Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who made the decision to conduct an organizational review? The decision was finalized by the CMU Board of Trustees when it specified an organizational review as a strategy in the 2017-2022 strategic plan approved in June 2017. This review marks the first time in 20 years we will examine CMU's academic structure — both colleges and departments and the noncollege areas of the academic division. Units that directly support and impact students' academic experiences also may be involved. 
  1. Why was an academic organizational review added to the strategic plan? Other units at CMU are reorganized as needed, such as the recent integration of global and main campuses. Since colleges and departments were last reviewed and reorganized 20 years ago, CMU has grown in enrollment, transitioned from a Carnegie Master's Comprehensive University to a Doctoral Research High (R-2) and added programs such as engineering and medicine. Such significant advancements, combined with ongoing evolution in the state's economy, in jobs and in employer needs, would indicate that structural realignments might well be necessary and beneficial to students, faculty and staff. The review will determine whether this is the case.
  1. What are the goals of the review? The review enables us to assess whether the current academic structure will best serve the current and future needs of CMU students and their pursuit of degrees, faculty research, scholarship and creative work, and the needs of external stakeholders such as industries that employ our graduates. If not, the review will prompt us to explore what organizational alignment would best position CMU to achieve the strategic plan imperatives and continue to be a leading university for years to come.
  1. What is the timeline? Three committees that will guide the review throughout the 2017-18 academic year will be announced in early October. Recommendations developed in response to input from colleges, a series of charrettes, small group meetings and an online form will be shared with colleges, departments and Academic Senate in February and March 2018 for feedback and, where appropriate, votes. Recommendations are to go to the trustees for review in April, with a final vote expected in June.

    Recommendations from the committee studying support units outside of the colleges and departments and by the committee studying the responsibility centered management budget model, will not require votes. While these recommendations will be shared with the campus community, the review process could, without votes required, follow a shorter timeline.

  1. How are committee members being selected? One member of Committee I (departments and colleges), Melinda Kreth, is ex officio based on her leadership role in the Academic Senate and involvement in developing the new strategic plan; two members will be appointed by the Academic Senate; and one by the Student Government Association. Additional members of Committee I and the membership of the other two committees will be selected by President Ross, Provost Gealt and Senior Vice Provost Davison from a roster of volunteers and nominations made by the CMU community. The objective is to ensure the perspectives of all employee groups, colleges and nonacademic units are represented. Committee I will be comprised of at least one representative from each academic college.
  1. What criteria will be used to determine if reorganization is required? The process and input will inform such determinations. Organizational alignment recommendations would reflect the prospect of improvement in the student academic experience, movement toward the goals of the strategic plan, and/or the ability of CMU to respond to opportunities and challenges expected in the next decade.
  1. Isn't this a done-deal with the decisions already having been made? No. The process for this review was developed to ensure all constituents have the opportunity to engage and make their voices heard — to ask questions and share ideas. This is a chance for the CMU community to weigh in and help create the future of our university.
  1. How can I be involved? Committees nominations will remain open until the rosters are announced at the start of October. Those not appointed to a committee are encouraged to participate by working with their departments and colleges and/or by providing ideas — either anonymously via an online form that soon will be added to the structural review website or via one of the open events. Leaders of the colleges and other units will be asked to provide suggestions to the committees to ensure broad-based participation. Finally, all recommendations of the committees will be public and may be modified based on feedback and comments.
  1. Isn't this really just a way to make budget cuts? The review is not focused on reducing costs, rather it is designed to enhance the delivery of a quality education and to best serve student needs.
  1. Will the review and any resulting actions affect the funding for academic programs? No. Programs will retain their funding.
  1. Could this eliminate my job? Some reporting relationships may change and a few senior-level administrative jobs may change or be eliminated, yet individuals affected who elect to remain at CMU will be offered alternate roles commensurate with their talents and experience.
  1. Is this a way to get rid of certain administrators by eliminating their unit? No. Deans and other senior officers are all at-will employees; there's no need to create a pretext for making employment changes. The review is related to student achievement, the strategic plan, and future challenges and opportunities. 
  1. Will the review eliminate programs? Although CMU continues to evolve its academic offerings in response to student and employer demand and opportunities, program deletion is not part of this review.
  1. Will the review affect students? Absolutely, in a positive way! This review is about enhancing our ability to deliver a quality education and best serve the needs of our students. It is about their success.  
  1. Will the process follow the Policy on Academic Reorganization and Name Change? Yes. Recommendations of the committee charged with reviewing department and college organization will have votes by the affected departments and colleges, and, depending on the outcome of these votes, potentially by the Academic Senate. Recommendations of the other two committees will not require votes, but will be presented to the campus community for feedback that may result in modifications.
  1. Will departments have influence over realignments? Yes. Although the ultimate decision will be made by the president and Board of Trustees based on recommendations by the provost, these decisions will be informed by input from across the campus community, including faculty, students, staff and alumni. Departments and colleges will make suggestions, review recommendations, and in the case of possible changes to department and college structures, vote as described by the Policy on Academic Reorganization.

Other questions? Please contact Ian Davison