculty will be instrumental in implementing this plan, Jacobs said, and it is his hope that the process will re-energize creativity and synergy at the University.

Multiple work groups, which will be co-led by an administrator and faculty members, will be established to work through the multitude of details and decisions to implement the reorganization, Jacobs said. The entire process will continue to be part of the University’s strategic planning effort.

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