Some more clarifications and information

by Paul Lai

Here are a few more details to add to Sara’s excellent summary of our meeting with Mary a few days ago. As we noted before, our main purpose for that meeting was to ascertain how much information the faculty had about the decision. Although it appears that the faculty have basically the same, limited amount of information as students, Mary was able to provide some more insight into the workings of the university in general.

  • Regarding the status of ALA accreditation: In the fall, the MLIS faculty will write up a report about this administrative change and its impact on the curriculum to submit to the ALA accreditation folks. That report will stay on file but won’t be acted on until the program’s reaccreditation when St. Kate’s will need to account for the change more fully as it pans out. For those people concerned about accreditation status, this decision should have no immediate impact on accreditation.
  • There was also some reshuffling of administrative positions and structures more broadly in the university. In addition to the elimination of the position of the Dean of the School of Professional Studies, the deanship of the Graduate College is now taken on by Penny Moyers (previously, MaryAnn Janosik was dean of both the School of Professional Studies and of the Graduate College). I was unclear on the discussion at this point regarding whether or not other colleges/schools were moved around as well. If any of the other attendees of this meeting can clarify—was the College for Women—Weekend consolidated with the (day) College for Women? Here’s a link to the webpage with information on the administrative structure for the university: Academics.
  • In addition to writing up a report for the ALA accreditation board, the MLIS faculty will have to revise their mission and objectives statements to realign with the mission and objectives of the School of Business and Leadership. We hope that this realignment will be a two-way street, with the MLIS and Education programs having a say in revising the School’s larger mission and objectives as well.
  • The university faculty voted recently (April?) to explore creating an MBA program, which will be housed in the School of Business and Leadership.

Questions I still have (sorry for sounding like a broken record):

  • Who made this decision? The Board of Trustees? The deans? As far as we can tell, the deans affected by this administrative reorganization do not seem to have been involved in the decision, at least not until the latter stages.
  • What is the specific issue that those who made this decision hope to address with this reorganization? (Which objectives in the Strategic Plan?) What problem did the decision-makers identify as needing resolution? I think asking this question and receiving a response can only help the university community address it together, perhaps with a different solution than the one given to us.
  • Will the university give faculty in affected programs the resources (course releases, perhaps?) needed to overhaul their missions and objectives in time for the February 2013 reaccreditation visit by the Higher Learning Commission? I can’t imagine that coming up with realignment reports will be an easy task.
  • What plan does the university have in place to explain this decision to all stakeholders (students, staff, faculty, alumni, donors)?

Finally, I thought I’d provide some links to the university’s website that might be useful in understanding the decision and its impact: