Strategic Plan: Academic Reorganization

Building on Excellence charges the institution to transform itself into a University whose organizational structures are strategically arranged so as to facilitate excellence in teaching and learning (Academics Objective 2.1; pg. 10). Additionally, the plan calls for a review of existing organizational structures to ensure they are strategically aligned to facilitate excellence in all areas of University operations and to support the University's mission (Sustainability Objective 2.1; pg. 20). The senior administration of Academic Affairs recognizes that the current structure of the division is not sustainable in terms of the allocation of both administrative support and administrative complexity. In addition, it is not clear that the current structure is facilitating pedagogical synergy as well as it could. In that context, a reorganization conversation that began in one college, CAS, expanded to thinking about all of the academic colleges.

The senior leadership of the Academic Affairs division is committed to ensuring all of our resources, including human and financial, facilitate excellence in teaching and learning. To that end, we envision this reorganization as the creation of new colleges, not the absorbing of some departments into existing colleges. In this sense, we are committed to ensuring that what a faculty member experiences at WCU is not strictly tied to the SCH production of a particular college, but rather, that all faculty can have equitable support of their teaching and their professional development and that the reorganization does not diminish faculty resources.

Small group members: Deans’ Council (Linda Adams, Laurie Bernotsky, Tim Blair, Jeff Osgood, Michelle Patrick, Lori Vermeulen, Ken Witmer), Jen Bacon, Page Buck, Kevin Dean, Mark Rimple, Harvey Rovine, Jack Waber

Forums/Small Group Meeting Update

  • In October, seven open forums were held and feedback was collected there and through the website.
  • The small group (described in the timeline from the first posting) met to discuss feedback on October 27th and November 10th.
  • The final recommended structure below has been updated to reflect that feedback. Most of the feedback regarding where programs would end up had to do with interdisciplinary programs. A few conversations are ongoing with these programs about where they will ultimately want to reside and an idea for a school to house a group of these programs is being developed.
  • As currently recommended, every department that submitted a departmental statement is housed in the college that most closely aligns with the statement submitted.
  • The Provost, Deans, and Vice-Provost are committed to creating opportunities, including a funding pool, to support cross-college and interdisciplinary teaching, research, and service activities.
  • College names are still in draft form and will be confirmed by the end of the spring 2016 semester.

Implementation Operating Principles

  • The goal of the reorg is to more evenly distribute administrative support, administrative complexity, the production of student credit hours, and potentially build on pedagogical and/or disciplinary commonalities in ways that improve upon our current organizational structure.
  • A further goal of the reorganization is to provide equity to faculty and departments in terms of their ability to serve students, engage in professional development, and participate in strategic initiatives.
  • As the reorg plan is finalized, we will communicate with alumni, students, and other constituents.
  • APSCUF and management will work collaboratively with faculty to develop and implement a plan to update shared governance structures.
  • We will provide a list of FAQs on the website and keep it updated as the implementation process unfolds.
  • Resources (both human and financial) will travel with departments and programs.
  • Space is an important resource, and we will need to continue to actively pursue both appropriate teaching/learning and research space. Much of this is detailed in the updated Facilities Master Plan, which is being finalized and will be shared soon with the campus.
  • We are aware that there are many moving parts to the implementation of the reorganization, and we are committed to providing a more detailed list of the steps for the implementation. We will also develop a working draft of a timeline that can be updated as needed as we work through the implementation. For example, as noted above, finalizing college names would need to take place in Spring 2016.
  • We will continue to communicate about the process and implementation and will monitor our progress.
  • We will evaluate the extent to which the reorganization has been successful.

Open Forums

  • October 5th, 12:00pm in Main Hall 168
    Attendees: Bernotsky, Blair, Osgood, Vermeulen, Witmer
  • October 6th, 3:00pm in Main Hall 168
    Attendees: Bernotsky, Blair, Osgood, Vermeulen, Witmer
  • October 12th, 3:00pm in Main Hall 168
    Attendees: Adams, Bernotsky, Blair, Osgood, Patrick, Vermeulen
  • October 13th, 12:30pm in Main Hall 168
    Attendees: Adams, Bernotsky, Blair, Osgood, Patrick, Vermeulen
  • October 21st, 1:00pm in Main Hall 168
    Attendees: Adams, Bernotsky, Osgood, Patrick, Vermeulen, Witmer
  • October 28th, 3:00pm in Main Hall 168
    Attendees: Adams, Bernotsky, Blair, Osgood, Patrick, Vermeulen, Witmer
  • October 29th, 12:30pm in Main Hall 168
    Attendees: Adams, Bernotsky, Blair, Osgood, Patrick, Vermeulen, Witmer

Final Recommendations

College of Arts and Humanities


  • Applied Music
  • Art and Design
  • Communication Studies
  • English
  • History
  • Languages and Cultures,
  • Music Education
  • Music Theory, History, and Composition
  • Philosophy
  • Theatre and Dance
  • Women's and Gender Studies


  • Ethnic Studies
  • Holocaust and Genocide Studies
  • Latin American and Latino/a Studies
  • Linguistics
  • Liberal Studies: Humanities
  • Peace and Conflict Studies
  • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)


College of Business and Public Management

  • Accounting
  • Criminal Justice
  • Economics and Finance
  • Geography and Planning
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Public Policy and Administration

 College of Education and Social Work


  • Counselor Education
  • Early and Middle Grades
  • Graduate Social Work
  • Literacy
  • Professional and Secondary Education
  • Special Education
  • Undergraduate Social Work


  • Youth Empowerment and Urban Studies


College of Health Sciences


  • Communication Sciences and Disorders
  • Health
  • Kinesiology
  • Nursing
  • Nutrition
  • Sports Medicine

College of Science and Social Science


  • Anthropology and Sociology
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Geology and Astronomy
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Political Science
  • Psychology


  • Liberal Studies: Science
  • PPD
  • Pre-Med

Provost/Vice Provost


  • African American Studies
  • Honors College
  • Library
  • Professional Studies
  • University College

School/Institute of Social Change (idea under discussion)

  • Could house a group of interdisciplinary programs


  • September:
    • Present revised draft to Council of Chairs on September 23rd with APSCUF President invited to COC and all deans present at COC
    • Launch website the afternoon of September 23rd
  • October:
    • Collect feedback through the website and through open forums held during October
    • Organize a small team with representatives from COC and APSCUF to work with the Deans’ Council on considering feedback
  • November:
    • Small team works with Deans’ Council to consider feedback collected
    • Deans’ Council works with Provost to finalize draft
    • Provost submits final draft to the President
    • November 18th: Present final version to COC for implementation for Fall 2016
  • December:
    • Begin implementing changes in backend operations (cost centers, LeepFrog, etc) to prepare for Fall 2016 implementation and develop transition strategies as needed for implementation
  • January-May:
    • Continue implementation and transition processes including determining timelines for changes for shared governance representation and elections (such as CAPC and TEP)
  • June-July:
    • Finalize backend operations changes