Encouraging signs concerning the Graduate School restructuring process

Many of us have been waiting with bated breath for (a) the reports of the faculty and academic staff ad hoc committees on Provost Paul DeLuca’s proposal to divest the Graduate School of research functions, and (b) the administration’s response to those reports.

The reports were originally due at the end of last month.  The Badger Herald now reports that the due dates have been pushed back to January 21 in the case of the ASEC report and to the end of the month for the University Committee report.

While that news would normally imply a disappointing prolongation of our suspense,  the same article also reported that “Paul DeLuca assured he would not pursue any plan to restructure without faculty consent.”   The article went on to say,

Moving forward, DeLuca has ensured he will take the time and trouble to carefully analyze pending ad hoc reports on his proposal and promised shared governance will “definitely be more of a factor in the next phase.”

In summation, DeLuca attributed the contentious proposal process last semester to what he called a “new kid on the block phenomenon.”

“I don’t intend to do anything dictatorialized, and we will just follow the best process we possibly can,” Paul DeLuca said.

Those of us on the faculty and staff who have been following the Graduate School restructuring issue since September and have been (mostly) alarmed by the process that triggered the Faculty Senate resolution vote on November 2  should be very relieved by, and supportive of, the provost’s latest statements.

As far as we can tell, it was never the intention of the critics of the process to block needed reforms or to try to preserve the status quo at all costs.  Rather, the voices we heard (some of which were published on this site) almost universally emphasized the need for a more deliberative process that pooled the experience and insights of all those affected by the existing problems and/or by the proposed solutions to those problems.  In short, their insistence was not on a particular outcome but rather on a reaffirmation of a proper role for shared governance and due process.   It appears that that is what Provost DeLuca has now committed himself to, and we welcome the fresh start on this important topic.

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