Multi-departmental/college graduate programs

(Afterthoughts from meetings on a new Policy unit—
A newcomer's attempt to identify problems and make proposals of wider relevance)
Peter Taylor
22 November 2002

Problem 1

The first problem for faculty and staff in multi-departmental/college graduate programs or in Centers and Institutes outside the college structure is to get support to be productive with less time consumed in distracting and dispiriting battles over resources.

Problem 2

Small multi-departmental/college graduate programs achieve amazing things at UMB, but to hold the programs together some (many?) of their faculty members have to take on inequitable workloads, spend time petitioning a changing cast of administrators, and postpone taking leave. Vulnerability to resource decisions that chairs and deans can make with little consultation and insufficient regard to past agreements is paralleled by the vulnerability of faculty members in personnel evaluations and promotion decisions. Basic responsibilities that administrators should have to Graduate Programs and their students are not acknowledged or codified.

The basic responsibilities to small, multi-departmental/college graduate programs should include, as a minimum, that:

Proposal re: review procedures

At the time of hiring or assignation to a program (or other non-departmental unit), it would be established in writing that:


Such "hybrid" reviews would be a positive step for faculty members in interdisciplinary and intercollege programs whether or not the person's line is moved into any new unit (School, Center of Excellence).
It would allow assignation of a faculty member to a new unit without the college of origin losing the line.
Conversely, faculty members would be protected from the possibility that a chair or dean could review their work negatively so as to be able to divert their line to something else.
This review arrangement could be extended to professional staff where needed.

Proposal re: resources

At the time that a program affiliates with or moves to a new unit, the resources allocated to that program would be established in writing. During times of budget cuts and belt-tightening there may be grounds for rationalization of resources but this would be done with consultation and respect the basic responsibilities above. If chairs or deans made decisions with insufficient consultation or regard to past agreements, the Director of the unit would be expected to advocate to the Provost for the programs and the Provost would see that the basic responsibilities above were upheld. If additional resources were needed for a program whose primary affiliation is with the new unit, the Director could advocate to the Provost for these resources and avoid asking multiple colleges to provide a share of resources.


If both these proposals were implemented, it would be possible for a Policy unit to be created without moving any personnel or programs.
Even if a new college-like unit were created, there would be greater flexibility of the timing or nature of participation—creation of a new unit would not boil down to (or bog down again in) an issue of who is in, who is out; who gets resources, who misses out.
Indeed, a program could have a secondary affiliation with another of the new units—after all, there are faculty and staff whose work links policy, environment, and/or health disparities.
Finally, the issue of a home for Public Policy and Public Affairs may get simpler—its official home could be the Politics Department in CAS, but it would be affiliated with the new Policy (Policy and Practice?) unit. Faculty members from other departments and Colleges could be assigned to Public Policy and Public Affairs and thus to the new unit without those departments or colleges feeling that they lost resources , had less control over these Programs than the Politics department, or could now shrug off past commitments.