University of Vermont

Transformational Change

Untitled Document

Report of the Transformational Change Working Group

April 15, 2009

From: Daniel Mark Fogel

To: UVM Campus Community

Re: Report of the Transformational Change Working Group [click here to view report]

With gratitude and deep appreciation for the time, effort and dedication to UVM of the Transformational Change Working Group and particularly for the leadership of its chair, Professor Robert Taylor, I am pleased to transmit to the community the report from the group submitted to me earlier this month. Please see for full materials on this project, including the membership of the Working Group, the original call to participation in a transformational change process, the memo of appointment encapsulating the charge of the group, and links to the many surveys and reports on which the group drew in its work.

This is in my view an extraordinarily valuable report that will set the agenda for a great deal of potentially very high value-added work for the campus community in the next academic year and beyond. While providing a framework for ongoing discussions I hope we will have on academic organization through a thoughtful and illuminating précis of the pros and cons of different structural models, the report above all focuses on measures calculated to improve significantly the quality and outcomes of undergraduate education at UVM within our current organization.

Specifically, declaring that “it is time for the university to act aggressively to make strategic decisions considering a number of policy or functional reforms,” the Working Group proposes the following objectives:

  • improvement of undergraduate curricular requirements, including development of a core curriculum for all undergraduate students, improved advising, enhanced flexibility for changing majors within the first two years without loss of time, improved communication and course acceptability across units, and clearer course requirements for all majors, particularly those involving more than one unit;
  • a strategic reform of resource allocation models with more flexibility in adjusting to changing enrollment patterns across academic units;
  • development of a more cohesive “first-year experience” (both curricular and co-curricular);
  • development (contingent on further study and input from campus advising professionals) of a centralized advising center that would be a one-stop academic and vocational advising location for all undergraduate students; and
  • expansion of residential learning community options and exploration of the feasibility of developing a full-scale residential college system.

The call in the report for aggressive action on the some or all of the points in the agenda I have just outlined strikes me as highly resonant with the University Strategic Plan approved by the Faculty Senate last spring and by the Board of Trustees last fall and also with several of the salient proposals offered late last fall by the Strategic Plan Action Idea Working Groups. Accordingly, I commend the report of the Transformational Change Working Group to the attention of the academic community. I expect that real work will be done next year in many quarters—the Offices of the Provost and of the Vice Presidents for Student and Campus Life and Enrollment Management, the Deans’ Council and the undergraduate colleges and schools, and above all the Faculty Senate with respect to creation of a core curriculum—to further develop and implement these recommendations, at least some of which have high promise of enhancing the quality of undergraduate education in ways that are aligned with our mission and vision for academic excellence and that I believe are essential to the continuation of UVM’s advance.

Last modified April 22 2009 12:17 PM

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