cc: President Bruce Harreld
       Vice Presidents
       Shared Governance Leadership

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As the University of Iowa’s collegiate leadership team, I would like you to conduct a study focused on "The University of Iowa’s 2020 Academic Organizational Structure," with the goal of helping us become a more forward-looking, nimble university that focuses our limited resources in support of academic excellence. As background, I want to emphasize the following relevant points:

  • The recently-approved UI Strategic Plan establishes priorities in research and discovery, student success and engagement.
  • Today’s large-scale research funding opportunities, student demand for graduate education, and popular undergraduate degrees are becoming more interdisciplinary, rather than existing in a single traditional academic department.
  • A recent study of graduate programs conducted by the Graduate College identified strengths and weaknesses in our programs.
  • The source of our General Education Fund (GEF) has shifted dramatically from state appropriations to tuition and fees (60% appropriations and 29% tuition/fees in 1996; 33% appropriations and 61% tuition/fees in 2016).

With these observations in mind, we need to study reasonable organizational changes in the best interest of the university. Reorganization can include: i) moving academic departments from one college to another, ii) reducing/increasing faculty size in a department/college, iii) consolidating and possibly eliminating departments and/or majors, iv) creating new college(s), divisions or schools, v) consolidating and/or eliminating graduate programs within existing departments, and vi) centralizing academic student support services.

Specifically, I would like you to complete the following tasks:

  • Task 1 - Working with my office, catalog changes in the UI’s organization that have occurred over the past decade.
  • Task 2 - Conduct reorganization listening sessions with constituent groups throughout the spring 2017 semester.
  • Task 3 - Develop criteria to be used in the evaluation and possible reorganization of UI’s academic units to enhance the excellence of the UI in the face of budget realities. The criteria must be aligned with the performance metrics defined in the UI’s Strategic Plan.
  • Task 4 - Using criteria from Task 3, recommend possibilities for reorganization of academic units, including an account of advantages/disadvantages.

I ask that you consult with the President’s Cabinet, as well as faculty, staff, and student shared governance leadership. I also ask that each dean consult with his or her collegiate shared governance groups regularly throughout the process. Transparency and engagement of key stakeholders are critical.

In addressing this very important issue, I would like to use a process similar to how we are managing other Council of Deans (COD) issues, i.e., a small committee of deans facilitates input from the full COD and develops consensus on recommendations. Specifically, I would like to ask Deans Gardial, Curry, Scranton and Keller to lead the COD Ad-Hoc Committee on UI 2020 Academic Organizational Structure and:

  • coordinate listening session with constituent groups,
  • collect and share with the deans relevant data,
  • periodically update and interact with campus-wide shared governance leadership (i.e., operate with transparency),
  • organize group sessions to discuss and eventually develop recommendations, and
  • forward your recommendations and summary of advantages/disadvantages to me by January, 2018.

Thank you in advance for your service.