In March, we announced the approval of the first seven schools approved by the Illinois Board of Higher Education as part of academic reorganization. Today, I am pleased to share that five more schools have been approved by the IBHE:
- School of Agricultural Sciences, bringing together programs in agribusiness economics, animal sciences, forestry, as well as plant, soil and agricultural systems.
- School of Analytics, Finance and Economics, bringing together programs in finance, economics and information systems technology.
- School of Human Science, bringing together programs in kinesiology, public health and recreation professions, social work, as well as food and nutrition.
- School of Education, bringing together programs in counseling, quantitative methods and special education, curriculum and instruction, educational administration and higher education, as well as workforce education and development.
- School of Management and Marketing, bringing together programs in management, marketing, public administration, as well as hospitality and tourism administration.
These five schools represent the second phase of reorganization, with an anticipated launch date of January 1, 2020. As with the previous seven schools already approved with a start date of July 1, 2019, the provost’s office will create working groups comprised of faculty, administrators, staff and students to support a smooth transition.
As part of the process of collaborating with the working groups, we will seek input from the academic units regarding leadership of the school and engage with the groups to identify and implement the best structure to support the school. Once each school has launched, faculty members will begin development of new operating papers.
These five schools were moved forward following a great deal of input from faculty and other stakeholders. While it isn’t always possible to address every concern, all input was considered carefully. I am confident that our faculty will move forward to coalesce around the new opportunities created by these schools.
The approval of these schools means that more than half of the reorganization plan is finalized. Thirteen of 21 proposed schools will be in place as of January 2020, including the seven approved in March, the five approved in April, and the School of Accountancy, which already existed and did not change.
With the establishment of these schools, we will turn our attention to creating three of the six colleges originally envisioned. We will engage with faculty in the new schools regarding the college structure and will ultimately develop college RMEs that will be brought before Faculty Senate and Graduate Council.
We are continuing conversations with faculty about additional reorganization efforts, including faculty-initiated proposals in several areas. We will keep you posted as proposals are developed.
Meanwhile, working groups for the seven schools previously approved are actively planning for their July 1 launch. We are beginning the process of identifying leaders for the schools with input from faculty, with several internal searches for school directors underway.
In the meantime, we must all continue to assure students that their individual academic programs remain in place, that the catalog under which they entered their degree program continues to govern their degree requirements, and that their progress toward graduation will continue without disruption. The administrative reorganization of our academic programs has no impact on the curriculum or degree requirements for current students.
Progress is both challenging and exciting. I am grateful for the collaboration and enthusiasm of our faculty and staff as we move forward.