Departmental Guidelines

Guide for the Consolidation, Partition, Transfer, or Elimination of Academic Divisions, Department, or Programs

(Bylaws of University Senate, Section 8.A)
SR 14-01
September 23, 2013

BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED that University Senate adopt revisions to the Guide for the Consolidation, Partition, Transfer, or Elimination of Academic Divisions, Department, or Programs (Bylaws of University Senate, Section 8.A) as stated below:

The purpose of this resolution is to guide the decision-making process when consolidation, partition, transfer, or elimination of academic divisions, departments, or programs is under consideration. “Programs” in this document is defined as interdisciplinary programs and degree programs. Fundamental to all that follows is the principle that ordinary administrative chains of command should always be observed in the decision-making and implementation process; that is, discussion, consultation, and fact-finding will normally begin at the programmatic or departmental level, with recommendations passing through divisional channels before reaching the Provost’s office. This does not preclude initiative for such a decision-making process coming from a higher level, but it is meant to establish the principle of involving in a substantial way, those who are closest to the areas under consideration. In keeping with University Senate’s primary responsibility for curriculum, programs, and course offerings, those who have proposed a consolidation, partition, transfer, or elimination of Academic Divisions, Departments or Programs will present to Senate the rationale for the restructuring in question. Senate will consider the suggested change and make a recommendation to the Provost. If the restructuring is to go forward, a process coordinator will be designated by the Provost in consultation with the Executive Committee of University Senate.

At all times in the process outlined below, every effort should be made to keep the Provost, other appropriate University officers, and the faculty, staff, and students in affected divisions, departments, and programs informed of the progress of such discussions as they take place.

In consultation with the Provost, the process coordinator is charged with:

  1. ensuring that the decision-making process is fair and empowers all constituents;
  2. ensuring that the process not only allows adequate time to hear and debate all concerns, but also is as efficient as possible;
  3. acting as a sounding board and mediator, as required, throughout the decision-making process; and
  4. acting as a liaison between the affected units and University Senate (the process coordinator does not need to be a member of University Senate).

The following actions should guide all administrators and key stakeholders whenever consolidation, partition, transfer, or elimination is being formally considered. Relevant communication should occur at a time that would allow for substantive feedback from affected parties.

Step 1. A request with a rational for consolidation, partition, transfer, or elimination of an academic degree program, a department, program, or division is submitted to the Provost. This request may be made by the chair or director of the unit involved or it may come from a higher level.

Step 2. If the Provost deems the request worthy of consideration, those who have proposed it will present to Senate the rationale for the restructuring in question. Senate will consider the suggested change and make a recommendation to the Provost. If the Provost deems the request viable, the Provost shall name a process coordinator at such time that formal discussion involving consolidation, partition, transfer, or elimination begins. In consultation with the person who initiated the request and the Dean, the Provost may constitute an ad hoc process committee.

Step 3. In consultation with the Provost and Dean, the process coordinator shall ensure that information is shared widely with divisions, departments, and programs; and with all interested parties within and external to Miami.

Step 4. The persons involved in instituting the request (along with the ad hoc committee where required) will work with the affected department(s) or program(s) to develop a specific proposal that includes course and timeline of action and impact analysis. The analysis should assess benefits and impacts on the University mission, on all constituents, and affected units, and on budget. Where diverse perspectives exist, the process coordinator will ensure that they are included in the impact analysis. If deemed necessary by the Provost in consultation with the Dean and chair or director, a formal or informal Academic Program Review may be included in the analysis.

Step 5. In consultation with the Provost and the appropriate dean, and at the earliest time possible in the process, the process coordinator will ensure that the proposal in progress is presented and discussed at a regularly scheduled meeting of University Senate. Multiple Senate visits may be necessary.

Step 6. In consultation with the Provost, the process coordinator shall ensure that the Council of Academic Deans and all affected administrators and departments and programs are consulted on the draft proposal.

Step 7. The process coordinator shall ensure that the proposal is presented to University Senate for consideration.

Step 8. The process coordinator and the University Senate shall make recommendations to the Provost.

FURTHERMORE, that the proposed revisions become effective immediately.