From staff reports
The start of the new academic year marks the second phase of the proposed academic restructuring. The focus will be on a staged process in which detailed plans will be developed for each element of the restructuring.
Since her arrival on July 1, Executive Vice President and Provost Benoit has been reviewing restructuring documents and developing a set of criteria to govern next steps.
"I'm impressed with the academic possibilities that the restructuring plan presents," Benoit said. "But having gone through this process at Missouri I know that the best way to proceed is to consult and then develop detailed plans for each proposed move."
To that end, a two-step process, based on a template, has been created to ensure that matters such as student services, curriculum, promotion and tenure, space, staffing and accreditation have been discussed and resolved.
The first stage of the process involves providing specific information about cost savings, potential revenue generation, and the need for additional resources associated with the move of each program. Committees made up of faculty and staff representatives will provide the requested information.
After Benoit reviews the information, a decision will be made about moving to the next stage. Step two will involve a process designed to certify that all of the elements critical to ensuring a successful move have been addressed.
Benoit indicated that the entire process should be completed by Dec. 1, 2009. "There are some committees that have already done a significant amount of work on their plans. I can foresee that they will be able to complete the process quickly and will be given the go-ahead well before Dec. 1."
Benoit acknowledged that for a variety of reasons, not least of which is the curriculum work for Quarters to Semesters that must be done this academic year, a timely resolution must be reached for each proposed move. "Over the summer, we have been able to schedule programs involved in the restructuring later in the Q2S curriculum review process," Benoit said. "But even so, we need to be as efficient about this as possible while making sure that we do our homework and do it in a consultative and transparent way."
The creation of an academic health center and a college of undergraduate and regional education were the centerpieces of a restructuring plan announced in March 2009. Additional elements of the restructuring involved a refocusing of the College of Health and Human Services on academic programs connected to health care and the incorporation of some HHS programs into other colleges. The restructuring is designed to align the university's existing strengths, create new opportunities and facilitate administrative efficiencies.
An addendum* to the original white paper* on restructuring was distributed to the university community in May. It reflected the academic leadership's decisions on proposals that academic units had submitted regarding their preferred placement.
Before the end of spring quarter a working group composed of faculty and staff completed an initial report on the proposed alignment among University College, Regional Higher Education and University Outreach. The Undergraduate and Regional Education Study team report included drafts of a mission statement for the proposed college, a list of substantive issues that need to be resolved, a timeline for creating the college, and a statement of principles to guide budget administration and structure.
A steering committee for the academic health center involving faculty and staff from HHS and the College of Osteopathic Medicine began its work in the spring, continued their discussions over the summer, and will keep meeting during the fall. Its charge is to collect input and make recommendations on a variety of issues related to the formation, structure, and operation of an Academic Health Center at Ohio University.
Benoit, who recently met with the group, indicated that she was pleased with the work done to date by the steering committee as well as others involved in the restructuring.
"Everything that I have seen so far on the academic health center and on other elements of the restructuring indicates that faculty and staff have invested time and energy in the process. They have done some very good work and I value their efforts," Benoit said.
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