Union streamlines structure of academic departments

Published 5:24 pm Thursday, August 30, 2018

Union College recently underwent an academic departmental restructuring in order to better serve both its students and faculty. There will now be three schools within Academic Affairs. Each of the schools will be headed by a dean who reports to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Jim Salvucci.

The Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences will be Dr. Shayne Confer.

The Dean of the School of Professional and Graduate Studies will be Dr. David Williams.

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The Dean of the School of Nursing, Health, and Natural Sciences will be Dr. Marisa Greer.

“In the past, we had all these different departments and all those departments had a chair who reported to the VPAA,” said Dr. Salvucci. “When you have that flat structure, it becomes almost impossible to move things along. Now, we can work on things with each of the individual schools, and this will give the faculty a more effective way to communicate.”

The VPAA and other administrators have formed an Academic Council to establish and improve administrative processes within the Office of Academic Affairs. The primary functions of the Academic Council are to attend to administrative matters in Academic Affairs, to advise the Academic Policy Committee and other faculty committees, to enhance consensus and transparency in decision making, and to aid collaboration among the schools and other academic and non-academic offices.

“One of the things we can do with the Academic Council, since we’re a small group, is we can bring different matters to this group and kind of standardize them across the schools without stifling creativity or the needs of individual disciplines,” said Dr. Salvucci. “For instance, internships: different disciplines have different internship needs, so, we’ll never have absolute consistency but want some equity. We can bring those kinds of things forward to the Council and we can talk about them until we have all of that smoothed over.”

The council currently consists of Dr. Salvucci, the three school deans, Professor of Special Education and QEP Director Dr. Melinda Rice, Director of Institutional Effectiveness Anisa James, and Administrative Assistant for Academic Affairs Emily Blevins.

The changes were approved by Senior Staff Wednesday, Aug. 22, and are already being utilized.