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Provost Vermeulen's Slide Presentation of Proposed Structural Changes in Academic Affairs

Feedback Forums: The forums closed on December 20, 2019.

November 6, 2019

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

Thank you for the robust conversations regarding proposed organizational changes within academic affairs.  I value all of your opinions as these discussions will help us to determine next steps.  It will take faculty and administration working together to serve our students best.

I have posted a power point presentation for you to review that summarizes some of my ideas, and opened a discussion board to allow anyone to provide feedback; submissions will be kept confidential, and there is an option to submit anonymously, if you prefer to do so.  If you haven’t already seen the presentation please review it now.  I realize that I am asking for feedback on several big ideas, so wanted to offer some additional context to help frame the discussion.

Guiding Principles
The Guiding Principles are important because I will refer to them when making decisions.  If we make changes, are those changes expected to address the guiding principles?  Why or why not?  How will we know?  The guiding principles identify the improvements we are trying to make.  The principles reflect my own words, based upon the concerns that I have heard people raise.  I’d like to hear your words.  Please, in your feedback, address the guiding principles.  Are they the right ones?  Should there be additional ones?  Many thanks to the GENS faculty for articulating their worries.  The guiding principles should address the worries.  A worry that I have is about the cost of making a change versus not making a change.  So, perhaps we should add a guiding principle to cover that – the organizational structure should be cost effective.  To my mind, this is such an obvious factor that I didn’t list it!  We can’t move ahead without understanding the costs of making a change or not making a change.  Perhaps there are other items that we should state clearly.  Please let me know your thoughts.

Academic Department Structures
This is a new idea for Stockton.  If we clustered faculty into academic departments, how would it work?  Well, department by-laws would need to be developed to describe how it would work.  Department faculty would determine what committee structures would make sense for their department and how they would make decisions that aren’t covered by negotiations.  Developing department by-laws would be an excellent example of shared governance in action.  The academic departments proposed in the power point presentation are ideas for vetting.  They are not set in stone. Does the clustering make sense from a synergy standpoint?  What are the fears about this?  What are the questions?  Department chair roles and other faculty roles in academic departments would need to be negotiated.  This is why I would like to know your thoughts about how academic departments might operate at Stockton.

University College Model
The idea of a University College is a bold one.  I have learned so much already by putting this idea out there! I want to learn more by continuing this discussion.

The idea is that this organizational structure would allow us to better focus and integrate our efforts toward maintaining and continually improving our excellence in teaching and learning.  We would bring together our support structures for high-impact practices with our first-year and education faculties so that we ensure that we are always on the cutting edge of developing and implementing best practices.  It could be a think tank of the highest caliber, well-poised to permeate all of our curriculum, especially through our unique approach to General Studies that calls for all faculty members throughout the university to participate.

I would like your feedback on this idea.  Do you see any advantages?  Disadvantages?  Would this model support the guiding principles?

Timeline
I haven’t presented a timeline for making changes.  This is because I first need your thoughts on the changes proposed.  Some decisions have to be made before the June 30, 2020 sunsetting of the coordinator’s agreement, but new ideas don’t need to be implemented by then.  I am eager to work with union leadership to negotiate a timeline, but first I need to know your sincere thoughts about how these proposed changes might affect us.

It’s a lot to take in, for all of us.  Please work with me in sharing your best thinking.

Sincerely,
Lori

Lori Vermeulen, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice-President for Academic Affairs
Stockton University
101 Vera King Farris Drive
Galloway, NJ 08205

Lori.Vermeulen@stockton.edu
Phone:  609-652-4515
Fax:  609-626-5509