Introduction

The College of Education Reorganization Committee, in consultation with staff from UW Organizational Excellence, has now identified three potential mid-level grouping options. (Midlevel groupings serve to accomplish COE business that is in between the program level and the all-college level). Throughout our process in identifying these options, we continually returned to the nature of the work that these groupings will perform, including enactment of college policy, cross-program course planning, student support, and faculty support. We also sought a structure that was forward-leaning: we need groupings that can provide an adequate platform for growth and innovation across the COE. Finally, we also knew the structure must be logical to external audiences, including helping prospective students, faculty, and staff find their home at the COE.

Although we have worked hard to identify mid-level grouping options, we acknowledge that no structure can solve every problem; each option has potential benefits and drawbacks.  We encourage you to review the options and read more about the process of developing them (below).  The options will be discussed in great detail during the faculty retreat on September 22 and 23. 

Executive Summary

Reorganization Committee Members

Context and Work of the Committee

Committee Meeting Agendas, Notes & Documents

Mid-Level Grouping Options

 

Executive Summary

Context of 2016 Reorganization:

In direct response to concerns voiced by faculty, staff, and students about the current CoE structure, three senior members of the College volunteered to re-open the reorganization process (Varghese, Williamson-Lott, Howell). UW Organizational Excellence facilitated the current re-org work with a committee representing diverse viewpoints, roles, and ranks within the CoE. A group charter (reviewed by faculty council) guided the reorganization process.

Problems to Solve:

The committee reviewed the report of the College self-study, conversations from faculty retreats, and experiences within the College. The Committee focused on four key questions:

  1. How can the College organize its academic programs, administrative functions, and governance structure to maximize efficiency, collaboration, and communication?
  2. Where do collaborative synergies occur that can maximize use of existing faculty resources?
  3. How can undergraduate and professional program interests/needs be integrated into the academic program units that, for the most part, focus on graduate education?
  4. Given discussions on establishing mid-sized groups: What groupings are recommended? What do we stop doing in current groups and what do we start doing in new groupings? What are roles & responsibilities?

Work of Mid-level Groups:

With input from faculty, staff, and students, the committee identified the following four roles of the mid-level groups:

  1. Supporting the College: Provide a scholarly identity, voice for smaller programs, platform for CoE business
  2. Facilitating cross-program collaboration: Enacting CoE policy, designing curriculum, “birds-eye view” of issues like P&T
  3. Supporting faculty: Mentoring, identity, collaboration
  4. Supporting students: Belonging in broader community, interdisciplinary collaboration

Structure of Mid-level Groups:

Following a multi-stage group process, the committee identified three promising options for the CoE reorganization. Each option considers intellectual affiliation and/or external audience, as well as program size. Options will be shared with faculty and staff in August 2016 and with students during Fall term 2016. Committee leaders have arranged meetings with CoE fiscal, HR, TEP Directors, Undergraduate program faculty, College Leadership Committee, staff, and students.

Next steps: The committee will begin developing a transition plan in Fall 2016 and have a soft launch in winter 2017—we realize that all the intimate issues of the reorganization will not have been decided, but we recognize that our College community is eager to move forward.

Operating Assumptions of Reorganization

  • Undergraduate teaching would be expected across all mid-level groups.
  • College-level fiscal considerations allow no more than four mid-level groups
  • Groups should have roughly equal size, but group size should not drive the decision-making process. Rather, we should ask, “Do groups of a certain size help solve the problems identified through this process?” 
  • Groups should have representation across ranks (i.e., all mid-level groups should have individuals eligible for leadership roles)
  • Leadership of mid-level groups would be compensated, but the nature of that compensation is yet to be determined

Reorganization Committee Members

  • Mary Clevenger-Bright
  • Lynn Dietrich
  • Katie Headrick-Taylor
  • Martin Howell
  • Tammy Jez
  • Kathleen J. Kuhl
  • Kathleen Artman Meeker
  • Jessica Rigby
  • Elizabeth A. Sanders
  • Manka Varghese
  • Joy Williamson-Lott
  • Kenneth Zeichner

