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RESTRUCTURING - Vote is unanimous for Education efforts

By Sandy Broughton

Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 13 - November 17, 1994

The Board of Visitors unanimously approved the College of Education Restructuring Plan at its meeting Monday, paving the way for implementation of the plan.

As part of Virginia Tech's Phase II effort to achieve greater effectiveness and economy, University Provost E. Fred Carlisle asked on Jan. 31, 1994, that 20 percent of the College of Education's $8-million budget be cut over the next three years--a savings of $1.6 million.

Immediate action was taken within the College of Education to not only comply with the reductions, but also to redefine college priorities and restructure the organization. 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.

The plan was scrutinized this fall through an intensive university-level review process that included five commissions, the Budget and Planning Committee, the University Council, and an ad hoc faculty committee appointed by President Paul Torgersen. All review bodies recommended approval of the plan. The restructuring plan includes the following elements:

* Five programs are targeted for elimination because they fall outside the college's sharpened focus on the improvement of public schooling. They are Adult and Continuing Education, Community College Administration and Higher Education Administration, Community Health Education, and Sport Management. The fifth program, Exercise Science, was transferred intact to the College of Human Resources as of July 1, 1994.

* 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-department interim structure in August, 1995. 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 on field-based and collaborative programs which assist public schools.

* Through transfers, resignations, participation in the university's Individual Transition Option plan, and retraining, it is anticipated that no faculty members will 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.

* An emphasis is placed on collaboration to build better bridges across the university and between higher education and public schools.

* The College of Education will return to the university one third of the $1.6-million reduction in each of the next three years, with the targeted 20-percent reduction met by 1997.

The College of Education restructuring plan is the result of broad-based participation by College of Education faculty and staff members, students, and individuals from across the college, university, and community, representatives of local school systems, and the State Department of Education.