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President to recommend restructuring colleges

In an effort to reorient The University of Toledo to meet students’ needs, the challenges of a changing world and increasing fiscal pressures, UT President Lloyd Jacobs presented his recommended organizational structure for the institution at a meeting of the Strategic Planning Committee Friday.

Calling the plan an amalgamation of the various plans and proposals suggested over the previous weeks and months, Jacobs said he considered all alternative plans in formulating his recommendation, which reorganizes the University into colleges, schools and departments while maintaining the position of centers and institutes throughout UT.

“The overarching purpose of a reconsideration of our structure is to accelerate our pursuit of excellence,” Jacobs said, emphasizing that reorganization is not meant to fix a problem, but elevate and distinguish the University. “Nothing is broken. This is about our journey from good to great.”

Jacobs’ plan calls for the creation, renaming and reorganization of several colleges:

• College of Adult and Lifelong Learning;

• College of Business and Innovation;

• College of Engineering;

• College of Graduate Studies, Library and Learning Systems;

• Honors College;

• Judith Herb College of Education, Health Science and Human Service;

• College of Language, Literature and Social Science;

• College of Law;

• College of Mathematics and Science;

• College of Medicine and Life Science;

• College of Nursing;

• College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences;

• College of Solar and Advanced Renewable Energy; and

• College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Under the plan, colleges would continue to serve their present function — provide a home for tenured and other faculty, an identity for students and budgetary authority over the schools and departments organized below it.

“The definition of colleges will be fairly clear and certain,” Jacobs said. “None of that is a great departure … there will continue to be room for and need for a tremendous amount of discussion about departments and considerable discussion about schools.”

Schools, Jacobs proposed, would be distinguished and visible cross-disciplinary units existing within a single college or across multiple colleges that ordinarily would borrow faculty from the sponsoring colleges. Departments, in the newly recommended model, would be defined by a single discipline, would always exist within a college, could exist within a school, and would be led by a chairperson. Under the recommended structure, the University would also continue to support various institutes and centers.

Jacobs said school creation would be largely in the purview of the deans of the various colleges, but offered recommendations for the creation of several schools, including:

• School of First-Year Experience, which would house what is currently the Learning Collaborative and be primarily housed in the College of Language, Literature and Social Science, but have voices from every college at the table;

• School of Libraries, housed in the College of Graduate Studies, Library and Learning Systems;

• School of Teaching and Learning, housed in the Judith Herb College of Education, Health Science and Human Service;

• School of Engineering Technology, housed in the College of Engineering;

• School of Engineering Science, housed in the College of Engineering;

• School of Computer Science, Engineering and Technology, housed in the College of Engineering;

• School of Patient-Centered Primary Care and Wellness;

• School of Chronic Disease Management and Longitudinal Care;

• School of Advanced Interventional and Surgical Care;

• School of Interprofessional Education and Advanced Simulation; and

• School of Health Innovation and Accountable Care Organizations.

Jacobs said the creation of schools would help in the drive to provide more interdisciplinary interactions for students and faculty — one of the major themes of the draft of the 2010 Directions strategic planning document.

“Reasonable people could differ about whether interdisciplinary is better served by creating smaller units or larger units,” Jacobs said. “My own belief is that more access and bringing more groups to the institutional table will improve interdisciplinary more than relying on a single unit … I believe that this is a way to accelerate our pursuit of excellence.”

Ken Evans, a senior majoring in political science and public administration, and founding member of the Arts & Sciences Student Council, asked the president how there will be enough time to provide feedback by Monday, Oct. 11, the date Jacobs plans to submit the proposal to trustees for consideration, a concern echoed by others in attendance.

Jacobs said that he will make himself available to meet with anyone over the next several weeks. Additionally, there is a town hall meeting in the Student Union South Lounge Tuesday, Sept. 28, at 11 a.m. that will be broadcast live at http://video.utoledo.edu.

William C. Fall, chair of the Board of Trustees, said excellence is the future of The University of Toledo.

“We believe we can do better, we can be better than where we have been,” Fall said before Jacobs delivered his recommendations. “I am very excited. I know from personal association with [Jacobs] that he is very thoughtful and very fair. He is the first to place considerations of his own aside for the betterment of The University of Toledo.”

“I have this dream,” Jacobs said. “I have this vision that The University of Toledo already rightfully belongs and needs to take its place among the world’s greatest universities. We’ve made great contributions, but we can do more, we can do better.”

The full presentation is available at http://slideshare.net/utoledo and the video of the event, which was streamed live, will be posted on the Strategic Planning Committee’s website Monday. Click here.

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