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Published September 16, 2021
Input from internal and external stakeholders has resulted in some likely adjustments to the University of Wyoming’s proposal for academic restructuring and reductions.
While the university’s administration is moving forward with a recommendation for reconfiguration of some academic colleges, along with discontinuance, reorganization, reduction and consolidation of some departments, the initial proposal to discontinue some departments has been dropped.
UW Provost and Executive Vice President Kevin Carman today (Thursday) updated the Board of Trustees on the academic restructuring and reduction process, which is governed by UW Regulation 2-13. The university is in the midst of a period of review to seek feedback from stakeholders including the Faculty Senate, the Staff Senate, the Associated Students of UW and other interested parties. This process was initiated in July, with the deadline for feedback Oct. 1. The finalized academic and administrative reductions and reorganizations are slated to be presented to the trustees in November.
“We have received some informative, thoughtful and helpful input from various stakeholders, as well as the committees appointed to help execute the restructuring plan,” President Ed Seidel says. “This input has helped to solidify some elements of the preliminary plan while identifying other areas that need further review and/or revision.”
Reconfiguration of academic colleges continues to be part of the plan. Specifically, the College of Engineering and Applied Science would become the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, and several departments would move there from the current College of Arts and Sciences. Likewise, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources would become the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, with several departments moving there from the current College of Arts and Sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences would become College of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts -- bringing UW in line with the way many universities organize those disciplines. The new structure would facilitate greater emphasis on core liberal arts disciplines that are critical to a comprehensive university education.
At the same time, a number of changes from the original plan are being considered. They include:
--Keeping the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics in the new College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and separate from the Department of Economics in the College of Business.
--Not discontinuing the Department of Chemical Engineering, but rather proceeding with a consolidation of that department with the Department of Chemistry, on equal terms, in the new College of Engineering and Physical Sciences.
--Not discontinuing the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, but rather reorganizing them into a new department.
--Not reducing the Department of Geology and Geophysics, but rather consolidating it with the Department of Petroleum Engineering -- or maintaining them as separate departments in the new College of Engineering and Physical Sciences.
A number of low-enrollment degree programs have been identified for discontinuation. Department heads in those affected units are reviewing data and submitting reports to the Office of Academic Affairs, and listening sessions are taking place for departments that request them. Feedback from the listening sessions and the department reports will be provided to Faculty Senate’s Graduate Council and Academic Planning Committee, as appropriate.
“There may be additional refinements as the review process continues and as we prepare the final recommendations to present to the Board of Trustees,” Carman says. “Our aim is to deliver high-quality degree programs for our students as efficiently and effectively as possible at a time of declining state funding -- and as we prepare to launch new programs to respond to the changing needs of our students and the state.”
A virtual town-hall meeting to update the UW community on the Regulation 2-13 process is scheduled for 9-10:30 a.m. Monday, Sept. 20. The session may be viewed live or recorded at https://wyolinks.uwyo.edu/townhallsept20. Those wishing to submit questions or provide feedback may do so ahead of time by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information on the UW Regulation 2-13 process and answers to frequently asked questions, visit www.uwyo.edu/acadaffairs/program-review/current/index.html.