Context and Work of the Committee

Context of 2012 Reorganization Efforts

  • In 2012, the CoE engaged in a reorganization process that lead to the dissolution of the former “areas.” For many faculty, staff, and students, the 2012 re-org had unintended consequences. Several key concerns have been raised since the 2012 re-org and were identified in the Decennial Review:
    • Lack of a “home” or identity for faculty and students
    • Lack of communication mechanisms for A.D.s and College leadership for issues that affect more than one program but do not affect the entire faculty
    • Lack of mentoring and socialization of junior faculty
    • Lack of clear communication mechanisms related to teaching loads, course releases, and teaching needs (graders, etc.)
    • Few opportunities for course planning within and across programs
    • Difficulties communicating our structure to external audiences
    • Confusion over roles and functions of divisions
    • Few mechanisms for proposing new positions, hiring, etc.
    • Lack of support for small programs
  • With new College leadership, new programs, and an influx of new faculty, the CoE has an ideal opportunity to finish the re-org that was started in 2012 and to address the lessons that were learned since 2012.

Current 2016 Reorganization

  • In direct response to concerns voiced by faculty, staff, and students about the current CoE structure, three senior members of the College volunteered to re-open the reorganization process:
    • Manka Varghese, Faculty Council President 2015-2016
    • Joy Williamson-Lott, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies
    • Martin Howell, Assistant Dean for Academic and Student Affairs
  • UW Organizational Excellence was called upon to facilitate the current re-org work.
  • A committee was formed to represent diverse viewpoints, roles, and ranks within the CoE:
    • Mary Clevenger-Bright, Lynn Dietrich, Katie Headrick-Taylor, Martin Howell, Tammy Jez, Kathleen J. Kuhl, Kathleen Artman Meeker, Jessica Rigby, Elizabeth A. Sanders, Manka Varghese, Joy Williamson-Lott, Kenneth Zeichner

The Work of the 2016 Reorganization Committee

The Reorganization Committee met twice per month throughout spring quarter and convened for a series of four 4-hour meetings during summer 2016. With the facilitation of Organizational Excellence, the committee engaged in the following steps:

  • Identifying problems to solve: The committee reviewed the report of the College self-study, conversations from faculty retreats, and experiences within the College. Key problems to solve were identified and the Committee focused on four key questions:
    1. How can the College organize its academic programs, administrative functions, and governance structure to maximize efficiency, collaboration, and communication?
    2. Where do collaborative synergies occur that can maximize use of existing faculty resources?
    3. How can undergraduate and professional program interests/needs be integrated into the academic program units that, for the most part, focus on graduate education?
    4. Given discussions on establishing mid-sized groups: What groupings are recommended? What do we stop doing in current groups and what do we start doing in new groupings? What are roles & responsibilities?
  • Developing group charter: A group charter was developed to answer the four questions identified in Point 1 and to guide the reorganization process. UW OE facilitated charter development. Faculty council and College leadership reviewed the charter.
  • Crafting “job description” for mid-level groups: The work of the mid-level groups guided decisions throughout the reorganization process. The committee developed a "job description" to define the work that would be accomplished in mid-level groups and to begin the process of distinguishing between program, mid-level group, and Division responsibilities. The job description focused on:
    1. Supporting the College: Provide a scholarly home and identity, voice for smaller programs, platform for CoE business
    2. Facilitating cross-program collaboration: Enacting CoE policy, designing curriculum, “birds-eye view” of issues like P&T
    3. Supporting faculty: Mentoring, identity, collaboration
    4. Supporting students: Belonging in broader community, interdisciplinary collaboration

    The job description was drafted and shared with CoE stakeholders. Faculty Council and ASCE both reviewed and provided feedback. The job description was also shared at the May CoE faculty meeting and at a meeting for staff from across the CoE.

  • Determining essential criteria for decisions about mid-level group structure: The committee identified criteria that may influence the formation of mid-level groups. Possible criteria included:
    1. Number of students
    2. Number of faculty
    3. Amount/type of research
    4. Shared course responsibilities
    5. Intellectual affiliation
    6. External audience
    7. Purpose of the program (degree granted, certificate, etc.)
    8. Partnerships/relationships (school districts, university)
    9. Research centers
    10. Topical affiliation

    These criteria were presented to groups of CoE stakeholders (faculty staff, ASCE). Groups were asked to rank their top 3 criteria. Across groups, consensus emerged around (a) intellectual affiliation, (b) purpose of the program, and (c) external audience. The reorganization committee considered all stakeholder input, ranked the criteria, and prioritized intellectual affiliation and external audience.

