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Changes to Academic and Organizational Structure

Flow Chart of Approval Steps for Proposals Regarding Academic Organization/Structure (PDF)

Changes to academic and organizational structure are reviewed by the Senate's Academic Organization and Structure Committee (SAOSC) and other entities as described generally below. The "form" for proposals involving changes to academic or organizational structure consists of two parts: a cover sheet in Word (SAOSC COVER SHEET) and a list of guidelines/questions in (PDF). The Cover Sheet describes the scope and the Guidelines list the questions that must be addressed in every type of proposal, including for creating new departments; changes to department names; moving a degree or certificate from one unit to another; creating new multidisciplinary research centers (MDRCs); and changing the name/focus of an MDRC. EMAIL Sheila Brothers in the Senate Council office for additional guidance.

Organizational and structural changes require consider the department/college/unit to follow its own rules for such discussions.

  1. A "formal" proposal is not necessary, but rather a proposer should simply fill out the Cover Sheet, respond to the questions in the Guidelines in numbered format, and then collect any appropriate letters, minutes, etc.
  2. Upon review, the department will submit the proposal to the college faculty for review.
  3. After approval at the college level, combine all files into a single PDF and EMAIL that to Sheila Brothers in the Senate Council office.
  4. SC staff will send the proposal to the SAOSC. The contact person for the proposal will be informed of the submission of the proposal to the SAOSC. The SAOSC chair or other members may ask the proposer questions about the proposal. The SAOSC chair may also ask questions of the faculty who will be affected by the change.
  5. When the SAOSC is satisfied with the proposal, its committee chair will let SC office staff know it is ready for review by the Senate Council (SC, executive body of the University Senate) and the University Senate (Senate) during regular meetings.
  6. SC staff will email the contact person(s) to schedule a date when the contact person can attend a SC meeting. (SC meets most Mondays during the academic year, typically at 3 pm. Meetings used to be in person, but are currently conducted via Zoom. Meetings may last up to two hours. SC does not meet on the second Monday of the month, when the full Senate meets.) The SAOSC chair will present the proposal to the SC and the contact person is there to answer any questions that the SAOSC chair cannot answer. SC may approve the proposal as is or request revisions.
  7. When the SC approves the proposal, it will be scheduled for the agenda of the next monthly Senate meeting. (The University Senate meets the second Monday of the month, also at 3 pm; meetings may last up to two hours. Like the SC meeting, the SAOSC chair will present the proposal to the Senate and the contact person is there to answer any questions that the SAOSC chair cannot answer. Senate will then vote on motions to endorse and/or approve the proposal. (Different types of proposals have different types of motions, although the forms and process are identical.)
  8. Upon Senate approval, SC staff will send the proposal to the Provost’s office, which is responsible for ensuring review by the Board of Trustees. Upon approval by the Board, the proposal will be considered officially approved.