University of Vermont

Transformational Change

Working Group

Appointment of Working Group to Recommend Alternative Academic Structures and Policies

Let me begin by thanking each of you on behalf of the entire University community for your willingness to serve on this important working group, which will convene for the first time to receive its charge from me at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, February 9, in the Grace Coolidge Room on the fifth floor of the Waterman Building. Recognizing that this will be a time when some of you will have conflicts, I ask that you make every effort to attend if at all possible.

The task of the working group will be to develop recommendations in order to advance the University toward attainment of the goals outlined in my memo of January 24, A Call to Participation in a Transformational Change Process (which I am attaching and which was distributed to the campus community on January 27). I want to emphasize four points about the work of the group:

  • The overriding goal is to recommend changes in how we structure and manage the academic enterprise that will produce higher levels of student and faculty success, with special attention to the issues outlined in the Call to Participation (e.g., improved advising to achieve increased retention and graduation rates; ease of enrolling in multiple majors and minors across colleges and schools; curricular cohesion; enhancement of the environment for interdisciplinary teaching and research; and so on);
  • This is an open and creative process, without presumed outcomes: while I have asked that the working group seriously consider the idea offered in my “thought piece” of putting all undergraduate students into one college, that idea was also offered as a stimulus to thinking afresh about how the academic programs of the University are structured and as an example of the level of detail I expect in the recommendations of the working group—feasible concepts, not detailed plans;
  • The membership of the group intentionally includes faculty from each degree-granting college and school, including all of the chairs of the Strategic Plan Action Idea Working Groups that were convened last fall, but I ask that each individual on the group, while bringing to your deliberations the perspectives of his or her own academic discipline and experience at UVM, make every effort to wear a “University hat,” considering the best interests of the institution and its students and faculty as a whole; and
  • I am open to an extension of the timeline beyond the March 15 date mentioned in the Call to Participation (but not beyond this spring semester); I look forward to discussing the work of the group with you when we meet next week.

Again, I am very grateful to each of you for having agreed to participate in this important process. I look forward to seeing as many of you as are able to rearrange your schedules on Monday. We will make it possible for individuals who are unable to attend in person to phone in if they can, and otherwise we will supply those who cannot attend this first meeting with a substantive meeting summary. I look forward to seeing you soon.

Working Group

Robert Pepperman Taylor, Chair
David Barrington
Lynne Bond
Demethra (Sha) Bradley
Jim Burgmeier
Patty Corcoran
Richard Galbraith
Domenico Grasso
Micheal Gurdon
Susan Harrington
Sharon Henry
Clinton Jasperson
Stephanie Kaza
Christopher Lucier
Kathleen Manning
Eleanor Miller
Beth Mintz
David Neiweem
Rodney Parsons
Julia Russel
Mara Saule
Sherwood Smith
Sondra Solomon
Annie Stevens
Steele Taylor
Thomas Vogelman

Last modified April 22 2009 12:07 PM

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