GPSC discusses program change proposals

By Kitt Fresa, Features Editor

At its regularly scheduled Graduate and Professional Student Council meeting Tuesday, President Johnathan Flowers discussed new program changes expected with the reorganization.

The three program change proposals released on March 15 are for The School of Computing, the School of Earth Systems and Sustainability, and the School of Biological Sciences.

Each of the proposals have been released in a reasonable or moderate extension (RME)  packet form.


RME’s are administrative changes used for renaming academic units, proposing new majors and concentrations and are administrative actions to begin merging, reducing, or eliminating academic degree programs, departments or schools. Each of the RME packets include information concerning the new program as well as supporting documents from the faculty in the proposed programs.

The RME packet form is more complicated, Flowers said. 

“The School of Computing Program Change Proposal only affects the Department of Computer Science, which is consequently being elevated to the status of a school.” Flowers said.

The Program Change Proposal Packet contains a recommendation from the Dean of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts dated Jan. 12 which requests the following:

To move the information systems portion of Information Systems Technology into the School of Analytics; move the information technology portion into the School of Computing per a RME that was submitted last year to split Information Systems Technology, according to the packet.

The Electrical Systems Technology program has been located in the proposed School of Applied Engineering, the packet said. There is also a recommendation in the packet which said the university should apply for a National Security Agency Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations designation.

In another RME packet, it states The School of Biological Sciences would integrate the Departments of Microbiology, Plant Biology, and Zoology into one school.


Flowers outlined his concerns for the program change for The School of Biological Sciences.

“On Feb. 6, the Chair of the Department of Zoology communicated a 14-3 vote in favor of a 30 day extension citing a need for clarity on which version of the plan was being voted upon as well as additional information concerning the duties and compensation of the new administrative positions,” Flowers said.

The School of Earth Systems and Sustainability is not a concern during the reorganization process. A faculty statement from the Geography and Geology faculty was included with the RME packet, Flowers said.

Flower’s presented in his statement to GPSC the following concerns at the administrative level:

A request for clarification on the duties and compensation of the School Director and Program Coordinators. As well as two additional Tenure Track hires in sustainability, programmatic retention of fiscal authority of foundation and overhead accounts, and a new college council with programmatic representation.

There are also several faculty driven proposals coming out of the College of Liberal Arts, College of Mass Communication and Media Arts, and several other units that are in RME phases.

“The Associate Provosts clarified that these RMEs were “incomplete” but did not elaborate on the matter,” Flowers said. “There is, apparently, some confusion concerning the way in which these RMEs would be reviewed.”

Flowers paraphrased comments from Associate Provosts David DiLalla and Lizette Chevalier from the most recent Faculty Senate meeting on March 20:

“The Provosts’ office will work with any unit to develop an RME in accordance with its understandings of the guidelines for RME development,” Flowers said. “The Provosts stated that they would handle RMEs that emerge from the faculty in the same way that they handle the RMEs that emerge from the administration.”

All RME’s are communicated to constituency groups through the Associate Provost for Academic Programs’ office; regardless of the generator of the proposals, Flowers said.

“The Provosts’ office distributed the RMEs simultaneously to Graduate Council and Faculty Senate in response to the Graduate Council and Faculty Senate’s attempts to strategize how to process the number of RMEs,” Flowers said. “It is the position of the Provosts that the Faculty Senate and Graduate Council votes should not come before the faculty vote. The idea with a simultaneous release is to allow the faculty senate and graduate council time to review the proposals in a transparent way and not to override the faculty.”

Flowers also discussed the program change process referring back to the latest Board of Trustees retreat.

During the meeting, Chancellor Carlo Montemagno distributed a document which indicated the administration’s understanding of the program change process.

Flowers said there are several errors with this document.

“My review of the Faculty Senate and Graduate Council Operating papers indicates that Faculty Senate and Graduate Council are not subject to administrative mandate where a timeline for RME approval is concerned,” Flowers said.

Flowers said, specifically, Graduate Council is bound by its operating papers to provide first and second readings of RMEs and to extend the review time should concerns arise between first and second readings.

“My review of the Faculty Association Article IX process indicates that there is nothing in the contract that grants the administration the authority to impose a deadline on Graduate Council or Faculty Senate,” Flowers said. “However, there is nothing to stop them from doing so either.”

Staff writer Kitt Fresa can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @kittfresa.

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