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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Faculty Senate OKs grad school changes

History professor John Sharpless speaks out at the Faculty Senate meeting Monday, proposing an amendment to a motion to restructure the graduate school.[/media-credit]

Members of the University of Wisconsin Faculty Senate approved a motion to restructure the graduate school Monday afternoon, effectively moving one office outside the graduate school, creating two new committees and adding a title to the dean position.

The vice chancellor of research and dean of the graduate school will replace the current dean of the graduate school. One person will hold both the vice chancellor and dean positions.

The benefit of the new position is that it makes someone responsible for both research and graduate education, Provost Paul DeLuca Jr. said


Another significant change is the movement of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs outside the graduate school, where it was previously located.

Kristyn Masters, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, expressed concerns regarding the necessity of moving RSP in the first place and said the reason to move RSP was not clear in the motion.

University Committee member and chemistry professor Judith Burstyn said RSP was under the vice chancellor for administration — who works directly with the chancellor — until 1992 and UC felt moving RSP back made sense because the vice chancellor for administration controls the finances of the institution.

Another concern regarding the movement of RSP was whether it would handle both pre-award contracts — any activity dealing with a grant before it is given to UW — and post-award contracts –any activity once the money has been granted. The motion itself states, “pre-award contract negotiation will reside in the graduate school and post-award contract management with RSP.”

Engineering professor James Blanchard said he was confused as to which desk the actual grants will land on and how RSP will coordinate with the graduate school when it is not part of it.

The process is still integrated between the two offices despite technically being in different offices, Chancellor Biddy Martin said.

DeLuca posed another point of clarification regarding Environmental Health Services, which, similar to RSP, is also under the direction of the new Research Compliance/Quality Assurance unit.

Even though it is not clear on the chart, DeLuca said while biosafety, radiation and chemical oversight fall under EHS, the policy aspects of EHS are set by RSP directly.

“It makes clear now the office of research policy will take care of research policy across the enterprise so that we won’t have multiple sources,” DeLuca said.

Two significant amendments to the motion passed before the Faculty Senate voted on the main motion overall.

John Sharpless, history professor and member of the Graduate Faculty Education Committee, moved to amend the motion to ensure future committees discussing graduate education or GFEC include GFEC members. The main purposes of GFEC are to establish, review and modify graduate degree programs as well as establishing admission and degree requirements, according to the graduate school website.

The GFEC wanted to make it clear they are vital part of the graduate school and after being ignored through much of the restructuring process GFEC members felt the motion needed to be amended, he said.

“Much of the discussion both formal and informal was without our consultation, and we think we perform a valuable and important function on the educational side,” Sharpless said.

The other amendment proposed a different term length for the people chosen by the four faculty division committees that will act as advisors to the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

English professor Cyrena Pondrom proposed the amendment, which will make the initial term three years, but those appointments after today will be staggered.

UC did not consider this prior to Pondrom bringing it up, but Tracy said he thought the amendment was warranted.

After the overall motion passed, Martin said she thought the meeting went well and she is optimistic about the future.

“I think the support for the motion was overwhelming and … I think it’ll have a good outcome,” Martin said.

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