Research at the University of Wisconsin may soon see some structural changes, as the Faculty Senate voted to combine two departments and consider new leadership positions in a meeting Monday.

Working group proposes a new leadership structure in Research Enterprise

A working group charged with evaluating the leadership structure for the university’s research enterprise offered a proposal to create two separate research positions.

The working group considered the effectiveness of three different models, settling on a proposal that is a “hybrid model,” according to Timothy Donohue, chair of the working group. The model proposes implementing both a vice chancellor for research and graduate education and dean of the graduate school.

Donohue said the model will provide a “strengthened and protected graduate school, with a dedicated leader and dedicated budget.”

Members raised concerns about the dynamic between two new leaders regarding the allocation of money and funding resources. Susan Babcock, an engineering professor, said although these concerns are valid, the current structure has been tested for the past four years and shows a need for improvement.

Donohue said the new model will also help recruit the best talent, attract new revenue from internal and external sources, help the university  create a “high profile,” and show “leadership in the national agenda.”

Working group will present and vote on a final proposal at the next meeting on April 7, 2014.

Merging the Department of Liberal Studies and the Arts and the Department of Professional Development and Applied Studies

The Executive Committee voted unanimously to merge the Department of Liberal Studies and the Arts and the Department of Professional Development and Applied Studies to create the new Department of Liberal Arts and Applied Studies.

Narra Cox, professor and chairperson of the academic departments in the Division of Continuing Studies, presented the recommendation to merge the departments. 

Cox said both departments are already functioning as one department — with one department administrator and one physical office space.

She said it is difficult to find a distinction between the goals of each department, as both departments are committed to serving nontraditional students and “life-long learners.”

The Committee on Women in the University (CWU)

The senate also heard from the Committee on Women in the University, which hopes to change its current structure.

Rebecca L. Scheller, co-chair for the Committee, said it wants to “modify structure and function.”

The organization wants to add classified staff members, undergraduate students, graduate students and post-doctoral members in order to have a ‘breadth of expertise to address key issues,’” Scheller said.

Although the organization is downsizing from nine to six faculty members, it was “strongly supported by faculty members to have equal representation,” Scheller said.