Sent on behalf of Provost Russ Moore.
September 2, 2020
Dear Arts and Sciences Faculty:
Today, I am announcing the first step towards reorganizing the College of Arts and Sciences to give greater autonomy and control to the three divisions of Arts and Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences. I believe that this reorganization will increase the power and effectiveness of faculty governance and move it closer to you. Since the core of any college or school is its faculty and since that requires there be clear, strong faculty governance structures, this step will involve the creation of new faculty governance at the divisional level.
The reorganization has been under discussion by the faculty at least since the fall of 2017 when a white paper submitted to the Academic Futures process proposed it. The Academic Futures report, while removing itself from questions about A&S restructuring, did address faculty governance, as did the Arts and Sciences Strategic Planning Committee report. Based on their work, I convened in April 2018 a Committee on Academic Reorganization, which in turn led to task forces on Structure, Governance, and Budget reorganization that engaged faculty and staff and did their work during fall 2019, delivering their reports to me in December 2019 or early in 2020. After receiving these reports, I conducted my own town halls to gather input and advice from our community.
This widespread conversation led to the conclusion that Arts and Sciences needs to be reorganized, with important functions and powers being devolved to the three current divisions. To prepare for that change, we need to fashion new faculty governance structures.
The report of the College of Arts and Sciences Reorganization Working Group on Faculty Shared Governance provides a strong portrait of what these new structures will look like. I will not reiterate all their insights here; I urge you to read that report. In the statement of its guiding philosophy, it states, “Faculty are essential to the academic mission of the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder), and therefore, the health of that mission requires meaningful faculty governance at all levels of decision-making.” What needs to be done now is to create meaningful faculty governance at the division level by creating chairs and directors councils.
I am now moving forward with a process to enable the faculty in each division to implement local governance mechanisms. Since this conversation began with Academic Futures, I am asking the leaders of AF, Jeff Cox and Emily CoBabe-Ammann (who are advising all schools and colleges on governance), to conduct three remote town halls during the month of September—Sept. 10 at 9 a.m.; Sept. 14 at 11:30 a.m.; and Sept. 22 at 3 p.m.— to answer questions and to hear your ideas and concerns.
In October, I in consultation with the deans of Arts and Sciences will announce the formation of implementation teams for each of the divisions. They will have a charge to report back to the faculty and to me by January 15, 2021.
Once each division’s governance council is in place, I will work with them to move forward on creating the processes necessary to ensure shared governance at the college level.
I realize that any change can be of concern, particularly in these difficult times. I also understand that any change that seems to come from above can appear threatening to local control. So, I want to reiterate that I am taking this step after consultation with the faculty over several years and that the goal of this process is to create stronger faculty governance at the local and then the college level.
Have a safe and successful fall semester.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs