FAQ – Shared Governance Workflows for Academic Reorganization Proposals

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Contents

  1. Academic Reorganization Workflow Charts
  2. Units Defined

I. Academic Reorganization Workflow Charts

  1. What are the Academic Reorganization Workflow Charts

    1. Department Merger Within a College

    2. Department Merger Across Colleges

    3. Create School From Department(s) Within and Across Colleges

    4. Create a New College

    5. Rename a College

    6. Terminate a College

All Workflow Charts describe the specific shared governance steps and reviews for advice required for each type of request.  Each flowchart is available for inspection at the links above.

2. How were these charts assembled?

The workflow charts (there are four of them – each prepared to address a specific type of academic reorganization proposal) were designed following an extensive review of the University of Illinois Statutes (especially Article VIII.  Changes in Academic Organization) and of the UIS Levels of Governance (LOG) document (particularly 72 – Modify, Merge, Reorganize, Separate, or Transfer Units and 70b – Add Permanent Unit).  Conversations have also been had with counterparts at the University of Illinois System Office, the UI Board of Trustees office, and with the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) to assist in the identification of necessary reviews.

The Provost worked with staff to prepare initial drafts of the workflow charts.  These drafts were then shared with Dr. Lynn Fisher (Chair, Campus Senate and Senate Executive Committee) for discussion, review, and revision.  The intent of this collaboration was to identify and agree upon the shared governance processes given the multiple sources of statute, policy and procedure.  Though these sources provide broad direction about the steps involved in these reviews, they often lack specific details on how each of these steps should be conducted.  The workflow charts provide an agreed upon set of procedures during the shared governance reviews of academic reorganization proposals.

3. What are some examples of these procedures?

Perhaps the best example involves the advice solicited from faculty in college wide votes.  These votes are to be done using secret ballots and following voter eligibility guidelines established in unit by-laws, but little other specific direction is provided.  A review of UIS College By-Laws also fails to provide any specific direction.  To ensure the integrity of the voting, the College Executive Committee will provide oversight when the advice of the college faculty is solicited.

4. What is the role of advice in shared governance?

The UI Statutes identify that changes proposed in academic organization are to be reviewed by faculty and that they are to provide advice in the form of a vote by secret written ballot and conducted according to the units bylaws.  The LOG provides additional levels of review (College Curriculum Committee, Undergraduate Council, Graduate Council) that certain proposals must undergo.  These reviews also seek the advice of the faculty.  Collectively, faculty advice is both crucial and necessary in shared governance processes.

II. Unit Definitions

5. What are the possible “units” addressed in the University of Illinois Statutes?

The UI Statutes (Article III. Campuses, Colleges and Similar Campus Units; and Article IV. Departments) refer to a variety of units, including department, school, division, and college.  In addition, Article VIII.  Changes in Academic Organization, Section 3. Formation of New Units, and Section 4. Changes in Existing Units provide guidance on how units may be reorganized or changed.

a. Department

A department is defined in Article IV. Section 1.a. (Page 13).

“The department is the primary unit of education and administration within the University.  It is established for the purpose of carrying on programs of instruction, research, and public service in a particular field of knowledge.” (p13)

Forming a new departmental unit is defined in Article VIII. Section 3 (Page 22).

“The formation of a new department or similar academic unit within a school or college may be proposed by the faculty or executive officer of that school or college.  The president shall submit the proposal for the new unit together with the advice of the faculty of the school or college of each higher unit, taken by and recorded by a vote of the faculty by secret ballot in accordance with the bylaws of that unit, of the appropriate senate, taken and recorded by a vote of the senate, of the appropriate chancellor/vice president, and of the University Senates Conference to the Board of Trustees for action.”

b. School

A school (division) is defined in Article III. Section 4: The School and Similar Campus Units. (Page 11).

“In addition to colleges and departments, there may be other units of a campus, such as a school, institute, center, hospital, and laboratory, of an intermediate character designed to meet particular needs.” (p11)

Forming a new school (intermediate unit) is defined in Article VIII. Section 3 (Page 22).

“An academic unit of intermediate character, such as a school organized within a college, may be proposed may be proposed by the faculty or executive officer of the higher unit.  The president shall submit the proposal for the intermediate unit together with the advice of the higher unit, taken and recorded by a vote of the faculty by secret written ballot in accordance with the bylaws of that unit, of the appropriate senate, taken and recorded by a vote of the senate, of the appropriate chancellor/vice president, and of the University Senates Conference to the Board of Trustees for action.”

c. College

A college is defined in Article III, Section 2: The College.  (Page 9).

“The college is an educational and administrative group comprised of departments and other units with common educational interests.” (p9)

Forming a new college is defined in Article VIII. Section 3 (Page 22).

“A college or other independently organized campus unit, such as a school, institute, center, or similar campus unit not within a school or college, may be proposed by the appropriate senate or chancellor/vice president.  The president shall submit the proposal for the unit together with the advice of the appropriate senate, taken and recorded by a vote of the senate, of the appropriate chancellor/vice president, and of the University Senates Conference to the Board of Trustees for action.”

d. Changes in Existing Units

It is important to note that it can be difficult to determine whether a proposal is for a “new” unit or whether the changes proposed are to existing units.  Article VIII. Section 4 (Page 23) explicitly addresses changes to existing units.

“From time to time, circumstances will favor changes in academic reorganization such as the termination, separation, transfer, merger, change in status (e.g., department to school), or renaming of the academic units specified in Section 1 (Bold added). The procedures for the various changes shall be the same as those specified for formation of such a unit, except that the proposal may originate in the unit(s) or at any higher administrative level.  The advice of each unit involved shall be taken and recorded by vote of the faculty by secret written ballot in accordance with the bylaws of that unit.  For transfer, merger, separation, and change in status, the procedures shall be applicable to the type of unit which would result.  Units affected may communicate with the Board of Trustees in accordance with Article XIII, Section 4, of these Statutes.”

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12.7.2020