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Education's restructuring moves forward Budget Advisory Body Records Unanimous Vote

By Sandy Broughton

Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 09 - October 20, 1994

In a resolution that commended "the College of Education leadership, faculty, staff, and students for the creative, constructive, and rapid response to a most difficult set of enforced planning parameters," the University Advisory Council on Strategic Budgeting and Planning unanimously recommended to approve the College of Education restructuring plan at its Wednesday, Oct. 12, meeting.

(Editor's note: See coverage at left of the restructuring plan from the University Council meeting of October 17).

The vote sets the stage for an accelerated process in which the proposal would go before the Board of Visitors at its November 14 meeting. The Board of Visitors was originally slated to review the plan at its February 1995 meeting. According to Associate Provost Pat Hyer, if the Ad Hoc Faculty Committee has completed its review of the rights, privileges, and interests of faculty members affected by the College of Education restructuring plan by November 14, the plan will be forwarded to the Board of Visitors for final approval.

"We're pleased that the university-level review went so quickly," said Wayne Worner, interim dean of the College of Education. "We are grateful that the members of the committees and the commissions undertook a serious review of the plan and were so supportive of the work the faculty, staff, and students of the College of Education accomplished."

The Budget and Planning resolution excludes a section of the plan recommending privatization of the Adult Education Program based at the Graduate Center in Northern Virginia. That issue will be considered separately in upcoming meetings. Though strong and productive, adult education was identified in the College of Education plan as one of five programs to be eliminated because it falls outside the focus on K-12 education and service to public schools. "I'm disappointed that the committee did not recommend privatization of the Adult Education Program," said Worner. "I hope the university will continue to explore other ways to fund and operate high-quality, high-demand academic programs that may not be consistent with an individual college's priorities."

Last February, the College of Education was directed by Provost E. Fred Carlisle to develop a plan to reduce its budget by $1.6 million, or 20 percent, by 1997 and to focus its mission and programs more narrowly on K-12 public schools and their needs. In response to the mandate, the College of Education leadership, faculty, staff, and students engaged in an intensive process of mission and program redesign. The result is a restructuring plan which eliminates five programs, downsizes most other programs, and reduces administrative costs and personnel while freeing resources to devote to newly defined priorities.

Five programs are targeted for elimination because they fall outside the college's sharpened focus on K-12 public schools. They are: Adult and Continuing Education, Community College Administration and Higher Education Administration, Community Health Education, and Sport Management. The fifth program, Exercise Science, has been transferred intact to the College of Human Resources. Students currently enrolled in targeted programs will be given a reasonable amount of time to finish their studies.

The current four-division structure will be replaced by a two-unit interim structure next summer. A program-based structure will be put in place in August 1997, a move which will eliminate an entire administrative level.

Academic programs will be downsized through reduction of resources. Existing programs and new programs will compete for resources within the context of the college's new focus and goals.

Through transfers, resignations, participation in the Individual Transition Option plan, and retraining, it is anticipated that faculty members will not be involuntarily displaced.

Necessary staff reductions will be made through attrition and transfers, and retraining will be provided as needed for all staff members.

An ongoing review of priorities and the needs of clients will be a part of a continuous-improvement process.

Emphasis will be placed on collaboration to build better bridges across the university and between higher education and public schools. Collaborative initiatives in math, science, and technology education and school-leader education are already under way.