  • Operationalizing the prioritized criteria: The reorganization committee used the mid-level group job description to operationalize two of the prioritized criteria (intellectual affiliation and external audience). We also asked faculty to operationalize the criteria by telling us what intellectual affiliation looked like. Throughout this process, the committee wrestled with narrowing the definition of mid-level groups. During this stage, the concept of Special Interest Groups (SIGs) was introduced. We used the criteria to begin visioning potential mid-level groups that met those criteria.
  • Identifying value tensions and discussion points:
    1. Should mid-level groups prioritize close topical alignment or interdisciplinary coordination?
    2. How important is equity in terms of group size/ number of faculty?
    3. Should we prioritize internal operations or external audiences? How do we make sure our organization makes sense to potential students, faculty, and staff? How does web representation help us?
    4. What can be learned from peer institutions? How much should we focus on what currently exists vs. what could or should exist? How do we organize in a forward-leaning way?
    5. What about individuals who were hired because of their interdisciplinary work and those that straddle multiple programs?
    6. What about programs that cross multiple potential mid-level groups?
    7. What is the role of the leader?
    8. How fast should this transition happen? How do we weigh the benefits of getting this information out quickly to prospective students and faculty hires vs. the need to take time creating the structures?
  • Identifying operating assumptions:
    1. Undergraduate teaching would be expected across all mid-level groups.
    2. College-level fiscal considerations allow no more than four mid-level groups
    3. Groups should have roughly equal size, but group size should not drive the decision-making process. Rather, we should ask, “Do groups of a certain size help solve the problems identified through this process?”
    4. Groups should have representation across ranks (i.e., all mid-level groups should have individuals eligible for leadership roles)
    5. Leadership of mid-level groups would be compensated, but the nature of that compensation is yet to be determined
  • Proposing mid-level groups: During summer 2016, the committee engaged in a series of exercises to identify potential mid-level groupings. We followed a multi-stage process:
    1. Reviewed the structure of 10 peer institutions (Columbia, UCLA, UC Berkley, Stanford, Univ of Colorado, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, University of Wisconsin, Vanderbilt)
    2. Open-ended sorting: In small groups, committee members attempted to sort programs into mid-level groups. The goal of this exercise was to identify the tensions and issues in sorting.
    3. Sorting by intellectual affiliation: In small groups, the committee attempted to sort programs by intellectual affiliation. This process lead to one key realization: it was difficult to create groups of roughly equal size when considering intellectual affiliation alone. We also identified some philosophical tensions between intellectual affiliation and shared work (i.e., how should faculty who contribute to the three TEP programs be connected in the structure?)
    4. Sorting by external audience: The committee felt most energized when sorting by external audience. This process seemed to make the mission of the mid-level groups more clear.
    5. Sorting into three groups: The committee organized the College’s academic programs into three groups as a way to force us to move from the familiar four groups we’ve had in the past and to look for greater intellectual alignment across the College.
    6. Refining with careful attention to faculty count: The committee considered each previous sorting iteration and took into account number of individual faculty within programs
  • Sharing Proposals with faculty, staff, and students: We identified three promising options for the CoE reorganization. We are sharing those via a Qualtrics survey and asking faculty and staff to provide input during August 2016. Options will be shared with students during Fall 2016. Each option has pros and cons, but the options have been carefully crafted to meet the varying criteria identified by faculty, staff, and students. The committee leadership (Joy & Marty) have arranged meetings with CoE fiscal, HR, TEP Directors, Undergraduate program faculty, College Leadership Committee, staff, and students.
  • Outlining the transition plan and timeline: The 2016 Reorganization is being carefully planned to ensure a successful transition. The committee will re-engage with faculty and the Dean at the fall retreat. The proposal will be refined based on the feedback of faculty, staff, and students. A vote will be proposed during Fall 2016. During winter and spring 2017, decisions will be made regarding leadership, compensation, meeting schedules, and scope of work. The committee will begin developing a transition plan in Fall 2016 and have a soft launch in winter 2017—we realize that all the intimate issues of the reorganization will not have been decided, but we recognize that our College community is eager to move forward.

Committee Meeting Agendas, Notes & Documents

The Reorganization Committee kept extensive records of its activities.  Review our meeting agendas, notes, photos, and other items here (you may need to log in with your UWNetID and password to gain access).

Mid-Level Grouping Options

Fern Option

Fern Option

Salmon Option

Teal Option