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New CHRE structure established

By Sandy Broughton

Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 23 - March 13, 1997

In two college-wide forums February 3 and 4, a new administrative structure for the College of Human Resources and Education was presented and discussed. The structure groups college-wide functions into six conceptual clusters: departments, academic and personnel affairs, management and operations, innovation and excellence, interdisciplinary centers and institutes, and external advisory groups.

The structure is designed to be dynamic and flexible to accommodate collaboration between and among the various clusters, yet provide stability for routine academic and personnel functions.

"We are a different kind of college, concerned with quality of life for all participants, and we need a different kind of structure to promote connectiveness, ownership, and cohesiveness," said Janet Johnson, dean of the College of Human Resources and Education. "What doesn't fit for our college is a traditional hierarchical structure. Rather, we have proposed these several clusters that interact and allow us to be responsive-to do things quickly with the maximum amount of input. We wanted to develop a dynamic organization that would position the college to be responsive to the rapidly changing landscape of higher education in general and Human Resources and Education specifically. We look at our organization in terms of the functions, capabilities, and values that we want to achieve, highlight, and protect-rather than a set of fixed components that are put in place with little continuing reflection and study."

In the proposed structure, academic departments would continue to provide a stable "homebase" for the faculty and programs. The six departments of the College of Human Resources and Education are: Educational Leadership and Policy Studies; Family and Child Development; Hospitality and Tourism Management; Housing, Interior Design, and Resource Management/Clothing and Textiles; Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise; and Teaching and Learning.

Interactions with the university administration and governance structures would continue as expected by university guidelines. Within the Dean's Office, the management and operations cluster would include provisions for an operations team, four associate dean's offices (Undergraduate Academic Affairs; Administration; External Relations and Outreach; and Innovation, Research, and Graduate Studies), an associate director for Extension, and other centralized support functions such as recruitment, public relations, and development. An Operations Team, chaired by the dean and composed of administrators and department heads, will carry out the administrative operations of the college.

Two other clusters, interdisciplinary centers and institutes, and external advisory groups, represent key functions and attributes of the new college. Interdisciplinary centers and institutes includes the Center for Gerontology, SOVRAC Leadership Academy, the Special Education Technical Assistance Centers, and the Housing Research Center. External advisory groups include the nine existing boards-with membership from industry, agencies, and other universities-that assist the college with assessment and evaluation, development, scholarships, equipment, recruitment, and placement. The college's Campaign Committee and Alumni Advisory Committee are included in this cluster, as is the soon-to-be formed Superintendents Advisory Board.

The two remaining clusters, academic and personnel affairs, and innovation and excellence, are presently the center of much attention and study. The academic and personnel-affairs cluster, under faculty leadership, will be responsible for oversight of curriculum, governance, and promotion and tenure. A Strategic Planning Committee in this cluster will work with the dean to develop strategic initiatives related to the college's long term goals. The cluster will also include committees on faculty, staff, and student affairs. The CHRE faculty association and Johnson recently appointed committees to create a new constitution in support of faculty governance, and to develop a unified promotion and tenure process for the college. These committees are expected to report back to the faculty by early April, and the faculty will vote on these key elements of the new organization shortly thereafter.

The innovation and excellence cluster would encourage the faculty to form new knowledge groups to advance the mission and core values of the college. It would serve as a catalyst for interdisciplinary work, research, new ideas, and innovative projects, with funding and administrative support. Through it, faculty members would be encouraged to form flexible, interdisciplinary knowledge groups to move the college in interesting and promising directions. Teaching and technology will be key focuses of this cluster. It will also give leadership to the faculty-and-staff-development and diversity and international efforts of the college. Innovation and excellence is expected to be led by an associate dean, a position which will be filled through an internal search during the spring semester, with the assistance and input of a variety of committees.

Also discussed at the forums were the core values of the college and the mission statement. The core values include learning, research, honesty and integrity, inclusion, humanness, responsiveness, shared governance, commitment, openness, quality of life, accountability, and effectiveness. The mission statement combines Human Resources' commitment to enhance the quality of individual, family, and community well-being, as well as Education's commitment to the improvement of educational policy and practice. "We found that the missions of both former colleges were easily combined, with compatible and intersecting elements," said Jerry Niles, interim associate dean. "The new mission reflects the potential for the synergy that can emerge from the interdisciplinary possibilities that now exist-to develop the focus, commitment, and forward thinking needed to achieve excellence over adequacy."

The proposed administrative structure, mission, and core values presented at the forums are the result of a series of meetings last fall in which an advisory committee of about 40 members-including CHRE faculty and staff members, students, Extension, and administration-discussed issues related to the joining of the two former colleges. John W. Dickey, a professor with Tech's Center for Public Administration and Policy, served as consultant.

In other CHRE news, twenty-three projects have been funded through the CHRE collaborative grants program. Last summer, when the joining of Human Resources and Education became official, the provost committed funds over the next two years to support the building of collaborative relationships between and among faculty and programs of the two former colleges. To this end, the College of Human Resources and Education established a grants program to promote collaborative endeavors among the members of the college learning community. The focus of the program is to help sponsor inquiry activities that contribute to the development of the new college in teaching, research, outreach and extension. Special attention was given to projects that represent promising long-term efforts among faculty and programs. Additional funds will be available in the 1997-98 year to support on-going ideas, as well as new ones that may be developed.

College of Human Resources and Education Campaign Committee Chair James F. Kelly announced last fall that three new members have been appointed to the CHRE Campaign Committee to reflect the new college. Jack Davis is retired State Superintendent of Schools in Virginia, now an educational consultant living in Richmond. Wayne M. Worner, former interim dean of the College of Education at Virginia Tech and a founding member of its faculty, is now a faculty member at East Tennessee State University. Malcom Bates is president of Harrison and Bates of Richmond. The addition of Worner, Bates, and Davis brings the number of committee members to sixteen. The consolidation of human resources and education campaign goals totals $6 million.