The University of Minnesota will be restructuring the Graduate School, changing it from a “free-standing” administration to part of the Provost’s Office, effective fall 2010, the University announced Monday.
The move to “[reconfigure] from a free-standing administrative unit to which all graduate programs directly report, to an Office of Graduate Education within the Provost’s Office that parallels the Office of Undergraduate Education” was announced in an email from the Provost E. Thomas Sullivan dated February 9. Another February 9 email from U of M President Robert Bruininks described severe budget cuts to the U of M, amounting to a permanent reduction in state funding of $78 million per year. The TC Daily Planet invites readers to comment and to send further information.
The Graduate School will be restructured into the Office of Graduate Education, a parallel of the Office of Undergraduate Education, and will place more responsibility on individual college deans, according to University documents outlining the plan.
Senior Vice Provost Tom Sullivan said in a University press release that the change will reduce costs and strengthen graduate education and programs.
A committee, which will include college deans, experienced directors of graduate studies, graduates students, faculty and the Provost’s Office will help decide how to implement the transition. They are scheduled to have a plan ready by April 10.
The Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education will be responsible for oversight, coordination and leadership of graduate education, according to the documents.
However, there is indication the change came as a shock to Graduate School faculty, Council of Graduate Students President Geoff Hart said.
“It’s a pretty big bomb,”
he said. “The gist of what I have been hearing is that a lot of the big higher ups in the Graduate School themselves didn’t even know this was happening.”
The University plans to reallocate whatever they save into graduate education, according to the documents. Although there is an indication that significant cuts will be made, the exact amount of money that will be saved is not yet known.
The Provost’s Office will need to determine exactly which positions fit where, University spokesman Dan Wolter said in an e-mail.
The current Graduate School has about 50 full-time employees and a budget of around $4.5 million.
The Finance and Personnel Department, one of the Graduate School’s largest departments, will be completely cut and administration will be “substantially downsized,” according to the University documents. Both departments currently have nine employees.
COGS President Hart is planning to organize an emergency meeting for Tuesday night so students can discuss the ramifications of the change.
“That is, on the grand scheme of things, is probably as a big of an earthquake as you could have for the Graduate School because they are not going to be there anymore and everyone is kind of having to do their own thing,” Hart said.