NC State’s strategic realignment gets under way this spring with several mergers and a call for campus input as academic programs are reviewed.
“Administrative changes are going to happen fairly quickly,” said Provost Warwick Arden, co-author of the realignment plan with Vice Chancellor Charles Leffler. “For academic changes that require a lot of faculty input, we’re going to have a discussion over the coming academic year, and they’ll take a little bit longer.”
All changes will take effect by 2013 at the latest.
First Things First
The initial changes in the works this spring involve three mergers.
- By July 1, NC State will have an office of Institutional Equity and Diversity that combines the Office of Equal Opportunity with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and other related programs.
- By the end of 2011, components of the Office of Extension Engagement and Economic Development will be shifted to the provost and to the vice chancellor for Research and Innovation.
- By summer 2012, a new Division of Undergraduate Student Programs will be created by merging Student Affairs with the Division of Undergraduate Academic Programs, combining both academic and non-academic support for students under the provost.
Under the realignment plan, NC State will review the organization of academic science programs in the colleges of Natural Resources, Physical and Mathematical Sciences, and Agriculture and Life Sciences. Changes in the organization of colleges and departments are possible, and could include a new interdisciplinary system that strengthens collaboration and capitalizes on new opportunities, Arden said.
“There are multiple ways of achieving this and everything is on the table. I don’t have one specific thing in mind that I want to see happen more than anything else,” he said. “The only thing that as far as I’m concerned is not really acceptable is to have a nine-month campus discussion and decide everything’s just fine the way it is and that we don’t want to change anything.”
A task force of science faculty will lead the review and provide recommendations by December.
A review of low-enrolled programs and courses will allow time for thorough review and plenty of faculty input, with changes taking effect in the 2012-13 academic year, Arden said.
“What we have put out there at the moment is a first pass. No program has been slated for elimination. No student will be disadvantaged.”
Distance education and summer programs are also under review, with the goal of making changes in summer 2012.
Not Business Services as Usual
The realignment for staff members in business, HR and grants administration will take place in two steps. First, the primary reporting lines will shift to Finance and Business. The second step, setting up business operations centers, is scheduled to begin in July 2012 with completion by July 2013.
A review of NC State’s policies, regulations and rules will take place to eliminate red tape.
That’s Not All
It’s not just realignment that’s bringing change to NC State. Strategic planning and the state budgeting processes also are in motion, which can be confusing, Arden said. Friday is the deadline to make comments on the draft strategic plan.
And despite the efficiencies that realignment will bring, state budget cuts are likely.
“We know that whatever budget cut that comes, by doing this realignment now, we’ll be able to devote more of our resources to core areas and to operate in a more effective and more efficient manner,” Arden said.