Faculty Senate approves research reorganization

May 6, 2014

by David Tenenbaum

The Faculty Senate on Monday approved a reorganization of leadership in the university’s research enterprise, dividing the responsibilities of the dean of the Graduate School into two positions – the vice chancellor for research and graduate education and the dean of the Graduate School.

The reorganization is intended to address several issues, including the increasing complexity of research administration and the waning supply of federal research funds.

Petri dish and researcher

The reorganization aims to integrate graduate education and research, and gives faculty authority in driving research and input in the allocation of the WARF gift.

The dean will participate in the Dean’s Council and report to the vice chancellor. The vice chancellor and the dean will create policy and strategy for research and graduate education. The new structure is intended to ensure:

  • Integration of graduate education and research;
  • Faculty authority in driving research and creative activity on the campus, and
  • Faculty input in the allocation of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation gift.

The changes will next move to the Academic Staff Assembly on May 12 for further discussion and possible approval. Waisman Center Director Marsha Mailick will join the Graduate School and begin as interim replacement to outgoing Vice Chancellor Martin Cadwallader on Sept. 1.

As part of the campus conversation about the issue, the University Committee concluded that the proposed structure maintains a close relationship between research and graduate education, as the new dean and vice chancellor will be housed in the same office.

The Faculty Senate decision, on a voice vote, was a follow-up to its April meeting, when it voted to accept a report on the matter from a working group on graduate reorganization, and to solicit more input on the issue.

Since then, the University Committee has sponsored two further town-hall meetings, and spoken to three dozen faculty members to answer questions about the new structure.

In moving that the proposal be adopted, Michael Bernard-Donals, professor of English and chair of the University Committee, said, “It’s important that we make a decision today so we can move to a national search. We see this as the outcome of a deliberative process.”