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Office of Academic Affairs reorganized for greater efficiency, flexibility
Office of Academic Affairs reorganized for greater efficiency, flexibilityAugust 29, 2005Patrick Farrellpmfarrel@syr.edu
Since coming to Syracuse University, Chancellor Nancy Cantor has focused on improving SU’s standing as a leader in higher education, putting the University on course to be competitive with the best private research universities in the nation. While achieving this goal will require sustained effort from every member of the SU community, certain critical activities-including faculty recruiting and retention, donor relations and new research opportunities-will demand more direct, hands-on attention from Vice Chancellor and Provost Deborah A. Freund.
At the same time, normal rotations in personnel because of retirement or career changes have created opportunities to reevaluate and reorganize Academic Affairs to be more responsive to the needs of students, faculty and staff, while giving the vice chancellor greater flexibility to address University priorities on behalf of Chancellor Cantor. By focusing on becoming more flexible while maintaining the highest professional standards, Academic Affairs will in turn become more efficient and effective in helping all who depend on its services.
With this goal in mind, the Office of Academic Affairs has begun to implement a series of changes that will realign a number of existing responsibilities while anticipating future demands as the University’s roles in higher education and within the community expand and evolve.
With the impending retirement of key senior administrators, Vice Chancellor Freund has begun recruiting a new team of senior administrators from both within and outside the University community. They will be charged with continuing the work of their predecessors while addressing new and wider-ranging responsibilities of the Office of Academic Affairs. Freund already has appointed two associate provosts, Karen (Kal) Alston and Sandra Hurd, and a search for a senior administrator to direct diversity-related programs at the University level is under way. The vice chancellor also has appointed Dr. Laura Schweitzer to the new position of Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Health Liaison. As a staff member of Upstate Medical University, Schweitzer will be well positioned to coordinate health-related programs between the two institutions.
“I’ve made these assignments to ensure a smooth transition as a new team of administrators moves in and to make sure none of our programs lose momentum,” says Freund. “At the same time, there is a great deal of flexibility built into this restructuring, which will allow us to respond quickly and effectively to new opportunities.”
Areas most directly affected by the changes in leadership include the Office of Undergraduate Studies and various responsibilities of the Associate Vice Chancellor.
With the retirement of Vice President Ronald Cavanagh, the units that currently make up the Office of Undergraduate Studies will be realigned to report as follows: The Office of the Registrar and Central Records and the Division of International Programs Abroad (DIPA) will report to David C. Smith, vice president for enrollment management; the Center for Support of Teaching and Learning, Project Advance, the Division of Student Support and Retention, the Army and Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs, and the SU Learning Communities Program will report to Associate Provost Hurd.
In addition, Hurd will help the University prepare for the upcoming Middle States re-accreditation process and will work closely with Associate Vice Chancellor Michael Flusche and others on the vice chancellor’s staff to realign seamlessly other administrative responsibilities in the Office of Academic Affairs.
As associate provost, Alston will take on some of the faculty-related management responsibilities currently handled by Flusche, who will retire in 2006. These duties include tenure and promotionprotocols, and academic personnel issues. Alston’s immediate charge is to help the vice chancellor implement the responsibility center management (RCM) budget program. In addition, Alston will lead an ongoing effort to streamline operations within and improve access to Academic Affairs.
Confident that these modifications will improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of Academic Affairs, Freund also points out that the new assignments are subject to change as evolving needs require. “There are few environments more dynamic than a university,” says Freund. “As the world around us and the needs of the people who depend on us change, we have to be able to grow with them. I think we’re off to a great start, but change is factored into our plan.”