Chancellor announces restructuring plans
On Oct. 15 and 17, Chancellor Joel E. Anderson announced his plans for administrative and academic restructuring.
In a memo dated Oct. 15, Anderson said a reorganized administrative structure will save the university money.
“The efficiencies enabled by the new organizational structure also will result in cost savings for the university.”
Notable administrative restructuring includes reducing the number of vice chancellors to four. There are currently seven, but according to a memo released by the chancellor, the four vice chancellor positions moving forward will be:
- Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
- Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration
- Vice Chancellor for Advancement
- Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management
The most noticeable change, however, the chancellor said, will be merging Student Affairs units into the Academic Affairs Division.
According to a recommendation from Provost Toro, she said creating the position of Vice Provost for Student Affairs will “formalize UALR’s commitment to become a student-centered institution.”
In the memo, Anderson said it was time for change and to begin planning for the future — a future which calls for doubling the number of graduates by 2025.
“What worked well for UALR 25 years ago does not necessarily work best for UALR today. The purpose of restructuring is to reshape the university to operate more successfully and more responsively within its current and future environment.”
Anderson said a number of events are impeding growth at UALR, but most notably is the lack of state funds.
“As is true of other public institutions across the nation, the share of our budget funded by the state has been in steady decline,” Anderson states in the memo. “The share of our budget funded by student tuition and fees has been on a steady incline.”
The last statement in the memo, found in the “highlights” section, includes a statement regarding the benefits of restructuring.
“In addition to financial advantages, the reduction of the number of administrative vice chancellors will allow the chancellor more time to focus energy off campus to protect and promote the interest of the university.”
The chancellor said he expects the changes will bolster opportunities for UALR to succeed in the future.
“I am confident that the new academic and administrative structures will put UALR in a better position to thrive in today’s challenging and different higher education environment,” according to the memo. “I believe this reorganization will maximize the unique strengths of UALR, eliminate barriers to student success and put the university on the firmest possible footing for the future.”
Before the chancellor’s changes are finalized, he must first submit the changes and the new organizational structure to the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees. The chancellor said the meeting will occur Nov. 22 on campus.
Changes in titles and reporting relationships will likely begin being implemented Dec. 1, according to Anderson.
Additionally, in terms of academic restructuring, the changes appear to be more noticeable.
Moving forward, there will be five academic colleges instead of six. The colleges will be:
- College of Business
- College of Education and Health Professions
- College of Arts, Letters, and Sciences
- College of Social Sciences and Communications
- College of Engineering and Information Technology
The Vice Provost for Research will become the Vice Provost for Research, Innovation and Economic Development. This redefined position, according to Anderson, will “reflect UALR’s growing role as a research university and its support of state economic development efforts.”
The Associate Provost for the Center for Arkansas History and Culture will be expanded to Associate Provost for UALR Collections and Archives. Anderson said this will include the Ottenheimer Library, the Center for Arkansas History and Culture as well as the Sequoyah National Research Center.
Anderson stressed in his second memo, dated Oct. 17, that restructuring is but the first of many steps to move the university forward.
“Although the broad organizational decisions have been made, much important work remains to be done. While faculty have had significant opportunities to influence the restructuring outcomes, they will need to be more directly and immediately involved in the work that remains,” Anderson stated in his memo. He added that how the faculty, staff and students go about implementing the structure is “going to be the key to creating a new culture at UALR.”
The chancellor said most of the academic restructuring changes will occur once the new fiscal year begins July 1.
Specifics and more details regarding the academic and administrative changes can be found at http://ualr.edu/chancellor/university-restructuring.