Committee forwards draft report on proposed research reorganization

Feb. 19, 2014

by Terry Devitt

The ad hoc working group exploring the feasibility of reorganizing the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s research and graduate education structure, including the Graduate School, has completed its draft report and found that a proposed dual leadership structure is viable and will provide the university with its best opportunities to attract both new revenue streams and effective leadership.

The working group, charged by the University Committee and chaired by bacteriology Professor Timothy Donohue, delivered its draft report to the University Committee Feb. 14. The working group and the University Committee will present the working draft of the report at the March 3 meeting of the Faculty Senate.

The working group’s primary recommendation is that a leadership structure involving two key positions — a vice chancellor for research and graduate education and a dean of the Graduate School — be created.

Photo: petri dish

The draft report states that a plan for a dual leadership structure for research and graduate education is viable.

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Under the proposed structure, the vice chancellor for research would report to the chancellor, while the dean of the Graduate School would report to the vice chancellor for research and graduate education, but would also be a fully vested member of the Dean’s Council that reports to the provost on academic matters.

Such a structure, according to the report, “will, with appropriate resources and skilled leadership, preserve and enhance crucial strengths while enabling flexibility to respond to urgent new pressures and take advantage of emerging opportunities.”

Additional recommendations include:

  • Maintaining close associations between research and graduate education.
  • Assuring effective relationships between the major research centers on campus and the leadership structure.
  • Continuing existing faculty and academic staff governance structures within the Graduate School.
  • Assuring that the Wiscosnin Alumni Research Foundation gift continues to be effectively administered in a way that benefits research and academic exploration across the campus.
  • Within the new structure, assuring that the dean of the Graduate School maintains an appropriate relationship with other deans and the provost.

Following discussion of the draft report at the March 3 Faculty Senate meeting, a series of three town hall meetings has been scheduled to elicit further comments, questions, suggestions and ideas from the university community (see sidebar).

Subsequent to the town hall meetings, the University Committee and the ad hoc working group will make any needed revisions with the goal of presenting a final draft report for consideration at the April Faculty Senate meeting.

Those wishing to submit written comments on the working draft report can do so through members of the working group. Questions before the town hall sessions are encouraged and can be sent to vcr-dgs@secfac.wisc.edu.

In an effort to focus discussion at the town hall sessions on recurring themes, please submit questions by 9 a.m. on Monday, March 3.