A faculty ad hoc report released Monday evaluating the structure of the University of Wisconsin graduate school confirmed some common concerns with UW’s research enterprise, but directly opposed a wholesale reorganization.
While identifying areas where the graduate school and research enterprise are not functioning optimally, the recommendations of the report oppose the original proposal as presented last fall by Provost Paul DeLuca and Chancellor Biddy Martin.
This original proposal to create a separate position of vice chancellor for research, thus dividing the responsibilities of graduate education and research which are currently unified in the office of the dean of the Graduate School, drew strong criticism from faculty and staff at a series of town hall meetings last semester.
DeLuca frequently cited problems with safety and compliance and grant management in support of his proposal last semester.
The report said the committee failed to see how the administration’s broad reorganization would have prevented such problems.
The report went on to say the concerns identified seemed to be more likely a result of inadequate funding which led to insufficient staffing and performance failures by key individuals which exacerbated the issues.
Another ad hoc committee comprised of academic staff submitted a similar report last month, which also directly opposed the administration’s proposal to divide the offices responsible for research and graduate education.
“The synergistic relationship between graduate education and research should be facilitated, not fractured, by any change to the administrative structure,” the faculty report said.
Chair of the University Committee Bill Tracy said this desire to maintain the connection between graduate education and the research enterprise is the key difference from the original plan proposed by the provost.
To this end, the report recommended creating a new position of vice chancellor for research and dean of the Graduate School, effectively formalizing the current working titles of the dean of the Graduate School.
Though only a recommendation at this point, if this position were in fact created, Tracy said, in his understanding, there would legally have to be a national search to fill the position.
In this case, while current Dean of the Graduate School Martin Cadwallader could be in the running, Tracy said he would not be guaranteed the job.
Cadwallader could not be reached for comment as of press time.
Another central recommendation of the report is to expand the roles of the four associate deans of the Graduate school to serve the new vice chancellor for research and dean of the Graduate School in both research and graduate education.
The report also suggested moving the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and responsibility for compliance and safety to the vice chancellor for administration.
In a joint statement from Martin and DeLuca released Monday night, the two said they are inclined to agree with the major recommendations of the faculty report and accept the views of the committee about maintaining a relationship between research and graduate education.
“We are pleased to be in a productive dialogue on the campus’ research enterprise and look forward to continuing to enhance the university’s preeminence in research and graduate education,” the statement said.