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Education discusses restructuring

By Sandy Broughton

Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 1 - August 25, 1994

College of Education faculty, staff, and graduate students gathered Friday for the annual Fall Faculty meeting. The topic of discussion was the college's restructuring plan and the next steps for its implementation.

Interim Dean Wayne Worner lauded the group for its work to comply with the university-mandated 20-percent budget reduction, redefine college priorities, and restructure the organization. "The fact that we have a college is a tribute to the faculty and staff members who have engaged themselves for the past six months in creating a process which, if we do it right, will make us both better and stronger before the turn of the century," said Worner. "The next stages of the process are no less threatening or risky. Your continuing involvement in the process is critical."

Several elements of the restructuring plan are already under way:

A survey of current students in programs targeted for elimination has been conducted to determine how best to assist them in completing their programs during restructuring.

The Exercise Science Program was transferred to the College of Human Resources July 1. Elements involved in the transfer include faculty, staff, graduate assistants, equipment, space, courses, and degree authorizations.

A proposal to privatize the Northern Virginia-based Adult Education program has been submitted to the university.

The division structure will be replaced by a two-unit interim structure during the next six months. A program-based organization will be implemented in July, 1997.

Two special program initiatives, each reflecting the plan's emphasis on collaboration with public schools, are under way. The Science, Math, Technology Initiative brings together faculty members from throughout Tech, from other universities, and public school personnel to improve the preparation of science, math, and technology teachers. The School Leaders Program is a cohort-based program for school teachers and administrators interested in redefining traditional school personnel roles and working as a team to improve public education.

Seventeen faculty members from the College of Education have submitted formal, written requests for Individual Transition Option (ITO) consideration, and an additional 10 faculty members have made inquiries. Ten faculty members have transferred or taken positions elsewhere in the university. Three faculty members have taken positions elsewhere. The number of faculty positions freed exceeds the 22 positions required to meet university expectations of a 20-percent reduction by July, 1997. The restructuring plan is designed to free nearly 40 positions to allow the College of Education the flexibility to redistribute those resources according to newly defined priorities.

The restructuring is part of Virginia Tech's Phase II effort to achieve greater effectiveness and economy. The College of Education was asked to cut 20 percent of its $8-million budget over the next three years--a savings of $1.6-million.

The college's plan not only complies with the reductions, but also redefines college priorities and restructures the organization. The plan places primary emphasis on working with public schools on critical education problems, using the National Education Goals as a guide for action.

The next step for the College of Education restructuring plan is a university-level review process. The University Advisory Council on Strategic Budget and Planning is the coordinating body for reviewing proposals for reduction in force. An initial information session August 31 will be followed by weekly meetings with the Budget and Planning Committee. The committee will solicit written comments on the plan from all College of Education faculty and staff members, and students, from the university community, and from external constituents and alumni. The council will make recommendations to President Torgersen, who will present his recommendations on the plan to the Board of Visitors in February, 1995.

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