April 14, 2003

Dr. Michael Spitzer
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
St. Cloud State University
St. Cloud, MN 56301-4498

Dear Michael:

We are pleased to be able to offer our advice and counsel on appropriate alternative academic organizations for St. Cloud State University (SCSU). These alternatives are forwarded with the understanding that they will be discussed fully with the relevant consultative bodies at the university before a decision about which specific alternative best fits the university.

Our many thanks to members of the staff and faculty who spent so much time with us during our April 6-8, 2003 visit. We were impressed with their willingness to discuss alternative configurations with us and to engage in the dialog so necessary to effective educational decision making.

Before specific alternatives are presented, however, we wish to state some principles or general objectives that should be kept in the forefront as the conversation about reorganization proceeds.

First, the organization of academic affairs should reflect the basic themes and values of the academic and student support plan in achieving the students’ intellectual and personal development. The principal theme of a quality academic experience, optimum student process and fair and equitable campus processes are key factors here.

To support this principle, we think that co-location of many of the student support services makes good sense. If support services are limited by financial conditions, it would make sense to concentrate them on students in transition (freshmen and transfers) to ensure student success.

Second, the academic affairs of an institution of 15,000 are too complex to be controlled by the Provost’s office. We believe the role of the deans as the first-line of management needs to be sharpened and appropriate delegation, accountability and evaluation processes established. These processes should include setting annual goals and expectations upfront and annual evaluations and conversations about decanal performance and regular, systematic review every three to five years.

Third, the financial future of SCSU and most public universities is such that the organization must include features that encourage creation of diversified revenues and incentives for engaging in entrepreneurial behavior. Such units as summer session, continuing studies, extended programs and sponsored activities can lead the way in this quest.

Fourth, the allocation of resources should be reconfigured to reflect points 1, 2 and 3 above. SCSU is approaching the point where funds from students will exceed those provided through appropriations. Student tuition dollars should be shown as an integral part of academic budgets and should vary based on student-oriented criteria. Financial rewards for entrepreneurial behavior should be made clear and a portion of it should flow directly to the units that generate the money.

Fitting to the above principles, we are suggesting three alternative organizational options each of which will produce varying levels of outcomes.

Download Option 1
Table of Organization
PDF

Option #1: Keep the current academic organization with a few minor changes with the understanding that the option will offer only partial results towards the desired organizational and strategic goals Minor changes we suggest are: (1) combine the Office of Sponsored Programs and the office of the Graduate Dean into one office of Dean of Graduate Studies and Sponsored Programs and (2) Expand the scope of the Dean of Continuing Studies to include summer school, preferably with the title of Dean of Extended Education. In addition, the office of the Associate VP for Academic Affairs is strengthened and assigned the additional responsibility of supervising the Enrollment Management function. The office should reorganize other existing support units to streamline duplications of effort between academic affairs and student affairs.
For example, the academic advisement services could be integrated with career counseling, learning center programs with the university wide general tutorial services, and all tutorial services offered throughout the university could be coordinated.

However, this plan will not address the issue of general education course availability for the first and second year students and an enhanced freshman year experience to improve student success during this crucial year.

Download Option 2
Table of Organization
PDF

Option #2: This plan suggests: (1) combination of the current three colleges of Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences and Sciences & Engineering into one larger College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and (2) alteration of the scope and the name of the College of Education to the College of Education and Professional Studies The reconfigured College of Education and Professional Studies will include all education departments, and professional health, engineering and technology oriented programs by relocating those departments out of other colleges. This plan would facilitate the administration of general education and freshman year experience under one leadership without creating a position of Dean of General Education. The plan also incorporates other changes suggested in option #1. This plan offers the potential for achieving the best results on strategic, programmatic and student development goals.

Obviously, a significant number of Associate/Assistant Deans (we suggest four) must be brought under the new Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences to assist the Dean on distinct functional areas of curriculum and instruction, general education, faculty evaluation, academic and course planning, scheduling and budgeting at the college level. In a like manner, the newly configured College of Education and Professional Studies should also be given two Associate Deans to plan, manage and nurture the future growth of the college.

Download Option 3
Table of Organization
PDF

Option #3: In this scenario, option #2 is maintained with the exception that rather than creating a College of Education and Professional Studies, leave the College of Education in its current form but create a new College of Professional Studies. The new college of Professional Studies under a new dean shall facilitate the nurturing and promotion of the growth of engineering, technology, and health careers programs. Once fully developed this College could split into separate Colleges of Engineering and Health Sciences.

Appended to this report are organizational charts to describe the three alternate options. If you need any further clarifications, please do not hesitate to contact us. Again, we thank you for giving us the opportunity to review your current organization and suggest changes that we believe will produce better results.

Sincerely,

Kalyan K. Ghosh
President Emeritus
Worcester State College
Kenneth P. Mortimer
Senior Associate
NCHEMS


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